The 2020 season is set to officially come to a close on Tuesday evening in San Antonio when Texas takes on Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns will be playing in the Alamo Bowl for the second consecutive season and look to wrap up a disappointing season with a victory. Colorado had a surprisingly good year, going 4-1 in their shortened PAC-12 schedule that featured several cancellations. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the Buffaloes:
Former head coach Mel Tucker was not shy about his preference to win games by running the ball and playing great defense. Current head coach Karl Dorrell’s background comes from the offensive side of the ball, so it is no surprise that Colorado has opened up the offense a little more this season. Offensive Coordinator Darrin Chiaverini has been on the Colorado coaching staff since 2016 and was promoted to offensive coordinator once Dorrell took over.
The Buffaloes will operate primarily out of the spread, but still feature a strong running game. Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard handles the bulk of the carries and has rushed for over 800 yards on the season to go along with 3 touchdowns. Despite standing at only 5’9 and 185 pounds, Broussard runs hard and has been a big bright spot for Colorado this season.
At quarterback, Sam Noyer got the starting nod to begin the year after spending 2019 as a safety. Noyer initially entered the transfer portal following last season but chose to return to Colorado to fight for the open QB position. He has had an up and down season, completing 58% of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He will be used in the running game (5 rushing touchdowns on the season) and the Texas defense will have to account for his legs, especially in the red zone.
The Buffaloes only have 3 receivers who have caught 10 or more passes on the season. Noyer’s favorite targets will be slot receiver Dimitri Stanley and outside receiver La’Vontae Shenault. Stanley has a team leading 249 receiving yards and is averaging over 15 yards per reception. Texan native KD Nixon will also be involved and has 10 catches on the season.
Former Georgia Southern head coach Tyson Summers coordinates the Colorado defense. This is Summers second season in Boulder after spending two seasons as a quality control coach at Georgia. The Colorado defense operates out of multiple fronts and has been effective at getting pressure on the quarterback (12 sacks in 5 games). Outside linebacker Carson Wells has a team leading 4.5 sacks and will provide a big test for the Texas tackles.
In the secondary, junior Makhi Blackmon and freshman Christian Gonzalez occupy the two corner spots. The Buffaloes secondary as a whole has struggled at times this season. The unit allowed over 300 yards passing in their first two games of the season against UCLA and Stanford before putting together more respectable showings against run heavy San Diego State, Arizona and Utah. The opportunities will be there for the Longhorns to move the ball in the passing game, even without leading receiver Brennan Eagles, who announced yesterday he was opting out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.
On paper, this matchup heavily favors Texas, even with all the players that will be missing for the Longhorns. The Colorado offense struggles to push down the field in the passing game, meaning they will likely want to win the game in the trenches against a tough Texas defensive line. Keondre Coburn, T’Vondre Sweat, Moro Ojomo and Alfred Collins will have an opportunity to make their presence felt. Offensively, Texas still has Sam Ehlinger at the helm and Bijan Robinson coming on strong to end his freshman year. It will be interesting to see how the Texas offensive line looks after an excellent performance in Manhattan, but the opportunities will be there for Texas to put points on the board.
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