BUF­FALOES UN­ABLE TO SLOW WASHINGTON GROUND GAME

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

santa clara, calif.» The open­ing kick­off sailed out of bounds. The pass in­ter­fer­ence penalty on the first play of the game brought Washington to mid­field.

From there, the Huskies made it clear their game plan in Fri­day night’s Pac-12 cham­pi­onship game would in­clude a heavy dose of smash­mouth.

Six rushes and 50 yards later, Washington had a 7-0 lead. The touch­down, which came on a 1-yard run by Lavon Cole­man, was the first score all sea­son given up by Colorado on an op­po­nents’ open­ing drive. And it was only the 11th rush­ing touch­down the Buffs had given up all sea­son.

It was also just the start of a dom­i­nant rush­ing per­for­mance by Washington. The Huskies en­tered the game be­hind the Pac-12 offensive player in the year in sopho­more quar­ter­back Jake Brown­ing. But in­stead of test­ing CU’s vaunted sec­ondary, the Huskies pounded straight ahead.

Myles Gaskin had 100 yards rush­ing be­fore the third quar­ter had ended and fin­ished with 159 yards on 29 car­ries. Cole­man also sur­passed 100 yards, with 101 on 18 car­ries. The Huskies gained 265 yards on 54 car­ries as a team.

Though the Buffs found some suc­cess ha­rass­ing Brown­ing in pass­ing sit­u­a­tions in the first half, they sim­ply had no an­swer for the Washington ground at­tack.

Mon­tez re­sponds.

When Steven Mon­tez was forced into re­lief ac­tion dur­ing CU’s game against Michi­gan early in the sea­son, the red­shirt fresh­man was clearly over­whelmed by the mo­ment.

Mon­tez couldn’t com­plete a pass in eight at­tempts that day and was un­able to read the Michi­gan de­fense.

Mon­tez re­sponded in more fa­vor­able fash­ion dur­ing an­other sud­den call to ac­tion Fri­day. In his first full drive af­ter re­plac­ing an in­jured Sefo Li­u­fau in the first quar­ter, Mon­tez led the Buffs to a game-ty­ing touch­down. The key play came on third down, when he scram­bled away from pres­sure and hit run­ning back Kyle Evans for a drive-sav­ing first down.

Phillip Lind­say ended the drive with his 16th rush­ing touch­down of the sea­son, which tied the game 7-7.

But it was as close as the Buffs would get as Mon­tez watched from the side­line in the sec­ond half.

Turnover streak ends.

As the Buffs lost their shot at a Pac-12 cham­pi­onship, they also saw their na­tion-lead­ing streak of 25 straight games with a take­away come to an end.

CU was crushed in the turnover bat­tle dur­ing the lop­sided loss. Li­u­fau threw three in­ter­cep­tions, in­clud­ing one re­turned for a touch­down, in his own ter­ri­tory. The Buffs also fum­bled twice, though they were able to re­cover both.

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