NR (Coaches Poll)
#20 (Coaches Poll)
The Future is Now
With the Buffs current 21 game road losing streak and a plethora of injuries to key starters, winning this game against Arizona State seems like huge long shot. The good news for Buff fans is that due to injuries, we get a glimpse of some of the younger players who are going to be counted on with guys like QB Tyler Hansen, WR Paul Richardson, RB Rodney Stewart and LB Doug Rippy questionable or out. QB Nick Hirschman is expected to get the start today for Hansen due to a concussion suffered last week against Oregon. The redshirt freshman will be in a battle next year with Connor Wood, John Shrock and Shane Dillon for the starting job. This gives Hirschman invaluable experience to get a feel for the pace of the game. Bad news for Hirschman is that the team will definitely be without RB Rodney Stewart and probably without WR Paul Richardson. So far, 15 true freshman have played this year, the third most of any program in division one football.
Make Osweiler Uncomfortable
Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler ranks 16th in the country in completions per game with 24 while thrown for over 1,900 yards and 15 touchdowns. His 281 yards passing per game ranks 17th in the country. With Colorado's issues with injury in the secondary, Colorado must get pressure from the front four to have a chance to stick with ASU. Osweiler does have 8 interceptions on the year so some pressure and early turnovers could give the Buffs some momentum.
Continue Protecting the Ball
With the freshmen we mentioned above all playing very prominent roles in the offense today, ball security becomes an even bigger issue. Over the last five games, Arizona State has forced 19 turnovers with 10 interceptions. Their +8 turnover ratio leads the Pac-12 and is 10th in the country. The Buffaloes have to find a balance between playing too conservative and not being safe with the football. Turnovers would kill any slim chance of an upset Colorado may have.
Once Again, Stop the Penalties
Colorado continues to rank towards the bottom of the country in penalties per game with 8.38 for 75 yards. With a ton of injuries and a lack of continuity at key positions, players will have to really focus today and be mentally prepared. They may not have the speed or the talent to stick with ASU but they can compound the issue with mental mistakes.