The Colorado Buffaloes are the surprise of the Pac-12 Conference this season, and to complete an improbable — albeit short — turnaround within the conference they need to beat Utah on Friday and hope for some help from UCLA.
Colorado (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12) remained undefeated after they overcame Arizona last week. And that is for a program that wasn’t expected to do much this year after head coach Mel Tucker was hired away by Michigan State and his replacement, Karl Dorrell, had no spring practice to work in a new quarterback.
The Buffaloes have made it work and now have a chance to win the South Division and earn a spot in the Pac-12 title game.
The USC Trojans are 4-0 as well, with all their wins coming in conference. USC would win a tiebreaker with the Buffaloes if both teams win this weekend because the Trojans will finish with one more conference win. The Trojans play the Bruins at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
It is a scenario that became possible when the game between USC and Colorado, scheduled for Nov. 29, was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within USC’s program. One week earlier, Colorado had its game at Arizona State canceled for the same reasons with the Sun Devils.
Dorrell isn’t focused on what-ifs, only what is in front of the team.
“We have to control what we have in front of us. We have done that so far,” he said Monday. “The magnitude of the weeks, we are now in week five of the season for us, are vitally important for us to be in that picture. We are in pretty good shape. We need to take advantage of this opportunity that we are in. That is the goal of this week and the preparation in getting ready to play.”
The Buffaloes moved into this week’s AP poll at No. 21 thanks to quarterback Sam Noyer’s steady play and the running of Jarek Broussard. Broussard has rushed for 733 yards in four games, with 301 coming in last week’s win at Arizona. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Broussard is ahead of Rashaan Salaam’s four-game total when the late Colorado tailback won the 1994 Heisman Trophy.
“It means a lot to be in that kind of company with that sort of player,” Broussard said.
Utah (1-2, 1-2) has its own dynamic tailback in Ty Jordan. The freshman ran for 167 yards and a touchdown in the Utes’ 30-24 win over Oregon State on Saturday, a week after a costly fumble in a loss at Washington.
“It felt amazing. I can’t explain it with words, it was so exhilarating,” Jordan said. “I grew up my whole life wanting and dreaming to be a college athlete. Now I’m here. I’m experiencing my first couple of games and my first touchdown. I feel like I made my mom proud.”
Jordan worked on holding onto the ball during practice leading up to the win over the Beavers.
“He made an absolute, concerted effort all week long to work on his ball security and he did just that,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said.
–Field Level Media