November 10th – Boulder          No. 10 Washington State 31, Colorado 7

Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 35-of-58 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns, running for a third, leading the No. 10 Cougars to a 31-7 win over Colorado in Boulder.

The Cougars held the ball for 41:46 of game clock (to 18:14 for the Buffs), going for 477 total yards. The Buffs were held below 300 yards (297), and turned the ball over three times. Steven Montez went 20-of-35 for 199 yards, but was ineffective against the Cougar defense. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault returned for the first time in a month, collecting ten receptions for 102 yards, but had drops when the game was still in doubt, and later fumbled the ball away for the first time all season.

“Washington State is good team,” said Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre. “Minshew made some plays like he always does. I thought our guys came out and played extremely hard. I feel like if we had been able to get something going offensive, it might have been a different story.”

“We have to say on the field and convert on third downs,” said Montez (the Buff offense was 2-for-11 on third down conversions). “I think we are struggling in the third down area. We had opportunities in this game to keep those drives going but we have to do a better job executing.”

The loss was the fifth in a row for a CU team which had opened the season 5-0. When asked about the tailspin, coach MacIntyre blamed injuries. “I’ve never had a season where, going into the 10th game of the year, we have nine starters out and four other significant players out”, said MacIntyre, who fell to 2-19 at CU against ranked teams. “I’ve never had that happen. Basically, more than a third of the guys that you count on to win games aren’t out there. I’ve lost two or three (key players) before, but not that many. That’s a big part of it. I haven’t gone 5-0, then gone 0-5. But that’s part of football, that’s part of life, our guys will learn from it. We’ve got one goal in mind, regroup tomorrow and find a way to beat Utah. That’s something we believe we can do. Utah believes they can beat us, we’ve just got to find a way to do it.”

Game Story … Colorado won the coin toss, deferring to the second half … and giving the nation’s leading passer, Washington State’s Gardner Minshew, the ball to open the game. The move looked liked a good one, though, after the Buff defense forced a three-and-out from the Cougar offense, giving the Folsom Field crowd of 45,587 some hope.

The Buffs couldn’t take advantage, though, punting the ball back after quarterback Steven Montez completed a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Tony Brown … on third-and-eight.

Taking over at its 15-yard line after the CU punt, the Washington State offense set off on a 14-play drive … which nonetheless netted no points. The Buffs employed a bend-but-don’t-break defense, surrendering short gains as the Cougars marched down the field.

Facing a fourth-and-two at the CU 20-yard line, Washington State head coach Mike Leach opted to go for the first down. The Gardner Minshew pass fell incomplete, leaving the game scoreless after an almost seven-minute drive.

The Buff offense didn’t need 14 plays or seven minutes to respond. On first down at the CU 20, Montez hit Laviska Shenault for 13 yards. On the next play, running back Travon McMillian went up the middle, going for 64 yards before being stopped at the WSU three-yard line. McMillian then finished the job, taking it in from three yards out to make it a 7-0 Colorado lead with 4:14 remaining in the first quarter.

After CU’s three-play, 80-yard, 48-second drive, the Washington State offense put together another double-digit play drive. Converting a third-and-two and a third-and-four along the way, the Cougar drive stalled at the CU 21 when Cougar running back was stopped by Buff Backer Davion Taylor for a two yard loss on third-and-two. Blake Mazza converted the 39-yard field goal attempt, but the Buffs still had the lead, at 7-3, early in the second quarter.

On CU’s next possession, the deficiencies along the Buff offensive line were on display. On first down, Laviska Shenault took a Steven Montez, and was brought down after a three yard gain … by offensive tackle Josh Kaiser. A play later, after a false start by the offensive line, it was third-and-eight instead of third-and-three. Steven Montez then hit Dimitri Stanley for six yards, bringing about a fourth-and-two and a punt.

The Cougars didn’t need a double-digit drive on its next possession to take the lead. Washington State drove 75 yards in only seven plays, with former CU recruit Max Borghi scoring on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Minshew to make it a 10-7 game midway through the second quarter.

The teams then traded punts the remainder of the second quarter, with the Cougars getting the better of the Buffs. While Washington State was kept out of the end zone, the Cougars did gain an advantage, with CU’s leading tackler Nate Landman being ejected from the game for targeting.

Colorado finished the first half with 131 yards of total offense (80 of those on the three-play touchdown drive), going 0-for-5 on third downs. Washington State held the ball for 20:52 of the first half clock (to 9:08 for Colorado), and had 21 plays on CU’s side of the field (the Buffs had one snap in enemy territory).

But it was still a game.

Halftime score: No. 10 Washington State 10, Colorado 7

The Buffs didn’t open the second half with yet another three-and-out … they went two-and-out.

On the second play from scrimmage, Travon McMillian was stripped of the ball, with Washington State recovering the fumble at the CU 32-yard line.

Seven plays later, it was a two score game. There was a moment of hope for the Buff Nation when Max Borghi fumbled the ball at the CU one yard line. Instead of a game-changing turnover, the ball was recovered by the Cougars, with Gardner Minshew hitting Renard Bell for a one-yard touchdown on the next play. Washington State 17, Colorado 7, less the five minutes into the third quarter.

The Colorado offense finally converted on a third down on its next possession, with Montez hitting Juwann Winfree for 27 yards. The drive then fizzled at midfield when Laviska Shenault, seeing his first action since the USC game a month earlier, dropped passes on successive plays, forcing yet another punt.

The Buff defense then forced a punt … but gave the ball right back to the Cougars. On third-and-eight at the WSU 35-yard line, Minshew hit Easop, with sophomore safety Aaron Maddox being called for a taunting penalty. Instead of punting, the Cougar offense had a first-and-ten at midfield.

Instead of folding, the Buff defense made yet another stand. Washington State drove to the Buff 25-yard line, facing a fourth-and-two. For the third time, Mike Leach went for it on fourth down, and, for the third time, was turned away. A Gardner Minshew pass to the end zone fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Buffs yet again.

The Buffs then posted their first positive plays on offense since the first quarter, with Laviska Shenault gaining 18 yards on successive plays, one on a pass from Montez, the second on a run. Across midfield for just the second time in the game, the Buffs then stalled, with three plays losing a yard, forcing Davis Price’s seventh punt of the game.

The worn out Colorado defense, which had bent all afternoon, finally broke. Washington State, which held a 391-209 advantage through three quarters (and over 30 minutes of possession time), marched 87 yards in only seven plays to put the game out of reach. Gardner Minshew did the honors himself, taking the ball in from nine yards out. Washington State 24, Colorado 7, in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

With the game out of hand, the Buff offense took the field with the goal of finding something that would work … and punted four plays later after a sack of Steven Montez.

The Buffs did get the ball back after a WSU punt, and put together their second-best drive of the game. Four of the seven Montez completions went to Laviska Shenault. The fourth reception put Shenault over 100 yards for the game … but also resulted in a fumble by Shenault, giving the ball back to the Cougars.

The score no longer mattered … except to Washington State, which needed style points for their shot at a College Football Playoff berth. Gardner Minshew, who hadn’t been held under 300 yards all season, kept passing, going over 300 yards on the drive. The 13-play, 68-yard drive was finished off with a James Williams three-yard run with 3:46 to play.

With the white flag fully raised by the Buffs, backup quarterback Sam Noyer came in … and threw an interception. Adding insult to injury, Noyer was called for targeting on the runback (although the call was reversed on review, keeping Noyer eligible for the Utah game).

The third turnover of the afternoon was a fitting way for the CU offense to leave the field for the final time in the game.

Final score: No. 10 Washington State 31, Colorado 7

“I think Washington State is a very good team,” said quarterback Steven Montez, who saw his record as the starting quarterback at Colorado fall to 12-13. “They are a very good offense and a very good defense. They played well today. I think it’s just on us executing. I think we have to do a better job executing. I think we had chances and plays that we could have made some things happen but it didn’t go our way. We just have to keep working and keep getting better.”

For a team which had visions of a Pac-12 South division title a month earlier, a five-game losing streak was difficult to fathom. “It has been tough. We obviously didn’t expect to come out here and lose five in a row,” said safety Derrion Rakestraw, pressed into duty with senior Evan Worthington still out with concussion symptoms. “Every week we are focused on turning it around. With Utah, we are going to try to turn around this losing streak and go out there and get a W.”

Game Notes … 

— With the win, Washington State tied the all-time series against series with Colorado at 6-6. The win was the first for Cougar head coach Mike Leach in five tries (including games with Oklahoma and Texas Tech);

— Injury list: Two more starters were out of the lineup for the Washington State game: (OT Frank Fillip, WR K.D. Nixon), they are the 11th and 12th to miss at least one game this season.  They join CB Delrick Abrams (1 game), OLB Jacob Callier (6), P Alex Kinney (8), WR Jay MacIntyre (2), CB Chris Miller (3), WR Laviska Shenault (3), OG Brett Tonz (1), WR Juwann Winfree (4), S Evan Worthington (2) and PKs James Stefanou and Evan Price (the last 4 between the two; counting them as one).  And this doesn’t include two likely starters ruled out for the season, OL Isaac Miller and TE Jared Poplawski, or DE Jase Franke (4 games) who rotated in on the line;

— Travon McMillian had his fourth play this season of 50 yards or longer with his 64-yard run in the first quarter; that goes with two 75-yard runs and a 57-yard reception.  He is just the fourth player at CU to have four or more plays from scrimmage in a single season that include at least one rush and one reception, joining Cliff Branch (1971), Jeff Campbell (1989) and Mike Pritchard (1990);

— Defensive end Terrence Lang had his first career start;

— Punter Davis Price had eight punts against the Cougars, six of which were fair caught; five of those were forced by wide receiver Daniel Arias, who has now forced 11 on the season, a school record topping the 10 by John Walker in 2015;

— Ronnie Blackmon had two punt returns for 28 yards, giving him 266 yards for the season, the most for a Buff since Josh Smith had 292 in 2008.

 

23 Replies to “No. 10 Washington State 31, Colorado 7”

  1. agree with the need for a new coaching staff. get it over with. there are some good candidates out there, but we need to get going now. we have some good players on campus we can keep if we are proactive. aside from the line play, we are probably better than WSU, but the lack of coaching is a glaring fault, and coupled with the injuries it showed. stuttering and stammering around about it is demeaning to the sensibilities of those who care. if this Minshew dude could have shown any level of downfield accuracy, the score would have been much, much worse. heck, he just stood back there. looking around, waiting, because he had no significant pressure. none. dang, they were going on and on about him during the broadcast: “heisman”. so that is it. we make a guy named Gardner the front runner for the big H. c’est la vie.

  2. 2:30 to go in the 3rd and facing 4th and 11 at the Wazzu 36. I realize that’s a long way, but you’re on a 4 game losing streak and your D has been on field for the whole freaking game! Punt? Coach Mac lost me on that chicken bleep.

  3. I’m not sure why everyone thinks Les Miles would be a good pick for Buffs. He was run out of LSU for never being able to field an offense.

    1. I’m sorry but WHAT!? He went 114-34 at LSU in the SE-freaking-C. LSU fired him cuz they couldn’t mentally handle being second fiddle to Bama which is hands down the most elite, dominant, and storied college football program of all time. If he had that record at CU he would be the most winning coach ever in the history of our school in this universe. Perhaps you live in an alternative universe where CU is not a third tier/bottom feeder program that would thank its lucky stars if it could ever get a coach like Miles?

  4. Boy oh Boy when I saw Mac on TV signaling with 4 fingers that it was now the 4th Qtr. a chill ran up and down my leg. Here we go Buffs!!!! Or maybe he was just signaling to the guys that the debacle was just about over. Before I get serious I have one more thought. The perfect offense for the Buffs is put 6 blockers on the line spread out either Winfree, or Shenault if he is truly ready and put 3 TE’s in the backfield with Montez. Then hike the ball and the 3 TE’s pass defend and Montez throw the ball to the one WR. That may be the only way we can have a true passing game giving the QB enough time to really pass the ball.

    Seriously the D played pretty well considering all the guys that were out of the game. Until the Buffs figure out how to have an Online that can truly play even mediocre football this is a program with enough talented FB players that can’t compete with teams that have coaches that know how to scheme, game plan and use the players available to them. hat makes it even sadder is that we really do have enough players now after some really dreadful years to compete, and yet it just doesn’t happen under this staff.

  5. In spite of the gaudy WSU passing stats I thought the DB’s played well. Problem was when minchew had time to start a campfire and barbeque some ribs before he felt any pressure the DBs were out of gas. Too many times in obvious passing situations, which is every down with Leach, we only rushed 3. Poor Javier would get double teamed into the ground and by the time one of the DEs would break clear for a shot at minchew it was time for a commercial break.
    Take the offense…please. It looks to me like the players have been totally demoralized by the lingering lindgren infection. Whenever Montez finally got on target the receivers would drop.
    If by some earthshaking, in the vegas bookeeper’s faces, miracle this team gets to a bowl the extra practices wont help the offense one stinking bit.
    I would love to be a fly on the wall of the coach’s room. Is Chev complicit in all this? Or is Mac holding him on a short leash? If you dont know can em all right after the next game of we lose to a team that has already lost its starting QB and one of the best RBs in the conference. Let Hagan put in the wishbone option with Viska and McMillan in the back field. That ought to confound the Cal DC long enough for us to get that 6th win….if even that will draw and invite.

  6. Yo Stuart,
    CU spent more than $200 Million for facilities. But Mediocre Mickey has shown that without the right coach, it makes no difference. Time for Rick George to do this part of his job. Nobody said it would be easy.

    People need to quit focusing on how much it will cost to get rid of Mickey. Think instead of how much it will cost to not get rid of him. If nothing is done, I wonder how many of the recruits will go running for the hills after watching CU lose so many games in a row.

    Save the program Mr. George. Please.

    Mark

  7. I thank Mac for making the program an organized D1 program. Since he has been here he always has looked out coached on the field. I forgave that for the first few years because the program was improving.

    It has been very obvious that he has peaked at his coaching potential with this team. I get it he won the pac12 south but that was with predominantly seniors who had to play for 4 years because there were no other players on the team. That won’t happen again. When Les Miles was fired I was begging for CU to hire him in some capacity so when this inevitable day came he would be ready to take over.

    Rick George has done a good job and I know the cost will be high but you will lose all your momentum if you delay the firing. Let’s try and be ahead of the game and get going for our replacement. Les Miles is my first choice. After that I vote Leavitt or give Tedford another chance in the pac12

  8. I miss Lindgren.

    Adams’ running scheme seems to be the equivalent of a seven step drop. It takes two pulling guards and a tight end lead blocker to make his “(moldy) bread and (rotten) butter” play work. Yes, when it is blocked perfectly it’s a home run. But what the hell is the point of running boom or bust inside run plays!?

    Let’s look on the bright side though : noyer’s hit on the defender that picked him off was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. That guy got destroyed….and the fact that he was called for targeting just made it even funnier. If anyone sees a link to that play PLEASE post it

  9. What an embarrassment. Damn…. my head is spinning from watching our offense go 3 and out over and over and over again. Our defense was on the field for 41 minutes and still hung in there. We will finish at the bottom of the Pac-12 South 5 out of the 6 years Quack Mac has been here. I say fire him NOW and place Chev as interim. Start the search before the season ends so we will have 1st dibs on a quality coach.

  10. Welp, that didn’t work. On the way home I stopped and changed the Medical MJ Blend. Working the Medicinal Malt at this time. Gonna watch some real football. Got all the tv’s going. Getting a pizza. Wifey watching some goof arse horror movie. I told her to watch real horror movies and watch the last 5 might Buff games. Told her the director and the producer were way less than mediocre but the young-un players had a lot of potential.

    Up Yur Buffalo

    Note: Montez has not improved. All that Roper watch film, and study, and work the basics and blah blah blah didn’t work. I mean its his only job. Make the QB’s better. Ah well.

    Note 2: Without a doubt no matter what happens to WacMac, Adams needs to move on. He maybe a nice coach, but he ain’t a great one.

    Note 3: Sorry but this is the Mac offense. And we have seen it the last 5 games. The Chev offense was the first 5. Disagree if you like. Don’t bother me. Chev takes a fair share of the blame but WacMac has final call on each down. Don’t lose but see if you can win. Leach ate em alive. Not a tasty meal.

    Note 4: The defense was good. The offense was bad. We seen that the last 5 games.

    Note 5: Mac used the injury card. Wonder if that Utah coach is gonna use it??

    1. Montez is just completely gun shy behind this disaster OL. Even when he gets time, he’s assuming he’s about to get laid out and he misfires.

    2. Agree about Montez. I know the oline play has been terrible, but he looks a lot like the 2017 version of not keeping his eyes down field and locking on to one receiver. Also, in this “offense” we have to have deception (throw it to the damn TE- which is always open down the middle in college football -and qb threat with his legs). I hate to say this and it frustrates the hell out of me, but the knebraska qb it 10 times the player Montez is and has no fear of injury while he is running all over the field creating plays. Montez also has the ability to make some big plays with his feet, but our coaches must believe he is just too important to risk injury.

  11. TURD.

    FLUSH THE TURD.

    I don’t want to even go into all the things wrong in that game but we sucked in every dimension. It was clear (even the announcers noticed) that the talent was about equal (if not tilted in the Buffs favor) and the coaching was the difference.

    Fire everybody and give Les Miles a call.

  12. Can we just end this? Get a jump on the coaching search. Let Hagan or Roper coach out the season. Target Leavitt, Michigan DC Don Brown, Miles or Cuse coach Dino Babers.

    1. After starting 5-0, Mac has to win one out of 7 games to become bowl eligible. That’s a winning percentage of 14 percent. He has two games left. I was steamed after the epic collapse against the Beavers and wanted to see Mac fired. After reflecting on it, I feel he should not have any excuse if he doesn’t make it. Only two more games to wait out. Either CU becomes bowl eligible or it doesn’t. If not, Mac will have had 7 chances in a row to get it done this year and 3 last year for 0-10 in clutch situations. Two 5-7 years in a row with no bowls. I think that would be enough hard evidence that he simply can’t get it done. One win and a bowl win, he is 7-6. Two wins and a bowl win, 8-5. Two wins and a bowl loss, 7-6. Even as things get tighter, Mac still has a chance to prove that he can get to a bowl and have a winning record. Do I think it will happen? No. Utah lost its QB and RB and still took care of Oregon. Their coach is tough and their team reflects it. But with only two more games, let’s see the proof from Mac one way or the other.

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