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Opponent Preview: Colorado Offense

NCAA Football: Colorado at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Utah heads to Boulder, CO for the annual Rumble in the Rockies, where they hope to play spoiler against a Buffaloes team looking to make their way into the PAC-12 Championship for the first time since 2016, because of course 2020 couldn’t go without giving us one more bizarre storyline.

Picked to finish fifth by the PAC-12 media, just ahead of lowly Arizona, Colorado’s undefeated record is one of the biggest surprises of this season thanks to one of the most balanced offenses in the conference.

Senior quarterback Sam Noyer’s (6’4”, 220 lbs.) numbers are almost identical to that of Colorado’s leading rusher, Jared Broussard (sophomore, 5’9”, 185 lbs.), who has amassed 733 yards on 115 carries, compared to Noyer’s 742 yards on 64 completions from 103 attempts. That’s not to say Colorado is perfect.

Much like Utah, turnovers have been a big issue for the Buffaloes, with Noyer throwing four picks, and the team as a whole committing four fumbles, though all but one have been recovered. Add to that an average of 59 penalty yards per game and five sacks against Noyer for 25 lost yards and the Utes have a chance to make things messy for Colorado.

Downfield, the wide receiver pair of Dimitiri Stanley (sophomore, 5’1”, 195 lbs.) and La’Vontae Shenault (freshman, 6’2”, 190 lbs.) have been favorite targets of Noyer’s combining for for 29 catches and 387 yards, with Stanley leading the receiving corps with 246 yards and one touchdown.

The Buffaloes have yet to blow out an opponent this season, winning by an average margin of 7.5 points, including a rare out-of-conference victory over the Mountain West’s San Diego State where they notched a 20-10 win after USC was unable to compete due to COVID-19 issues. Assuming Utah can continue last week’s success and limit turnovers, fans should expect one of the better matchups against their inter mountain rival in recent memory.