The Buffaloes’ running game has not been where Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre wants it to be.
One focus for CU (2-2, 0-2 Pac-12) in its matchup with ASU (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) will be getting its running game going, because it hasn’t been particularly effective.
So far this season, the Buffaloes are averaging only 3.1 yards per rush as a team, have only 441 total rushing yards and have yet to score a rushing touchdown.
Sophomore running back Christian Powell said the running game will be a big focus this weekend.
“It’s a pretty big priority, because a successful offense always has to have a good run game,” said Powell, who leads the Buffaloes with only 163 rushing yards.
MacIntyre said he’s noticed the running backs are running harder and that the offensive line has been doing a better job of blocking.
The team was hurt by a long layoff because of massive flooding back in mid-September, which postponed the Buffaloes’ games with Fresno State.
“We started running better at the end of the Central Arkansas game, and then we had three weeks off, and then we didn’t run as well,” MacIntyre said.
This would be an opportune week for the Buffaloes to try to improve their rushing attack, as rushing defense is an area where the Sun Devils have struggled. ASU is ranked 86th in the country in rush defense, allowing 182.8 yards per game.
However, the Buffaloes haven’t needed to run the ball much, because CU has been throwing the ball to junior wide receiver Paul Richardson a lot.
Richardson, one of the best wide receivers in the country, is tied for seventh in the country in receiving yards (621) and is second in the country in receiving yards per game (155.3).
Richardson said he and the rest of the CU wide receivers are prepared for ASU’s aggressive defensive backs.
“They’re very aggressive, they attack receivers,” Richardson said. “Their DBs are going to get in our face, they’re going to challenge us. … I think it’ll be a good game to test our attitude and test our fight early on, and I think we’re going to meet the challenge.”
The Buffaloes know they enter the game as heavy underdogs, but that doesn’t concern Richardson. The Buffaloes need the win to help them get one step closer to their goal of making it to a bowl game, and Richardson said beating ASU would be a good start.
“We need a road win so that’ll be great and they’re a great opponent,” Richardson said. “They beat Wisconsin, they beat SC, so for us to go in and beat that caliber of an opponent would be great for our team.”
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