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CU Buffs’ tailspin continues with loss to No. 10 Washington State

  • Washington State receiver Dezmon Patmon, left, stiff arms Colorado safety...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Washington State receiver Dezmon Patmon, left, stiff arms Colorado safety Nick Fisher on Saturday at Folsom Field.

  • Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault fumbles the ball after being hit...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault fumbles the ball after being hit by Washington State's Willie Taylor on Saturday.

  • Washington State running back James Williams hurdles Colorado defensive back...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Washington State running back James Williams hurdles Colorado defensive back Dante Wigley on Saturday.



Washington State 31, Colorado 7

Play of the game: Washington State freshman running back Max Borghi, who was playing at Pomona High School a year ago, took a pass from Gardner Minshew in the flat, juked a couple of CU defenders and pranced into the end zone, scoring in front of his hometown fans.

Turning point: Trailing 17-7, CU was still in the game, and pinned Washington State at its 12-yard line. Seven plays and 88 yards later, the Cougars scored on a Minshew 10-yard run to go up 24-7 and essentially put the game away.

Top 3 Buffs of the game

1. BUFF Davion Taylor: He’s been one of the best players on defense all year, and finished with a game-high 11 tackles, including one for loss.

2. WR Laviska Shenault: Although he had a couple of drops and a fumble, Shenault made his return to the lineup and caught 10 passes for 102 yards.

3. S Aaron Maddox: Playing a significant role because of injuries, he had seven tackles, including one for loss.

Bottom line

Colorado’s season continues to go south. While the Buffs weren’t expected to beat the No. 10 team in the country, they didn’t give themselves much of a shot with a poor performance on offense and more costly mistakes at crucial moments.

If Mike MacIntyre’s seat is getting hot, he’s not feeling it. Or at least he’s not admitting to feeling it.

Yet, after another defeat that has kept the Colorado football team in a tailspin, the Buffaloes’ faithful is growing more and more restless.

CU was routed by No. 10 Washington State, 31-7, on Saturday at Folsom Field, extending its losing streak to five games.

The Buffs (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) remained tied with UCLA — which nearly upset Arizona State on the road Saturday — for last place in the South division. MacIntyre is potentially facing his fifth last-place finish in his six seasons as head coach.

“No, I don’t feel any pressure from my superiors whatsoever; nothing but support,” MacIntyre said after Saturday’s game, which was the most lopsided loss of the season. “I love this place. I want to be here. We love it. I think people know what we’re doing on a daily basis, how we treat our kids, how we work, how we’re recruiting, how our talent keeps going up. We just have to find a way to get going.”

While plenty of good has been done by MacIntyre, the bottom line is not good.

CU is now 0-8 in the past two seasons when trying to get win No. 6 and achieve bowl eligibility. MacIntyre is now 2-19 against ranked opponents, and 0-19 when it’s an opponent ranked ahead of the Buffs.

On Saturday, the Buffs put up a good fight for most of the day, but they were once again out-played by the team on the other side.

This is the first team in CU history to have a five-game winning streak and a five-game losing streak in the same season. MacIntyre’s never had a season like that, he said, but once again pointed to the Buffs’ injury list.

“I’ve never had a season where going into the 10th game of the year we had nine starters out that started the first game. Nine,” he said. “And four other significant players out. I’ve never had that happen. Basically, a third of your guys that you play, that you count on to win games, aren’t out there.”

Certainly the injuries have limited the Buffs, but the best of those injured players — receiver Laviska Shenault — returned on Saturday. After missing three games with a toe injury, the one-time Heisman Trophy candidate caught 10 passes for 102 yards, but it wasn’t nearly enough to spark an offense that couldn’t do much against the Cougars (9-1, 6-1), who continued their quest for their first North division title.

“It was not pretty,” MacIntyre said of the CU offense.

For three plays, it was.

After a good defensive stand in the first quarter, Steven Montez connected with Shenault for 13 yards, and that was followed by Travon McMillian busting through the Cougars for a 64-yard run. On the next play, McMillian scored on a 3-yard run to give CU a 7-0 lead.

Snagging the early lead hasn’t been an issue for CU, though. In fact, they’ve scored first in every game during the five-game losing streak.

Keeping the lead has proven to be a difficult task, and it was again on Saturday.

CU had just 297 yards on offense — 80 of those on the touchdown drive. Take out McMillian’s two runs on the scoring drive, and the Buffs had just 8 rushing yards on their other 14 attempts.

“I think we have to do a better job executing,” said Montez, who had his roughest outing of the season, completing 20-of-35 throws for 199 yards and taking three sacks. “I think we had chances and plays that we could have made some things happen, but it didn’t go our way.”

Washington State scored the final 31 points, led by quarterback Gardner Minshew. The nation’s leading passer coming into the day, he had a season-high 23 incompletions, but threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score.

Two fourth quarter touchdowns by the Cougars put the game away, and the Buffs were left, once again, trying to pick up the pieces after mistakes — from players and coaches — plagued them.

“It’s frustrating when you lose,” Montez said. “It’s never fun when you go out there and you work hard, you work your (butt) off all week and then you come up short on game day. It’s tough.”

Another tough loss has certainly put MacIntyre’s future in question — whether he wants to admit it publicly or not.

“You put pressure on yourself all the time as a coach,” he said. “I don’t think you would be good at your job or trying to be good at your job or what you’re doing in life if you didn’t try to hold yourself to high expectations. I try to look at everything we can look at and do.

“The bottom line is, we have to get more wins on the scoreboard.”

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or


No. 10 Washington St. 31, Colorado 7

Washington St. 0 10 7 14 —  31Colorado 7 0 0 0 — 7

First quarter: COL — McMillian 3 run (Francis kick), 4:14Second quarter: WST — FG Mazza 39, 13:37 WST — Borghi 28 pass from Minshew (Mazza kick), 8:31 Third quarter: WST — R.Bell 1 pass from Minshew (Mazza kick), 10:56 Fourth quarter: WST — Minshew 10 run (Mazza kick), 14:27 WST — J.Williams 3 run (Mazza kick), 3:46


First downs 26 12

Rushes-yards 33-131 16-75

Passing 346 222

Comp-Att-Int 37-61-0 21-38-1

Return Yards 22 46

Punts-Avg. 4-42.75 8-35.37

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-2

Penalties-Yards 2-10 4-50

Time of Possession 41:46 18:14


RUSHING — Washington St., J.Williams 17-60, Borghi 7-38, Minshew 6-26, Harrington 2-4, Harris 1-3, R.Bell 0-0. Colorado, McMillian 9-73, Shenault 1-18, Haigler 0-0, Noyer 1-0, Stanley 1-(minus 1), Montez 4-(minus 15).

PASSING — Washington St., J.Williams 0-1-0-0, Minshew 35-58-0-335, Gordon 2-2-0-11. Colorado, Montez 20-35-0-199, Noyer 1-3-1-23.

RECEIVING — Washington St., Patmon 8-103, C.Jackson 5-53, J.Williams 5-43, Borghi 3-34, Martin 3-34, Calvin 3-30, Harris 3-19, Winston 2-6, R.Bell 2-3, Harrington 1-8, Sweet 1-8, Wilson 1-5. Colorado, Shenault 10-102, Winfree 4-59, Stanley 3-19, Ento 2-29, Brown 1-7, McMillian 1-6.


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