BOULDER, Colo. – Washington State’s magical season continued Saturday 5,000 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains.
The 10th-ranked Cougars played a complete game on defense, forcing three turnovers in the second half and quarterback Gardner Minshew accounted for three touchdowns and 335 passing yards as WSU rolled over the Buffaloes 31-7 at Folsom Field.
WSU, ranked No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings, won for the sixth consecutive time and improved to 9-1 and 6-1 in Pac-12 Conference play. CU lost its fifth straight game, falling to 5-5 and 2-5 in league play.
The Cougars missed on two early opportunities to score touchdowns, twice moving the ball inside Colorado’s 20-yard line. WSU turned the ball over on downs the first time, then squeezed out a 39-yard field goal from Blake Mazza on the second.
By that point, though, the Buffaloes were already in front. CU took its first and only lead on the game after Travon McMillian’s big run up the middle netted the Buffs 64 yards. McMillian capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
But the Cougars took the lead for good early on in the second quarter when Minshew threw a swing pass to Borghi, who scooted to the sideline and eluded a few Buffalo defenders before stomping into the end zone for a 28-yard score.
Both offenses were stagnant the rest of the half and WSU went into the locker room at halftime with a 10-7 lead.
Colorado got the ball to open the second half, but the Buffaloes didn’t hold onto it long. WSU linebacker Jahad Woods stripped the ball from McMillian and Peyton Pelluer hopped on it, giving the Cougars possession on the 32-yard line.
Minshew and the offense made short work of CU on the ensuing drive, and the WSU QB completed passes to three different receivers before going to Renard Bell on a quick out route on the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown.
The Cougars continued to pour it on.
A screen pass from Minshew to Patmon netted WSU 48 yards and the Cougars’ QB scored five plays later, scrambling for a 10-yard touchdown that made it 24-7.
WSU’s defense followed with its second turnover of the half when Rush linebacker Willie Taylor III forced CU’s star receiver, Laviska Shenault Jr., to fumble on the 32-yard line. Seven plays and 56 yards later, the Cougars were back into the end zone on a 3-yard rushing touchdown from James Williams.
The Buffaloes eventually pulled Montez from the game with less than four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. The Buffaloes finished with fewer than 300 yards of total offense after being shut out in Pullman 28-0 last season.
CU backup quarterback Sam Noyer was intercepted by WSU nickel Kedron Williams with 2:11 to play, giving the Cougars their third turnover of the game – a season-high. – Theo Lawson/The Spokesman-Review
Oh, and this happened after the game:
4:14 – CU 7, WSU 0: The Buffaloes strike first on a quick three-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.
After stopping the Cougars on fourth down, CU scored in just 48 seconds behind running back Travon McMillan.
McMillian ran for 64 yards to get the ball down to the WSU 3 and punched it in a play later to give the Buffs the lead.
The Cougars came up empty on 4th-and-2 from the Colorado 20 to turn the ball over to CU. WSU went three-and-out on its first drive.
13:37 – CU 7, WSU 3: Blake Mazza splits the uprights with a 39-yard field goal to get the Cougs on the board.
WSU picked up two big third downs on the drive to get deep into Colorado territory for the second time in the game.
James Williams picked up 14 yards on a catch-and-run on 3rd-and-2 early in the drive before Tay Martin burned man-to-man coverage with a 23-yard reception on 3rd-and-4 from the 50.
8:31 – WSU 10, CU 7: Max Borghi’s solid return to Colorado continues as he hauls in a swing pass from Gardner Minshew and scampers 28 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.
Borghi, who was raised in Colorado, is now up to 65 total yards (31 rushing, 34 receiving).
Minshew, who struggled with his accuracy early, is starting to find his rhythm and is up to 135 yards passing. He made a pinpoint throw to Jamire Calvin for a 17-yard completion down the sideline that was initially ruled incomplete. On review, the call was overturned because Calvin was able to drag his left toes before stepping on the sideline with his right foot.
During the drive, CU linebacker Nate Landman was ejected for targeting after he hit Minshew in the earhole when the WSU QB was falling after a short run.
14:26 – WSU 10, CU 7: The Cougars open the second half on defense and quickly force their first turnover of the game.
WSU linebackers Jahad Woods and Peyton Pelluer combined to wrap up CU running back Travon McMillian at the line of scrimmage before Woods ripped the ball away from McMillian and Pelluer recovered it at the Colorado 32.
10:56 – WSU 17, CU 7: Washington State capitalizes on the takeaway with 1-yard touchdown pass from Gardner Minshew to Renard Bell.
Bell kept the drive alive a play prior to the TD when he fell on Max Borghi’s fumble about a foot from the goal line.
Minshew completed all four of his pass attempts on the 32-yard drive.
4:20 – WSU 17, CU 7: For the third time this game, the Cougars come up empty on fourth down.
On 4th-and-2 from the CU 25, Gardner Minshew threw incomplete to Dezmon Patmon near the goal line.
Earlier in the drive it looked as though WSU was going to need to punt the ball away from their own 35 after failing to convert a third down. However, Colorado’s Aaron Maddox was called for taunting after his tackle and the Cougs picked up 15 yards.
14:21 – WSU 24, CU 7: Gardner Minshew may have just had his Heisman moment as he scrambles for a 10-yard touchdown.
The quarterback darted right out of the pocket, eluded a would-be tackler at the 3-yard line and jumped inside the pylon for his third rushing TD of the season.
A 48-yard screen pass on the second play to Dezmon Patmon of the drive got WSU inside the CU 30.
Minshew is now up to 277 yards passing and 26 yards rushing for the game.
3:46 – WSU 31, CU 7: James Williams finishes a 13-play, 68-yard drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown for Washington State.
The Cougars ate up 6:24 on the drive, converting three 3rd downs.
Williams is up to 103 total yards (60 rushing, 43 receiving) for the game.
The Cougars will be wearing all crimson and gray for today’s game in Boulder. WSU will feature gray helmets, white tops with crimson numbers and pants.
The Buffaloes will sport a silver and black look for the game. CU will wear silver helmets and pants with black tops.
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