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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Colorado Buffaloes

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Going to the Rocky Mountains

ASU’s 2020 Schedule

Nov. 7: @ USC

Nov. 14: vs. Cal

Nov. 21: @ Colorado

Nov. 28: Utah

Dec 5: UCLA

Dec 11: @ Arizona

Colorado’s 2019 Season

After beating Arizona State to improve to 3-1 last season, Colorado’s season spiraled down. The Buffaloes lost five straight games, mostly blowouts, before winning two of their last three. However, they finished just short of bowl eligibility with a 5-7 record.

Colorado had a tumultuous offseason highlighted by the sudden departure of former head coach Mel Tucker. Tucker had momentum and support within the program heading into 2020. When he opted for a bigger paycheck as the head coach at Michigan State in late February, he wasn’t the most popular man in the Centennial state.

Key Returners

Colorado returns playmaking linebacker Nate Landman, the team’s leading tackler the past two seasons. Defensive ends Terrance Lang and Mustafa Johnson come back after combining for 10 sacks last year.

K.D. Nixon offers a veteran receiver for whoever starts at quarterback. The Buffaloes return three offensive line starters, including William Sherman and Kary Kutsch.

Biggest Losses

Former UCLA head coach and longtime NFL assistant Karl Dorrel will be tasked with taking over a program that will be without many 2019 key pieces on both sides of the ball.

Colorado lost its biggest offensive playmaker from last season after wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. was selected as a second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Colorado will also be using a new starting quarterback with Steven Montez’s graduation. On the defense, the biggest loss was safety Mikial Onu, who had four interceptions and 61 tackles last season.

Reason Why ASU Could Win

The Sun Devils on paper are the better team. Colorado is in the first year of a new coach in a shortened offseason. The Buffs will also be starting an inexperienced whoever they choose.

Arizona State’s defense, a veteran bunch, should have its way with a young starter. The wisdom from co-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis probably means a lot of blitzes and unique looks to force the quarterback to make plays.

Arizona State also doesn’t have to worry about Shenault, who basically single-handedly won Colorado the game last time in Boulder.

Reason Why ASU Could Lose

Colorado hasn’t lost at home against Arizona State since 2014. It’s a tough place to play at altitude. The new coaching staff also presents unknowns for the Sun Devils. Add on a quarterback with little film on him, Arizona State will have a harder time preparing a game plan.

Early news from Boulder is that freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis has looked very good thus far. It’d also be the most Sun Devil thing to see two four-stars from Arizona, wide receiver Brenden Rice and defensive end Jason Harris, do well against ASU.