Cougars carve up Buffaloes 31-7

Quarterback Gardner Minshew threw for 335 yards, scored three total touchdowns in victory



WSU lines up against University of Colorado on Saturday at Folsom Field.

JOHN SPELLMAN, Evergreen reporter

Each week that No. 8 WSU football steps on the field, more eyes will be tuned in to see if the Cougars are a team that deserves to be in the national championship conversation. The team traveled to Boulder on Saturday to take on University of Colorado and might have gained more believers after a 31-7 victory.

Despite the increased attention on the Cougars, redshirt sophomore linebacker Jahad Woods said the team is just taking it one week at a time and not worrying about what they can’t control.

“We need to stay focused,” he said. “All of the coaches tell us to block out all the noise and that’s what we do.”

Early in the game, the Cougars (9-1, 6-1) were unable to get much going on offense in their first few drives, with the first one resulting in a three and out and the second one ending in a turnover on downs.

Unfortunately, after a quick first drive, the Buffaloes came driving down the field on a 64-yard run from senior running back Travon McMillian that took them all the way down to the WSU 3-yard line. McMillan would punch it into the end zone on the next play to give Colorado a 7-0 lead.

However, the third offensive drive for the Cougars showed some improvement, leading to a 39-yard field goal from redshirt freshman kicker Blake Mazza to cut the Buffaloes lead to 7-3.

WSU kept up the offensive pressure on the next drive, as they went all the way down the field before quarterback Gardner Minshew II threw a pass to freshman running back Max Borghi. The Colorado native would do the rest as he took the pass and weaved through the Colorado defense for the 28-yard touchdown to give WSU a 10-7 lead.

That was all the scoring in the first half, as swirling winds forced several of Minshew’s throws to be a little errant.

The second half opened up with Colorado receiving possession of the football. However, that drive lasted only two plays as Woods stripped the ball from McMillan and the Cougar defense recovered it. This gave WSU the ball at the Colorado 30-yard line.

Minshew and company were able to capitalize on this opportunity when the graduate transfer threw a 1-yard touchdown to redshirt sophomore receiver Renard Bell.

The Cougar defense kept a stranglehold on the Colorado offense, giving the WSU offense multiple opportunities to put more points on the board.

Head Coach Mike Leach’s team kept firing on all cylinders and even though Minshew was not his sharpest throwing the ball, he still was effective extending plays in the pocket. Minshew even ran the ball for a 10-yard touchdown to open the fourth quarter to put the Cougars up 24-7.

The WSU defense kept the Buffaloes offense at bay and with Colorado driving down the field, Woods forced another fumble that was recovered by sixth-year linebacker Peyton Pelluer.

That turnover led to a 3-yard touchdown run from redshirt junior running back James Williams to put WSU up 31-7 with three and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars would get one more turnover when freshman defensive back Kedron Williams intercepted a pass to put the game away and give WSU the victory over the Buffaloes.

WSU won in impressive fashion, dominating on both sides of the ball. Minshew finished with 335 passing yards and three total touchdowns to lead the Cougars on offense.

After Colorado scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Cougar defense did not give up another point the rest of the game.

“It’s a huge win, any win on the road in our conference is hard,” Leach said. “In this conference, we have no below average opponents, they are all above average opponents. It is tough to win.”

WSU has two games remaining this season, both of which will be at Martin Stadium. The Cougars will host University of Arizona next Saturday and then University of Washington on Nov. 23.