Teams that have started the season in opposite directions meet when undefeated UCLA visits winless Colorado in the Pac-12 opener for both schools on Saturday in Boulder, Colo.
After lopsided wins over Bowling Green and Alabama State to open the season, UCLA (3-0) needed Nicholas Barr-Mira’s 24-yard field goal as time expired to pull out a 32-31 win over visiting South Alabama on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s three losses to open the season have been by an average of 32.7 points after the Buffaloes were trounced 49-7 at Minnesota last weekend.
The setback prompted athletic director Rick George to release a statement reiterating his confidence in coach Karl Dorrell, who is 8-13 since taking over the Buffaloes in 2020.
“He’s all-in just like I’m all-in,” said Dorrell, who went 35-27 in five seasons as Bruins head coach from 2003-07. “I know our fans are disappointed. We’re just as disappointed. We’re not trying to do these things. Unfortunately that’s part of the game, that’s part of the pressure and the expectation, particularly of a program like the University of Colorado that I have a lot of respect for.
“I know we can get better, and I know we will be better. … We, as a team, and as a football program, those young players down there, they want to play well for their fans.”
UCLA coach Chip Kelly said he isn’t paying attention to the Buffaloes’ off-the-field drama.
“We look at their scheme and their personnel,” Kelly said. “We are very analytical about what we are doing. We don’t start to delve into what is the psyche and non-psyche of the team and how they feel and all of those other things.”
UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson has completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 662 yards with six touchdowns and an interception while also running for 114 yards and two scores. Zach Charbonnet is the team’s leading rusher with 34 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown.
However, no Bruin has more receiving yards than Jake Bobo’s 168 on 11 receptions, with Kazmeir Allen notching a Bruins-best 16 catches.
Colorado has been unsettled at the quarterback position with J.T. Shrout and Brendon Lewis each struggling to lead an offense that has mustered only 30 points over three games.
Deion Smith has rushed for 159 yards and a score on 28 carries (5.7 yards per carry), while Daniel Arias has 124 receiving yards on nine receptions, which is at least six more than any other Buffaloes player.
UCLA posted a 44-20 home win over the visiting Buffaloes last year and has lost their last three games in Boulder since a 40-37 win in 2014.