ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (4-1)
at COLORADO BUFFALOES (1-4)
Kickoff: Thursday, 9:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Arizona State -23, Total: 56½
Arizona State looks to improve to 3-0 in Pac-12 play when it visits Colorado on Thursday night.
Arizona State is 3-0 (SU and ATS) all-time in this series, winning 48-14 last year behind Cameron Marshall’s 3 TD runs. All four of the Sun Devils victories have come by double-digits, winning 27-17 at Cal in their last game. ASU's defense is tough up front ranking among the nation’s top-5 in Tackles For Loss (9.8 per game, 2nd), sacks (4.2 per game, 3rd) and passing defense (137 YPG, 4th). Colorado lost outright for the sixth time in seven home games with a 42-14 defeat to UCLA in its last time taking the field on Sept. 29. The Buffaloes have committed 11 turnovers and have allowed 22 sacks in five games in 2012.
Can the Sun Devils cover this hefty spread on Thursday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly has been outstanding in back-to-back Pac-12 wins over Utah (37-7) and at California (27-17). Kelly is 45-of-71 for 618 yards, 6 TD and 0 INT in the two victories. However, the Sun Devils' running game has stalled over the past three contests, gaining just 369 yards on 128 carries (2.9 YPC). Although Marshall was the hero in last year's win over Colorado, he has been mostly ineffective in 2012, gaining just 164 yards (3rd-most on team) on 49 carries (3.3 YPC). Junior DL Will Sutton has been a monster this season, tallying at least ½ sack in each game, and totaling 6½ sacks, 10 Tackles For Loss and 34 total tackles in five games this year.
Colorado ranks 100th in the nation in both scoring offense (21.6 PPG) and total offense (342 YPG). QB Jordan Webb has not been very good, throwing for less than 190 yards in all four defeats this season and producing just 7 TD with 4 INT through five games. His offensive line isn't doing him any favors though, allowing the second-most sacks among all FBS teams (4.4 per game). Freshman Christian Powell leads the team in rushing yards (294), but has done very little since his 3 TD in a losing effort versus Sacramento State. Powell has gained just 144 yards on 40 carries (3.6 YPC) with no touchdowns in his past three contests. The Buffaloes have also done a poor job of protecting the football, committing multiple turnovers in four of their five games this year. They also had five giveaways in last year's loss in Tempe. Colorado's defense has been atrocious this season, allowing 39.4 PPG (115th in FBS) and 474 total YPG (107th in nation). In last year's meeting with ASU, the Buffs gave up 315 passing yards and 207 rushing yards despite possessing the football for 6:22 more than the Sun Devils did.