It took a little longer than expected, but the Washington State Cougars (4-3, 1-3) finally found their first conference win in 2019, routing the Colorado Buffaloes (3-4, 1-3) by a score of 41-10. The Cougs came back to their winning ways after over a tumultuous month that included three straight conference losses, the departure of Defensive Coordinator Tracy Claeys, and the absence of breakout senior Wide Receiver Brandon Arconado. CSN photographer Jack Ellis was in Martin Stadium capturing the games biggest moments and plays.
Freshmen Hank Pladson (51) and Rocky Katoanga (45) hone in during warmups prior to the matchup against PAC 12 South opponents Colorado. Pladson has seen some playing time in 2019 as the backup to Jahad Woods, who has missed parts of games due to injury.
Captain Renard Bell (9) stares down the Buffaloes leaders while sporting a Joker-esque facemask.
Senior Quarterback Steven Montez (12) slides for a minimal gain after the pocket collapsed thanks to pressure from a revitalized WSU D-line. Montez was benched after throwing 2 INTs in the first half, throwing for just 129 yards on 30 attempts.
Runningback Max Borghi (21) stares down a defender as he races into the endzone, his second of the game. Borghi’s TD tally jumped to nine, quickly approaching his 2018 total of 12 scores.
Skyler Thomas (25) enjoyed his return to the Safety position after an experiment at Nickleback went foul. Thomas had the first turnover of the evening in the first quarter, leading to a quick score putting the Cougs up 14-3 early.
Justus Rogers (37) applies pressure to CU Quarterback Steven Montez, forcing an incomplete pass and a crucial third down in the WSU redzone. The Cougar D tightened significantly inside their 40-yard line, forcing the Buffs to attempt field goals on their first three possessions.
The Cougars had some questionable play calling in the redzone, two times electing to attempt consecutive passes within the 5-yard line. Tay Martin (1) leaps for a pass that is overthrown, leading to a field goal towards the end of the first half.
The Buffs are officially on their own three-game losing streak, falling to Arizona and Oregon prior to Saturday’s matchup in Martin Stadium. WSU now holds a 7-6 series advantage against Colorado, and a three game win streak dating back to 2016.
Max Borghi (21) continues to be a production workhorse. The sophomore accounted for 162 yards from scrimmage, and led the team with 9 receptions. Borghi completed his third 100-yard rushing game of 2019, a rare feat for a Mike Leach runningback.
Punter Oscar Draguicevich III (94) saw limited action in the high scoring contest, but he made the most out of his kicks, averaging 46.25 yards. Draguicevich III had a career long in the final minutes, a 62-yarder that got a good bounce and kept on rolling.
The return of inside receiver Brandon Arconado (19) did not disappoint. The senior from Chino Hills, CA led the receiving corps with 109 yards on just 5 receptions.
Travell Harris (5) puts the moves on a Colorado player. The WSU WR corps averaged 10.5 yards per reception, a dangerous stat for opposing defenses.
The one bright spot in an otherwise dreary night for Colorado was the performance of future NFLer Laviska Shenault (2). Shenault was the leading receiver for the Buffs, and also scored a rushing touchdown in the wildcat formation.
Sophomore Travell Harris (5) has continued his duties as kick/punt returner, accompanied by fellow receiver Rodrick Fisher. The unit is young and promising, but have yet to be a major impact thus far into the season.
Quarterback Anthony Gordon (18) only knows one thing: Finding the endzone. Through just seven games, Gordon already ranks no. 11 all-time in TD passes thrown by a WSU QB. The senior had another productive night, throwing for 369 yards on 68.6% accuracy.
Once the fate of the game was effectively sealed, the future of the WSU defense has their time to shine under the stadium lights. Sophomore Dallas Hobbs (98), true freshman Cosmas Kwete (96) and freshman Trey Davis (31) apply pressure in the forth quarter.
Cornerback Marcus Strong (4) intercepted backup QB Blake Stenstrom on his first passing attempt of the night, taking it back to the Colorado 6-yard line. Strong was called for a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct, giving fans flashbacks to his Pick-6 that was taken away from a soft taunting penalty in the 2018 Alamo Bowl.
Anthony Gordon was sacked just once on the night, thanks to another solid performance from the WSU O-line.
Mike Leach and CU coach Mel Tucker shake hands after the 41-10 beatdown in Pullman. Tucker is in his first year in Boulder and will likely be fighting for bowl eligibility come November.
Final Thoughts: This game was exactly what the doctor ordered. Being at home for the first time since September, against a marginal Colorado program with their own myriad of problems, gave this team the confidence they needed to take on the remaining schedule at hand. Despite the recent concerns about the trajectory of the 2019 season, the Cougars are only two wins away from bowl eligibility and have see significant improvement in just a few short weeks. The PAC 12 has been so inconsistent this year that hell, we may still have a chance to make a run at it all. Go Cougs!
Want more Sights from the Field? Check out my previous posts!
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football @ Utah Utes Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs UCLA Bruins Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: Advocare Texas Kickoff Special Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs UNC Bears Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs NMSU Aggies Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: Crimson and Gray Spring Game Edition
2018 Sights from the Field: Valero Alamo Bowl Special Edition