November 21st – at Washington State          No. 24 Washington State 27, Colorado 3

Missed field goals, turnovers, and poor execution in the red zone – issues which had plagued the Buffs all season – turned an otherwise close game into a rout, as No. 24 Washington State defeated Colorado, 27-3. The Cougars out-gained the Buffs, 481 yards to 323, with WSU quarterback Luke Falk going 27-for-35 for 199 yards and a touchdown before being knocked out of the game late in the third quarter.

Cade Apsay, making his first career start, went 26-for-40 for 238 yards, but was intercepted twice, was forced to fall on low snaps, and was sacked three times. Nelson Spruce collected 10 catches for 120 yards, and Phillip Lindsay had 16 carries for 78 yards, but none of the Buffs could come through when it mattered most. The Buffs went 5-of-16 on third downs, and 1-of-5 on fourth downs, falling to 4-8, 1-7 on the season.

Washington State took the opening kickoff, and quickly moved to midfield with a 17-yard completion. There, however, the drive stalled, as the Buffs forced a punt, taking over at the their own 21 yard line. A pair of completions from Cade Apsay to Nelson Spruce, coupled with a roughing the passer penalty, set the Buffs up in Cougar territory. An 11-yard completion to Shay Fields got the Buffs into field goal range, but then Diego Gonzalez missed a 47-yard field goal attempt, keeping the game scoreless.

The Cougars then pushed the ball to the Buff 26-yard line, facing a fourth-and-six. Eschewing a 43-yard field goal attempt, Washington State went for the first down. Luke Falk did complete the fourth down pass to Kyle Sweet, but Chidobe Awuzie made the stop just short of the marker, with the Buffs taking over on downs.

A few plays later, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre got caught up in Mike Leach fever, going for it on fourth-and-one at the Buffs’ own 42-yard line. A Cade Apsay quarterback sneak was unsuccessful, with the Cougars taking over. The Colorado defense was again able to force a fourth down, with Washington State going for it on fourth-and-six at the CU 38. This time, the Cougars were able to convert, with Falk hitting Don Williams for a 29-yard gain to the Buff nine yard line. A few plays later, Keith Harrington took it in from the one, giving Washington State a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

A 27-yard kickoff return by Donovan Lee set the Buffs up at their 38 after the kickoff. A 22-yard gain on a pass from Apsay to Spruce put the ball on the Washington State 40, but then three straight incompletions forced another punt.

Alex Kinney pinned the Cougars back at their four yard line, but that was not good enough to stop the Washington State offense. Gains of 12, 22, and 17 yards on successive plays had the Cougars back in Colorado territory. A few plays later, the Buff defense was able to force yet another fourth down, this time a fourth-and-one at the CU 29-yard line, but again the Cougars were able to convert, with Falk completing an eight yard pass to Robert Lewis. Two plays later, Falk connected with Dom Williams for an 11-yard touchdown to finish off a ten-play, 96-yard drive. Washington State 14, Colorado 0, with just over ten minutes remaining in the first half.

The Colorado offense did its best to mount a drive on its next possession, with fits and starts along the way. The Buffs were called for three penalties along the way, including an offensive pass interference call, but an 11-yard run by Phillip Lindsay, coupled with completions from Apsay to Spruce covering 29, 11, six and ten yards (putting Spruce over 100 yard receiving in the first half), kept the drive alive.

Once in the red zone, however, the Buff offense again stalled. Diego Gonzalez was called upon once again, and, once again, he hooked the attempt, this time from 33 yards out. The Colorado offense had traveled 69 yards in 13 plays, but had once again come up empty.

Washington State made it out to near midfield before punting the ball back to Colorado. The punt, though, was downed at the four yard line, with the Buffs opting to run out the final minute of the first half clock.

Halftime score: No. 24 Washington State 14, Colorado 0

The first half stats were reflective of the score.

The Buff defense had held Luke Falk to 156 yards passing, but Falk was 21-for-23 and was unhurried by the Colorado pass rush. The Cougars, who came into the game averaging 77.9 yards rushing per game, had 92 first half rushing yards.

The Colorado offense, meanwhile, had 175 yards of total offense, but almost all of that was passes from Cade Apsay to Nelson Spruce. The pair teamed up eight times for 103 yards, with Cade Apsay accounting for 24 more yards on five carries. The remainder of the Buff offense: 19 plays for a total of 48 yards.

Any locker room planning done by the Buffs for starting the second half with momentum quickly deteriorated when Cade Apsay fumbled a low snap on the first play of the third quarter, losing seven yards. Two plays later, Apsay badly overthrew Nelson Spruce, with the pass intercepted by Charleston White at the CU 46-yard line.

The Colorado defense, with its back to the wall, then forced than twice as many incompletions – five – as Falk had thrown in all of the first half. Falk’s five completions, though, got the Cougars into field goal range, with Eric Powell connecting from 31 yards out to make it a 17-0 game early in the third quarter.

A quick three-and-out from the Buff offense gave the ball right back to Washington State. The Cougars gained 25 yards on two plays, setting up at the CU 41-yard line. There, quarterback Luke Falk was knocked out of the game on a sack by Samson Kafovalu. The Cougars got a pass interference call on Ken Crawley on the next play, but then the backup quarterback, Petyon Bender, threw a pair of incompletions, halting the drive. Eric Powell then missed a 44-yard field goal, giving the ball, and a dose of momentum, back to the Buffs.

The Colorado offense responded with yet another drive. A 32-yard run by Phillip Lindsay gave the Buffs a first down at the WSU 33-yard line, with a 15-yard completion from Apsay to Donovan Lee giving the Buffs a first down at the Cougar 11-yard line. There, the Buff offense again sputtered to a halt, with Diego Gonzalez called upon once again to put the Buffs on the board. The 24-yard attempt was good, and, with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Colorado was on the board, 17-3.

The Buffs’ final chance at making it a game came and went as the Cougars’ backup quarterback proved just as effective as the starter. After getting the ball to midfield, Bender completed six straight passes, the final one going 16 yards to Gabe Marks for a touchdown. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, the game was effectively over, at 24-3.

A 14-yard run by Phillip Lindsay and a 19-yard completion to Shay Fields once again gave the Buffs an opportunity for a score, but a fourth down pass by Apsay was intercepted by Taylor Taliulu and returned 42 yards.

Turnabout was fair play as on the ensuing drive, as Tedric Thompson intercepted Peyton Bender, returning the pick 27 yards. A 20-yard run by Phillip Lindsay were followed by completions to Donovan Lee and tight end Dylan Keeney, giving CU yet another red zone opportunity. The Buffs then came up empty – again – against the 4th-worst red zone defense in the nation. On fourth-and-goal at the two, yet another low snap caused Cade Apsay to fall on the ball at the seven. Ball turned over on downs on a play which never had a chance to develop.

The Buffs’ defense was done at that point. Washington State marched up the field with little opposition, with the Cougars settling for a 37-yard field goal after chewing up 72 yards of Martin field turf and almost four minutes of game clock. Four minutes remained, but the game was over.

Final score: No. 24 Washington State 27, Colorado 3

Frustration was the word of the day as the Buffs (4-8, 1-7) were officially eliminated from bowl consideration.

“It’s frustrating because we’ve worked so hard in getting over the hump,” said running back Phillip Lindsay, who led the Buffs in rushing with 78 yards. “You’ve got to have some dog in you, and we didn’t go out there with that mentality. People need to make their minds up that they’re going to have that fight in them.”

Said safety Tedric Thompson, who saw another interception yield nothing when the Buffs came up empty on fourth-and-goal:
“The fact that we didn’t come out ready to play — that’s our frustration.”

“We just couldn’t piece a drive together,” Cade Apsay said. “All the flags, false starts … we got to the red zone four or five times but couldn’t punch it in.”

Phillip Lindsay led the Buffs in rushing with 78 yards on 16 carries. Spruce had 10 catches for 120 yards, the eighth 100-yard game of his career.

Apsay, making his first start as a Buff, played relatively well, especially given his inexperience. He completed 26 of his 40 pass attempts for 238 yards, but did not have a touchdown pass and threw two interceptions. He did lead the Buffs on two potential scoring drives in the first half — but both ended on missed field goals by CU kicker Diego Gonzalez.

“We had our opportunities to win this game and we didn’t,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Somehow, we’ve got to fix it. We’ve got to do a better job coaching and getting them ready.”

Game Notes …

– The only stat worth noting … Washington State was 5-for-5 in red zone opportunities, scoring 27 points. Colorado was 1-for-3 in the red zone (against a defense ranked 112th in red zone percentage defense), coming away with three points;

– Except for this stat … Washington State had 11 drives on the evening. All 11 made it into Colorado territory;

– Two Buffs earned their first career starts, quarterback Cade Apsay and defensive lineman Jase Franke. Apsay became the 11th freshman (and 5th red-shirt freshman) to start a game at quarterback for Colorado;

– Colorado was kept out of the end zone for the first time since falling to Washington, 38-3, in 2012;

– Nelson Spruce made his 45th career start, breaking a tie for the most ever by an offensive player held with a pair of offensive lineman, Joe Garten (1987-90) and Bryan Stoltenberg (1992-95).



6 Replies to “No. 24 Washington State 27, Colorado 3”

  1. We need a qb kicker & oc carrell isnt that good to b starting, solis is slow, no pass rushing, op is terrible. players want to win but the coaches suck.

  2. well this was the first game that I had a chance to see since early this year . Not a Sefo hater , wished he had a chance to finish the season. But on the other hand it was good to see Apsay play . The one fumble I got to see wasn`t on him the center just didn`t get the ball to him .what ya going to do ? The O line had a night to forget but not really cause the exprience is going to be hard to forget .Tough night for them all on the offense and defense.Why it took so long to get the tight ends involved is amazing. The one thing I thought that was good was all the youth playing and it shows that talent is picking up . there may be hope for the future .Just couldn`t believe all the flags ,why the kicker couldn`t hit the field goals was a hard thing to take for the team and didn`t help at all and why couldn`t the kid kicking off try one?

  3. Apsay has played 8 straight quarters. For the record for the benefit of Sefo haters, Apsay has been sacked 12 times, thrown 3 INT’s, fumbled twice ( we recovered, but still a fumble) and taken us out of FG range four times . Sorry to say, that is TERRIBLE!!!!!

  4. This game turned on what I believe to be 2 inexcusable poor coaching decisions. First, attempting the 48-yard field goal on 4th & 5 from their 30-yard line, when your offense had some momentum. Your kicker is inconsistent at best and if you don’t make the first down wsu still would be looking at a 70-ish yard field. Then inexplicably flipping to the other extreme by choosing to go for it on 4th & 1 from your own 42, and making matters worse by lining up in an obvious run formation with the jumbo package and everyone within a few feet of the football. Why in the name of all that is good & holy would you make those decisions is beyond me. Isn’t the idea of offensive football to deceive the defense and put your players in a position to be successful? Absolutely asinine. Not sure what the answer is because I feel like I am complaining about the same things that bothered me with Hawkins & Embree. Maybe there is something to the “culture of losing” theory…

  5. Another same story is I didn’t think the Buffs would get a win, but was hoping for them to compete and make it entertaining. The red-zone offense was terrible.

    How do juniors and seniors make so many unforced penalties and poor snaps 12 games into the season? I really hope the up-and-coming OL guys can play smarter.

    Everyone is going to wonder about the lack of commitment to the running game. It was almost as if the coaches wanted to beat WSU at their own strategy. Either way their defensive line completely dominated CU, probably more than any game since ASU.

    Although the pass-happy offensive scheme really highlighted Apsay’s talent at QB. There were times were I felt he could get a pass to anyone, anytime, if only the CU receivers could hold on to the ball.

  6. Worst played game of the season when it might have been the most important. Except for Apsay, Spruce and Lindsay, the offense stunk up the place with eight of the eleven positions wasting their time whiling their time away. I hope CU wasn’t charged for the offensive line’s airline tickets because that group missed the flight to Pullman. Or I hope Coach Mac filed a missing person’s report because they sure weren’t on the field. Kudos to the defense as they showed up and played hard, vs the offense hardly playing. The OC might be a creative genius but play selection again was abhorrent. Why not attack a poor defense at it’s most vulnerable point? We won’t get an explanation from him. Time for the OC to go. Or next year the results will be similar and they’ll all go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *