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Two minute drill: Keys to victory for Washington State against Colorado

Don’t take your eyes off …

Without Laviska Shenault Jr. on the field, senior wide receiver Juwann Winfree has emerged as a reliable target for quarterback Steven Montez and Colorado’s passing game. The fifth-year senior from New Jersey hasn’t been terribly consistent for the Buffaloes since he arrived at CU in 2014 and comes into Saturday’s game with only 51 career receptions, 693 yards and five touchdown. But his penchant for having the occasional big game should be enough to catch WSU’s eye. Winfree was the centerpiece of CU’s passing attack last week against Arizona, catching eight passes for 101 yards. He also exploded in a 2017 game against USC, with five receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

When WSU has the ball …

Tay Martin hasn’t been quite as involved in the passing game lately and the wide receiver’s numbers indicate a steep dropoff in play. It’s possible WSU’s coaches have seen the same thing, because Martin’s backup at the “X” receiver, Calvin Jackson Jr., has seen a significant increase in playing time the last two weeks and outperformed Martin in each of the last two games. Since his 119-yard, two-touchdown game against Oregon State, Martin has caught 12 passes for 39 yards and no TDs in the last three games. Jackson, meanwhile, has five receptions for 50 yards in the last two games after not appearing against Stanford.

When Colorado has the ball …

Will the Buffaloes have Shenault Jr. back from his injury? Or Jay MacIntyre? Or J.D. Nixon? Colorado’s passing numbers have taken a turn for the worst since it lost three of its top wide receivers, even if players like Winfree have pitched in here and there. That hasn’t caused the Buffaloes to abandon their plans, though, or run the ball with Travon McMillian more than they had been with the receiver trio healthy. McMillian only got 11 carries last week at Arizona and CU may elect to go to the air more often in this game, given that the Cougars rank third in the Pac-12, allowing just 131 rushing yards per game.

Did you know?

Longtime linebacker Peyton Pelluer will make school history simply by stepping onto the field for the first defensive snap. The sixth-year senior will tie the WSU record for career games played – a record that is shared by a few of Pelluer’s former teammates, wide receiver Gabe Marks and defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale, who each played in 51 games. Pelluer will break the record next Saturday at home against Arizona with his 52nd career game. If the Cougars were to win the Pac-12 North, appear in the championship game and somehow advance to the College Football Playoff, Pelluer could appear in as many as 56 games.