Arizona at Colorado
Time: 3:30 PM CST, Saturday
Spread: COL -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Colorado Buffaloes are 3-1 following its 34-31 victory over No. 24 ranked Arizona State last week. This week the Buffaloes return home to host Arizona as 4-point favorites according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The Game will kick off at 3:30 PM CST Saturday, and it has an over/under set at 62.5 points according to bookmaker 5dimes.
Colorado narrowly escaped with its three-point win last week on the strength of a huge game from quarterback Steven Montez. He threw 23 of 30 for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. The Buffaloes did not get a lot from its backfield, picking up just 3.5 yards-per-carry on its 40 attempts for 138 yards and one touchdown. Alex Fontenot led the way with his 25 attempts for 89 yards and the TD. Tony Brown had a huge game at wide receiver with 150 yards on nine catches and all three receiving touchdowns.
KD Nixon added six catches for 98 yards. Colorado ranks No. 28 in pass offense with 291.0 yards per game, but the rush attack lingers at No. 86 in generating just 143.8 per game. The Buffaloes still have a top-40 offense at 35.8 points per game while its defense has been just good enough in holding opponents to 30.8 per game. It has yet to yield more than 31 points in any one game, with the Air Force loss having been a 23-30 outcome.
The Buffaloes also have defeated a No. 25 ranked Nebraska team in Week 2, and its next matchup against an AP ranked opponent comes next week against now- No. 13 Oregon. Montez has already thrown for nearly 1.2k yards on the season at a 67 percent rate and has nine TD passes with two interceptions. He has been sacked just five times through four games, and has lost 41 yards on those plays, but with a passer rating of 159.3, not much more could be asked of his arm. Montez has not been great rushing the ball with just 16 yards on his 17 attempts, but neither Fontenot nor Jared Mangham has been overwhelmingly dominant either, despite having seven touchdowns between them.
Both barely are averaging four yards-per-carry. The Buffaloes are a team reliant on the pass with a pass-able run attack, but there are also indications this team could be slightly better than anticipated with its defense slightly out-performing expectations thus far even just being decent as it is.
Arizona is 3-1 after its third-straight victory last week, a 20-17 win over UCLA. It defeated Texas Tech prior to that, and it also beat Northern Arizona. Its week 1 loss came to Hawaii, 38-45.
The Wildcats offense has been dominant thus far. It ranks No. 24 in pass offense at 296.8 yards per game and No. 11 in rush offense at 255.5 yards per game. The team ranks No. 26 still in scoring at 37.8 per game, but it also limited its opponents to just 29.3 per game thus far.
Backup QB Grant Gunnell has stepped in for the injured Khalil Tate. He had 352 yards on 29 of 44 passing in the win over UCLA, and he had one touchdown with no picks. He rushed six times for no gain. The Wildcats picked up just 99 yards via the rush, though Darrius Smith was good for 5.8 per on his six attempts.
Nathan Tillford picked up 33 yards on just three carries. Gary Brightwell (seven attempts for 33 yards) had the only rushing touchdown.
Smith in addition to leading in yards-per-attempt also had the lone receiving touchdown and led all receivers in total catches (five) and total yards (99). Arizona had seven receivers top 30 yards on the day.
Tate and Gunnell may become something of a QB controversy now, considering Gunnell has four touchdowns and no picks while Tate stands at six and four, respectively. Gunnell also has a higher completion ratio at 69.1 percent to Tate’s 63.3 percent. Tate, of course, brings much more because he is a legitimate rushing threat, too. He has 32 carries for 238 yards and that 7.4 yards-per-attempt is hard to pass up on, even if Gunnell may ostensibly be slightly better as a passing quarterback.