The Washington State Cougars (9-1, 6-1) continued their improbable PAC-12 Championship run on the road with a second half blowout of the Colorado Buffaloes (5-5, 2-5) in Folsom Field. CSN photographer Jack Ellis made the trip to Boulder, CO capturing the game’s biggest moments and plays.
Outside Linebacker coach Matt Brock, running his unit through drills in warmups before kickoff. Linebackers Dominick Silvels (20) and Willie Taylor III (27) are among the young leaders in the Cougar defense that is giving up just 23.8 PPG.
The Cougars continued their dominance of the Buffs from last November where WSU won 28-0 in Pullman. They have outscored Colorado 59-7 in the last two meetings.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew II may have started the game slow, but he eventually gave a typical Air Raid performance completing 60.3% of his passes for 335 yards and adding two scores through the air.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Travell Harris has been a pleasant addition this season to one of the most loaded WR corps the Cougars have ever seen. Harris has 21 receptions on the year for 243 yards and one touchdown. He had 3 receptions for 19 yards Saturday against Colorado.
A big question mark coming into today’s matchup was the status of star Buffalo wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. who had missed the last three games to a toe injury. Shenault Jr. played, albeit possibly not at full strength, and accounted for almost half of Colorado’s receiving yards (102 yards on 10 receptions).
Halfback Max Borghi – initially committed to Colorado back in June of 2017 – grew up just 10 minutes outside Boulder. The true freshman capitalized on his homecoming by putting the Cougars ahead with 8:31 left in the second quarter on a 28-yard catch-and-run score.
Running back Max Borghi and quarterback Gardner Minshew II trot back to the sidelines after Borghi’s touchdown run. Two newcomers to the WSU football program in 2018, Borghi and Minshew II have been pivotal in transforming a team expected to win 4 games into a College Football Playoff contender deep into November.
Linebacker Willie Taylor III (27), coming off a big week against California, hot in pursuit of Colorado quarterback Steven Montez. Taylor III had two solo tackles and recorded one of the three sacks produced by the Cougar Defense.
One of college football’s greatest traditions, the running of Ralphie, hyped up Coug and Buff fans alike going into halftime. It looked as though WSU was in for another second half battle, leading only 10-7, but a hot third quarter allowed the Cougs to run out the clock and leave Boulder with a comfortable victory.
Wide receiver Renard Bell had a relatively quiet night in terms of production, but he made one of the game’s biggest plays with a third quarter touchdown that followed a Colorado turnover on their opening drive in the second half. The score gave WSU some much-needed confidence and fueled a highly productive second half.
Senior wide receiver Kyle Sweet proved to NFL scouts that he can do more than just catch the ball in Mike Leach’s innovative “Big Gulp Left” formation. After assuming punting duties much of the previous two seasons, Sweet is truly a football renaissance man.
Minshew II showed off his athleticism by consistently extending plays when his receivers were tightly covered by Colorado’s defensive backs. Minshew II did not give up a single sack in the game, thanks in part to continual fantastic play by the Cougar O-line.
Wide receiver Dezmon Patmon once again led the Cougars in several key statistics, including team-highs 8 receptions and 103 yards. Patmon erupted for a catch-and-run of 48 yards late in the third quarter that ended in a 88-yard touchdown drive.
What can’t this guy do?! Gardner Minshew II had 26 yards rushing on 6 attempts highlighted by a 10-yard touchdown scramble late in the contest. Minshew II celebrates with Wide Receiver Tay Martin (1) and Easop Winston Jr. (8).
After finding themselves down 7-0 in the first quarter, WSU rallied for 31 straight points. Running back James Williams records his 11th touchdown of the season to top off the Cougar scoring run.
Head Coach Mike Leach has cemented himself as the favorite for PAC-12 Coach of the Year, leading the Cougars to their best start since 2002 and posting his first win at Colorado in his time at WSU. Leach boasts a 47-39 (.546). record in his 8th season in charge of Washington State football.
Washington State fans and players celebrate the ninth victory of the season with a ceremonial singing of the Cougar fight song. With a one-game lead in the PAC 12 North and the remaining regular season matchups in the friendly confines of Martin Stadium, it is safe to say that the most important games this season have yet to been played.
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