Fresh off their first conference win of the season - a 36-33 victory of Oregon State - the Colorado Buffaloes (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) head to Pullman, Washington to take on the 15th ranked Washington State Cougars (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) Saturday night. Mike Leach’s squad are 10 ½ point favorites despite falling to California 37-3 last week. Ralphie Report contributors Jack Barsch and Sam Metivier joined me via SLACK to discuss the Buffs chances at pulling off an upset.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:01 PM]
Alright guys, Buffaloes have a late one on the road against Washington State Saturday night. Let's jump right in with your keys to the game.
Jack Barsch [10:01 PM]
Control the ball and the clock on offense and force mistakes on D. Gotta keep the ball in Phillip Lindsay's hands as long as possible.
Sam Metivier [10:02 PM]
Create turnovers and hope Phillip Lindsay can carry us.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:06 PM]
Definitely need to control the clock. Also need our defense to disrupt Washington State QB Luke Falk. Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com recently had this to say of Falk: "When in a rhythm, Falk is one of the best touch passers I've ever scouted. But when defenses crowd his first read and put pressure on the pocket, he often wilts and makes mistakes."
Jack Barsch [10:07 PM]
If you go back and watch the Cal game, they really flustered him by bringing pressure from strange spots. D.J. Eliot really needs to mix up the looks this week. I'd love to see [Alfolabi] Laguda or [Evan] Worthington come flying in for a tackle.
Sam Metivier [10:08 PM]
Last year, CU pressured him, disrupted his receivers and though he made some great throws and his WRs had some drops, the Buffs were very successful against him. This isn't exactly the same secondary -- and certainly not the same pass rush -- but with a good gameplan they can disrupt Falk.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:10 PM]
If there is something Eliot's defense should be smiling about, the Cougars have allowed 32 sacks this season or 4.57 per game, which ranks 2nd worst in the FBS.
Jack Barsch [10:12 PM]
To be fair to WSU's OL, Falk causes a few of those by holding onto the ball FOREVER.
Sam Metivier [10:12 PM]
I'm not optimistic CU can take advantage of that. Maybe if Jacob Callier, Dante Sparaco and Timothy Coleman get some action -- they're better pass rushers than Leo Jackson and Jase Franke -- but I don't think CU wants to expose themselves in the run with those guys on the field.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:15 PM]
Mike Leach's squad will be without their top receiver Tavares Martin Jr. for this contest. What sort of impact, if any, will this have?
Sam Metivier [10:17 PM]
Wazzu's WRs are always deep, but this helps. Isaiah Oliver can shut down someone else and Trey Udoffia (now healthy) can take on that next man up.
Jack Barsch [10:18 PM]
Falk spreads it around with the best of them, but Martin was his guy. The biggest impact it has is shifting Oliver on the physical Isaiah Johnson-Mack.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:20 PM]
Obviously the Buffs rush defense has been less than stellar in Pac-12 play thus far. Should we be concerned with Washington State's rushing attack? or is this a similar offense we're facing to that of UCLA?
Sam Metivier [10:22 PM]
UCLA dominated CU's line in short yardage situations, so I hope it's not like that hahaha
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:23 PM]
Yeah, but they were the only Pac-12 opponent we've held under 100 yards rushing.
Sam Metivier [10:24 PM]
Wazzu's running backs, Jamal Morrow and James Williams have almost as many receiving yards as they have rushing, so CU should be more concerned with containing those guys in the short and intermediate passing game. If Rick Gamboa is on an island against Morrow, he may get roasted like he did last year. Hopefully CU will instead use Evan Worthington, Drew Lewis and Ryan Moeller in those roles because they're more adept at keeping up with quick guys like them.
Jack Barsch [10:25 PM]
Jamal Morrow runs hard, but I doubt Mike Leach sticks with the run long enough for it to be a problem.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:27 PM]
Great insight guys. Anything else that concerns you about this game?
Sam Metivier [10:27 PM]
Jack Barsch [10:28 PM]
Yes, WSU's DL is extremely disruptive. [Steven] Montez has to get the ball out quick when we throw.
Sam Metivier [10:28 PM]
Oh yes, CU's o-line is holier than the Pope, so yes. I am terrified of Hercules Mata'afa.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:29 PM]
Son of Zeus has been dominating this year.
Jack Barsch [10:29 PM]
Another thing to keep in mind, it will be in the 40s and rainy during the game.
Sam Metivier [10:30 PM]
Washington game all over? Kidding.
Jack Barsch [10:30 PM]
And this isn't Colorado rain. This is Washington rain. Favors us.
Sam Metivier [10:30 PM]
What is Washington rain?
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:30 PM]
Explain that one Jack
Jack Barsch [10:31 PM]
It will be heavy and wet and lengthy. The playing field won't be as pristine as it was for UW, and even that was slick. We may have a good old fashioned Mud Bowl on our hands.
Sam Metivier [10:32 PM]
Hopefully some defenders will slip in the rain trying to chase Phil.
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:34 PM]
Alright guys, before we go, quick predictions.
Sam Metivier [10:34 PM]
Washington State 27, Colorado 17
Anthony Kazmierczak [10:35 PM]
Jack convinced me, I'm taking the Buffs in the "Washington Rain" in an upset, 34-31
Sam Metivier [10:35 PM]
Jack Barsch [10:35 PM]
Phillip Lindsay outgains Luke Falk but it doesn’t matter.
Sam Metivier [10:35 PM]
Jack Barsch [10:37 PM]
24 – 10 Washington State