BUFFS SECONDARY HAS NO ANSWERS FOR COWBOYS STAR
san antonio» Chidobe Awzuie could have big games ahead in the NFL.
But the Colorado senior cornerback, who appeared to be hampered by a turf toe injury Thursday night, had a first half to forget against another player destined for the next level.
Oklahoma State junior wide receiver James Washington had a monster performance in the Alamo Bowl, piling up seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone, helping the Cowboys build a 17-0 lead.
This week, Washington and Cowboys junior quarterback Mason Rudolph announced that they would be back for their senior seasons. Washington came into the bowl game against CU with 62 receptions this year for 1,209 yards, an eye-popping average of 19.5 yards per catch.
“Does that mean they get to play in the bowl game? Or are you going to hold them out for next year?” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre jokingly asked Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy after the return of Washington and Rudolph was brought up at a joint news conference this week.
“We’re still going to sign them up for the bowl game,” Gundy replied.
“Aw, shucks,” MacIntyre said, drawing laughs.
There was no laughter from the Buffs as Washington peeled off one big play after another Thursday night.
His biggest catch was a 42-yard grab on a fly pattern in the second quarter — which came when he ran past Awuzie — that set up an Oklahoma State touchdown. Awuzie appeared to be battling a foot injury throughout the first half.
The numbers for Washington could have been even bigger had he not dropped a would-be deep touchdown pass in the first half that bounced off his hands.
The extended preparation for bowl games can often produce some inventive additions to game plans.
Colorado broke out a new wrinkle on a third-and-1 play in the first quarter near midfield. With quarterback Sefo Liufau in a shotgun formation, wide receiver Jay MacIntyre motioned across the field. He stopped his run when he reached center Alex Kelley, then quickly crouched down and took a quick snap. He burst ahead for 1 yard to pick up the first down.
But the gadget play didn’t pay off. Chris Graham missed a 47-yard fieldgoal attempt at the end of the drive, and CU finished the first quarter trailing 3-0.
Oklahoma State added its own trickery in the second quarter — with better results. Facing second-and-7 at CU’s 34-yard line, Rudolph threw a lateral pass to running back Chris Carson. Carson then threw a screen pass back to Rudolph, who had a wall of blockers set up in front of him and gained 27 yards down to CU’s 10-yard line.
Carson ran in for a touchdown on the next play to put Oklahoma State ahead 10-0.
Liufau, CU’s recordsetting senior QB, was injured in the first half. He was knocked out of the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury after a run in the second quarter and was replaced by redshirt freshman Steven Montez.
Montez tossed a screen pass to Phillip Lindsay to help the Buffs convert a third-and-27 play on his first snap. But Montez then threw a drive-killing interception off a flea flicker on the next play, ending the final scoring threat in a miserable offensive half for the Buffs.
The Alamo Bowl’s attendance was 59,815. … In falling behind 17-0 at halftime, CU had been outscored 51-3 in its past six quarters. … Lindsay had 89 yards of all-purpose offense in the first half. … Senior tight end Sean Irwin caught his first pass of the season in the first half.