After getting gashed by Colorado's Phillip Lindsay early in the game on Saturday, Washington State's defense did its best to make sure the junior couldn't beat them.
However, CU adjusted, as well, it played a key role in the Buffaloes' 38-24 win.
Washington State came into the game with the No. 1 rushing defense in the Pac-12, allowing just 116.9 yards per game on the ground.
On the opening drive alone, Lindsay gained 41 yards on five carries, including a 9-yard touchdown run. From that point, the Cougars started keying on Lindsay.
"They were coming after me and (quarterback Sefo Liufau) knew it," Lindsay said. "Sefo told me, 'A lot of times we're going to do a lot of reading and I'm going to pull a lot, because they're keying on you a lot.' I'm OK with being the decoy. If we're going to win the ball game, I'll be the decoy and Sefo was taking advantage of it."
After that opening drive, Lindsay was held to 22 yards on six carries the rest of the first half. Liufau, meanwhile, compiled 40 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown.
Liufau's success in the middle of the game forced Washington State to take its focus away from Lindsay, who then burned the Cougars late in the game.
Lindsay finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns, while Liufau had a career-high 108 yards and three touchdowns.
As a team, the Buffs rushed for 258 yards against the Pac-12's top run defense.
"When you're able to have a quarterback that runs and a running back that can get going it's hard to stop," Lindsay said.
Lindsay and Liufau both gave credit to CU's offensive line, which has been very good in run blocking most of the year.
"It starts up front," Lindsay said. "They have to move. When they start moving and they start to get their groove, Sefo and I can start to get the groove."
Lindsay has been a groove all season. With his performance on Saturday, he now has 1,078 yards on the season, the first Buff to top 1,000 yards since Rodney Stewart in 2010.
The junior also topped the 2,000-yard mark for his career and sits at 2,125. He moved from 20th to 15th on CU's all-time rushing list on Saturday, passing his current position coach, Darian Hagan, along the way.
Going into Saturday, the Buffs had forced a turnover in 23 consecutive games, the longest streak in the country. It appeared that streak was going to end, until the final minutes.
With 2:58 to play, Jimmie Gilbert sacked WSU quarterback Luke Falk, who fumbled. Addison Gillam recovered to give the ball back to the offense and keep the takeaway streak alive.
In the final minute, the Buffs added another turnover when Tedric Thompson picked off a Falk pass.
CU was flagged nine times for 75 yards, with four of those penalties coming by the offensive line before the snap. Three times CU was flagged for a false start and once they had a snap infraction, all of them a result of the Cougars' tactics in trying to draw those calls.
"One of the things Washington State is known for is moving right before the snap and making loud noises," CU center Alex Kelley said. "It's really hard as a football team because you're trying to tune into your quarterback. It got us a couple times, but we know that was going to happen we just have to move forward."
Through 10 games, no team in the Pac-12 was better at converting third downs than Washington State, and no team was better at getting stops on third downs than Colorado.
The Buffs won that battle, as WSU converted just four of 15 third downs (26.7 percent), well below their season percentage of 50.7.
CU, meanwhile, converted 13 of 21 third downs (61.9 percent). The Buffs were one shy of the school record of 14 third-down conversions.
Safety Ryan Moeller left in the first half with a concussion. ,,, CU snapped a 23-game losing streak against ranked opponents, dating back to a win against No. 17 Kansas on Oct. 17, 2009. ... CU improved to 10-1 on the coin toss this season. ... Saturday was CU's 400th all-time win at home (308 at Folsom Field). ... Attendance was 48,658, the largest of coach Mike MacIntyre's four-year tenure. ... CU was fined $25,000 by the Pac-12 when fans rushed the field after a win against Arizona State on Oct. 15. With fans rushing the field again on Saturday, CU could be subject to a $50,000 fine.