Colorado (0-2) at Fresno State (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 15, 8:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bulldog Stadium (41,031) -- Fresno, California. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Colorado 0-1, FSU 1-0. Away Record: Colorado 0-0, FSU 0-1. Neutral Record: Colorado 0-1, FSU 0-0. Conference Record: Colorado 0-0, FSU 0-0. Series Record: Colorado leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: For the second week in a row, Fresno State takes on a member of the Pac-12 Conference as the Bulldogs welcome the Colorado Buffaloes to town on Saturday.
Last week, the Bulldogs were pitted against nationally-ranked Oregon on the road and came up short in a 42-25 final. The defeat came on the heels of a 37-10 victory over Weber State in the season opener at Bulldog Stadium, as the team generated a hefty 515 yards of total offense in the first win for new head coach Tim DeRuyter.
As for the Buffaloes, a team which is coming off a 2011 campaign in which it finished a mere 3-10, but finished with two wins in the last three outings, they suffered their second loss in as many tries already this season as they bowed to Sacramento State of the FCS in a 30-28 decision at home. A week earlier the team was defeated by in-state rival Colorado State in Denver, 22-17.
It has been more than a decade since these schools matched up on the football field, with the Bulldogs winning the most recent clash in 2001 by a narrow score of 24-22. However, it is Colorado that still maintains a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series.
In front of nearly 47,000 fans at Folsom Field, the Buffaloes let a 14-0 lead in the first quarter slip away against Sacramento State and down the stretch allowed the Hornets to move the ball 72 yards on the final drive of the contest, culminating with the 30-yard field goal which was the game winner.
Colorado's defense was beaten up by the Hornets, as the visitors generated 466 yards of total offense, averaging 6.5 yards per play. Jon Major, who tied for the team lead with nine tackles for the hosts, also recorded one of the unit's two sacks, but it wasn't nearly enough to change the outcome.
On offense, freshman Christian Powell went from rushing once for three yards against the Rams in the first week, to gaining a game-high 147 yards and scoring three TDs on 28 carries in the setback. Quarterback Jordan Webb converted half of his 24 pass attempts for 160 yards and a score, but he was also sacked three times in the affair.
Because of Powell's added responsibility against the Hornets, Colorado made a huge improvement in the running game from the first game of the season, but still the team is averaging just 105.5 ypg on the ground which is ninth in the conference and 101st in the nation. In terms of total offense, the Buffs are putting up only 293.0 ypg which is 109th nationally after two weeks.
On the defensive side of the ball, the effort against the pass has left alot to be desired according to the early numbers. Last in the Pac-12 and 109th in the country, the Buffs have a pass efficiency defensive rating of 160.20 due mostly to the fact that they have allowed four aerial scores and have yet to pick off a pass.
Grabbing an interception might get even tougher for the Buffaloes this week because they are going up against one of only seven teams in the nation that has yet to turn the ball over through two games. Last season, Fresno State was one of the worst teams in the country when it came to turnover margin, ranking 116th in the FBS with minus-1.08 turnovers per contest, but the start of this season has seen a welcomed change.
Granted, the team lost to Oregon last weekend by double digits, but given how explosive the Ducks have been the last few years on offense, the Bulldogs didn't look all that bad really. From a defensive perspective, FSU forced three turnovers, logged three sacks and made 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage, all great numbers for a team that is transitioning to a different style and approach under new leadership.
Tristan Okpalaugo made four of his nine tackles in the backfield and recovered a fumble for the Bulldogs, while Derron Smith registered 10 solo stops and a team-best 13 tackles overall versus the Ducks.
On offense, running back Robbie Rouse set the tone as he ran for 115 yards and a score on 27 carries. In his last four games against BCS opponents, Rouse has averaged 123 ypg so he doesn't back down from the stiffer competition. Listed as fourth among active leading rushers in the country with his 3,395 yards, Rouse now needs just 79 more yards to set the all-time school record.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother David, Derek Carr continues to make strides as the FSU quarterback, converting 29-of-47 passes for 234 yards and a score, with 12 of those passes going to Davante Adams who has turned them into 92 yards. A redshirt freshman, Adams became just the fifth different player since 2000 to have double-digit receptions in a single game for the Bulldogs, and he now leads the Mountain West Conference and is tied for fifth nationally with 19 catches through two games.
If the defense for the Bulldogs can get after a team like Oregon and shake up the Ducks, the Buffaloes had better be ready for fast, hard-hitting action that could be taking place in their own backfield most of the game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 28, Colorado 14
09/12 10:36:08 ET