“Friday” Fast Facts – No. 12 Colorado vs. No. 20 Washington State

Getting to Know … Washington State

— Washington State, despite posting a 9-4 record in 2015, was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 North in the Pac-12 preseason media poll;

— Safe to say, the Cougars have exceeded expectations. Washington State (8-2, 7-0) is seeking to become the first school in the six-year history of the Pac-12 to run through conference play unscathed;

— The Cougars are 7-0 in league play for the first time in school history, and is seeking their first nine-game winning streak since 1930 (that WSU team won its first nine games of the season – 6-0 in Pacific Coast Conference play – before falling in the Rose Bowl … to Alabama);

— Washington State already owns a win over a top 15 team this season, taking down then No. 15 Stanford, 42-16. It was the first win for the Cougars over a top 15 team since 2003;

— Last season, Washington State spent a few weeks in the national polls. It was the first appearance in the polls for the Cougars since 2003 (you may recall that, earlier this season, the Buffs re-entered the polls for the first time since 2005);

— If you are a fan of ESPN’s College GameDay, you know that a Washington State flag is a fixture in the crowd at each venue. The streak, at 189 games after last week’s appearance in Seattle for the USC/Washington game, dates back to 2004 (ironically enough, ESPN College GameDay has never made an appearance in Pullman);

— In case you missed it, much has been made this week that Pac-12 South division-leading Colorado and Pac-12 North division leading Washington State have, over the past decade, posted the worst cumulative records in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) … CU (35-88, .285); WSU (41-82, .333)


Washington State players to watch:

Luke Falk /QB … Where to start? One of the semi-finalists for the Maxwell Award (best player) and the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback), Falk enters the week second in the nation in passing yards per game (361.0), fifth in passing touchdowns (33), with the nation’s highest completion percentage (.739). The red-shirt junior is already second in WSU history with 84 career touchdown passes (for comparison’s sake … CU senior quarterback Sefo Liufau is in position, with 59 career touchdown passes, to pass CU’s all-time leader, Cody Hawkins, who had 60);

Gabe Marks/WR … The Pac-12’s all-time receptions leader, Marks, with 295, passed the former all-time receptions leader, CU’s Nelson Spruce (294), with seven catches against Cal last weekend. Marks also holds WSU school records for touchdowns (36) and receiving yards (3,268);

Robert Barber/DL … The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Barber did not participate in the past three games for the Cougars, but the formerly expelled student-athlete was reinstated by a judge on Thursday. How significant is the return of Barber? With Barber, opponents rushed for just 2.3 yards per carry inside the tackles. During his absence, that figure rose to 4.4 yards per carry.


Colorado and Washington State – head-to-head

This will be the 10th all-time meeting between the two teams, in a series dating back to 1981. Colorado holds a 5-4 advantage overall, but the Cougars have a 3-2 advantage in games played in Boulder.

For those old enough to remember, the first meeting between the two schools was a painful one for Buff fans. In the 1981 matchup, Colorado led Washington State, 10-0, at home, with four minutes to play. The Cougars then rallied with the aid of not one, but two, blocked punts, to win, 14-10 (still hurts to think about).

The Buffs did get some redemption the next year in a game played in Spokane. Colorado head coach Bill McCartney picked up career win No. 1 with a 12-0 shutout of the Cougars.

A blocked punt – and a goal-line stand in the final minute – propelled the Buffs to a 20-12 win over the Cougars in 2004 (with the game played in Seattle).

In 2012, the teams played for the first time as members of the Pac-12. Oddly enough, the 8th game in the series was the first played between the two teams in Pullman. The Buffs prevailed, 35-34, on a last minute score in what proved to be the only win in CU’s dreadful 1-11 campaign.

Last season, the Buffs returned to Pullman to face the 24th-ranked Cougars. Washington State won, 27-3, as the Buffs struggled without Sefo Liufau, who missed the game due to injury.


Colorado and Washington State … historical

In historical terms, Colorado is one of the top 25 teams in college football history.

In historical terms, Washington State is, well, not.

Washington State is one of only two schools in the Pac-12 (Oregon State being the other) with an all-time record below .500. The Cougars are 530-544-45 (.494) all-time, coming in at 94th out of 129 FBS teams (CU, meanwhile, is 37th, with a .582 all-time winning percentage).

Washington State, as noted above, is back in the polls for the second year in a row. The Cougars, though, have not spent much time being ranked over time, however. This week marks the 132nd week in the rankings, 60th on the all-time list. Colorado, by comparison, is 26th on the list, with 298 weeks in the polls.

According to Winsipedia, there are other significant gaps between the schools:

— CU has 693 all-time wins (25th); WSU has 530 (80th);

— CU has produced 31 consensus All-Americans (19th); WSU five (63rd); and,

— CU is in contention for its 27th conference championship (the 26 former titles being 10th on the all-time list). Washington State is in contention for conference championship … number 5 (the four former titles ranking the Cougars 95th all-time).


Colorado and Washington State … Notes and Numbers

— Colorado is 3-2 record in true road games this season, the first winning record in opposing stadia since 2004. In the last eight seasons, the Buffs won four true road games … in 44 attempts;

— The 25-point victory over Arizona last weekend (49-24) was the largest road victory for the Buffs since 2005 (a 34-0 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater);

— Colorado has averaged 44,673 in attendance at home games this season. With both the Washington State and Utah games doing well in sales, the Buffs are looking to finish over 45,000 per game for the first time since 2012 (45,373);

— Over CU’s current four game winning streak, the Buff defense has held its opponents to an average of 271.0 yards per game and just 13.8 points. Opponents have converted only 27.4% (17-of-62) third down attempts during that stretch (CU is 11th in the nation in third down percentage for the season, giving up first downs just 30.7% of the time);

— Washington State wide receivers Gabe Marks and River Cracraft (out for the year with a torn ACL) are the first set of teammates in Pac-12 history with 200+ receptions apiece;

— Washington State running backs lead all Pac-12 teams with 2,299 total yards and 29 total touchdowns;

— In Pac-12 play, Washington State ranks first in the Pac-12 in both kickoff returns (24.9) and punt returns (16.1). Kaleb Fossum is the reigning Pac-12 Special Teams Player-of-the-Week, with his 75-yard punt return for a score against Cal staking the Cougars to a 7-0 lead before WSU’s offense ever took the field. Fossum’s punt return for a score was the first for Washington State since 2005.


Pac-12 Notes … 

— Washington State is 7-0 in conference play. In the first five years of Pac-12 play, no team has emerged from conference play undefeated. In the South division, only once (Arizona State, 8-1 in 2013) has the division champ emerged with fewer than two losses;

— Utah has been ranked in the first three College Football Rankings this fall. The Utes are one of only five teams nationally to have been ranked 15 or more times in the first three years of the rankings (Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State being the others);

— When Stanford fell out of the polls in October, it marked the first time since 1999 in which there was a poll without Stanford, Oregon and USC – or at least one of them – in the poll;

— The USC/UCLA game will mark the 86th meeting for the “Victory Bell”. USC leads the all-time series, 45-31-7, though UCLA has won three of the last four;

— The Stanford/Cal will be the 119th “Big Game”. The Cardinal hold a 61-46-11 lead in the series, with six straight wins overall.

Pac-12 individual leadersLuke Falk, Washington State, Passing completions per game (35.4); Hunter Dimick, Utah, Sacks per game (1.2); Takharist McKinley, UCLA, Tackles per loss per game (2.0); Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah, Punting (48.8 yards per punt);

Colorado in the Top 25 in team rankings … Passing yards allowed (10th; 176.9 ypg.); Total defense (12th; 308.4 ypg.); Scoring defense (9th; 17.9 ppg.); Turnover margin (18th; + 0.70); Team passing efficiency (25th; 149.63); Team passing efficiency defense (4th; 98.85); Sacks (18th; 2.9);

Washington State in the Top 25 in team rankings … Passing offense (2nd; 385.5 ypg.); Total offense (10th; 517.5 ypg.); Scoring offense (8th; 44.3 ypg.); Rushing defense (19th; 116.9 ypg.); Punt returns (12th; 12.65); Turnover margin (7th; +1.00); Team passing efficiency (13th; 157.51).










3 Replies to “Friday Fast Facts”

    1. The “Washington State – Preview” is your “T.I.P.S.” headline!
      The preview got bumped due to the CU basketball win and the new four-star commitment. Sometimes, you have to click on “Articles” on the front page to get to recently posted articles which have been bumped.


    So excited for tomorrow’s game. Living in NC, this is only the 3rd chance I have had to see this year’s amazing team.

    Looking forward to seeing a HUGE win! GO BUFFS!!

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