After quarterback Bernard Jackson burned the Rams on CU's first series last week, running 34 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown scamper, the Colorado State defense put eight men in the box. The tactic worked to stall CU's run game, and the Rams were able to get pressure on Jackson when he tried to pass. The Sun Devils like to blitz, and lead the nation with 13 sacks going into Saturday. You better believe they'll try and rattle Jackson, starting just his second college game under center.
2) Will the Buffs' run game awaken?
Dan Hawkins said Wednesday he's seen improvement in communication among the team members, and that includes the offensive linemen, who have had some minor mishaps in recognizing defensive fronts in the first two games. Solve that and the Buffs will solve their running woes. They're averaging only 90.5 yards per game so far.
3) Will Mason Crosby be a factor?
The most proven offensive weapon on the Buffs has not been much of a factor so far. While CU has scored just one touchdown in its first two games, just as troubling, the Buffs' offense has moved to within field goal range not nearly often enough. Crosby has only attempted four field goals, hitting on two and missing from 61 and 63 yards. If Colorado can move the ball this week, the senior placekicker could influence the game's outcome.
4) Can the CU pass defense slow Arizona State's potent attack?
Colorado has been excellent in run defense, but had trouble with both Montana State and CSU's passing game. Arizona State's passing attack is a notch above what the Buffs have seen.
5) Which way will the Helfrich Factor swing?
Last season, many thought former CU receivers coach Ted Gilmore played a factor in Nebraska's win in Boulder when Gilmore came to town as a Cornhuskers assistant. This time, it's a CU assistant who has insight into an opponent.
CU offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was on Dirk Koetter's staff in Tempe the past five seasons. He knows what the ASU offense can do (he helped recruit QB Rudy Carpenter). How much of a factor will Helfrich's understanding play in the matchup? Or could Arizona State have an advantage, knowing Helfrich's football personality?