Colorado vs. Washington State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday’s matchup between the Buffaloes and Cougars.
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado
TV Broadcast: FOX
Mike Leach’s Cougars (8-2) dropped their first two games of the season, and since then it’s been nothing but a winning brand of football. Victories over Idaho, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State and Arizona set up Washington State for a home game with Cal this past weekend, and the Cougars took care of the Golden Bears, 56-21. Make that eight wins in a row.
Colorado (8-2) enters this matchup with the exact same record, but the season could have easily been without a blemish. The Buffaloes had an early lead on Michigan in Ann Arbor before falling, 45-28. And Mike MacIntyre’s team fell on the road to USC, 21-17. Since that loss to the Trojans, though, Colorado has strung together four consecutive wins over Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona.
The all-time series between Wazzu and the Buffaloes isn’t extensive, but Colorado holds the advantage, 5-4. However, last year’s meeting in Pullman went to the Cougars, 27-3.
What To Know About Colorado
The Buffaloes needed a big game from Sefo Liufau, and he gave it to them in the win over the Wildcats. Liufau hit on 19-of-27 passes for 213 yards, three touchdowns and a pick. Two of those scores were reeled in by Shay Fields, who finished with six grabs for 108 yards. Liufau’s other touchdown was caught by Jay MacIntyre, who caught three passes for 50 yards.
Liufau also ran for a touchdown and 56 yards on 17 carries, but it was Phillip Lindsay who really hurt Arizona on the ground. The Colorado halfback picked up 119 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.
What to Know About Washington State
Luke Falk had a pretty nice connection working with River Cracraft in the win over Cal. Falk completed 36-of-50 passes for 373 yards, five touchdowns and an interception. And Cracraft was on the receiving end of three of those scoring strikes. Cracraft finished with nine receptions for 87 yards before he left the game with a torn ACL. He’ll unfortunately miss the rest of the season, effectively ending his Wazzu career. Gabe Marks ended up with seven catches for 87 yards, two touchdowns and a couple of records broken. Marks broke the Pac-12 record with his 295th career reception and the Washington State school record with 3,217 career receiving yards.
Not all of the work was done through the air, though. Gerard Wicks was given nine carries, and he took off for 128 yards and a touchdown. James Williams added 80 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and Jamal Morrow tacked on 33 yards on six attempts.
Offense: Washington State – Even without Cracraft, Falk has been dropping dimes to Marks and Tavares Martin Jr., all while the running game has been solid with Morrow, Wicks and Williams.
Defense: Colorado – The Buffaloes are No. 9 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 17.9 points per game.
Special Teams: Washington State – Robert Taylor has already returned one kick back for a touchdown. He and Martin are dangerous in the return game.
Coaching: Washington State – The Cougars are riding an eight-game winning streak. Clearly, Mike Leach knows what he’s doing.
Matchup To Watch
Luke Falk vs. Sefo Liufau
This game will be decided by whichever quarterback steps up when the game is on the line. Falk has been playing at a high level, but Liufau has had his moments, too. If Falk can convert on third downs and keep the Wazzu drives going, the Cougars will march down the field and convert in the red zone. For Liufau, he has to hurt Washington State with his legs and his arm. If he does that, gets the Cougars off balance, then Colorado will be in a position to win.
Spread: Colorado -4
Colorado vs. Washington State Prediction
Yeah, I’m not buying the -4 spread in Colorado’s favor. Even without Cracraft, Falk has more than enough weapons to get the job done. He’ll hook up with Marks twice for touchdowns in this one, and Martin will also come up with a touchdown reception. Wicks and Morrow will do most of the damage in the running game, but Williams will be the one who sneaks into the end zone first. Liufau will do all he can, but the Buffaloes will turn the ball over a couple of times, and Wazzu will end up winning a nail biter.
Colorado vs. Washington State Score Prediction: Washington State 35, Colorado 33