Colorado Buffaloes vs. Arizona State Sun Devils: Key Match-Ups

Doug Pensinger

Colorado heads to Tempe in search of their first Pac-12 victory

While last weekend's demolition at the hands of Oregon certainly wasn't pretty, it also could have been much worse. The Buffs gave the Folsom Field crowd of 45,944 reason to believe for the first ten minutes of the first quarter. Now Mike MacIntyre's team heads to Tempe to face the Arizona State Sun Devils, who will be looking to bounce back after a tough loss to Notre Dame last Saturday.

Offense:

  • Connor Wood vs. Arizona State's Opportunistic Defense - After starting the season with what could only be described as a rebirth; Wood has had two subpar games in a row. His performance against the Ducks wasn't that bad. He had to take some chances, and Oregon made him pay in the form of two interceptions. This Saturday, Wood's decision making must be sharp against a Sun Devil defense that looks to create turnovers.
  • Colorado Offensive Line vs. Will Sutton - Former Colorado head coach Jon Embree once called ASU DT Will Sutton "the best D-lineman I've seen by far in our conference." Sutton, a consensus All-American, hasn't had a fantastic start to his senior season in Tempe. With only one sack through five games, many are speculating that a 20-pound increase in weight has slowed Sutton down. He'll be tasked with shutting down a less-than-formidable CU running game and putting pressure on Wood.
  • Paul Richardson vs. Arizona State Secondary - After losing at Oregon State, Richardson's incredible start to the 2013 season appeared to be a product of playing slower teams, however, one of the most encouraging sights CU fans witnessed against Oregon was Richardson blazing by members of the Ducks' secondary with regularity. He'll need to contribute in a big way on Saturday if CU has any hope of notching their second road win in their brief Pac-12 history.

Defense

  • Greg Henderson vs. Jaelen Strong - ASU's receiving corps, led by Strong and running back Marion Grice are almost as formidable as Oregon's aerial attack. "He's like flypaper," MacIntrye said of Strong. "It just sticks to him. He's really good."
  • Addison Gillam vs. Marion Grice - Gillam has had perhaps the best season from a freshman linebacker at Colorado since Jordan Dizon's AP Big XII Defensive Newcomer of the Year 2004 campaign. He'll have the difficult assignment of slowing down Grice, who is No. 5 nationally in rushing touchdowns (8).
  • Colorado Secondary vs. Little Mistakes - In his Tuesday press luncheon, MacIntyre discussed three moments against Oregon where coverage was just off a little bit, resulting in three Oregon touchdowns. The Buffs will have to avoid mistakes in the secondary on Saturday
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