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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.

Get­ting tricky.

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 in­jured.

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.

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