Buffaloes and Wildcats yearning for first Pac-12 win
One team hasn’t tasted a victory in over two years and the other is riding a four-game losing streak.
Arizona and Colorado has been in the Pac-12 South basement all season, but one will get to walk upstairs this Saturday. It hasn’t been pretty at all for either program. Jedd Fisch walked into a horror show when he took the Arizona job and Kevin Sumlin did leave the cupboard bare.
Still, it’s only Fisch’s first season and Arizona fans weren’t expecting much. On the other hand Karl Dorrell had major success in his first campaign with Colorado. He was even named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. However, Dorrell’s second season with the Buffaloes has been a nightmare.
Both teams have been abysmal on offense this fall, which is the main reason for their shortcomings. The Wildcats are 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense and 94th in the FBS. The Buffaloes are dead last in the league in total yards per game and 129th in the country.
It all starts with how both coaches are utilizing their quarterbacks. Fisch has played musical chairs with Will Plummer, Jordan McCloud and Gunner Cruz. McCloud has played decent at times, but he threw five interceptions in the loss to Oregon.
Quarterback Brendon Lewis has received the shoulder of the blame for Colorado’s struggles on offense. Lewis is a great athlete, with dangerous mobility, but he’s limited as a passer thus far. Poor play-calling hasn’t helped Lewis’ cause either.
However, the Buffaloes are coming off a much needed bye-week and fans are anticipating a rejuvenated team. Both defenses are middle of the pack. The Wildcats are 64th in the FBS in total defense and the Buffaloes are 72nd.
It remains to be seen if Arizona (0-5) is closing the gap as the season goes along. Over the last two games the Wildcats have been outscored 75-35, but their defense is what has kept the games somewhat close.
Colorado (1-4) usually plays lights out on defense in the first half, but the unit is often on the field too long and fatigued by the fourth quarter, due to poor offensive execution. Something has to give in this Saturday’s matchup though.
As bad as the season has been for Colorado, a win over Arizona would give the team some momentum, and California looks very beatable. The Buffaloes haven’t won at Folsom Field since the first week of the season, and Dorrell needs to seize on the opportunity.
Arizona has won its’ last four trips to Folsom Field and hasn’t lost in the venue since 2011. That should be enough motivation for Fisch’s squad to keep the streak going. Another loss for the Wildcats would pretty much guarantee the team a non-winning season for a fourth-straight year.
Colorado still has a lot to play for, but it’s unfortunate Dorrell doesn’t have depth at the quarterback position. Having a healthy J.T. Shrout would’ve been beneficial or if Sam Noyer was still on the roster, the Buffaloes would be in better shape. That’s not the case though and the Buffaloes need to rally behind their embattled coach and quarterback.
Everyone must remember it’s still any given autumn Saturday.