Colorado senior wide receiver KD Nixon enjoys the Buffels’ 3-0 start to the season and relevance in the Pac-12 race.
He’s also been there long enough to know that now is not the time to feel comfortable. Especially in 2020.
Colorado will travel to scoreless Arizona (0-3) on Saturday in a game that looks very favorable for the Buffels. But Dixon cited the COVID-19 virus and the memory of his second season – when Colorado started 5-0 and then lost the next seven games – as two main reasons why he’s not celebrating yet.
“Knowing that it can be taken every week, you have to stay focused,” said Nixon. ‘You can never get too happy or too complacent. We’ll just keep pushing, not even worrying about a bowl game or a Pac-12 championship, and keep pushing to be 1-0 every week. “
Arizona comes off a 27-10 loss to UCLA, which was tough from the start. Starting quarterback Grant Gunnell hurt his shoulder during the first game of scrimmage, and freshman Will Plummer had to take over for the rest of his game. Plummer completed 17 of 35 passes for 151 yards and threw two interceptions. He also ran 49 meters.
Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said he is unsure whether Gunnell will play on Saturday. Sumlin said Plummer did well enough against UCLA that he has confidence in both quarterbacks against Colorado.
“For a guy who’s never played at this level, to go out and do what he did, I thought it was a pretty good performance,” said Sumlin. ‘Could it have been better? Yes. He made mistakes, but he played with his legs. “
Colorado freshman coach Karl Dorrell said he’s trying to make sure his team doesn’t underestimate the Wildcats.
“It’s easy to fall into that trap,” Dorrell said. “You can see that they are 0-3, but offensive they can be very explosive. They have good players. “
Colorado is one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the Pac-12 West, along with USC. The Trojans are half a game ahead in the division because they are 3-0 in the conference and the Buffalos 2-0.
Colorado’s game against USC on November 28 was postponed due to virus problems in the USC program. The Buffaloes found a replacement game against San Diego State and won 20-10. Colorado is the only Pac-12 program to play a non-conference opponent this season.
Despite the strange circumstances of 2020, Dorrell feels that his program is in the right place.
“I like where we’re going,” Dorrell said. “These upcoming games are very important, they are all important as we know, but we are in a pretty good position at the conference. We have to take care of our own business. “
SUCCESS VS. THE BUFFALO
Arizona’s Sumlin is in his third season leading the program and has a mediocre 9-18 record over that period, but some of his success has come against Colorado.
The Wildcats have a 2-0 record vs. the Buffaloes during Sumlin’s tenure, including a 42-34 win in 2018 and a 35-30 win last season. Arizona could use some good: the program has lost a total of 10 consecutive games dating back to last season.
The Buffalos have scored in their first three games in all 12 quarters, which is the first time since 1998. Quarterback Sam Noyer has completed 62% of his passes for 600 meters, four touchdowns and two interceptions in three games. He has also run for four touchdowns. Jarek Broussard leads the team hastily with 432 meters.
A major reason Arizona has a 0-3 start is the inability to stop the run. Opponents have run 229 yards per game in the three losses.
UCLA was the last team to profit and ran for 281 yards in the 27-10 win. Sumlin said his defensive staff did a good job making adjustments during half-time to keep the Bruins on seven points in the second half, but the damage was already done.
“We missed too many tackles, we are working on that,” said Sumlin.