The Sun Devils (5-1, 2-1 in Pac-12) and the Buffaloes (4-2, 2-1) are battling for a share of first place in the Pac-12 South.
As Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham stated throughout the week, redshirt-sophomore Manny Wilkins started at quarterback for ASU. Wilkins (7 of 13, 69 yards, one touchdown) suffered a left high-ankle sprain against USC, and was subsequently held out against UCLA. In accordance with Graham’s plan, he was a bystander at practice until Thursday.
Wilkins’ first drive resulted in a three-and-out, giving possession to the Colorado offense which features Sefo Liufau under center.
Liufau (11 of 14, 172 yards; eight rushes, 25 yards, one touchdown) had missed the Buffaloes previous three games because of an ankle injury, but has seemed comfortable.
The Buffaloes engineered a 10-play, 81-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession. Colorado running back Kyle Evans scored on a 16-yard run as the Buffaloes utilized a quick-paced, no-huddle attack responsible for 60 rushing yards on the series.
The Sun Devils would respond later in the quarter, capitalizing off a fumble recovery made by Koron Crump (his second of the season) on a muffed punt by Buffaloes returner Jay MacIntyre at the Colorado 31-yard line. Five plays later, Wilkins connected with tight end Kody Kohl for his first touchdown of the season, evening the game at 7-7.
Colorado appeared on its way to reclaim a touchdown advantage after driving down to the ASU five-yard line, but the Sun Devils defense held the Buffaloes to a field goal in the opening stages of the second quarter.
On ASU’s ensuing possession, Zane Gonzalez drilled his fourth field goal of the year from 50-yards-or-more when he made a 51-yarder that was set up by a 37-yard run by Demario Richard (seven rushes, 54 yards) out of the “Sparky” formation.
The Buffaloes offense would take advantage of some miscues and poor tackling on back-to-back possessions, scoring on rushing touchdowns by Liufau and Phillip Lindsay (nine rushes, 68 yards, one touchdown) to catapult Colorado to a 23-10 lead with 4:47 left in the half, which is where the score currently stands.
Colorado outside linebacker Jimmie Gilbert has recored five total tackles, including two sacks, and three tackles for loss. He’s also forced a fumble.
Receiver Bryce Bobo has logged five catches for 105 yards.
For ASU, the offense has totaled 114 total yards (45 rushing, 69 passing) and is 2 of 9 on third down. Five drives have resulted in three-and-outs.
Colorado will receive the ball to start the second half.