PULLMAN – Everything you need to know and more from Washington State’s second shutout win of the season – a 28-0 rout of the Colorado Buffaloes.
Shutouts don’t happen often in college football, but they’re happening once every four games for WSU this season. The Cougars have pitched multiple in the same season for the first time since 1981. That season, they beat Pacific 31-0, Oregon State 23-0 and Cal 19-0.
You’ll also find it remarkable that before Saturday, WSU hadn’t shut out a Pac-12 opponent since 1994 when the Cougars blanked UCLA.
The Buffaloes hadn’t been shut out in a football game since 2012 and the Cougars held their foe to 174 yards of total offense, 94 passing yards, 80 rushing yards and two yards-per-carry. All four were the lowest totals of the season for Colorado.
Another interesting note, from the Boulder Daily Camera’s Brian Howell. The Buffaloes ran 34 of their 74 plays in Washington State territory, but couldn’t score and gained just 46 yards on those snaps.
The Buffs were also just 1-of-17 on third down.
The Cougars’ defensive coordinator was hesitant to give his unit too much praise up to this point, but gave them props after a record-breaking night in Pullman. “I guess it’s safe maybe eight games in to actually give them some credit,” Alex Grinch said. “Just their resiliency in those moments, just an utter lack of frustration or wide eyed at all when they’re asked to respond to some of those things. Obviously very, very pleased. It’s hard to do what the kids did tonight.”
Grinch had to perk up when he saw that the Cougars were ranked No. 7 nationally in total defense. It’s been awhile since that’s happened. How long? Yeah, don’t know. Will check with the SIDs and get back to you on that…
Colorado running back Phillip Lindsay had racked up 466 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns in the two games before this one, but he was held in check by the Cougars, who kept Lindsay out of the end zone for the first time this season and didn’t let him break 100 yards on the ground.
But Lindsay only needed five yards to reach 1,000 on the season and he got that done on CU’s first offensive drive. “I said it to a couple of you guys this week, there’s probably not a back we have more respect for,” Grinch said. “And I grabbed him at the end of the game and it’s not just saying it. I think he’s a talented kid and a fun back to watch when you’re not playing against him.”
By a few different measures, it was statistically one of the worst games Luke Falk has played in a WSU uniform. The Cougars signal-caller had never completed fewer passes in a game (17) and matched the fewest attempts in his career (34).
But even on his roughest nights, Falk manages to break Pac-12 Conference records. On Saturday, he leapt Marcus Mariota for total offense (13,041) and jumped Sean Mannion for the most career attempts by a Pac-12 QB (1,860).
Falk also became the WSU quarterback with the most career wins, passing Jason Gesser with his 25th victory. Gesser even enjoyed seeing that happen.
Falk even ran a little bit in the Cougars’ fourth conference win. He rushed for a career-high 41 yards and had the longest single run of his career – a 16-yarder in the first half. “It was good, just kind of the holes opened and I felt like I had 4.4 speed back there at times,” Falk said. “It was good stuff, we just executed. … (Leach) did call me the slowest quarterback in the country at one time.”
The Cougars senior signal-caller was delighted to be able to get freshman receiver Tay Martin the first touchdown of his career. Sophomore wideout Brandon Arconado also had his first, an 18-yarder in the second quarter. That was also just the second reception of Arconado’s WSU career.
Hercules Mata’afa added one more tackle-for-loss to his season total, which is now at 13. That number leads the Pac-12 Conference.
Jamal Morrow finished the game with 101 all-purpose yards, upping his career total to 3,844 and moving past Shaumbe Wright-Fair for third-most in school history.
It all amounted to the worst offensive game Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre had seen in his time at the helm of the program in Boulder. Said MacIntyre afterward: “It was definitely a poor, poor performance – especially offensively. That was the worst offensive performance I think we’ve had since I’ve been a coach here. We’ve had a lot of bad performances our first couple of years since didn’t have as much talent; but today was really poor.”