Arizona (0-5, 0-2) at Colorado (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12)
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Folsom Field
TV/Radio: PAC-12 Network/850 AM, 94.1 FM
Line: Colorado -6, 46.5 over/under
Weather: 64 degrees, sunny
What to know
Buffs reboot. Those hoping for a grand shakeup during CU’s bye week didn’t get it. Same offensive coordinator (Darrin Chiaverini). Same starting quarterback (Brendon Lewis). New … mindset? Head coach Karl Dorrell said the staff made “subtle changes” in the wake of four consecutive losses before the break, the last three of which all came by double digits and featured three CU touchdowns combined. If those subtle changes don’t produce big results vs. Arizona, it might be fair to wonder if they ever will.
Grounded, Part I. If there’s one area where the Wildcats have shown some aptitude this season, it’s defending the pass. Twice the Wildcats have limited opponents to less than 100 yards passing this season, including last week’s 82-yard effort from banged-up UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Not exactly the best recipe for the nation’s third lowest rated passer (Brendon Lewis, 100.56) and fourth least productive passing game (100.4 yards per game) to get right.
Grounded, Part II. Just as Arizona’s offense appeared to be finding its footing with Jordan McCloud under center, the sophomore QB suffered a season-ending injury in last week’s loss to UCLA. In steps Gunner Cruz, who alternated between good (336 yards vs. BYU) and bad (70 vs. San Diego State) in a pair of starts to open the season. At 6-foot-5, 227 pounds, the redshirt freshman has a strong arm, but he doesn’t offer nearly the same scrambling ability as McCloud brought to the table.
Slump busters. For what is likely to be the last time this season, oddsmakers have installed CU as six-point favorites against the visiting Wildcats. And with good reason. Arizona carries the nation’s longest losing streak at 17 games. The Wildcats’ last win? A 35-30 Khalil Tate-led victory over the Buffs at Folsom Field on Oct. 5, 2019.
RB Jarek Broussard vs. Wildcats LBs. Last fall, Broussard topped 100 yards rushing four times in five games during the COVID-shortened regular season, including 301 yards against these very same Wildcats. Fast forward to the same span this season, and the Buffs’ star tailback is still waiting for his first 100-yard game in 2021. With Arizona bringing its 122nd-ranked run defense to Folsom Field, there’s no time like the present.
WR Stanley Berryhill III vs. CU secondary. In an offense lacking explosive playmakers, Berryhill is a steady hand out of the slot. One of the nation’s most prolific pass catchers (40 receptions, 397 yards), the 5-11, 190-pound junior will draw a lot of attention from CU’s defensive backs. Find a way to slow him down, and the Wildcats start running out of options.
Kyle Fredrickson, sports reporter: Arizona 13, CU 10
Doesn’t get much lower than this, Buffs fans. Apologies for buying into the preseason hype for this lackluster CU team.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: CU 12, UA 5
Welcome to the West Coast version of UConn vs. UMass! Only a co-production between the Pac-12 Network and Nickelodeon could make this one easier on the eyes. We already know the Pac-12 doesn’t have the budget. And what good is the Slime Zone if neither team can find it?
Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: CU 17, UA 13
As awful as the Buffs offense might be, the defense is plenty good enough to shut down a Wildcats outfit sans Jordan McCloud at quarterback.