Fresh off of an ugly shutout loss, the Buffaloes will look to snap a two-game skid in their first PAC-12 contest of the season. Colorado enters the conference campaign with a 1-2 record with its lone win coming against the Northern Colorado Bears. Meanwhile, Arizona State (2-1) will take the field in hopes of bouncing back from its first loss of the season last week against a nationally-ranked BYU team.
Can the Sun Devils take down the Buffaloes at home in their PAC-12 opener on Saturday evening?
Buffaloes looking for answers on offense after loss vs. MinnesotaAfter giving No. 5-Texas A&M all it could handle the week prior, Colorado was unable to get back on the winning track last week. The Buffaloes were trounced at home 30-0 versus Minnesota to fall to 1-2 through three games. Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis completed just 8-of-16 passes for 55 yards and took four sacks in the loss. The Buffaloes were outgained 441 to 62 in total yards and finished with an eye-popping -19 rushing yards on the day.
We got a sneak peek of the future of @CUBuffsFootball last night. 🤩— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) December 30, 2020
When freshman QB Brendon Lewis came in, he threw for 95 YDs & had 9 carries for 73 YDs including a 44-yard run & a rushing TD. pic.twitter.com/VdGArLxyRI
In two games against FBS opponents, Colorado has managed a grand total of just seven points. Changes could be on the way, whether it’s a new signal-caller under center or a new play-caller. A redshirt freshman, Lewis has completed 55.4% of his passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He’s also struggled with his reads and finding open receivers, which could mean true freshman Drew Carter could see more time under center in the near future. Carter played the final two series last weekend, completing 4-of-8 for 27 yards.
It’s hard to blame Lewis for the Buffaloes’ ineptitude on offense this season. The 6-foot-4 freshman has limited turnovers while also ranking second on the team in rushing this season. While the offense hasn’t scored in seven quarters, the coaching staff publicly backed Lewis ahead of this week’s contest against Arizona State.
On defense, Colorado has given up just 15.7 points, tied for 21st in the country, and 328.3 yards of total offense per game. The Buffs defense has been particularly stingy through the air, giving up just 197 passing yards per game.
Sun Devils fall out of Top-25 after loss vs. BYUArizona State was unable to knock off No. 23-ranked BYU, falling short 27-17 on the road last week. Quarterback Jayden Daniels finished 21-of-29 for 265 yards but threw two interceptions while running back Daniyel Ngata rushed eight times for 82 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Fellow running back Rachaad White rushed for 71 yards and a score and caught nine passes for a team-high 65 yards for the Sun Devils, who were undone by four turnovers in a sloppy loss.
The Sun Devils feature one of the best backfields in the country. White leads the team in rushing with 219 yards and five touchdowns but Ngata has been the more explosive back, rushing for 183 yards and three scores, including 7.3 yards per carry. However, Daniels has struggled to flash the form that he displayed in his first two seasons under center.
After throwing a combined 22 touchdowns and only three interceptions in 2019 and 2020, the junior quarterback has thrown more picks (three) than scores (two) in 2021. Daniels comes in completing 72.9 percent of his passes for 572 yards and he’s added another 173 rushing yards on the ground so far this year.
On defense, Arizona State has been one of the stingiest units in the country under defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce. The Sun Devils have surrendered just 17 points per game, 31st in the FBS, and 246.7 yards of total offense per contest, which ranks 11th in the nation.
The defense has been hampered by injuries this season and took another hit earlier this week when it was announced that defensive end Travez Moore would miss the remainder of the season with a season-ending knee injury.
- Buffaloes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Buffaloes are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight-up loss.
- Buffaloes are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Sun Devils are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Sun Devils are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Colorado is coming off of a shutout loss versus Minnesota and the Buffs have major question marks on offense, especially under center and along the offensive line. They haven’t scored in seven quarters and could have another tough time score on the road this week. Arizona State has weapons on offense but it hasn’t put it all together just yet. That could change this weekend against what could turn out to be one of the worst teams in the PAC-12 this year. Take the Sun Devils to cover the number at home in their PAC-12 Conference opener on Saturday.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for only 44.5 points but I’m expecting more of a high-scoring game here. Arizona State showed a lack of discipline against BYU that bodes well for Colorado’s chances of putting points on the board in this game. The Buffaloes are coming off of an embarrassing loss against Minnesota, so look for them to bounce back by at least getting the ball in the end zone here. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils should be able to have their way on offense by keeping the ball in the hands of their talented running backs. Take this PAC-12 battle to go over the projected total on Saturday.