It would have been really easy for the Colorado Buffaloes to overlook the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night. The crowd was sparse, it was a scrimmage-like atmosphere, and the Buffaloes have two huge home games coming up against ranked opponents with the PAC-12 South title hanging on the line. The problem is, this isn’t your normal Colorado team. Not these Buffaloes, not this year, as they rolled Arizona 49-24 in Tucson on Saturday night.
Colorado got off to a great start, driving right down the field on their first drive, with Phillip Lindsay running one in from one yard out to cap a 16 play, 81 yard drive. Arizona tied the game 7-7 early in the second quarter, but again the Buffaloes had an answer. Phillip Lindsey scored his second touchdown of the game to give Colorado the lead 14-7. After Arizona kicked a field goal to pull within 14-10, the Buffaloes scored 3 straight touchdowns to push the game to 35-10. Colorado was able to close the game from there, as Lindsay’s 3rd touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter put the icing on the cake of a 49-24 victory. Sefo Liufau was harassed most of the night, but still managed to finish 19/27 for 213 yards and 3 touchdowns. He did throw one interception as well. Lindsay finished with 119 yards and 3 touchdowns on 25 carries. Wide receiver Shay Fields also had a huge night, catching 6 balls for 108 yards and 2 touchdown passes.
Defensively, Colorado wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen in previous games this year. Arizona exposed the Buffaloes defense in the running game, getting the edge on multiple occasions and racking up 257 yards rushing. The Wildcats passing attack was ineffective however, as both quarterbacks went 12/26 for 155 yards on the night.
Colorado hosts Washington State on Saturday at Folsom field, which is the first time a ranked on ranked showdown has occurred at Colorado since 2002. The key to this game comes down to the offensive and defensive line play of both sides. The Cougars defensive line averages 257 pounds up front, so Colorado should be able to get push and run the ball, keeping the high-powered Washington State offense on the sidelines. The Buffaloes suffered some injuries to their offensive line on Saturday, and not having a lot of depth at that position will be something to watch moving forward. Washington State will look to attack the edge on offense, and run similar off tackle plays that Arizona did to open up the passing game. If the Buffaloes can’t stop the run, it’ll open up the Mike Leach air raid attack and Luke Falk could have a huge game. Colorado is a good team, but they have a chance to become a great team on Saturday in front of a national audience on Fox. I don’t know why, but I have a bad feeling about this game, with the USC win and the pressure mounting to stay ahead in the Standings. I think Washington State makes one play late, and beats the Buffaloes 35-31 in Boulder.