Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 54° Clear

2 Minute Drill: WSU’s keys to victory against Colorado

Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau should test Alex Grinch’s Washington State defense on Saturday. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau should test Alex Grinch’s Washington State defense on Saturday. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Keep an eye on …

With River Cracraft out for the season with a leg injury, sophomore Kyle Sweet and senior John Thompson will see their roles increase substantially. The two will likely be called upon to split up Cracraft’s reps at the Y-receiver position, which is called upon to make intermediate distance catches in critical situations such as third down. Sweet is speedy and Thompson runs precise routes. Together they will need to make up for Cracraft’s all-around ability to keep the Air Raid humming.

When WSU has the ball …

This will be the ultimate test of WSU’s emerging ground game. The Cougars have run the ball at will in games when they have been much better than the opposition – running for more than 200 yards in blowouts of Idaho, Oregon and California. The Cougars will need the running backs to show up like that against the Buffaloes, who have one of the country’s best passing defenses. If WSU can run the ball effectively on Saturday, it will soften up the pass defense considerably.

When Colorado has the ball …

The Cougars have been fortunate to face fewer mobile quarterbacks in 2016, and those they have faced have not been great passers. But Sefo Liufau, who grew up in the Tacoma area, will test Alex Grinch’s defense. Liufau runs the ball often and effectively, and is one of the Pac-12’s more efficient passers. What’s more, he has a weapon in wide receiver Shay Fields who other teams have to respect.

Did you know?

Saturday’s matchup will pit two of the most dominant teams in the country when it comes to the pregame coin flip. The Buffaloes have won all but one toss this season, and the Cougars have won all but two.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.