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After A Rough Season, Colorado Is Looking To Play Spoiler To Utah’s Championship Hopes

Nov 26, 2022, 10:52 AM
Head coach Mike Sanford Jr. of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers watches a replay that reversed a Fl...
Head coach Mike Sanford Jr. of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers watches a replay that reversed a Florida International Golden Panthers out-of-bounds to a touchdown during fourth quarter action on November 24, 2017 at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- When Utah and Colorado accepted invitations to the Pac-12, they were instantly paired together as a “renewed” rivalry. In the 12 years since, it hasn’t exactly worked out like that, though the Buffaloes did play spoiler once for the Utes in their first meeting in the Pac-12 in 2011. Since then, Utah has pretty much dominated the series with Colorado only winning once more in 2016. Colorado has had a particularly rough season in 2022 but has another opportunity to potentially play spoiler to Utah’s conference championship hopes.

The Buffaloes sit at 1-10 on the season after letting go of head coach Karl Dorrell midway through. Mike Sanford Jr. has been in charge since, but Colorado has continued to struggle to put much together.

Utah on the other hand needs to get the bad taste of last week out of their mouth having squandered an opportunity to stamp their ticket to Vegas against a wounded Ducks team. The Utes need to beat Colorado and hope for some help from other conference-mates to make another run at the Pac-12 Title against USC next week.

Taking A Closer Look At Colorado

As mentioned above, Colorado has been operating under interim-head coach Mike Sanford Jr. If that name sounds familiar to Utah fans, that is because Sanford’s dad spent 2003-2004 with the Utes as their offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Sanford Jr. very likely is coaching in his final game at Colorado as rumors swirl about the Buffaloes pursuing Jackson State head coach and NFL legend Deion Sanders.

Colorado’s guy under center is JT Shrout. The quarterback has struggled through the season going 90 of 203 passing for 1,220 yards seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Shrout’s completion percentage comes in at 44.3% while averaging six yards per play. Shrout has also attempted some rushes, but not with great effect. He has taken off 30 times this season for -15 yards.

The Buffaloes rely on three different running backs pretty regularly in Deion Smith, Alex Fontenot, and Anthony Hankerson. Smith has rushed 81 times for 390 yards and two touchdowns. Taking off 58 times is Fontenot, who adds in 304 yards to Colorado’s rushing attack along with a touchdown. Finally, Hankerson has rushed 60 times for 228 yards and two touchdowns.

Colorado also has three receivers they seem to rely heavily on in Jordyn Tyson (22 receptions, 470 yards and four touchdowns), Montana Lemonious-Craig (21 receptions, 333 yards, and three touchdowns), and Daniel Arias (19 receptions, 309 yards, and one touchdown).

Defensively, the Buffaloes’ stats leader is linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo who has notched 89 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, one pass defended, one interception and one fumble recovery. Safety Trevor Woods has been good for 79 tackles, three passes defended, one interception and two fumbles. Finally, linebacker Quinn Perry has tacked on 62 total tackles for Colorado with one sack, two passes defended and one fumble recovery.

 

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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After A Rough Season, Colorado Is Looking To Play Spoiler To Utah’s Championship Hopes