PULLMAN, Wash. — Faced with driving rain, winds and low temperatures, the Air Raid offense of No. 15 Washington State converted to a ground game.
The Cougars rushed for 194 yards and quarterback Luke Falk threw for three touchdowns in a 28-0 victory over Colorado on Saturday night.
Jamal Morrow rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown for Washington State (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12), which rebounded from a 34-point loss at California that coach Mike Leach called the worst game the Cougars have played in his six years there.
“It’s an improvement,” Leach said. “Our team played hard. We missed some opportunities.”
Leach acknowledged the weather was brutal.
“The first half was pretty extreme,” Leach said. “The wind was blowing and all the swirling rain makes it tough.”
Phillip Lindsay rushed for 98 yards for Colorado (4-4, 1-4), which was coming off its first Pac-12 win. Lindsay came in needing just five yards to top 1,000 for the season.
“That was the worst offensive performance we’ve had since I’ve been a coach here,” Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said.
The Buffaloes used three quarterbacks, who completed just 13 of 34 passes for 94 yards, and were held to 174 yards of offense.
“Mainly they just whipped us,” MacIntyre said. “Washington State played great tonight.”
Falk completed 17 of 34 passes for 197 yards, and added 41 rushing yards.
“It’s about time he used his legs some,” Leach said. “That’s quite a bit overdue.”
This was WSU’s second shutout of the season, after Montana State in the season opener.
“It’s incredibly hard to shut anybody out,” Leach said.
The teams had trouble moving the ball in the driving rain and the first quarter was scoreless.
Colorado offensive tackle Jeromy Irwin was ejected for targeting on Washington State’s Derek Moore early in the second quarter.
On the next series, Falk fired a 50-yard touchdown pass to Tay Martin to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
After a Colorado punt, Washington State drove 81 yards, with Brandon Arconado catching an 18-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead that stood at halftime.
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez missed on his first seven pass attempts and the Buffaloes had just 82 yards of offense in the first half. Freshman Sam Noyer replaced him at the start of the second half.
Morrow ran nine yards for a touchdown on Washington State’s first possession of the second half for a 21-0 lead. Falk added a touchdown pass to Renard Bell in the fourth.
Colorado was just 1-for-17 on third down conversions.
Washington State will look to move up a stop or two in a week where not many teams above them lost.
This was Falk’s 25th victory for Washington State, most of any quarterback in program history.
Colorado’s all-time football record is 699-498-36 and the Buffaloes may struggle to reach 700 this season.
Washington State, which failed to score a touchdown last weekend in its only loss, rebounded nicely in difficult conditions as it continued a push for the Pac-12 North title.
Colorado hosts California next Saturday.
Washington State plays at Arizona next Saturday.