As if this week couldn’t get any better, Sefo Liufau and Nick Fisher were both honored by the Pac-12 Conference as Player of the Week on their respective sides of the ball.
Sefo Liufau, the warrior he is, overcame passing struggles and an injury to put together arguably his greatest performance as a Buff (the other candidate would be his 7-TD game against Cal in 2014). Against one of the best defenses in the Pac-12 and in the Buffs’ biggest home game in over a decade, Liufau had 345 passing yards, 108 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns.
He was only the second quarterback in CU history to have more than 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards; Steven Montez was the first. Also of note, his 3 rushing TDs made him the second player in the 2016 college football season to have 300+ passing yards, 100+ rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs, the other being Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson.
Liufau was honored with his second Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week of the season, and he had to beat out Christian McCaffrey and his 284 rushing yards. Even more so, CBS College Football honored Liufau as their National Offensive Player of the Week.
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As great as Liufau was, it could be argued that Nick Fisher was the most important figure for the Buffaloes. In the first quarter of the game, starting safety Afolabi Laguda was called for a targeting penalty on a Wazzu touchdown and was ejected therefore. Fisher stepped in and played more snaps than he had ever played in his career, and he was terrific. Fisher was essential in the Buffs’ efforts against Luke Falk and Washington State’s deadly passing attack and he came up with myriad big plays as the Buffs harassed Cougars receivers all game.
In the entirety of the game, no one play was more important than Fisher’s flying tackle on fourth down to end a Washington State fourth quarter drive deep in Colorado territory. That proved to be the Cougars last chance to score and Fisher’s tackle was invaluable. Even with Laguda coming back, Fisher has a strong case to supplant him as starter.
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The other Pac-12 Player of the Week was Utah’s punter, Mitch Wishnowsky. That is simultaneously an honor to the punter and a subtle jab at Utah’s offense, which was unable to move the ball on Oregon’s horrendous defense. Utah lost 30-28 at home to 4-7 Oregon, but hey, at least four of Wishnowsky’s six punts were pinned inside the 20-yard-line. Hopefully Wishnowsky will be forced to have an even better week when the Buffs and Utes play this coming Saturday.
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Liufau and Fisher winning weekly honors only add to an impressive total for the Buffs this year, as the Buffs had won six prior to now. Those were, in order: Sefo Liufau against Colorado State, Steven Montez passing and running through Oregon, Davis Price hitting a 54-yard field goal, Phillip Lindsay running up and down on Arizona State, Tedric Thompson picking off Stanford twice, and Isaiah Oliver (on special teams) for his game-clinching punt return TD against UCLA.
Oh my, this season has been fun.