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by ASA - 09/10/2009
Colorado and Toledo enter the second week of this young college football season looking for their first victory. The Buffaloes enter Friday night's game having minimal time to prepare after opening their season on Sunday.
The Buffs lost their season opener to Colorado State 23-17 totaling just 251 yards in that six point loss to their in-state rival. It was just the 5th loss in Colorado season openers since 1988. The Buffs now have to travel to Ohio to face the Toledo Rockets.
First year Head Coach Tim Beckman and the rest of the Rockets had their share of problems in their season opener. The Rockets suffered a 21 point loss to Purdue, giving up 513 total yards and 52 points to the Boilermakers.
This will be the first ever match-up between Toledo and Colorado. Toledo is 2-4 vs. current Big 12 opponents with both wins coming at home. Those wins include a one point victory vs. Iowa State 2007 and six point victory vs. Kansas in 2006.
The Buffs have played only one other MAC team since 1980. That game was in Colorado in 2007 and the Buffaloes crushed Miami Ohio 42-0 as a 13.5 point favorite. However, CU has dropped four straight non-conference road games by 15 ppg.
Looking on the Bright Side
It’s not all bad news for the Rockets and Buffaloes after dropping their season openers.
Despite losing by 21 points and surrendering 513 total yards, the Rockets gained 493 yards and had more first downs and longer time of possession than the Boilermakers. Rockets QB Aaron Opelt had 423 yards passing, completing 41 passes to eight different receivers.
Colorado’s defense didn’t have a horrible game in the opener. The Buffs gave up five big plays that totaled 215 yards meaning CSU gained 161 on its other 57 plays from scrimmage (2.8 yards per play). The Rams missed on their last 10 third down conversions and had four three-and-outs in their last six possessions.
Though it’s only the second week of the season, both teams already have a lot of questions to answer.
On paper, one of Colorado’s strengths was its offensive line. They also return their top two tailbacks, Rodney Stewart and Darrell Scott, who combined for over 1,000 yards in 2008. On the other side of the ball, Colorado State’s defensive line looked to be the weak link of a defense that was torched for 190 yards per game on the ground last year. Despite that perceived advantage, the Buffaloes managed just 29 rushing yards on 21 carries (1.4 ypc).
Stewart & Scott get an opportunity to redeem themselves in this game against Toledo. The Rockets surrendered 315 rushing yards to Purdue last week on an astonishing 8.1 yards per carry.
Toledo will be without Morgan Williams, their most productive running back from a year ago (1053 yards, 6 touchdowns). Williams was suspended in early September for unspecified “disciplinary reasons” and will miss this, the second game of his two-game suspension.
The line on this game opened at Colorado -3. It has crept up to -3.5 early and now sits at -4 at most places. The total opened at 59 and was hammered down to 53.5 within a half hour of its release. It has now risen to 54.5 at the majority of books and it seems to have stabilized.
The Buffs have been tabbed a road favorite for the first time since 2007. They are coming off a SU loss to rival Colorado State last week. When CU is a road favorite off a SU loss, they are just 4-8 ATS (33%) dating back to the 1994 season. The Glass Bowl can be a tough venue for an opponent which is why Toledo has been a home dog just 11 times since the start of the 2000 season. They are 8-3 ATS in that role. In that same time span, they are 4-1 ATS as a home puppy coming off a SU loss (they lost to Purdue last week).
The outlook for Friday night is partly cloudy and mild. The temperature will stick around 60 degrees with 10-15 mph winds. No rain is expected.