The Arizona Wildcats are still on the prowl for their first win in more than two years heading into the Rocky Mountain foothills Saturday afternoon.
The 0-5 Wildcats’ latest loss came last Saturday night, with Arizona falling to UCLA in Tucson, 34-16 — as the Wildcats failed to reach 20 points for the fifth consecutive game.
First-year coach Jedd Fisch and company make the 550-mile trek to Folsom Field in Boulder, looking to knock off a 1-4 Buffaloes team that hasn’t scored more than 14 points against an FBS opponent this season.
The Wildcats and Buffaloes kick off at 12:30 p.m. Arizona time Saturday, with the Pac-12 Network carrying the game live.
Stacking Up the Odds on Saturday
Saturday’s matinee represents the Wildcats’ best shot at snapping the longest Power Five losing streak in the nation, but a trio of Arizona sportsbooks aren’t so confident.
BetMGM Arizona, DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona and FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona all list the Buffs as 6.5-point favorites as of Wednesday morning.
For those looking to make moneyline wagers, BetMGM and FanDuel have Arizona at +210, while DraftKings Sportsbook has the Wildcats at +205.
Arizona betting apps BetMGM and FanDuel Sportsbook agree on a 46.5 over/under for the contest, while DraftKings Sportsbook pins the over/under at 47.
Can the Wildcats Win One for Fisch?
Arizona is still looking to get Fisch his first win as a head coach in Tucson, after squandering opportunities to beat BYU and Football Championship Subdivision Northern Arizona earlier this season.
Fisch’s squad will have to break in a new quarterback this week, with Jordan McCloud suffering a season-ending injury against the Bruins.
All signs indicate former Washington State Cougar QB Gunner Cruz will be tabbed as the starter, despite Cruz putting up a net QBR of 33.5 (out of 100) in three appearances this year.
Cruz struggled on Saturday, completing 4-of-7 passes for 48 yards, while putting up a 14.9 QBR in the team’s 34-16 loss to UCLA.
His best outing of the year came in the opener against BYU, when the freshman completed 34-of-45 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown.
Count Fisch as a believer in the freshman’s ability to lead the Wildcats, telling the media this week that Cruz has what it takes to recreate his opening game success.
“I believe in Gunner,” he said. “Gunner won the job in training camp because of the way he was able to throw the football in training camp. So, we have to reverse course, go back to that week of BYU preparation, and remind him why he won the job and show him some of the good things he did against BYU.”
Expect Cruz to target junior WR Stanley Berryhill III early and often against the Buffs, with the former Marana Mountain View High School standout leading the team in receptions (40) and receiving yards (397).
Fisch expressed his belief in the Cruz-to-Berryhill connection during his chat with members of the media.
“I also believe we were able to use the perimeter throwing game to (Cruz's) advantage, because he has a big arm so he can get the ball out there fast,” Fisch said. “That helped us because I think Stanley had a couple of big ones and then BJ (Casteel) had a couple just up the sideline.
“We’ll try to look back and see what he did well, and then also see if there’s some ways we can get him just confident. It’s more about being confident than in a rhythm. And if we can get him confident back there, I think the rhythm will come.”