First look at SDSU’s newest opponent: Colorado

Credit: SDSU Athletics

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SDSU Athletics

During the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, San Diego State released a statement announcing a football game against the University of Colorado.

The game, hosted by the Buffaloes in Boulder, Co. at 2 pm PT on Saturday, was the result of schedule adjustments due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Aztecs were originally scheduled to play Fresno State this week, but the Bulldogs were forced to cancel the contest. In his weekly press conference, Brady Hoke spoke of his confidence in Athletic Director JD Wicker’s ability to fill the hole in the schedule. Hoke was not let down. SDSU’s search centered on the Pac 12. Seven days ago, the Pac 12 conference changed their prohibition against playing non-conference games.

Late Thursday evening, USC canceled its game with CU, and within an hour, the tilt with Aztecs was announced.

SDSU fans can be forgiven for not being up to date with the Colorado program. SDSU has only played the Buffaloes once, a 2002 loss.  Following the 2002 season, CU took a surprising downturn. One statistic sums up this woeful period: from 2003 to the present. The Buffaloes have had three times as many head coaches, nine, as they have had winning seasons. The 2002 Aztecs led by Adam Hall, Jr Tolver, and Kassim Osgood on offense and Kirk Morrison, Heath Farwell, and Marviel Underwood on defense were playing one of the top programs in America. CU’s reputation has certainly taken a hit since, but they come into Saturday’s game undefeated and tied for first in the Pac 12 South.

The Pac 12 schedule originally called for six games – 5 played in the division and one cross-divisional game. CU opened its season on November seventh at home with a 48 – 42 win against UCLA. The next week they defeated Stanford 35 – 32 in Palo Alto. Last week, Arizona State canceled their contest with Colorado over Covid concerns. With a second consecutive canceled contest looming, they scheduled the Pac 12’s only non-conference game to date with the Aztecs.

There was speculation the Aztecs might be the home team. Colorado was scheduled to play USC in Los Angeles, a short bus ride away from the Aztecs’ temporary home in Carson. However, one of the stipulations the Pac 12 placed on members teams wishing to play non-conference games was the Pac 12 institution had to host the game. Thus, the game will be played in Boulder, Colorado.

Head Coach: Karl Dorrell (First Season)

In February, Dorrell was hired to lead the program. This is Dorrell’s second Pac 12 head – coaching stop. He led UCLA from 2003 – 2007. Trying to recapture its glory years, CU’s Administration turned to Dorrell, who had formally coached in the program for six years as an offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach.  At his introductory press conference, the new head coach said, “I’m excited to be back. It’s like coming home. The thing that excited me about this job is that my experience in the past here, for the most part, has been very successful.  We had a lot of good teams, went to a lot of good bowl games.  It’s a top-caliber program that has a lot of potential, and I’m excited to return it to that level.”

Star Players

Quarterback Sam Noyer came into the program in 2016. After a redshirt season, he was used the next two seasons sparingly.  Midway through fall game last season, he converted to safety and lettered at the position. This past offseason, he put his name in the transfer portal but decided to return to CU and moved back to his original position. In two games, Noyer has thrown for 512 yards and rushed for 100 more. He has six touchdowns on the season – three passing and three on the ground.

Running Back Jarek Broussard came into 2020 rehabbing from a knee injury that cost him the 2019 season. In the first start of his career, Broussard rushed for 187 yards on 31 carries and added three touchdowns. His efforts earned him the Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Week. Broussard has been CU’s most used skill position player. He has 61 touches – 58 rushes and three receptions – on the season for 330 yards. He has also returned one kick on the season.

Wide Receiver Dimitri Stanley leads Colorado with 12 receptions for 192 yards. He has been Noyer’s most consistent target, recording six receptions in each game. He caught a 55-yard pass in the win against Stanford on a fake bubble screen. After faking the screen, Noyer threw a laser that hit Stanley in stride about ten yards downfield, and Stanley easily outraced the Stanford defense to the end zone.

Linebacker Nate Landman paces the defense with 26 tackles on the season, including a 14 tackle performance against Stanford as a junior Landman was named as an honorable mention All-American by Phil Steele. He was an AP, Coaches, and Phil Steele first-team All-Pac 12.

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