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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Across the Press Box: Previewing the Colorado Buffaloes with CU Independent’s Jason Marks

Lexi Horsey
Arizona cornerback Azizi Hearn (20) tackling Colorado wide receiver Kabion Ento (17) during the fourth quarter of the Arizona vs. Colorado game on Friday November 2, 2018. Wildcats win the game with a score of 42-34.

In the latest edition of Across the Press Box, the Daily Wildcat caught up with sports reporter Jason Marks from the CU Independent to preview the Arizona Wildcats (0-3) vs the Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) set to kick off in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. MST.

Daily Wildcat: This Colorado team was projected to only win one or two games all season and now they’re 3-0. What have the Buffs been doing this year that has allowed them to exceed those expectations? 

Jason Marks: This Colorado team has surprised a lot of people. For me, I think this team is playing within their means; meaning that they are not playing above their ability or skill. The defense is really playing at a high level and is enabling this very young offense to find their groove and score points. 

DW: Tell me more about this defense. Colorado is second in the conference in yards allowed and fourth in total sacks. What has that defensive unit been doing differently compared to last year?

JM: From the beginning of the season, I knew this defense was going to be good. With players like Nate Landman and Mustafa Johnson and a secondary that has proven it belongs, this unit is a force. Additionally, this defense has limited the number of big plays that they allow and they really force their opponents to grind out their possessions. 

DW: The Buffs have had three different receivers lead the team in receptions in its three games this season, and one of them was tight end Brady Russell. How dangerous is this Colorado offense, and can they give Arizona some pointers on how to use a tight end since the word “tight end” doesn’t seem to be in the Wildcats’ vocabulary?

RELATED: Key plays from Arizona’s loss against UCLA

JM: This Colorado offense has turned out to be very underrated and has found some really good talent. Outside of Sam Noyer, Jarek Broussard has turned into one of the best running backs in the Pac-12. Additionally, the CU receiving core has turned up some really talented freshman; [La’Vontae] Shenault and [Brenden] Rice are two big names to look for. In terms of the TE position, Colorado also just figured out how to use the position but man, am I glad they did. Russell is a beast in the red zone and is an underrated blocking TE as well.

DW: Quarterback Sam Noyer had a solid performance in his first two games but seemed to have struggled in his third appearance against San Diego State. What did you see from him last week against the Aztecs and how do you think he will perform against Arizona’s defense this Saturday?

JM: It was bound to happen that Noyer would fall back to earth. He still looked good. He was running the ball well, a majority of his passes were accurate and he used his legs well again. On the flip side, his pick-six was really his lowest point thus far this season. The defender saw the throw all the way and Noyer probably should have recognized it, but that kind of thing would be expected from a first-year quarterback. I expect Noyer to come out Saturday and keep playing his game, while also adjusting his weaknesses. 

DW: Have the Buffs done enough this season to be a top 25 team?

JM: So I don’t think that the Buffs deserve to be ranked. That being said, this Colorado team deserves more respect than they currently get. They are 3-0, have a shot at a Pac-12 South title and were picked to finish second to last in the Pac-12. 

DW: Who is one Colorado player to look out for this Saturday?

JM: Look for Nate Landman to continue his dominance. He was named the Butkus National Defensive Player of the Week and is bound for the draft. He is an incredible run stopper and a true leader on the field.

DW: Final score predictions?

JM: I have a different outlook on this game now that Arizona has lost two straight. I think Colorado wins in convincing fashion, 31-14. 

Follow Jason Marks and Jacob Mennuti on Twitter

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