Place: Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
Arizona State is the lone undefeated squad in the Pac-12 South and the Sun Devils have a solid chance at keeping it that way when they visit struggling Colorado on Thursday. The Sun Devils are one-half game ahead of USC in the division race and have been surprisingly good in Todd Graham’s first season as coach.
Arizona State leads the offensive-laden Pac 12 in total defense (276.2 yards per game) and scoring defense (13.6). The Buffaloes are last in the Pac 12 in scoring (21.6) and are searching for respectability under second-year coach Jon Embree. Arizona State routed Colorado 48-14 last season. Both teams are playing for the first time since Sept. 29.
Arizona State Sun Devils (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12 South): The Sun Devils have allowed 17 or fewer points in all four of their victories and gave up 24 in their lone loss against Missouri. Arizona State has 21 sacks (its 4.2 average per game ranks third nationally) with junior defensive tackle Will Sutton leading the way with 6.5.
Sutton has a team-best 10 tackles for losses and junior outside linebacker Chris Young has 9.5 tackles for losses among his team-high 36 stops. Sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly leads the Pac-12 in passing efficiency (166.4) and has thrown nine touchdown passes against two interceptions while completing 67.2 percent of his throws. Junior tight end Chris Coyle leads the Sun Devils with 26 receptions and 338 yards.
Colorado Buffaloes (1-4, 1-1 Pac-12 South): The Buffaloes’ lone victory came against Washington State when they staged an impressive comeback from a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit. Colorado has scored 17 or fewer points in three of its four losses. Junior quarterback Jordan Webb had 345 passing yards against Washington State but hasn’t reached 200 in any of Colorado’s four defeats.
Webb has thrown seven touchdowns passes and been picked off four times. Freshman Christian Powell has a team-best 294 rushing yards but half of them (147) came in one game against Sacramento State. The Buffaloes are allowing 39.4 points per game, worst in the Pac-12 and are next-to-last in total defense (474.4 per outing). Junior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe has a team-best five sacks.
1. Arizona State leads the series 3-0 and defeated the Buffaloes 21-3 in 2006 when the teams last met in Boulder.
2. Colorado has allowed 29 or more points in 15 of 18 games since Embree took over as coach.
3. The Sun Devils have been called for only 21 penalties in five games. The Buffaloes have drawn 35 flags.