Colorado at Washington State
When and Where: Saturday, Oct. 19, Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash., 7 p.m. EDT.
Still trying to figure out its defensive adjustments, Washington State attempts to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Saturday night when it hosts Colorado in a cross-division game of Pac-12 teams.
Buffs seeking bounce-back after thrashing by DucksNothing went right for Colorado (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12 South) last time out as it was manhandled 45-3 by then-No. 13 Oregon on the road Oct. 11. Steven Montez threw four interceptions, the Buffaloes committed 14 penalties for 114 yards, and were outgained 527-299 while giving up the final 38 points of the contest.
The game swung on Montez's red zone interception -- also his first in 115 pass attempts -- late in the first half that thwarted a Buffaloes drive down 17-3. Oregon promptly marched 80 yards on six plays to extend its lead before halftime, and Montez was picked off on Colorado's first three possessions of the second half.
"I think we avoid what happened last time by coming in and working every single day in practice," Montez said at media availability Tuesday. "Coming in hard, with the right mentality, and putting in the time and work. I think that stuff definitely combats losing control and spiraling out of control, like we did last year.
"From what we had at practice yesterday and today, our dudes are focused and locked in. Everyone's really excited to play Washington State and to get another opportunity to play football. So, we're excited and hopefully we'll make the most out of it."
Montez has thrown for 1,594 yards and 10 TDs, though he tripled his interception total in the loss. In addition to trying to regroup from this loss, he also struggled in last year's 31-7 home loss to Washington State as he finished 20 of 35 for 199 yards without a touchdown pass.
Shenault, who is second on the team with 21 catches and third with 296 yards, declared himself "pretty much at 100 percent" according to the Denver Post, and Colorado desperately needs him to make an impact on this game to have a chance to win. A 1,000-yard receiver last season, Shenault had 10 catches for 102 yards and an 18-yard run in the loss to the Cougars.
The Buffaloes have won just seven of their last 33 conference road games sine the start of the 2012 season and have scored just three points in their last two trips to the Palouse.
Fallout at Wazzou following Claeys' resignation continuesWashington State (3-3, 0-3 North) has been a mess defensively, giving up staggering totals of 143 points and 1,715 yards during its current three-game losing streak that started with its meltdown during a 67-63 loss to UCLA in its most recent home game Sept. 21.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned after the Cougars' 38-13 loss at Utah the following week, but things did not get much better last Saturday in a 38-34 defeat to then-No. 19 Arizona State on the road. Washington State was breached for 532 yards, and four of the five Sun Devils touchdowns came on plays of 33 or more yards.
During the run-up to this game, word has filtered out regarding the breakdown in the relationship of Claeys and interim co-defensive coordinator Darcel McBath that led to the former resigning.
The full comments from ex-#WSU QB Connor Halliday on what led to DC Tracy Claeys’ decision to resign midseason.— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) October 16, 2019
Halliday was on the latest @WazzuFBBlog podcast, which is a must-listen. pic.twitter.com/AVi2Cbi6o8
Cougars coach Mike Leach has not offered many details on Claeys' departure, saying last week his decision to resign "caught us all by surprise." Washington State shuffled a good portion of its lineup on that side of the ball, but to little effect.
With the defense still transitioning, it puts pressure on Anthony Gordon to keep producing points. He did his part versus Arizona State, completing 44 of 64 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns. Gordon leads the nation with 2,612 passing yards and is tied for second with 25 TD tosses.
The Cougars are the only FBS team averaging over 400 passing yards (452.7) and are fifth in the country in total offense (538.7). They are also 115th in total defense, giving up 459 yards per contest.
- 1-7 ATS in its last eight games vs. Pac-12 teams.
- 0-4-1 ATS in its last five games after allowing 40 or more points in the previous game.
- 1-6 ATS in its last seven games following a straight up loss.
Washington State is:
- 12-4 ATS in its last 16 home games.
- 7-1 ATS in its last eight games after totaling more than 450 yards in the previous game.
- The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four games between the teams.