Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#351 Colorado vs.
#352 Air Force
Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

The University of Colorado Buffaloes (0-1) of the Pac 12 hit the road to take on the Air Force Academy (1-0) out of the Mountain West Conference on Saturday afternoon. Colorado dropped its home opener, 38-13 to TCU while the Falcons took out Northern Iowa 48-17 last Saturday. The opening kickoff in this in-state matchup is slated for 3:30pm EST on Saturday.

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Buffaloes Roaming

The Colorado Buffaloes 2022 home opener was attended rudely by Big 12 power TCU last Saturday. The Buffaloes trailed just 7-6 at halftime but their offense never got was able to get on track as the Horned Frogs rolled up 31 second-half points while the Buffaloes could only tally seven points in the fourth quarter, with the game far out of reach. Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis finished the game 13-for-18 for just 78 yards as the starter and turned the offense over to J.T. Shrout on two different occasions during the game as the offense continued to stall. Shrout finished the game 13-for-23 for 157 yards and one touchdown.

"I wasn't expecting that type of game," CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. "We played decently in the first half … But apparently they made better adjustments. We couldn't stop what they were doing."

"We've got to get better with the rhythm offensively," Dorrell said. "That's an area that is really important for us to address this week."

Colorado's defense played better than its offense, particularly in the first half. They shut out the Horned Frogs in the game's first 30 minutes with the only points coming from a 60-yard punt return touchdown from TCU. The second half was a different story, however, as TCU scored 31 straight points and averaged almost 10 yards per carry on the ground as they dominated the line of scrimmage.

"There's a lot of work to be done and that starts with me," Dorrell said. "I'm not pointing a finger at any of our players. Our coaches and I have to get this thing done and I'm very confident this group of coaches will do that."

The final numbers were closer than the final score in the Buffaloes first game. TCU out-gained Colorado 413-348 with Colorado doing most of their damage through the air. Colorado's two quarterbacks combined to throw for 235 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Colorado didn't turn the ball over and did win the time of possession battle, holding the ball for just over 33 minutes. Defensively, the Buffaloes did not have any sacks and didn't create any turnovers. It will be interesting to see which direction Dorrell goes at quarterback this week as he has yet to commit to a starter this week.


Air Force Looking to Stay Flawless

Unlike the Buffaloes, Air Force got off to a fast start in their home opener with a 48-17 win over FCS Northern Iowa. The running game was the name of the game for the Falcons as the team rushed for 582 yards in their last game including five rushing touchdowns. Senior quarterback Haaziq Daniels ran for 107 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown while also going 3-f0r-6 through the air with 109 yards and another score. Fullback Brad Roberts was the leading ground gainer for the Falcons with 114 yards on eight carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run. Dane Kinamon had just one catch from Daniels, but made it count, turning it into an 80-yard touchdown reception on the team's first drive. He also had 77 yards on just two rushing attempts in the game. Air Force Head Coach Troy Calhoun improved to 112‐75 in his 16th season.

The Falcons defense bent but did not break in the opener, allowing Northern Iowa 405 yards of total offense but just 17 points. The opportunistic defense had two big turnovers in the game. Safety Camby Goff picked off a pass to halt a drive in the second quarter and linebacker TD Blackmon forced a fumble deep in the red zone, at the Falcons four-yard line, halting another scoring bid for Northern Iowa. Trey Taylor led Air Force with eight tackles and Blackmon and CJ Boyd each had four tackles in the runaway victory. Air Force easily won the battle of time of possession, holding the ball over 35 minutes in the game thanks to their tenacious ground attack.




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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Colorado defense struggled in one big area in the opener, stopping the ground attack of TCU. Now they travel on the road to take on Air Force who just compiled 582 rushing yards vs. Northern Iowa, the sixth most in school history. Air Force was able to control the line of scrimmage and the tempo of the game utilizing sixteen different runners in the game. Adding to the team's difficulty was the defenses' inability to get any penetration or to turn the ball over. Air Force's identity is its dominant ground attack and Colorado did not appear to have any answers in its opener vs. TCU's ground game. Offensively, Colorado shuffled its quarterbacks in the opener, trying to find some consistency. Air Force's defense will allow yardage but they showed the ability to tighten up in the red zone vs. Northern Iowa. Colorado will struggle against Air Force's intricate ground attack and the option will give them fits.

Take the Falcons and lay the points.

Prediction: Air Force -16

Full-Game Total Pick

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TCU overpowered Colorado after a slow start, pouring in 38 points including 31 straight in the second half. Air Force poured in 48 points in the opener themselves and had 691 yards in total offense. Air Force will easily score 30+ points in this matchup against a Colorado defense that looks painfully susceptible to the run. Air Force's defense will allow yardage as evidenced by the over 400 yards they allowed in the opener against Northern Iowa. With that in mind, it is reasonable to expect the Buffaloes to put up some points. I fully expect Dorrell to commit to one of his quarterbacks in this game and stick with the hot hand. Colorado will put up enough points to easily push this game past the total.

Take the over, 45.5 points.

Prediction: Over 45.5

Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.