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Colorado Buffaloes vs. Arizona Wildcats: A Statistical Preview

It's a big one, folks. The Buffs try and stay on track with a big home win over Zona.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Advantage Conf National Actual Category Actual National Conf
Rank Rank Rank Rank height= 9 102 126.3 Rushing Offense 268.5 13 2 9 104 268.5 Passing Offense 162.7 111 12 height= 12 82 382 Total Offense 431.2 54 9 height= 10 77 28 Scoring Offense 35 37 6 height= 10 78 174.5 Rushing Defense 169.7 73 8 8 65 130.43 Pass Efficiency 115.71 93 12 height= 11 96 443 Total Defense 369.2 42 5 height= 11 107 36 Scoring Defense 19.8 21 3 9 79 36.24 Net Punting 35.59 92 11 height= 9 84 6.14 Punt Returns 7.65 63 7 2 41 22.95 Kickoff Returns 18.33 108 11 height= 8 69 0 Turnover Margin .8 22 4 height= 10 104 268.5 Pass Defense 199.5 21 2 height= 11 86 134.92 Passing Efficiency Defense 105.88 14 3 10 79 1.67 Sacks 1.5 93 11 5 42 6.3 Tackles For Loss 6 57 9 height= 7 64 2 Sacks Allowed 1.5 39 4

Would you look at that? It's an actual match-up. In Pac-12 play and all...

Arizona can run the ball. We have told you about that all week long. Fact is, unless you just decided to become a Buffs fan this year (if so, God bless you) you know very well what Ka'Deem Carey can do to a defense. If you're a hardcore fan, odds are you've been waking up with cold sweats all week just thinking about it.

The crowd IS going to be loud on Saturday night. It's kinda sorta halloween. It's a night game. It's a blackout game. Students, I have every ounce of faith in you (please, please don't let me down). If the Buffaloes can get a couple of key stops early... Sell out against the run and get a three and out or two and force Denker to throw. Let the fans get loud. Get in his head. Give the young Buffs defense confidence that they can shut this team down. You know what happens then? Yea, me neither, but I sure as hell want to find out.

Let's get one thing straight. The Arizona defense has improved, but they are no where near as good as those rankings above indicate. The Wildcats gave up a grand total of 26 points in their first three games against arguably worse competition than the Buffs three non-conference wins. Think that helps out the averages a bit? On the road against Washington and USC the Cats gave up 31 and 38 points. The Huskies have proven to be pretty severely overrated and that game was in the pouring rain. The Trojans? Well, they just sorta threw the ball way up in the air and let one of their few healthy, but still awesome, receivers run under it and look all great. The pass defense numbers are impressive and still deserved a bit, but the Wildcats are likely going to be without their two starting safeties. If the Buffs can continue with some success on the ground Sefo Liufau may have some huge opportunities in the play action game. Take advantage young man, take advantage.

Somewhat quietly the Buffs return game has been improving over the past couple of games. Their kickoff return numbers are all the way up to almost 23 yards per return which is the second-best number in the conference. Punt returns aren't quite as good, but let's face it, the Buffs haven't been on the receiving end of a whole lot of punts in conference play.

Unfortunately, this is an area where the Wildcats excel. You won't see the numbers or rankings above but Arizona number one in the Pac-12 in both kickoff and punt returns and is top-15 in the nation in both categories. Something has to give, hopefully it's Arizona.