By: Travis Halopoff
Colorado kept it close… for a half.
The Buffaloes suffered another devastating defeat, this one coming on a nationally televised Thursday night game (and CU’s annual “Blackout” game to boot). The final score read 51-17, which was unfortunate for a CU team that trimmed the lead to 20-17 right before the half.
The knockout punch came on the second half’s opening kickoff. Rashad Ross returned the kick 100 yards for ASU, effectively stealing the momentum and knocking the Buffs on their back. All that remained was the foot to the throat, courtesy of dish-and-dunk passing attack that must have given Coach Embry and the rest of Colorado’s staff conniption fits.
Taylor Kelly was absolutely phenomenal. The Junior QB threw for 308 yards and five TDs, with a solid “nil” in the turnover department. He also ran when he had to, going for 67 yards on 14 carries.
The Sun Devils were also able to elicit plenty of help from their running backs. Marion Grice, despite being a running back, caught 5 balls for 101 yards and 3 TDs. Cameron Marshall bruised his way to 98 yards on 13 carries, and D.J. Foster added another 61.
The first half was phenomenal. The Buffs played hard, and an energized crowd of college students (many of whom took the “blackout game” too literally) rocked a stadium that has been struggling to fill its seats this year. CU took a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter on a Tony Jones touchdown run, and proceeded to score a TD and a FG in the last 30 seconds of the half (thanks to an ASU fumble on a late kick return).
However, ASU managed to score 35 unanswered in the second half, and CU’s offense struggled to find the groove it had maintained in the first. Jordan Webb finished a paltry 20-41 for 180 yards with one TD, many of those misses highlighting brutally short three-and-outs.
ASU also ran the screen at will against a CU defense that never managed to adjust.
The only individual bright spot on Colorado’s defense was the continued solid play of Junior DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, who is now tied for 17th nationally in sacks.
CU travels to the Coliseum to play USC. USC has been playing subpar football as of late (subpar for USC), although CU’s notoriously bad play on the road might mitigate that fact. CU may be down starters on a defense that is ranked in the bottom 20th nationally in total defense (494.2).
I expect this game to be a massacre, and I expect the lines to mirror that sentiment. However, USC has failed to cover the spread their last three games, including last week’s 10-point victory over Washington (Washington was +14 when the lines closed). Depending on what the books do, I might be compelled to give CU a little taste, as long as the line is closer to CU +28.