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Buffs Trip Cougs, Apple Cup Looms

The Colorado Buffaloes used a quarterback/running back combination to rush for 250 yards and power through the Cougs in Boulder 38-24.  In the first ranked matchup the Cougs have had since early October, they were looking to make a statement and come away from the high altitude with their biggest win of the season over the tenth rank buffaloes.

On the first drive of the game for the Buffaloes, quarterback Sefo Liufau drove the Buffs down the field in 10 plays giving the ball to the back Philli Lindsay in the last 3 plays to gather up 34 yards as Colorado took the early 7-0 lead.  The Cougs answered back the following drive when Falk found Robert Lewis from 15 yards out to tie the game at 7.  The next drive for WSU, Falk threw a nice ball over the shoulder of Jamal Morrow and he took it in for the 46 yard touchdown completion to put the Cougs up seven at the end of the 1st.

Just when the Cougs looked like they had found their stride, the Buff defense tightened up. Colorado tied up the game early in the second on a quarterback keeper from Sefo Liufau.  The Cougs took a 17-14 lead into the locker room.  The Cougs seemed to be just be a little off this game.  Luke Falk finished under fifty percent passing for the first time in his college career, and they just didn’t seem to have control of the game like they did for most of the year.  The Pac-12 all time leader in catches, Gabe marks dropped an easy touchdown in the first half, and also misread a fade pass for another touchdown which could have had something to do with the thin air.  “I didn’t think we consistently did our job on offense, defense, either one,” Coach Mike Leach said following the game. “There were some key downs that they rose to better than we did.”

In the second half, the Buffaloes took control and put together long drives, and controlled most of it on the ground.  They took the lead on their first drive of the second half when Liufau rushed the ball for 16 yards and 7 yards respectively to put the Buffaloes up 21-17.  The Buffaloes cruised from there, with no punts in the 2nd half and the thin air of Colorado appeared to tire both the offense and defense of WSU out.   Midway through the 4th Philli Lindsay had a 13 yard rush that put the Buffaloes up 38-24 and put the game out of reach for the Cougs.  “I think we definitely missed some opportunities early on,” Luke Falk said after the game.  “We gotta look at the film tomorrow, and move on.” 

In the grand scheme of things, the loss doesn’t hurt the Cougs, because they have the chance to win the Pac-12 north and play for the Pac-12 championship with a win against the Huskies on Friday in the Apple Cup.  It seemed to me that the Cougs may have been looking ahead to the Apple Cup and if they play the Buffs in the Pac-12 championship in Palo Alto, the game will go better for the Cougs.

 

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Shafer Murray

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