After two weeks of shockingly great football for the Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12), they’re back down to earth after a blowout loss to USC at home.
Now, Arizona State gets a bit of an easier test against the Colorado Buffaloes (5-4, 2-4). The Buffaloes are not the same squad that went 10-4 last year and had a top-10 ranking at the end of the regular season. This is a Colorado team that has lost four of its last six games and in only two games this season against ranked opponents the Buffalos have lost by a combined 55 points.
Despite coming in with a weaker team than last year, Colorado did beat Arizona State 40-16 last season and will look to repeat that performance again Saturday.
Here are a few things to watch out for from Colorado:
Last year when ASU and Colorado faced off there was a streak of lightning running between the tackles named Phillip Lindsay. The Colorado native ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns, season highs for both. Lindsay is actually on pace for an even better season than he did last year with his 1,254 yards already eclipsing last year’s total.
ASU gave up 341 yards on the ground to USC last week (216 to Ronald Jones II alone) and is giving up almost 190 rushing yards per game with an average of 5.6 yards allowed per carry. Lindsay will likely exploit ASU’s leaky defense once again but luckily for the Sun Devils, they will be able to key in on Lindsay due to a lackluster Colorado passing game that hasn’t given him much support aside from limiting turnovers.
Broken Buffaloes Defense
Last season Colorado had one of the best defenses in the country, with a stout defensive front and a secondary that was consistently causing turnover issues for opposing teams. This year has been a different story with Colorado giving up over 25 points and 442.6 total yards per game. The Buffaloes do have some new pieces on defense this year, especially in their front seven, but that still doesn’t quite explain the sudden drop in defensive efficiency.
One shining light for the Buffaloes has been junior cornerback Isaiah Oliver. The Phoenix native has two interceptions and and nine passes defended this season and is projected as a possible first round pick in the 2018 NFL draft. However, Oliver is just one player and he can’t cover up for a Colorado secondary that has struggled to stop other teams.
The game is on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT