Colorado's win against Washington State puts Pac-12 South title within reach
Coming into this season, Colorado had finished at the bottom of the Pac-12 South in every year it’s been in the Pac-12.
After Saturday’s 38-24 win against Washington State, the Buffaloes have a chance to be Pac-12 South champions.
No. 10 Colorado is in control of the Pac-12 South, but hasn’t clinched the title just yet. However, if USC loses to UCLA later in the evening, the Buffs will be headed to the Pac-12 title game. If USC wins, the Buffs will need to beat Utah at home next week to be crowned champions.
“Wow, we came a long way. We’ve come a long way,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We’ve got another one. Our goal is Pac-12 champs and these guys are amazing.”
On Saturday, Colorado looked like a top team. It scored on its opening drive and then fought back from a touchdown deficit in the second quarter. Washington State actually took a 17-14 lead into the second half after the Buffs had a badly missed field goal.
Coach Mike MacIntyre said he told his team at halftime that they don’t lose on their home field — they haven’t so far this season — and that seemed to inspire the Buffs. They scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half thanks to quarterback Sefo Liufau, who had three touchdowns on the day. However, Washington State took the lead back with a 7-yard Luke Falk touchdown pass to John Thompson late in the third quarter.
But that’s when the Buffs’ defense started to come alive. On Washington State’s next four possessions, the Buffs forced a turnover on downs, a punt, a fumble and an interception. The Buffs’ passing defense, which is the best in the Pac-12, held Washington State quarterback Luke Falk to 325 passing yards, which is his second-lowest output in the last five games. Falk’s three passing touchdowns also tied his lowest scoring in the last five games and his interception late was only his second in the last five games.
While the Colorado defense was holding Washington State’s offense to 462 total yards (that’s low for the Cougars), the Colorado offense scored on three of their final five possessions to seal the game.
Colorado’s turnaround is almost unprecedented because no one believed it would happen. The team was picked to finish last in the division again since the Buffs only had five conference wins in five Pac-12 seasons coming into this season. Colorado hasn’t won a division title since 2005 when Gary Barnett was head coach — three coaches ago. But now it’s on the verge of completing one of the feel-good stories in all of college football.
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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter! Follow @YahooDrSaturday