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The pick: Why Washington State will beat Colorado

PULLMAN – Use “rain” and “Martin Stadium” in the same sentence and you’re sure to evoke some uncomfortable memories for Steven Montez and any other third-, fourth- or fifth-year player on Colorado’s football roster.

Most of them will shiver when they’re reminded of the Buffaloes’ 28-0 loss to the Cougars in 2017. An Alex Grinch defense held Montez to four pass completions on 13 attempts before the quarterback was finally benched after halftime. Standout Colorado running back Phillip Lindsay – now lighting it up for the Denver Broncos – totaled more rushing yards (98) than three Buffs quarterbacks had combined passing yards (94).

It’s supposed to rain on Saturday at Martin Stadium, and I believe the Cougars will create some more bad memories for the Buffaloes, but not for the same reasons. No, Colorado won’t have to worry about being blanked this time around. It could be a long while before WSU’s next Pac-12 shutout. The Buffaloes hadn’t unearthed Laviska Shenault Jr. when they previously visited the Cougars, and Montez was a less mature version of the player he is now. Colorado’s offense won’t have problems getting into the end zone.

But for as much practice as the Buffs’ defensive backs had against Shenault, Tony Brown and K.D. Nixon during fall camp, they haven’t posted the numbers to show for it, giving up more than 300 passing yards per game against six teams that don’t run Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.

Even in wet conditions, WSU quarterback Anthony Gordon shouldn’t have much trouble exceeding the 400-yard barrier for the sixth time in seven games. With “Y” receiver Brandon Arconado back in the fold, the Cougars will pick up their long-awaited first Pac-12 win.

The pick: Washington State 41, Colorado 34.

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