2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 11, Arizona at Colorado
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 12 at Colorado 48 … Arizona 29
CFN Analysis: The Buffs finally got their first Pac-12 win as the offense finally worked like it’s supposed to. Tyler Hansen threw for 213 yards and two scores and caught a scoring pass, and Rodney Stewart finally broke out with the scoring pass to Hansen while running for 181 yards and three scores. The offensive line had its best game of the year, giving the backfield time to work. … The secondary might have gotten picked apart, but Travis Sandersfeld was a bright spot for the defense with 11 tackles, a sack, a pick and three tackles for loss. … In lousy conditions, the team that could run the ball better would win. The Buffs showed it could pound away, while Arizona couldn’t. … It was the home finale, and now it’s time to go for the gravy. A win UCLA or Utah could set the tone for 2012.
Arizona tried to throw the ball in the windy conditions, and while Nick Foles threw for 352 yards, he also threw three picks in the gusts as part of a four turnover day from the offense. … The defense wasn’t able to stop the Buff running game with the line getting blown off the ball by more than the wind. There weren’t any key stops on third down until it was too late. … To have any shot against Arizona State and its passing game, the Wildcat defensive front has to finally figure out how to generate a little bit of pressure. Arizona didn’t come up with a sack against one of the nation’s most porous offensive lines, and it only finished with three tackles for loss. Coming into the game, Colorado was 108th in the nation in tackles for loss.
(AP) BOULDER, Colo. -- Rodney Stewart ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another, helping Colorado avoid its first winless season at 87-yeear Folsom Field with a 48-29 win over Arizona Saturday.
Tyler Hansen threw two TD passes and hauled in Stewart's touchdown toss on a flea-flicker as the Buffaloes (2-9) recorded their first Pac-12 win after six losses in their new league since bolting the Big 12 last year.
The Wildcats (2-8, 1-7) came in as double-digit favorites but fell behind quickly and their comeback attempt wasn't helped by the sustained 45 mph winds that gusted to 71 mph in the fourth quarter.
Arizona's Nick Foles was 35 for 53 for 352 yards, but he had three interceptions and lost a fumble to go with his one touchdown.
The Wildcats trailed by 24 in the third quarter but cut their deficit to 34-23. Linebacker Tra'Mayne Bondurant returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown and then Foles completed all six of his passes for 68 yards on an 88-yard drive that ended with his 11-yard strike to David Douglas. However, Douglas couldn't hold onto the 2-point conversion pass.
The Buffaloes went 80 yards in six plays with Stewart taking the handoff and scoring from 11 yards out to make it 41-23, then the Wildcats scored again on Ka'Deem Carey's second rushing touchdown, and again the 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
After the Cats recovered the onside kick, Jason Espinoza's interception at midfield led to Stewart's fourth touchdown, a 9-yard scamper.
The Buffaloes benefited from a couple of questionable calls on two TD drives as they built a 34-10 lead, their biggest of the season.
Arizona punter Kyle Dugandzic fielded a low snap from Josh Elias and trapped the ball on the grass. The officials ruled that before he recovered and got the punt off, his knee also touched the turf, downing the ball at the Wildcats 38. Although television replays showed his knee never touched, the play wasn't overruled.
Three snaps later, tailback Josh Ford burst through the middle for a 29-yard score that put the Buffs ahead 20-10 at the half.
Colorado took the second-half kickoff and Hansen didn't slide after a 19-yard scramble and was hit by cornerback Shaquille Richardson, who was whistled for a personal foul, tacking on 15 yards. That led to Hansen's 15-yard TD toss to a diving Toney Clemons for a 27-10 lead.
On their next possession, Hansen tossed the ball Stewart, then flared out into the left flat to haul in a 14-yard flea-flicker touchdown throw from his tailback for his first career catch and a 34-10 lead.
Stewart's only other career pass attempt, last season, also went for a touchdown.
High winds ahead of a winter storm wreaked havoc, especially in the kicking game, but also in the passing game, causing some throws to sail and others to sink. The goal post in the north end zone whipsawed much of the day and there were constant swirls of trash tumbling across the field, along with a couple of marching band members' black hats.
Before the game, tents were prohibited from tailgating parties and some events with bounce houses and other inflatables were scrubbed. Even the kicking tee was tipped over by the winds during warm-ups.
Wide receiver Keenan Canty turned a short catch into a 39-yard gain on Colorado's first drive, setting up Stewart's 5-yard TD run.
After John Bonano's 25-yard field goal, Hansen hooked up with freshman tailback Tony Jones for a 5-yard TD two plays after his errant pitch to Jones resulted in a 13-yard loss. Will Oliver's extra point sailed wide left, his first miss in 23 tries.
Arizona (2-7) at Colorado (1-9) Nov. 12, 2:30, FCS
Here’s The Deal … If this was an NFL game being staged in Boulder, the teams might be playing for a shot to draft, well, Stanford QB Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick. If Arizona and Colorado aren’t this year’s worst Pac-12 squads, they’re in a small handful of possible contenders. With few remaining goals left in 2011, both schools will be playing for pride and a chance to seize some momentum before starting a long offseason.
The Wildcats have never been right this season, its first since 2007 without a bowl invitation. The Oct. 20 blowout of UCLA aside, there have been no shining points in a disaster that cost eight-year head coach Mike Stoops his job following a 1-5 start. At least for now, the Buffs haven’t appeared to belong in its new conference, beating just Colorado State back on Sept. 17. Their last five losses have not been close, none by fewer than 25 points, the product of an already mediocre roster that’s been ravaged by injuries. This is the first meeting since 1986 between Arizona and Colorado, the only Wildcats win in 13 games between the schools.
Why Arizona Might Win: While Colorado has collapsed on both sides of the ball, the Wildcats are most likely to exploit a pathetic pass defense that’s yielded 28 touchdown passes, and picked off just four throws. Last Friday night, the Buffs idly watched as Matt Barkley threw a USC-record six scoring strikes. Wildcats QB Nick Foles, one of the lone bright spots of 2011 in Tucson, will look to pad his already gaudy numbers, which include 22 touchdown passes and a Pac-12-high 3,260 yards through the air. The flamethrower has no shortage of eclectic targets with which to connect, headed by well-sized Juron Criner and Dan Buckner.
Why Colorado Might Win: If there’s been one primary stumbling block to success at Arizona this fall, it’s been a defense that’s been unable to get to the quarterback or make key stops; the Wildcats rank 106th nationally in both scoring and total D. And while the Buffaloes haven’t exactly been explosive, they are getting healthier.
Former 1,000-yard rusher Rodney Stewart has returned to the backfield, and playmaking WR Paul Richardson is back as well. The receiver will form a dangerous duo on the outside with physical Toney Clemons, who burned Troy’s secondary for 112 receiving yards and two touchdowns last week. Colorado is poised for its best output since the early stages of the season.
What To Watch Out For: Whoever lands the Arizona head coaching job will enjoy the benefit of all the young kids that have been used this season, especially on defense. One such find in Tucson has been DB Tramayne Bondurant, who has started the last three games at a hybrid nickel-outside linebacker position. In two of those games, he led the Wildcats in tackles, making eight stops in Saturday’s loss to Utah. While not very big, he’s shown a knack for making plays, and getting to the ball quickly.
What Will Happen: Colorado will move the ball unusually well, but Arizona’s superior passing attack will be the catalyst for a victory. Foles & Co. haven’t faced a defense as bad as the Buffaloes since the opener with Northern Arizona, a recipe for a big game through the air. The senior will continue to add footage to his personal NFL audition tape, strafing the Buffs secondary for 350 yards and three scores. Whatever remaining fight that was left in Colorado probably dissipated in the nationally-televised loss to USC on Friday night.
CFN Prediction: Arizona 34 … Colorado 24
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Arizona -11 O/U: 63.5
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