BUFFALOES UNABLE TO SLOW WASHINGTON GROUND GAME
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.
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.