In a season of uncertainty and a week of what-ifs, the Colorado Buffaloes executed a contingency plan put in place earlier in the week.
When their game with Southern California was abruptly canceled due do COVID-19 issues with the Trojans, the Buffaloes made a quick adjustment.
Instead of traveling to Los Angeles for a Pac-12 game on Saturday, Colorado (2-0) is staying home and hosting San Diego State (3-2) in nonconference play on Saturday afternoon. The Aztecs were available after COVID-19 issues with Fresno State led to Sunday's cancellation of their Mountain West game with the Bulldogs that was scheduled for Friday.
San Diego State looked at a few possibilities, including a game against Mountain West rival Air Force and the Pac-12's Washington, but it agreed to the game with the Buffaloes on Thursday night.
"I know one thing, we want to play football," Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said after the Fresno State game was canceled. "I have no idea about the procedures, policy and all that. Thank goodness I'm not making all those decisions. We'll see.
"We talk about us as a program and as a team. We've got to adapt. We've adapted a lot. How we travel. How we eat. All that kind of stuff. And it changes every state and county you're in. But our guys have done a great job with it. As we go forward, we want to play football."
Colorado prepared for a quick audible after Southern California had a player test positive for the coronavirus on Monday, putting the Pac-12 matchup at risk. The Buffaloes already had their Nov. 21 game against Arizona State canceled due to COVID-19 issues and were looking at two straight idle weeks.
"It is unfortunate that our game at Southern California had to be canceled, but as we all continue to maintain, the most important concern we all have is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff," Colorado athletic director Rick George said. "After the Pac-12 CEO's created some requirements for possible nonconference opponents to fill any vacancies created by cancellations, we moved earlier this week to find a possible opponent to replace the Trojans.
"When San Diego State's game at Fresno State was canceled for similar reasons, I spoke with (Aztecs athletic director) John David (Wicker) and we put an agreement in place if USC could not play."
San Diego State is coming off a 26-21 loss to Nevada last week after coming up short on a fourth-and-goal from the 6 in the final minutes.
The Buffaloes beat Stanford 35-32 in their last game, played Nov. 14, and hope to build on that in coach Karl Dorrell's first season. Quarterback Sam Noyer has had a strong debut, throwing for 512 yards and three touchdowns against one interception in two games. He has also rushed for three touchdowns.
Noyer's favorite target has been Dimitri Stanley, who has 12 receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Jarek Broussard has also made an impact, averaging 154 yards on the ground over the first two games with three scores. He burst onto the scene with a 187-yard performance in a 48-42 win over the UCLA Bruins on Nov. 7.
San Diego State also is receiving strong play from a running back, as Greg Bell has recorded four 100-yard rushing games while compiling 565 yards and six scores on the ground.
--Field Level Media