Defending Pac-12 South champion Colorado findsitself at the bottom of the division only two games into conference play. Andthat has ratcheted up the pressure on the Buffaloes entering Saturday night’shome game against Arizona.
Colorado started the season with a trio ofnonconference wins but has since dropped both of its Pac-12 contests, fallingto visiting Washington 37-10 and dropping a tight, 27-24 decision last Saturdayat UCLA. “A Pac-12 game at home (after) we’ve lost two, is an important gamefor us to win,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said Tuesday in his weekly newsconference. “A lot of our guys have played a lot of football now, they understandthe sense of urgency and make sure we’re taking care of business. The only wayyou can do that is to take care of it during the week. You can’t all of asudden get excited on Saturdays. That doesn’t do anything.” Arizona,meanwhile, also is looking to break into the conference win column afterdropping its Pac-12 opener two weeks ago against Utah (30-24).
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Colorado-6.5
ABOUT ARIZONA (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12): The Wildcats hada bye last weekend and have no doubt spent extra time on protecting thefootball after giving it away five times against the Utes, includingquarterback Brandon Dawkins’ loss-sealing fumble at the Utah 20-yard line with2:33 remaining. Dawkins is one of the conference’s most dangerous dual threats,leading all Pac-12 quarterbacks in rushing with 85.2 yards per game, but hispassing is still a work in progress, as he ranks 10th in the league inefficiency with 670 yards, five TDs and three interceptions. Freshmanlinebacker Tony Fields II leads an improved Arizona defense – fifth in scoring(22.2 points allowed) and sixth in total defense (376.0 yards) – with 23 totaltackles and pair of sacks.
ABOUT COLORADO (3-2, 0-2): Like his Arizonacounterpart, Buffaloes sophomore quarterback Steven Montez is working to smoothout some uneven patches. Montez tossed three interceptions Sept. 23 againstWashington, including a crucial pick-six late in the third quarter, but bouncedback with an interception-free 351-total-yard, one-TD performance against UCLA.Running back Phillip Lindsay is the conference’s fourth-leading rusher (105.6yards) while the Colorado run defense ranks in the conference’s top half at132.8 yards allowed.
1. Colorado holds a 14-5 overall series edge, butArizona had won four straight prior to the Buffaloes’ 49-24 win last Novemberin Tucson.
2. The Wildcats rank eighth nationally inrushing, averaging an even 296 yards per outing.
3. Lindsay last Saturday became the first runningback in Colorado history to reach 100 career receptions as he joined threecurrent Buffaloes wide receivers – Shay Fields, Devin Ross and Bryce Bobo – whoalso have eclipsed the century mark.
PREDICTION: Colorado 26, Arizona 22