Back by popular demand, here is a statistical look at the upcoming game against West Virginia. Not pretty!
|West Virginia||111||11||91.67||Rushing Offense||192.33||2||34|
|West Virginia||37||8||251||Passing Offense||293||2||15|
|West Virginia||103||12||105.75||Passing Efficiency||148.33||4||33|
|West Virginia||84||12||342.67||Total Offense||485.33||1||10|
|West Virginia||69||10||26.33||Scoring Offense||32.67||4||35|
|West Virginia||103||12||183||Rushing Defense||83.67||3||14|
|West Virginia||100||12||144.32||Pass Efficiency Defense||119.2||4||56|
|West Virginia||101||12||410||Total Defense||312||4||35|
|West Virginia||97||12||4.29||Punt Returns||9.43||3||60|
|West Virginia||T-79||10||5||Tackles For Loss||7||4||25|
|West Virginia||96||12||2.67||Sacks Allowed||1||3||24|
Colorado under Dan Hawkins is 2 - 2 after a bye. West Virginia is 5 - 2 after a bye since 2006. Colorado is 1 - 5 on road at night since Hawkins arrival while West Virginia is 5 - 2 at home at night since 2006. West Virginia's overall home record since 2006 is 18 - 3.
West Virginia, as expected, has the advantage on paper. A few glimmers of hope are attached to the turnover margin and scoring defense. Aided by the Wyoming shut out last week, Colorado's scoring defense improved drastically from a few weeks ago. West Virginia's defense has given up 27 points a game - 20 to Liberty, 20 to Eastern Carolina and 41 to Auburn. This defense has been scored on this year.
The final piece of hope just looking at the stats is the turnover margin. Last week, West Virginia turned the ball over six times to an opportunistic Auburn team. If the Buffs want to win their first road game in two years and the third total since Dan Hawkins has been head coach, Colorado's defense needs to play aggressive and force turnovers. West Virginia has protected Jarrett Brown well, only giving up one sack on average a game. That being said, Colorado will have to walk the fine line of committing extra players for a pass rush while avoiding the big play from RB Noel Devine and Brown. If Colorado's defense contains the West Virginia offense tomorrow, it will be because the secondary. Defensive coordinator Ron Collins needs to feel confident that he can allow the linebackers to roam around the line of scrimmage to stop Devine and pressure Brown. That means leaving the safeties and corners on an island, keeping big plays to a minimum. This would be a great time to see Jimmy Smith, Cha'pelle Brown, Jalil Brown, Ben Burney, Patrick Mahnke and Anthony Perkins to make big plays, force a few turnovers and be consistent.
Any strong play from the defensive line is a bonus but I expect West Virginia to try and get them on skates early with a heavy dose of Devine. It will be key for the defensive line fill the gaps and play strong assignment football. A big part of being successful against the zone-read is to occupy your gaps and fill areas so the linebackers can make plays at the point of attack. If the defensive line plays out of position tomorrow it could be a very long day.
If the defense can get Brown and the West Virginia offense off the field the first few series and all the Buffs' running game to get in a rhythm, who knows what can happen. Colorado needs to play a perfect game on the road, get turnovers and find a way to have more big plays than West Virginia.
Players stats after the jump. Check back later for more discussion on the offense and the keys to the game.