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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Colorado Buffaloes

Arizona State’s second to last home game of the season will be against Pac-12 rival Colorado on Nov. 4.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State 2017 Schedule

New Mexico State (Aug. 31) — Read

San Diego State (Sept. 9) — Read

At Texas Tech (Sept. 16) — Read

Oregon (Sept. 23) — Read

At Stanford (Sept. 30) — Read

Washington (Oct. 14) — Read

At Utah (Oct. 21) — Read

USC (Oct. 28) — Read

Colorado (Nov. 4)

At UCLA (Nov. 11)

At Oregon State (Nov. 18)

Arizona (Nov. 25)

Colorado’s 2016 season

The Buffaloes had a terrific 2016 season as they went 10-4. Though the team struggled at the end losing badly to then ranked No. 4 Washington 41-10 and No. 12 Oklahoma State 38-8, they earned huge wins against both then ranked No. 22 Washington State and No. 22 Utah.

In six of their 10 wins, Colorado dominated the scene, winning by more than two touchdowns. The Buffaloes were also able to pick up close wins as well, beating Stanford in a 10-5 slugfest and were able to finish off UCLA in the fourth quarter of their 20-10 win, putting up 13 unanswered points.

In three of their four losses, Colorado was blown right out of the water, losing by more than two touchdowns. As already mentioned, Colorado got blown out by Washington and Oklahoma State and by then-No. 4 Michigan 45-28 early on in the season. The other defeat came against USC in which it was a back and forth affair that saw USC turn the ball over four times but still won 21-17.

Ranking as high as No. 9 in the AP top 25 and No. 8 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, Colorado was a force on the field with a rock solid defense and a running game that was ferocious. Though the team loss some talent on the defense, Colorado should still be in the hunt for a Pac-12 title.

Key Returners

RB Senior Phillip Lindsay — Averaging five yards per carry, rushing for 1,252 yards and getting 16 touchdowns, Lindsay was the force for the offense and is expected continue to carry the rock this year as well. He was also effective as a receiver, catching 53 passes for 492 yards and a touchdown, he can do it all for the Buffaloes.

QB Sophomore Steven Montez — The sophomore from Texas got playing time last year due to injuries to the starter Sefo Liufau. When Colorado was either losing or winning by a lot, he performed admirably, throwing for over 1,000 yards, nine touchdowns and just five picks. Now that he’ll be the starter for this team and getting all the first-team reps this offseason, his performance could either go up or go right to the bottom. With the talent he has surrounding him and with the experience he got last season, Montez could turn to a star this season.

WR Senior Shay Fields — The leader in this deep receiving group, Fields, performed well during his junior season, posting 56 catches for 883 yards and nine touchdowns. With the ground game getting tons of the attention on the offense, Fields could see some single coverage coming his way.

Biggest Losses

DL Jimmie Gilbert — Gilbert left a big hole for the Buffaloes, leading the team in sacks with 10.5. This, plus the graduation of Jordan Carrell, leaves a hole in the defensive to apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks. Though the team could try to hide that through blitzing, until they find someone that can take over games, this team might be in some trouble.

DB Tedric Thompson — Much like the defensive line, the secondary lost some players too, but Thompson might be the biggest one. He recorded seven interceptions last season which was first in the Pac-12. Losing a player like that is extremely tough to recover from due to his knack for making plays and it’ll be interesting to see who fills that void for the Buffaloes.

QB Sefo Liufau — Longtime starting quarterback, Liufau’s senior year was constantly interrupted last year due to injuries but he still had a solid career with the Buffaloes. He owns 84 school records with the program and threw 59 career touchdowns. Montez has some big shoes to fill at the quarterback position.

Reason for optimism

Though the Devils lost the last game to Colorado, historically, the Arizona State has had their number. Out of the eight times ASU faced Colorado, the Sun Devils won all but one of them, beating them on average by 20 points a game.

Reason for Pessimism

ASU was blown out by this team last time they played, losing 40-16. The offense couldn’t accomplish much and the defense was plowed over by the running game as Lindsay ran for over 200 yards. No doubt this game will be in the back of both team’s minds as either motivation or a blueprint for success.