Rocky Mountain Showdown: Colorado St Rams and Colorado Buffaloes Meet in Denver

Colorado St Rams vs Colorado Buffaloes
Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
Saturday, September 17, 2011, 1:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports Net
Opening Line: Colorado -7 1/2 (all odds courtesy of bookmaker)
Current Line: Colorado -7 1/2
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 50 1/2
Opening Money Line: Colorado -300 / Colorado St +250
Current Money Line: Colorado -290 / Colorado St +240

The Colorado Buffaloes and Colorado St Rams meet in their annual Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. The Buffaloes are 7.5 point favorites.

Colorado and Colorado St usually open up the season against each other in Denver, but this year Colorado had a game scheduled with Hawaii and the opening week was the only time the game could be played. Now, these two Rocky Mountain rivals meet in the third week instead. Colorado St is 2-0 under coach Steve Fairchild, this year with wins over New Mexico 14-10 and Northern Colorado 33-14. Colorado is 0-2 under first year coach Jon Embree, but has played a much more difficult schedule. Colorado lost 34-17 at Hawaii, and last week lost at home 36-33 in overtime to new conference rival California. However, it was not an official Pac 12 conference game as it was scheduled before Colorado joined the conference. These two teams are meeting for the 83rd time in history in a series that dates back to 1893. Colorado leads the series 60-20-2. The Buffaloes have won 7 of the last 10 in the series including 24-3 last year.

Colorado St jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead over Northern Colorado last week, but the Rams were outscored 14-5 in the second half. Northern Colorado managed to cover the 21 point college football betting line with the 33-14 loss. Colorado St had 501 total yards including 242 rushing yards. The rams had 28 first downs and were 7/18 on third and fourth down conversions. Colorado St should have won by more than 19 but quarterback Pete Thomas threw 3 interceptions. The Rams held the Bears to 216 total yards including 87 passing yards. Northern Colorado had 9 first downs and were 4/12 on third downs. The Bears had 2 turnovers. Colorado St dominated the time of possession 41:07-18:53.

Colorado St is averaging 23.5 points a game along with 385.5 total yards a game. The Rams average 167 rushing yards a game. Colorado St has allowed 4 sacks and has turned the ball over 4 times. Colorado St has only allowed 272.5 total yards and 12 points a game. The Rams have allowed 133 passing yards a game.  The Rams have forced 5 turnovers and 12 sacks in the two games so far.

Rams’ quarterback Pete Thomas is 50/68 passing with 437 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Running back Raymond Carter has 28 carries, 146 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 18 yards. Chris Nwoke has 24 carries for 104 yards with 2 touchdowns, and also 2 catches for 18 yards. Receiver Crockett Gillmore has 8 catches for 80 yards with 1 touchdown. Joe Brown has 10 catches for 70 yards. Four other Ram receivers have at least four catches. Kicker Ben DeLine is 6/6 on extra points but only 1/3 on field goals, with a long of 22 yards.  Colorado St has 10 players that are listed as questionable to out either due to injuries or suspensions. Most are reserves but it will still affect their depth.

Colorado was down 16-6 at halftime to California last week. The Buffaloes came back to tie it up and send it into overtime but California ended up winning 36-33. Colorado had 582 total yards including 474 passing yards from quarterback Tyler Hansen. Hansen also threw 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions. In fact Colorado had no turnovers but 12 penalties hurt them against Cal. Colorado had 4 drives that stalled and ended with field goals. Kicker Will Oliver was 4/4 on field goals including a 52 yarder. The other three were 32 yards or less, including one in overtime that allowed Cal to score a touchdown and win the game. That means Colorado penetrated the Cal red zone 3 times but were unable to punch it in for the touchdown. All of the Colorado touchdowns came on long passes of 37, 66, and 78 yards. Colorado allowed 370 total yards to Cal including 100 yards rushing.

Colorado is averaging 411 total yards a game including 348.5 passing yards a game. They are averaging 25 points a game. Colorado has allowed 7 sacks and has one turnover. The Buffaloes are 10/34 on third and fourth down conversions. On defense, Colorado is allowing 356.5 yards a game including 224 passing yards. The Buffaloes are giving up 35 points a game. Colorado has forced 2 turnovers and 8 sacks. The Buffaloes have had a problem stopping teams on third and fourth downs as opponents are 16/30 converting them into first downs.

Quarterback Hansen is 44/79 passing with 697 yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. Running back Rodney Stewart 42 carries for 125 yards, with not touchdowns. He is also the team’s second leading receiver with 11 catches for 184 yards. Paul Richardson has 14 catches for 333 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Kicker Oliver has made all ten of his kicks this season with 5 extra points and 5 field goals with a long of 52 yards. Colorado offensive linemen  Jack Harris and David Bakhtiari are both listed as doubtful with knee injuries for the CSU game.

The two teams have split the series the last two years, and both games have gone under the total. Colorado is 1-1 ATS this season and the the total is also a split. Colorado St is 0-2 ATS and the total has been split in the two games. The Rams are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 non-conference games, 2-8 ATS in the last 10 on grass, 2-9 ATS in the last 11 after failing to cover in the last game, and 1-6 ATS in the last 7 September games. Colorado is 4-1 in their last 5 neutral site games as favorites, and 4-1 in the last 5 against Mountain West teams.

Though Colorado St is undefeated they really haven’t played anyone yet with wins over lowly New Mexico and FCS school Northern Colorado. Colorado has tough losses to Hawaii and Cal. I like Colorado  to beat their in-state rivals rather handily, as Hansen is read hot this season.

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