Saturday night was too cold for head coach Mel Tucker to wear shorts.
In a game where points were of dire importance, Washington State (4-3, 1-3) and the Mike Leach air raid offense proved too much for the Buffaloes (3-4, 1-3) to handle as the Cougars won 41-10.
The issues that have plagued Colorado during their current three-game losing streak were present again Saturday night in Pullman. Penalties, injuries, and mistakes in execution made it easy for Washington State to pick apart the Colorado defense and slow down the Buffs’ offense.
Despite a slow start and failing to pressure Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon, Colorado’s defense stepped up after the first quarter. Linebacker Davion Taylor had several tackles for loss. One came on a critical 3rd down in the second quarter, forcing a 4th and short. When the Cougars went for it the following play, Nate Landman made the stop to force the turnover on downs.
Landman also had a near interception in the second quarter followed by a key tackle for loss on 3rd down to force a Cougar punt. At times the defense looked better than last week, and they even kept Washington State out of the end zone in the second quarter. But the middle of the field remained a sweet spot for their opponent in the passing game.
Brandon Arconado had a big day for Washington State and ran slants through the soft middle of the Colorado defense at will. The senior Cougar receiver also put a move on safety Mikial Onu for a long touchdown to really put the game out of reach.
Arconado had 5 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. He was one weapon of choice for the Cougars in their fourth victory of the year.
The other was sophomore running back Max Borghi. The one time Colorado commit from Pomona High School in Arvada, CO, ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Borghi also had 9 catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 20, 2019
Colorado had a 100-yard rusher of their own for the first time since Week 1 against Colorado State: Alex Fontenot. The sophomore carried 11 times for 105 yards for the Buffaloes and was one of the only positives on the offense all night. Another somewhat promising sight was Laviska Shenault Jr.’s involvement.
Shenault appeared healthy and it was clear offensive coordinator Jay Johnson wanted to get the ball in his hands. The junior receiver threw a couple nice blocks downfield on rushes by Fontenot. Shenault also received a few snaps in wildcat formation, and carried one of those snaps for a 1st down and another for a touchdown. He made some nice catches, too, in a night that Steven Montez would rather forget.
Montez seemed off all night. He missed a throw to the end zone early looking for an open Dimitri Stanley and another one later in the game to Shenault, who had a step or two on the Washington State defender. Other throws were short or high, too, and receivers couldn’t bail him out. Montez finished the night 16-30 for 129 yards before being pulled from the game in the fourth quarter. The senior Colorado quarterback spent much of the night on the move as the Cougars were able to collapse the pocket. The pressure and Montez’s issues reading coverage led to his 2 interceptions on the evening.
An icy night couldn’t cool off the Cougars offense and it certainly kept the Colorado offense cold. Colorado failed to cross the goal line last week against Oregon, and only scored one touchdown Saturday as they lost their third straight game.
Mel Tucker and Colorado play USC (3-3, 2-1) at home next week.