Arizona State vs. Colorado prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Sun Devils and Buffaloes.
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
TV Broadcast: Pac-12 Network
The Sun Devils (5-1) managed to avoid their second loss of the season on Saturday. After falling on the road to USC in Week 5, Arizona State bounced back by beating UCLA at home, 23-20. The Sun Devils allowed the Bruins to narrow the deficit to three with 11:10 left in the game, but then Arizona State caught a bit of a break when Josh Rosen left the game due to an injury. The Sun Devils managed to hang on for their fifth win and second conference victory of the season.
The 2016 season for the Buffaloes (4-2) has followed a bit of a pattern thus far. They’ve made a habit out of winning back-to-back games and then dropping the third. After beating Oregon in Eugene and then following it up with a 47-6 win at home versus Oregon State, Colorado went back on the road last weekend and lost to USC, 21-17.
The Sun Devils have complete control over the all-time series with the Buffaloes, 7-0. Last year’s matchup in Tempe ended in a 48-23 win for Arizona State.
What To Know About Arizona State
Injuries can be the unnecessary oil on an already slippery slope, and that’s the way it’s gone for Arizona State at the quarterback position. Manny Wilkins has been dealing with a knee injury. His replacement, Brady White, is out for the rest of the season with a right foot injury. Now, it appears to have come down to true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole. He was a 4-star recruit, the No. 16 quarterback and No. 252 overall player in the 2016 class. He loves to hit post routes but sometimes relies upon his improvisational ability too much. Todd Graham’s team will prepare as though Sterling-Cole will play but will hold out hope for Wilkins to return.
Regardless of who gets the start at quarterback, the Sun Devils need to be efficient when running the football. Against UCLA, Demario Richard took 15 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. However, Kalen Ballage managed only 24 yards on 12 rushing attempts. If Wilkins can go, he’ll provide another pair of legs to help pick up chunks of yards.
Oh, and Zane Gonzalez became the all-time NCAA leader in field goals made with 89. He hit from 35 yards out, 23 yards out and 46 yards out in the UCLA game — kind of a big deal.
What to Know About Colorado
Sefo Liufau wasn’t 100-percent last weekend, so the Buffaloes went with Steven Montez again at quarterback. When Montez came out of the USC game after taking a hit, and Liufau took his place. Together, they combined for 27-of-43 passing for 208 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Expect Liufau to take the starting job back over, though. With him calling the signals, Colorado will get back to the winning brand of football it established early in the season.
The Buffs will need Bryce Bobo to keep creating separation and providing a big target in the passing game. Phillip Lindsay will need to be as efficient as he was with his 11 carries and 57 rushing yards last week. And if he can be a factor in the air like he was against the Trojans (six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown), that’s another weapon for the Buffaloes to use.
Offense: Arizona State – If Wilkins is back, great. If not, the Sun Devils still have some talented playmakers in that backfield.
Defense: Colorado – Kenneth Olugbode and Rick Gamboa have been beasts, and the Buffaloes rank No. 23 in total defense.
Special Teams: Arizona State – Gonzalez has connected on the most field goals in NCAA history — enough said.
Coaching: Arizona State – Graham has done an excellent job getting his team off to a 5-1 start in spite of injuries.
Matchup To Watch
Arizona State quarterbacks vs. Colorado quarterbacks
Both teams are entering this matchup with questions surrounding the most important position on the field. And it will come down to whichever team can make plays from the pocket. It seems as though both Wilkins and Liufau are going to be back in the driver’s seats for their respective offenses. Both Wilkins and Liufau can make plays with their feet, too. But let’s see which one can embrace the challenge and step up in this one.
Spread: Colorado -13.5
Arizona State vs. Colorado Prediction
Both the Sun Devils and Buffaloes are going to try and provide a dual-threat attack with their quarterbacks. Arizona State will get a big effort from Richard, and Ballage will help dish out the pain in the ground game. They’ll each find the end zone in this one. Colorado won’t fall too far behind before taking the lead for good in the first half. The Buffaloes will step up on defense in the second half and make it hard for the Sun Devils to move the chains and convert on third down. Colorado wins with a big game from its defense.
Arizona State vs. Colorado Score Prediction: Colorado 34, Arizona State 27.