The Colorado Buffaloes have been the surprise of the Pac-12 this season, entering Week 7 with an overall record of 4-2. Their 2-1 conference record has placed them in a three-way tie with the Arizona State Sun Devils and the No. 21 Utah Utes.
Who’s responsible for the Buffaloes’ resurgent year? It goes without saying head coach Mike MacIntyre and his staff deserve credit, but what the players have been able to accomplish on the field has been the key to the turnaround.
Let’s take a look at which players have stood out and the Sun Devils must prepare for ahead of making the trek to Boulder, Colo. this weekend.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau has missed Colorado’s last three games due to a foot injury, but Steven Montez has performed well in his stead.
The signal-callers share two traits MacIntyre’s offense has made use of: great size and a big arm. The Buffaloes will attack opponents deep downfield with great tempo, and present a more balanced approach, utilizing each player’s athleticism in the zone-read rushing game.
WR Devin Ross
The Buffaloes have plenty of speed on the outside, and it starts with what they’re able to do with Ross.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound receiver is a spark plug they throw around all over the field. Colorado lines him up mostly out of the slot, but will also feature him wide in different alignments, too. The junior has recorded a team-high 32 receptions for 412 yards (12.9 yards per catch) and five touchdowns (tied for most on Colorado).
WR Shay Fields
Arguably the team’s most reliable weapon, Fields has shown the ability to create on the perimeter. This is especially true of his downfield talent, as his 19.7 yards per catch leads the team.
Stopping Colorado’s vertical passing game starts with limiting Fields’ impact.
WR Bryce Bobo
The Charter Oak High School (Calif.) product has emerged as a great aerial target for the Buffaloes. Bobo's hand-eye coordination has been on display multiple times this season, and like his aforementioned teammates, he serves as a consistent vertical threat.
RB Phillip Lindsay
Lindsay’s talent as a runner has served to balance the Colorado offense this season.
He has rushed for nearly 400 yards on 4.9 yards per carry to go with six rushing touchdowns. His seven total touchdowns rank ninth in the Pac-12, and his 102 all-purpose yards per game is 10th in the conference.
CB Chidobe Awuzie
The senior has continued to play well out of the secondary despite the absence of Ken Crawley. Awuzie has logged four pass breakups and one interception, and averages 0.83 pass defenses per game.
Despite a talented receiving core, the Sun Devils may be better served not passing in Awuzie’s direction.
S Tedric Thompson
To complement Awuzie, Thompson has been a stalwart in the middle of the field for the Buffaloes’ secondary. The senior has registered 27 total tackles (18 solo, 9 assisted), six pass breakups and two interceptions.