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October 1, 2011

Wazzu Comeback Gets First Pac-12 Win

The Washington State University football team snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as Wazzu came back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to grab their first Pac-12 conference victory and defeated Colorado, 31-27 in Boulder. With the victory, Wazzu improves to 1-0 in conference play and 3-1 overall on the year.

Wazzu started the game strong and was moving down the field for the apparent opening score when redshisrt senior quarterback Marshall Lobbestael threw a pass over the middle that was picked off by Colorado junior safety Ray Polk who nearly returned the ball all the way to the end zone were it not for a touchdown-saving tackle from redshirt freshman running back Rickey Galvin. That tackled proved to be a point-saver as the Buffaloes were unable to punch in the touchdown and defensive lineman Travis Long blocked the field goal attempt by Buffaloes' freshman Will Oliver.

Wazzu got the ball back and promptly went on a 15-play, 81-yard drive to take the 7-0 lead on a three-yard touchdown run from running back Carl Winston with 4:17 remaining in the first quarter.

After a late hit from linebacker C.J. Mizell resulted in field position that gave Colorado the ball deep in Cougar territory, the Buffaloes got on the board to make it a 7-3 game on a 48-yard field goal from Oliver.

The Cougar offense stalled on their next possession and turned the ball over on downs in Colorado territory after a defensive stand by the Buffaloes. Back-to-back personal foul penalties gave Colorado momentum on their ensuing offensive possession and the Buffaloes used that to take the ball down the field and regain the lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Hansen to receiver Paul Richardson for a 10-7 lead.

The Wazzu defense stepped in as sophomore safety Deone Bucannon made a one-handed pick of a tipped pass and returned the ball to the Colorado 38-yard line. The Cougars were unable to get the touchdown but kicker Andrew Furney made a 28-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10 before Oliver hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give the Buffaloes the lead, 13-10, going into the locker room.

The Buffaloes came storming out of the locker room and marched straight down the field on their first possession to take a 20-10 lead on a four-yard touchdown pass from Hansen to senior receiver Toney Clemons.

Wazzu, however, came right back for a 10-play, 80-yard drive to cut the Colorado lead back to three at 20-17 when Lobbestael hit fullback Jared Byers on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 remaining in the third quarter.

After the teams traded non-productive possessions, the Buffaloes seemingly took control of the game with a long fourth quarter drive highlighted by a 52-yard run from senior running back Rodney Stewart and scoring on a one-yard touchdown run from Stewart with 5:11 remaining in the game to give Colorado a 27-17 lead.

But Wazzu had two last gasps left in them as the Cougars drove down the field in under three minutes to get a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lobbestael to receiver Isiah Barton with 2:35 left in the game.

After stopping the Buffaloes on the ensuing possession, Wazzu received the ball with no timeouts left on their own nine-yard line with 1:51 remaining and only 41 seconds later, Lobbestael hit Wilson, who got behind the Buffalo secondary for a 63-yard touchdown pass to take the lead, 31-27.

But it was the Wazzu defense who clinched the game as Mizell recovered a fumble by Richardson on the Buffaloes' next possession and Wazzu ran out the clock for their first Pac-12 victory.


NOTES:


- Wazzu scored two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter and improves to 2-17 on the road under head coach Paul Wulff.





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