Washington State-Colorado grades: Liufau, O-line shine in Buffaloes win

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Colorado’s big Pac-12 victory over Washington State.

| 7 months ago
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Washington State-Colorado grades: Liufau, O-line shine in Buffaloes win

Colorado Buffaloes 38, Washington State Cougars 24

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Colorado’s big Pac-12 victory over Washington State.

Colorado Buffaloes

Quarterback grade: Sefo Liufau, 76.4

Liufau’s arm and legs were too much for the Cougars

The pressure of this key game was not felt by Sefo Liufau, who played like a veteran signal-caller and helped his team secure one of its biggest victories in years. Liufau didn’t throw any TD or INTs but stayed even keeled throughout the game and his QB rating actually rose under pressure from 89.1 with a clean pocket to 92.6 when pressured. Liufau was also used on designed power and counter runs, as his big frame became hard for the Cougars to tackle down in the red zone. Liufau ended up rushing for over 100 yards with 62 coming after contact and three rushing TDs.


Top offensive grades:

G, Jonathan Huckins, 79.0
TE, Sean Irwin, 77.2
T, Jeromy Irwin, 76.1
WR, Devin Ross, 75.6
C, Alex Kelley, 74.6

Colorado’s offensive line shines in win

The Cougars were a bit undersized up front and relied on last-second shifts to try and counter some of their lack of size, but the Buffaloes offensive line opened up holes so both Philip Lindsay and Sefo Liufau rushed for over 100 yards against the Cougars. The undersized Lindsay always plays with tremendous heart and had 117 yards after contact and forced six missed tackles.

Top defensive grades:

S, Tedric Thompson, 79.7
CB, Ahkello Witherspoon, 76.9
CB, Isiah Oliver, 76.3
CB, Nick Fisher, 73.8
LB, Addison Gillam, 73.5

Colorado’s secondary lives up to their hype

The Buffaloes’ talented secondary made plays all over the field against Luke Falk and the Cougars’ high-scoring air-attack. Tedric Thompson had one INT and broke up another two Luke Falk passes. Falk’s QB rating when throwing at Thompson was 32.0. Ahkello Witherspoon broke up three of Falk’s passes and Falk’s QB rating when throwing at Witherspoon was only 50.5. Sophomore CB Isiah Oliver also had a big game against the Cougars, with clutch plays as he broke up two passes. In total the Colorado secondary intercepted one pass and broke up eight of them to help stifle the Cougars’ offense.

Washington State Cougars

Quarterback grade: Luke Falk, 66.2

Falk had some very impressive touch throws into small windows early in the game but the team was plagued by four drops as well as a stingy Buffaloes secondary. Falk only completed two of 15 passes targeted 20 or more yards downfield and those incompletions were often a result of clear overthrows or tight Buffaloes coverage. Falk’s QB rating dipped from 88.1 with no pressure to 41.1 with pressure.

Top offensive grades:

T, Cole Madison, 84.6
G, Cody O’Connell, 84.5
G, Eduardo Middleton, 82.9
T, Andre Dillard, 81.9
C, Riley Sorenson, 78.5

Cougars’ offensive line continues to play at a high level

It comes as no surprise that the five highest grades on the Washington State offensive side of the ball all came on the offensive line. The scheme of Coach Mike Leach does make things easier on an offensive line with the huge splits in between each blocker and the quick passes giving them an advantage. However, the Cougars have been playing like a top unit up front all year and every member of their starting line has been one of the top performers at his position in the conference. Combined as a unit the line only allowed one sack and four hurries of Luke Falk on 59 pass snaps against the Buffaloes.

Top defensive grades:

CB, Treshon Broughton, 84.4
CB, Marcellus Pippins, 78.5
DI, Hercules Mata’afa, 77.6
DI, Ngalu Tapa, 73.9
LB, Paris Taylor, 70.4

Cougars’s defense unable to stop Liufau

The Cougars’ defensive line seemed a little overmatched against the Buffaloes offensive line. Hercules Mata’afa played his usually productive game as he had 1 sack and 6 hurries on 30 pass rush snaps. Treshon Broughton was targeted 4 times and allowed 3 catches for only 42 yards and he broke up one pass. Marcellus Pippins was targeted 3 times and only allowed one catch for 13 yards and Sefo Liufau’s QB rating when throwing at Pippins was 47.9

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