Devils Den Blog

Preview: Colorado Buffaloes (2-2, 0-2 Pac-12)

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Key Wins: Colorado State (2-3, 0-0 MWC)

Key Losses: Oregon (6-0, 2-0), Oregon State (4-1, 2-0)

NFL Draft Prospects: WR Paul Richardson,  DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, P Darragh O’Neill

Arizona State is coming off a disappointing loss last Saturday to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 37-34, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas that saw QB Taylor Kelly throw for 362 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also saw him throw two interceptions and get sacked six times. It also saw Sun Devil WR Jaelen Strong catch 8 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, but, WR Richard Smith had a ball punched out of his hands by Irish CB Bennett Jackson. The Sun Devils also only managed to rush for 65 yards, one week after rushing for 261 yards against USC. RB Marion Grice extended his touchdown streak to eight games, but did not score on the ground. The loss also caused ASU to drop from both the AP and Coaches’ polls.

As can be seen, it was a week of highs and lows for the Sun Devil football team, but now, they welcome in a much weaker opponent than any they faced over the last four weeks. On Saturday, October 12, at 7 p.m. (on the Pac-12 Network, for those unable to make it to the game) the Colorado Buffaloes will invade Frank Kush Field and look to upset ASU on their home field.

When it comes to the Buffaloes, there is much work to be done. After finishing 1-11 (1-8) last year, the Buffs fired head coach Jon Embree and hired San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre, who took the Spartans from 1-11 in 2009 to 11-2 last season. MacIntyre started his career as a Buff on the right note and beat in-state rival Colorado State 41-27. After beating the Rams, CU welcomed FCS-school Central Arkansas to Folsom Field in Boulder and beat the Bears 38-14. At that point in the season, CU had accomplished two things in their first season under MacIntyre that they had failed to do in 2012 under Embree. First, they defeated CSU. Second, they defeated the FCS team on their schedule. In 2012, the Buffs lost to Sacramento State (who ASU beat this season, 55-0), 30-28.

The past two weeks, the Buffs have opened Pac-12 play by playing the Oregon schools. First, they travelled to Corvallis, and took on Oregon State in a downpour. CU looked out of sorts in the windy, rainy game and lost to the Beavers 44-17. On Saturday, Oregon took a trip to Boulder, and safe to say, it did not go well for CU. The Ducks racked up 755 total yards in route to a 57-16 decimation of the Buffs.

Although it has not looked very good for CU outside of the CSU game, there have been some bright spots. The largest of those bright sports has been wide receiver Paul Richardson. Richardson sat out 2012 with a torn ACL, but has come back with a vengeance in 2013. In his first game back against Colorado State, Richardson racked up 208 yards on 10 catches and two of those went for touchdowns. So far, on the season, Richardson has amassed 621 yards on 31 receptions and has scored five touchdowns.

Defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe has also been a bright spot for Colorado this season. He has 22 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 3 QB hits and  1 sack. He will be a player that the ASU offensive line will have to key on in order to have success running the ball on Saturday.

The Buffs’ quarterback play has been better than expected so far this season with University of Texas-transfer Connor Wood under center. He has gone 81-149 for 1092 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Devils certainly don’t seem like they have much to worry about on Saturday. The Devils are favored by 25 points over the Buffaloes, and if they don’t cover the spread, that would be a surprise. The only question is if ASU will be looking past CU to the big matchup against Washington on October 19. That looked to be the case in the first half of last year’s game in Boulder, when ASU took a three-point lead to halftime, as ASU’s game against Oregon loomed the week after CU. ASU did end up winning last year’s game against CU, 51-17. ASU looked to have pass coverage issues against Notre Dame, but with only one wide receiver to worry about, the Devils’ pass coverage should be much better this week. CU has yet to score a rushing touchdown this season and has only rushed for 445 yards, but, if the ASU rush defense does not improve after giving up 418 yards and four touchdowns combined to USC and Notre Dame, then both of those numbers could increase on Saturday.

Arizona State should come out against the Buffaloes and regain some of the confidence lost against Notre Dame and cruise to an easy victory. But, if Washington creeps into their minds, this could end up being a much tougher game than anticipated.

Prediction: ASU 54, CU 17

ASU Devils Den intern Jeff Vinton will be writing weekly previews for the site during the fall semester.   He can be reached on Twitter @J_Vinton52.

About Jeff Vinton

Jeff Vinton is a sophomore journalism and mass communication major at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He was born and raised in Fort Collins, CO and graduated in 2012 from Fort Collins High School.

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