Alamo Bowl blowout sees No. 12 Oklahoma State dominate No. 10 Colorado

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The Alamo Bowl saw a 31-point lead evaporate last season, but there would be no meltdown this year. No. 12 Oklahoma State (10-3) steamrolled No. 10 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, 38-8.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 24-yard pass from Chris Carson, and James Washington was on the receiving end of 171 yards and one touchdown from Rudolph. For a good stretch, Washington equaled Colorado’s total offensive production in the game in the second half. Colorado was just unable to get anything going on offense, with an injury to Sefo Liufau keeping the Buffs QB out of the mix for a stretch. Colorado did manage to avoid a shutout with a fourth quarter touchdown and two-point conversion. Phillip Lindsay ran for a six-yard score and Liufau completed a pass to Lindsay for a two-point conversion. At that point, however, it was more about pride than anything else, because Oklahoma State had the game all but locked down.

Cowboys running back Justice Hill hit the century mark with a late 37-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Colorado defense. Oklahoma State ended the night with over 500 yards of offense and zero turnovers.

Oklahoma State held a 31-0 lead until 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, preventing the Cowboys from recording their first shutout victory over a ranked opponent since 1958. The last time Oklahoma State pitched a shutout in a postseason bowl game was in the 1944 Cotton Bowl, against TCU. Oklahoma State beat their future conference foes, 34-0.

Looking Ahead

Oklahoma State will have plenty of reason to feel confident about what they can do in the Big 12 next season with Mason Rudolph and James Washington saying they will be back for one more season in Stillwater. Barring any changes on that front, the Cowboys will have one of the most potent combos in the Big 12, which is really all you need sometimes in the conference, right? Oklahoma State and Oklahoma look to be situated well to be heavy preseason favorites in Big 12 play, and each could start the year in the top 10 of the preseason polls (which are even more meaningless than the bowl games). The 2017 season begins with a Group of Five team to watch in 2017, Tulsa. The Cowboys host Tulsa on Sept. 2, 2017 in Stillwater before playing back-to-back road games at South Alabama and Pittsburgh. Big 12 play opens with a home game against TCU on Sept. 23, 2017.

What will we make of Colorado? The Buffs have a hire to make at defensive coordinator (Bob Diaco would be a good addition), and Sefo Liufau will be moving on. The Buffs will certainly have a bit of a new look next season, but the big question is how much can this program rebound in the offseason after seeing an otherwise dream season end with the thud it did in postseason play (Pac-12 championship game and Alamo Bowl)? That is not easy to predict, but the bar has been raised for Colorado and there is a renewed sense of optimism for the program to utilize to its advantage. The 2017 season opens in Denver against Colorado State and two home games against Texas State and Northern Colorado. Getting into Pac-12 play with a winning record is certainly to be expected, and anything less than a 3-0 mark should be considered a disappointment. Colorado will also get home game sin conference play against both USC and Washington, which could be interesting if Colorado continues to improve rather than take too many steps back.

No. 9 Colorado captures Pac-12 South title with tough win over No. 22 Utah

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Colorado’s dream season isn’t over yet.

The ninth-ranked Buffaloes used a battering defense and several timely second half scores to beat No. 22 Utah 27-22, securing the Pac-12 South title and the school’s first trip to the conference title game.

Quarterback Sefo Liufau was battered and bruised by a tough pass rush but scrambled out of several bad situations to throw for 270 yards and a touchdown — numbers that would have been much greater had his wideouts not dropped several big passes in the first half. The signal-caller also led the team in rushing with 59 yards as tailback Phillip Lindsay was bottled up for the most part.

Yet it was the Buffs’ defense that really won them the game and showed why they are one of the best units in the country. In addition to limiting Utah quarterback Troy Williams to 13-of-40 passing (with two interceptions, one touchdown), Kenneth Olugbode’s scoop and score extended the Colorado lead to two scores and gave the team all of the second half momentum. Safety Tedric Thompson tied a school-record for interceptions in a season late in the fourth quarter with his seventh pick of the year to seal the game.

Utes running back Joe Williams managed just 3.7 yards a carry on a night where his normally reliable offensive line had trouble with everything the opposing front-seven threw their way. Utah failed to capitalize on multiple trips to the red zone and made it to the opposing four yard line but came away with just nine points. The score was only as close as it was because of the team’s terrific special teams that managed to find the end zone on a 55 yard punt return.

The win, arguably the biggest in Mike MacIntyre’s tenure given the stakes, sets up a juicy Pac-12 title game next Friday in Santa Clara. Washington is bound to move up into the top four in the rankings with a clear path to the College Football Playoff and only one game left standing in the way.

Colorado has been proving people wrong all season long though and will have one more chance to do it again against the Huskies.

Washington State leads Colorado at the half

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No. 22 Washington State holds a 17-14 lead over No. 10 Colorado at the half in Boulder.

Colorado struck first, stopping Washington State on the opening possession — the Buffs haven’t allowed a point this season on such drives — then moving 81 yards in 12 plays, culminating in a 9-yard Phillip Lindsay run.

Washington State added the next two scores — a 14-yard pass from Luke Falk to Robert Lewis and a 46-yard strike from Falk to Jamal Morrow — to hold a 14-7 lead through one quarter.

Colorado knotted the game midway through the second frame, a 3-yard dash by quarterback Sefo Liufau.

The Cougars see-sawed back in front on a 28-yard Erik Powell field goal, then survived a 1-yard punt late in the half when Davis Price sailed a field goal wide right with eight ticks left before the horn.

Falk closed the half hitting only 16-of-34 throws, but netting 248 yards and two touchdowns, while Liufau completed 14-of-25 throws for 183 yards.

Colorado holds a 103-64 rushing edge. The Buffs will receive to open the second half.

 

Davis Webb explains his clean, well-received exit from Colorado

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In college football’s social media age, far too many times has a player decommitted or transferred from a school and been attacked not just by that program’s fans, but by coaches inside it.

While not every instance of that results in a Les Miles-esque “chest” comment or a position coach going on an ill-advised rant, others are met with short, terse responses. Maybe that’s why Davis Webb’s decision to spurn Colorado and attend Cal stood out.

When Webb, who signed a financial aid agreement with Colorado in January, announced last week he would instead play a fifth year at Cal, the response from Boulder was classy and supportive. Buffaloes offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini sent this tweet:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThis was a good look for a Colorado program that, in reality, really could’ve used Webb. The Buffs haven’t been to a bowl game since 2007 and last finished over .500 in 2005. Adding Webb could’ve helped turn things around for Mike MacIntyre & Co., who went 4-9 in 2015.

Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman talked to Webb about his decision, though, and it’s clear the former Texas Tech quarterback went about his Boulder-to-Berkeley decision the right way:

The grad transfer quarterback from Texas Tech, though, wanted to make sure the coaches at Colorado didn’t hear the news from someone else first. Webb, a coach’s son, had committed to CU in late January, signing financial aid papers that bound the school to him legally more than it did him to them. However, some things changed since then and so last week the 6-5, 220-pounder first dialed up CU head coach Mike MacIntyre and then offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini, a former Red Raiders assistant, to tell them that a better fit for Webb had come along. 

“Those two guys had invested a lot of time and effort recruiting me, and I really respect them,” Webb told FOX Sports. “They handled it very professionally. It was nothing against Colorado, but at the same time, I only have one year to do this.

(Read Feldman’s full story here)

This was a good moment for how to handle a college student changing his mind, but it shouldn’t take the kind of maturity Webb displayed here for coaches to have the reaction they had to him leaving. Seething in private is natural when a kid spurns your program, but grown men ripping high school or college students in public for being indecisive always comes across as a low blow.

Backup QB Cade Apsay one of two dismissed by Buffs

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Thanks to an injury sustained last season, Colorado may or may not have starting quarterback Sefo Liufau for the 2016 season. Thanks to an off-field issue this offseason, they definitely won’t have the player who replaced the starter at the end of 2015.

On the eve of the start of spring practice, head coach Mike MacIntyre announced that sophomore quarterback Cade Apsay, along with junior safety Evan White, have been dismissed from his football program. Other than the standard unspecified violations of team rules, no reason for the twin dismissals was given.

This is at least the second time in less than a year that Apsay has been disciplined as he was suspended for the first two games of the 2015 season for team rules violations.

After returning from that suspension, Apsay resumed his duties as the primary backup to Liufau. When Liufau went down in mid-November with the Lis Franc injury that has left his future somewhat up in the air, Apsay started the final two games of the year.  He ended up completing 59 of 92 passes (64.1 percent) for 582 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.

With Liufau sidelined for at least spring practice and Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb not arriving until summer, the quarterbacking onus in the short-term will fall on redshirt freshman Steven Montez and senior Jordan Gehrke.

As for White, he played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2014, starting three of those contests.  However, the defensive back’s playing time significantly diminished a year later as he played in just three games in 2015.