Gary Doran

Advanced Stats Report: Colorado Buffaloes


For the seventh game of the 2016 season, the Devils travel to Boulder, Colorado to take on their South Division rival; the Colorado Buffaloes. It will be the second conference road game and the third road game overall for the season.

Since 2006, ASU is a perfect 7-0 against the Buffaloes with the average score being 41.8 to 15.4. However, in the last two meetings, the Buffaloes have averaged 23.5 points per game compared to only 12.2 for the previous five meetings. In the three contests in Boulder, the Devils averaged 36.6 points per game, while the Buffaloes averaged 14.6 per game.

Below are the 2015 stats for the Buffaloes: (2015 Record, Overall: 4-9 – Conference: 1-8)


Offense– Over the last four seasons, the Colorado Buffaloes have not placed higher than ninth in the conference in    yards per game running the ball
– Last season, Colorado scored more rushing touchdown than ASU (23-19)
– Colorado has not had a running back run for 1,000 yards or more in a season since 2010 (Rodney  Stewart-1,316)
– In conference play last year, the Buffaloes averaged only 2.81 yards per carry, while in their four non-  conference games they averaged 5.28
– In the last four games of the 2015 season, Colorado only scored two rushing touchdowns in 129 carries
– Last year, Colorado tied Utah and USC in the conference for the most rushing attempts on fourth down (16), ASU was last with only seven attempts on fourth down
– In 2015, almost three-quarters of all the rushing touchdown for Colorado happened on first down carries
– In their opponents’ red zones last season, Colorado ranked seventh in the conference in average yards per   carry, however, outside the red zone, they were last
– When Colorado was behind in a game last year, they average 3.13 yards per carry, while when they were  ahead, they averaged 4.93 yards per carry
– Ten of the 23 rushing touchdowns for Colorado last year came against just two of their non-conference  opponents
– Last year, Colorado was last in the conference in the percentage of rushing plays that went for ten yards or more (11.25%), while ASU was eleventh (12.66%)
– In the past three seasons, Colorado has only scored more than two rushing touchdowns in a game one  time against Utah in 2014
– Last season, Colorado was at the bottom of the conference in the average number of pass attempts per  touchdown passes (35.8)
– In three of their last five games in 2015, Colorado did not throw a touchdown pass
– In nine conference games last year, Colorado only threw nine touchdown passes, but eleven  interceptions; in 2014, Colorado threw 22 touchdown passes to twelve interceptions
– Last season, only one out of 166 pass attempts on first down went for a touchdown, whereas eight of the 122 pass attempts on third down found the end zone
– Only Oregon State threw fewer red zone touchdown passes last year, and only Oregon threw more red  zone interceptions
– Last year when Colorado was either tied or ahead in a game they threw four touchdown passes and only  one interception, however when they were behind, they threw nine touchdown passes and eleven  interceptions
– Last year, Colorado only threw one touchdown pass on first down
– In 2015, Colorado threw the third most passes in the conference from third down and long situations (41), behind only ASU and Washington State
– In home games last year, Colorado passed the ball only 42.2-percent of the time scoring a touchdown pass on an average of every 27.9 pass attempts, whereas on the road they passed the ball 49.5-percent of  the time with a touchdown pass about every 45.2 pass attempts
– Last season, only one conference team threw fewer touchdown passes and had a lower pass completion  percentage in the first quarter than Colorado
– In the first half of their games last year, 35.4-percent of the Colorado passes gained a first down, however  in the second half, the percentage dropped to 26.6-percent
– Last year, Colorado was tenth in the conference in the average yards per pass attempt within their  opponents’ red zones; with only ASU and Oregon State lower
– Over the last four years, Colorado has not had a lot of success throwing touchdown passes from within  their opponents’ red zones (2012-7, 2013-7, 2014-17, 2015-6)
– In the last four years, Colorado has been 11th, 9th, 11th and 12th in the conference in converting third  down opportunities
– Last year, Colorado was dead last in the conference in the percentage of times they scored a touchdown  from within their opponents’ red zones
– In 2015, Colorado tied for eighth in the conference in the number of turnovers they surrendered (21),  while in 2014 they also surrendered 21 takeaways and in 2013 it was 24

Defense– When the Buffaloes played at home last season, they gave up more touchdowns per game (1.67), than on  the road (1.29); they also had a better yards per carry average on the road (4,80), as compared to playing  at home (5.27)
– In the last four seasons, the Colorado run defense has placed no higher than eleventh in the conference in  the yards per carry they allowed
– Last season, the Colorado run defense only shut out one conference team from scoring a rushing  touchdown; the USC Trojans
– In the first quarter of their games last year, the Buffalo run defense gave up a rushing touchdown an  average of once every 13.8 carries, whereas in the other three quarters, it was once every 36.6 carries
– When opponents ran the ball on third down last season, they made a first down on almost half the carries (46.3%)
– The Colorado run defense was last in the conference in 2015 and 2014 in the average yards per carry they  allowed when they had an opponent backed up inside their own twenty-yard line (7.94 and 8.38)
– Colorado was fifth in the conference in the number of first downs they gave up on the ground last year,  and  sixth in the number of carries over ten yards they allowed
– Last season, the Colorado defense gave up only two rushing touchdowns on third down
– Last year, when the Buffaloes were within a touchdown either being ahead or being behind, they gave up  15 rushing touchdowns, however, when they were either ahead or behind by more than a touchdown, they  only gave up four rushing touchdowns
– In the last two seasons, the Colorado defense has only been able to hold one opponent under 3.00 yards  per carry in a game
– In 2012, 2013 and 2014, the Colorado defense was first in the conference in facing the fewest number of  opponent passes; last year they finished fourth
– In the past two seasons, Colorado has been sixth and fifth in the conference in the number of passing  yards per game the defense gave up each game
– Last year, the Colorado defense intercepted only seven passes, however, in the three previous years, the  defense had only intercepted nine passes total
– On third down last year, the Colorado defense tied for fourth best in the conference in limiting the  percentage of passes to be completed, however, they also tied for tenth in the number of touchdown passes  they allowed
– On third down and short yardage, the Colorado defense allowed over 80-percent of opponent passes to be  completed last year, and almost 75-percent the year before
– Last season, the Colorado defense allowed 68-percent of opponent passes to be completed in the first  quarter, the percentage dropped to 47-percent in the fourth quarter
– Last year, the Colorado defense allowed 13 touchdown passes to be completed within their own red zone;  this was the fewest given up in a season since 2008
– Although it didn’t happen that much, when Colorado was ahead by more than two touchdowns in the  game, they limited opponents to completing only 45-percent of their pass attempts; that was the best in  the conference
– Last year, the Colorado pass defense seemed to be its most generous when the game was tied, as the  defense allowed the highest pass completion percentage then, the highest percentage of pass completions  to register a first down and the most yards per pass attempt
– The Colorado tied for third in the conference last year in allowing the fewest number of pass receptions be register a first down (134), they were also third in the conference in 2014
– In the past four seasons, the Colorado defense has placed no higher than eighth in the conference in  allowing opponents to convert third down opportunities
– In 2015, the Colorado defense tied for fourth in the conference in limiting the percentage of times an  opponent scores a touchdown from within their red zone; in the previous three years Colorado placed no higher than eleventh
– Last season, Colorado tied for sixth in the conference in the number of takeaways they generated with 22, whereas in the previous four seasons, they average only 15.5 takeaways per season

Overall the numbers point to a team still a few years from being a strong competitor in the conference. Neither the run game nor the passing game numbers strike fear into opposing coordinators yet. There are a few areas where one could see some improvement starting to emerge. Although they weren’t ahead that often, when they were, the run game averaged almost one and three-quarters of a yard more per carry than at other times in the game. The passing game also appeared to perform better when the team was ahead in its games.

The stats for the Colorado defense shows are few more areas where improvement is showing up; a little more so in the pass defense than in the rush defense. One such area shown in 2015 was that the defense really cut down the number of times opponents entered their red zone, and also, the percentage of times opponents scored a touchdown once they did enter into the red zone. Both of those were marked improvements over previous years. The one area the Buffalo defense still struggled was getting off the field in third down situations.

The stats are pointing to improvements coming slowly for Colorado, but still not enough yet to be more competitive within the conference. Things can only improve for a team that has a 5-40 conference record in five years in the Pac-12.

Source: and

About Gary Doran

Gary Doran

Gary graduated from ASU many years ago. After careers working in banking, finance and the financial administration of academic research funding, he is now interested in utilizing his passion for numbers towards two things he thoroughly loves; Arizona State University and college football. He is looking forward to finding the “stories” buried within the numbers on a football stat sheet. He has gone to ASU football games all the way back to the days of Frank Kush and the WAC. He has been married to an amazing ASU graduate for almost forty years, and they currently live in Ventura, CA. Although this may disqualify him from talking football, he and his wife enjoy the practice of yoga and dancing the Argentine Tango. Ole!

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