Washington vs. Colorado prediction and Pac-12 Championship Game preview. Projecting who wins Friday night’s title game between the Huskies and Buffaloes.
Washington vs. Colorado – Pac-12 Championship Game Preview
When: Friday, Dec. 2 – 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
TV Broadcast: FOX
They came in as a highly touted team, and the Huskies (11-1) lived up to the hype. Washington’s perfect season was ruined by USC three weeks ago, but it picked up back-to-back wins to end the regular season on a high note. After taking down Arizona State, Chris Petersen’s team claimed a win in the Apple Cup when it walloped rival Washington State last weekend, 45-17.
It was a highly successful season for Colorado (10-2) as well. The Buffaloes finished their regular season with six straight victories, and their only conference loss was on the road to USC on Oct. 8. Mike MacIntyre’s guys earned a hard-fought 27-22 win over Utah this past weekend.
The Huskies and Buffaloes will meet for the 16th time, and it’s Washington who holds the lead in the all-time series, 9-5-1. The Huskies have taken the last six meetings.
What To Know About Washington
Jake Browning finished what turned out to be an outstanding season with the win over Wazzu. The sophomore quarterback torched the Cougars for 292 passing yards and three touchdowns on 21-0f-29 passing. Browning ended up with 40 touchdown passes and 3,162 yards on 65 percent of his passes completed.
Lavon Coleman and Myles Gaskin had a big game against Washington State on the ground. Coleman took 10 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Gaskin provided 50 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
What to Know About Colorado
Sefo Liufau did it all for the Buffaloes in their win over the Utes. He connected on 23-of-44 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown. Liufau hooked up with Devin Ross nine times for 94 yards, but it was Shay Fields who caught the touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. Fields ended up with seven grabs for 78 yards.
In the running game, Liufau certainly packed a punch. He toted the rock 21 times and picked up 59 yards while breaking into the end zone once for Colorado’s only rushing touchdown. Phillip Lindsay finished with 55 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Offense: Washington – Liufau has been spectacular for Colorado, but when Browning is on, he’s Heisman caliber. Plus, he has more weapons to work with than Liufau does.
Defense: Washington – The Huskies came into the 2016 season with a stout defense, and they lived up to the hype — despite injuries to Azeem Victor and Joe Mathis.
Special Teams: Washington – Cameron Van Winkle has accounted for 111 points this season on 69-of-70 extra points and 14-of-18 field goals.
Coaching: Washington – Chris Petersen is one of the best coaches in the game, but kudos to MacIntyre for a great season.
Matchup To Watch
Jake Browning vs. Sefo Liufau
Clearly, this is the matchup to watch. This is almost like a high-profile pitching duel. You have two guys with two different styles, and whichever one performs better will greatly impact the game. Browning has been brilliant from the pocket, while also showing an ability to extend plays with his feet and keep his eyes down the field. If he protects the ball and makes smart decisions, Washington will be in great shape. As for Liufau, he needs to come up big in the red zone. If he can move the chains with both his arm and his legs, he’ll need to take it upon himself to push the ball across the goal line to keep Colorado in contention for a win.
Spread: Washington -7.5
Washington vs. Colorado Prediction
This is going to be an absolute beauty of a game. Washington is banged up on defense, and Liufau will take advantage of that by keeping drives alive by pulling the ball down and running with it. He’ll find Fields for a touchdown, but most of the Buffaloes’ offense will come from the ground game. Browning will be the X-factor here. He’ll throw for 250-plus yards and three touchdowns, and lead the Huskies to a Pac-12 championship and likely College Football Playoff berth.
Washington vs. Colorado Score Prediction: Washington 38, Colorado 31