Cougars Roll Past No. 17 Colorado 47-26
Sept 13, 2003
By JOHN MOSSMAN
BOULDER, Colo. - All week long, Washington State coaches impressed on their players a single objective.
"All we preached was: finish," coach Bill Doba said.
One week after squandering a 19-0 lead in a 29-26 overtime loss to Notre Dame, Washington State forged a lead and then expanded on it in a 47-26 rout of No. 17 Colorado on Saturday.
Sammy Moore caught a 74-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 97 yards for another score as Washington State used big plays to down the Buffaloes (2-1), who had five turnovers.
The Cougars (2-1), who led 23-13 at halftime, scored 24 straight points in the first 6:39 of the third quarter to build a 47-13 lead. Two of those scores came off turnovers.
"We just focused on finishing," Kegel said of the third-quarter surge. "After the feeling we had at Notre Dame of letting it slip away in the third and fourth quarter, this time we wanted to hammer it down and get some points on the board. The defense forced some turnovers, and I can't tell you how much that helps the offense."
"We felt like we had bigger playmakers than them," Kegel said. "Our guys made great catches and great runs."
Doba said the Cougars "should have gone deep last week, and we didn't. Going into this game, we emphasized that. We wanted to get the ball vertically down the field and try to make something happen."
Colorado backup Erik Greenberg, replacing injured starter Joel Klatt, threw for three scores. Klatt missed two series in the first half after bruising his throwing shoulder and departed for good after reinjuring the shoulder on a sack by linebacker Don Jackson early in the third quarter.
Washington State seized the momentum on the first play of the second half. Moore fumbled the kickoff near the goal line, but picked it up and sprinted to his left and down the sideline for a 97-yard scoring return.
After a Colorado punt, WSU needed just five plays to score again. Jonathan Smith broke six tackles en route to a 26-yard run off the right side.
Two plays later, Klatt was sacked by Jackson and fumbled, giving the Cougars possession at the Colorado 12. Kegel promptly hit Devard Darling on a 12-yard scoring pass.
Greenberg capped a 73-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Derek McCoy late in the quarter, then added a 2-yard TD pass to Joe Klopfenstein.
"Six minutes of that third quarter was the whole ballgame," Doba said. "Sammy's return gave us a 17-point lead. Then they fumble and we punch one in. It just kind of snowballed on them."
Colorado coach Gary Barnett agreed.
"The kickoff return took the air out of us," he said. "We had about four big mistakes that put us in such a hole, and that team was too good to come back against."
With Klatt listed as doubtful for next week's game at Florida State, Barnett said Greenberg likely will start.
The Cougars took a 20-6 first-quarter lead on two long TD passes and David's interception return.
Less than five minutes into the game, Kegel threw over the middle to a wide open Moore, who broke two tackles near midfield and completed a 74-yard scoring play.
Colorado countered barely a minute later. Klatt threw a 33-yard pass to Jeremy Bloom, setting up a 3-yard toss to Klopfenstein, but Mason Crosby's extra-point attempt was blocked by Steve Cook.
The Cougars added two touchdowns just 1:24 apart late in the quarter.
On third-and-3, Lunde slipped past the secondary and caught Kegel's pass at the 50 for a 77-yard scoring play. Dunning's PAT hit the left upright.
Greenberg replaced Klatt on the next series and, on his fourth play, threw into the left flat, where he was intercepted by David, who returned 41 yards for a touchdown.
Greenberg got the Buffs within a touchdown early in the second quarter, hitting McCoy on a 46-yard scoring pass.
The Cougars made it 23-13 on Dunning's 43-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in the half.
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