Colorado (2-2) at Arizona State (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 12, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sun Devil Stadium (71,706) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Colorado 1-1, ASU 3-0. Away Record: Colorado 0-1, ASU 0-1. Neutral Record: Colorado 1-0, ASU 0-1. Conference Record: Colorado 0-2, ASU 1-1. Series Record: ASU leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: In a Pac-12 matchup at Sun Devil Stadium the Arizona State Sun Devils will attempt to bounce back from a difficult loss when they host the Colorado Buffaloes, who are in search of their first conference win.
The first two games in league play for the Buffaloes have not gone especially well. In losses to both Oregon State and Oregon, Colorado has been outscored by a combined 101-33. Prior to entering the league schedule the Buffaloes had actually found some success with wins in their first two games.
As for Arizona State, it dropped out of the national rankings this week after a heartbreaking, 37-34, setback against Notre Dame in Arlington. With the loss the Sun Devils fell to 3-2 overall. In terms of league play, Arizona State has split its first two contests with a loss at Stanford (42-28) and a win over USC (62-41).
These teams have met four previous times, all within the last decade. Arizona State has been victorious in all four of those meetings, including a 51-17 rout in Boulder last season.
Under first-year head coach Mike MacIntyre Colorado has developed into a healthy offensive squad. The Buffaloes are posting just over 400 yards of total offense each week, while scoring 28 points per game. Though not ranked in the upper echelon of the conference, those numbers are respectable.
Connor Wood is the man under center but his uneven play has kept the Buffaloes from improving even more. Though he has thrown for 1,092 yards and eight touchdowns, he has completed just 54.4 percent of his pass attempts and has been intercepted six times. His season-long streak without an interception is just 22 passes.
Thankfully when Wood is able to complete passes the Buffaloes generally get a great deal of production. Paul Richardson (31 receptions, 621 yards, five TDs) has been eating up opposing secondaries and is currently second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards. Nelson Spruce (16 receptions, 206 yards, TD) is more of a possession receiver to complement Richardson's big-play ability.
Colorado has been much more of a passing team under MacIntyre, with only 441 total rushing yards on the campaign. Christian Powell (51 carries, 163 yards) and Michael Adkins (20 carries, 116 yards) have been the most productive backs, though each is still searching for the first rushing touchdown of the season for Colorado.
There was not much that Colorado could take away from its loss to Oregon that was positive. The Buffaloes were gashed for 755 yards of total offense, which was the second most ever surrendered by the program in a single game. Overall Colorado has been letting up 482.5 yards per game, which ranks above only California in the conference.
Addison Gillam (51 tackles, 2.0 sacks) is the team-leader in tackles, while Chidera Uzo-Diribe (6.0 TFL) is an important contributor up front.
Versatile is the word that best describes the Sun Devils on offense. From dual-threat quarterback Taylor Kelly to the stable of running backs that make as many plays through the air as on the ground, Arizona State is a tough team to stop, or even slow down.
Under center Kelly gets a lot of attention. He has thrown for 1,732 yards and 14 touchdowns already, completing 63.3 percent of his pass attempts. Although he has been intercepted six times, Kelly is still the third most prolific passer in the Pac-12. Kelly has the ability to make plays with his legs as well, but has been limited to just 129 yards rushing so far.
There are a litany of skill position players making an impact for the Sun Devils. All running back Marion Grice seems to do is score touchdowns. Grice, who leads the team in rushing and has more than 100 touches on the campaign, has scored a Pac-12 leading 13 touchdowns (eight rushing, five receiving) already. Fellow running back D.J. Foster (31 receptions, 329 yards, TD) hasn't been much of a factor in the running game but is second on the team in receptions and yards.
Jaelen Strong (39 receptions, 569 yards, three TDs) is putting on a clinic at wide receiver this year. Strong is third in the conference in receptions as well as receiving yards. Tight end Chris Coyle (13 receptions, 224 yards, two TDs) hasn't put up huge numbers yet, but is a reliable contributor.
Generally the offenses's brisk pace has taken a toll on the Sun Devils defensively. Arizona State is allowing teams to score an even 30 points per game, while ranking eighth in the conference in total defense (393.0 ypg). The Sun Devils have just seven sacks, but 11 forced turnovers rank third in the league. Alden Darby (27 tackles, two INTs) and Osahon Irabor (23 tackles, 4.5 TFL, two INTs) have each made an impact in that regard.
It is clear that Colorado has taken a step forward offensively. However, Arizona State has the type of offense that the Buffaloes are still trying to emulate. The multiple weapons Arizona State has will allow it to blow past Colorado and get back in the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 45, Colorado 20
10/09 10:45:17 ET