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First look at the Colorado Buffaloes

Undefeated meets winless

colorado-buffaloes-team-preview-arizona-wildcats-karl-dorrell-analysis-pac12-football-2020 Photo by David Madison/Getty Images

Another tough loss for the Arizona Wildcats sets up a contest against the undefeated Colorado Buffaloes. This was originally viewed as the single game where Arizona would potentially be favored. That’s no longer the case.

Kickoff is scheduled for 5 pm MST and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Here’s a first look at the Buffaloes:

  • 2020 Record: 3-0 (2-0 Pac-12)
  • Schedule Results:

Week 1 win vs. UCLA (48-42)

Week 2 win at Stanford (35-32)

Week 4 win vs. San Diego State (20-10)

  • Key Offensive Players: Sam Noyer (QB), Jarek Broussard (RB), Dimitri Stanley (WR), Kary Kutsch (Center)
  • Key Defensive Players: Mustafa Johnson (DE), Nate Landman (LB), Akil Jones (LB), Derrion Rakestraw (Safety)

Colorado has a first-year head coach for the second straight year as Mel Tucker left the program for Michigan State. Now Karl Dorrell, who has spent 11 of the last 12 seasons in the NFL, has the Buffaloes off to a 3-0 start.

It hasn’t been the most dominating fashion but they are still 3-0. This has largely been a product of the strong performance by quarterback Sam Noyer.

Noyer began his career in Boulder as a quarterback but, due to team needs, he saw time at safety during the 2019 season. His career stats have not been plentiful as former Buffaloes great Steven Montez ran the offense from 2017-19. And due to Montez’s incredible durability, Noyer rarely saw the field.

Now that Montez has graduated and moved onto the NFL, this is Noyer’s offense. Through the first three games of 2020, he has recorded 650 passing yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 61.9 percent of his passes.

These stats seem mediocre but it’s an incomplete picture. He has also recorded 112 rushing yards and four rushing TDs.

Noyer’s counterpart in the backfield is Jarek Broussard, who is seeing his first action at Colorado and he’s making it look very easy. He is averaging 144 yards and one TD per game.

As for the pass catchers, the wealth has been shared. There have been 54 completions spread across 12 players. The leader in receptions and receiving yards is Dimitri Stanley with 13 and 202, respectively.

Defensively speaking, Colorado has absolute studs at each level. Mustafa Johnson is a defensive end who has received all-conference honors in the past two seasons. He has started in 24 games and recorded 14 sacks thus far in his career.

Linebackers are probably the most talented group, led by Nate Landman, who has also earned all-conference honors over the past two seasons. He enters this game with 308 career total tackles. Fellow senior linebacker Akil Jones has played in 32 career games but is seeing full-time starter duties for the first time.

The secondary is headlined by safety Derrion Rakestraw, who has played in 39 career games which is the most on the roster. He is the second leading tackler with 15, trailing only Nate Landman with 31.

As previously mentioned, this is a team that has pulled out close games. The Wildcats will need to find a way to slow down Broussard and limit Noyer’s ability to extend drives with his legs.

If Grant Gunnell plays, this game is definitely winnable for the Wildcats especially seeing how the defense kept things close against UCLA.