PULLMAN, Wash. – Most trips to the Palouse have been a nightmare for the Colorado football team.
Friday may have been the worst one yet.
Junior quarterback Shedeur Sanders was knocked out of the game with an injury in the first half, the Buffs gave up two defensive touchdowns and another on a kickoff return and were blown out 56-14 at Gesa Field.
CU (4-7, 1-7 Pac-12) lost its fifth in a row and fell into sole possession of last place in the conference as Washington State (5-6, 2-6) snapped a six-game losing streak and kept its bowl hopes alive.
In 2012, Colorado had a fourth-quarter rally to win 35-34 in its first-ever trip to Pullman. In four games since in this stadium, the Buffs have been outscored 152-27.
A recap of the Buffs’ loss to the Cougars:
First quarter: An action-packed quarter got started quickly. After CU went three-and-out, Washington State went on a seven-play, 65-yard drive, capped by Lincoln Victor scoring on a 15-yard run. On CU’s next possession, the Buffs got to the WSU 49, but Shedeur Sanders was hit as he tried to throw and Cougars’ edge defender Brennan Jackson picked up the ball and ran 45 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. A few minutes later, Sanders tossed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter to pull the Buffs within 14-7. The celebration from that play didn’t last long, though, as WSU’s Leyton Smithson returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Score: Washington State 21, Colorado 7.
Second quarter: CU punted on the first play of the quarter and Wazzu went on the march again. The Cougars drove 67 yards in eight plays, with Ward capping that possession with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nakia Watson on a screen pass. Later in the quarter, Sanders was knocked out of the game with an injury. WSU tacked on two more touchdowns in the last four minutes of the half. Ward scored on a 1-yard run and then added a 2-yard TD run with 57 seconds left in the half. Score: Washington State 42, Colorado 7.
Third quarter: A horrible night got even worse in the third. The teams traded punts early in the quarter and then CU came up short on a fourth down play. Four plays later, Ward tossed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Williams. Jimmy Horn Jr. then had his best return of the season for CU, a 57-yarder to the WSU 43. Two plays later, however, a pitch by Gavin Kuld to Dylan Edwards was short and Jackson was there to pick it up again. This time, he went 74 yards for a touchdown. WSU nearly scored again, but Ward fumbled out of the end zone, giving the ball back to CU on a touchback. Score: Washington State 56, Colorado 7.
Fourth quarter: Travis Hunter had a sensational catch on a 27-yard pass from Ryan Staub to set the Buffs up at the WSU 3-yard line. Four plays later, on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Sy’veon Wilkerson scored to slice a little it into the deficit. The teams traded punts again and then, with 5:42 to go, CU safety Shilo Sanders forced and recovered a Cougars fumble. That set up the CU offense at their own 48-yard line. The Buffs were unable to move the ball, however, before punting again. Washington State hit a 48-yard pass down to the CU 20-yard line with about two minutes left, but took a knee from there to run out the clock. Final score: Washington State 56, Colorado 14.
Washington State 56, Colorado 14
Colorado 7 0 0 7 – 14
Washington St. 21 21 14 0 – 56
WSU – Victor 15 rush (Janikowski kick), 8:57.
WSU – Jackson 40 fumble return (Janikowski kick), 5:14.
COLO – Hunter 45 pass from She.Sanders (Mata kick), 0:56.
WSU – Smithson 98 kickoff return (Janikowski kick), 0:43.
WSU – Watson 23 pass from Ward (Janikowski kick0, 12:08.
WSU – Ward 1 run (Janikowski kick), 3:48.
WSU – Ward 2 run (Janikowski kick), 0:57.
WSU – Williams 34 pass from Ward (Janikowski kick), 6:10.
WSU – Jackson 74 fumble return (Janikowski kick), 5:23.
COLO – Wilkerson 1 run (Mata kick), 11:48.
First downs 15 22
Total net yards 255 469
Rushes-yards 41-91 32-127
Passing 164 342
Comp-Att-Int 12-27-1 20-33-0
Punt returns 1-10 1-2
Kickoff returns 5-130 1-98
Interceptions ret. 0-0 1-10
Sacked-yards lost 5-28 3-29
Punts 9-45.1 5-45.4
Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-2
Penalties 5-50 6-51
Time of possession 29:38 30:22
RUSHING – Colorado, Wilkerson 13-49, Edwards 7-42, Hankerson 7-31, Staub 6-(minus 2), Kuld 3-(minus 3), Sanders 5-(minus 26). WSU, Watson 8-47, Paine 5-29, Ward 10-27, Victor 1-15, Mateer 3-10, Schlenbaker 3-3, Team 2-(minus 4).
PASSING – Colorado, Sanders 6-10-0-86, Staub 5-14-0-56, Kuld 1-3-1-22. WSU, Ward 18-30-0-288, Mateer 2-3-0-54.
RECEIVING – Colorado, Hunter 4-82, Weaver 3-41, Wilkerson 2-29, Horn 2-13, Miller 1-(minus 1). WSU, Kelly 6-130, Victor 5-49, Williams 3-46, Hernandez 2-77, Watson 1-12, Mathers 1-6, Johnson 1-6, Paine 1-5.