Arizona State heads home to to face the Colorado Buffaloes after a disappointing loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Dallas. This game is big for the Sun Devils as they try to get back into a winning groove against a Pac-12 South opponent before facing Pac-12 North and nationally ranked Washington Huskies at Homecoming.
Last year, ASU defeated Colorado 51-17 in Boulder, but Colorado kept it close until halftime without their best offensive player. This season, that offensive star has returned to the field for the Buffaloes, and he is involved in this game’s critical match-up:
ASU Cornerbacks Osahon Irabor, Robert Nelson Jr, or Lloyd Carrington vs. Colorado WR Paul Richardson
Colorado junior WR Paul Richardson has 31 receptions for 621 yards and five touchdowns in only four games. Richardson started the season with two 200-yard receiving performances in non-conference games, and he has continued to shine in Pac-12 play. He had five catches for 70 yards and one touchdown against Oregon State and five receptions for 134 yards against Oregon. Richardson provides a big play capability as he has five receptions of greater than 50 yards on the season.
The Buffaloes have struggled with their rushing attack, averaging only 3.1 yards per carry, so it is important to shut down Richardson and his speed on the outside.
With the Arizona State pass rush having difficulty getting into the backfield and pressuring the opposing quarterback this season, it is critical for the ASU cornerbacks, whether it be Irabor, Nelson, or Carrington, to stay strong against Richardson. Sun Devil corners must get physical with Richardson at the line of scrimmage in order to disrupt routes.
The trio of ASU cornerbacks has played well against a big-time wide receiver previously. They were able to contain star USC WR Marquis Lee, “holding” him to seven receptions and 92 yards in three quarters of play.
What other key personnel match-ups will you be looking out for on Saturday?