SEATTLE (AP) -- That wasn't an ugly win by unbeaten Colorado --
not to Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett, anyway.
Lawrence Vickers recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, Joe
Sanders returned an interception for a score and Colorado made a
late goal line stand for a second straight week to beat Washington
State 20-12 Saturday.
"You just can't put uglies on them. There aren't enough wins,"
said Barnett, whose program has endured months of turmoil amid
accusations of rape, alcohol use by minors and a four-month
suspension for the head coach.
"You appreciate every one of them you get in life and the
sport," Barnett added. "They don't ever come down the way you
thought they'd come down. You can label it ugly, but they don't put
U-W's (ugly wins) in the press guide. They just put W's."
The Buffaloes (2-0) escaped, no question. Washington State (1-1)
gained 416 total yards to 117 for Colorado, but the Cougars
couldn't overcome a handful of special-teams blunders.
"We've got a lot of work to do, men," coach Bill Doba said.
"We'll continue to work. Three turnovers and a blocked punt? It
was just an embarrassment and we're going to have to get better."
Sanders stepped in front of a pass by Washington State reserve
Alex Brink -- sophomore starter Josh Swogger was benched after an
awful day -- and returned it 51 yards to put the Buffaloes ahead
17-6 with 9:13 to play.
"He was looking my direction before he even finished his
drop," Sanders said. "I saw the two receivers slanting out. I
knew what was coming and I jumped the route before he threw it."
Brink, a freshman, recovered with a 60-yard TD strike to Jason
Hill, pulling the Cougars to 17-12 with 8:04 to go.
Just when the Cougars seemed ready to rebound, Colorado's
Terrence Wheatley returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards. That set
up Mason Crosby's 41-yard field goal, giving the Buffaloes a 20-12
lead with 4:42 on the clock.
Washington State got a final chance, taking over at its own 44
with 1:13 to play. Brink threw a 40-yard completion to Hill to move
the ball to the 5, then fumbled at the 2 while scrambling for the
"I thought I was going in," Brink said. "I wanted that
Colorado's Jordan Dizon forced the fumble and Matt McChesney
recovered. Last week, J.J. Billingsley made a game-saving tackle as
time expired as the Buffaloes beat rival Colorado State.
"I'm still getting used to it," Barnett said when asked about
two straight goal-line stands. "We should just go down to the last
four seconds of the game instead of going all the way through it.
Our guys are pretty courageous."
This week, it was tied 3-3 after two sloppy quarters.
The Cougars had one fumble, six punts, several dropped passes,
two missed field goal attempts and a bobbled snap on another field
goal try. The Buffaloes punted five times and fumbled twice. Each
team committed six penalties.
Tyrone Henderson had the breakthrough play for Colorado.
He burst up the middle to block a punt by Washington State's
Kyle Basler midway through the third quarter. The ball went 25
yards in the other direction, with Vickers dropping on it at the
goal line to make it 10-3.
"This is big," Sanders said. "My mom used to always tell me,
'Smile in the face of adversity.' That's what we're doing right
now. We can't let anything get us down. We've got to play hard.
Things are in the past now."
The Cougars answered, getting an interception by Jeremy Bohannon
to set up a 35-yard field goal by Loren Langley.
While both offenses struggled, some of that had to do with each
team's defense. Colorado's Bobby Purify, who had 189 yards rushing
in last week's win over Colorado State, was held to 53 yards
Hill had six catches for 206 yards and a TD.
Swogger was 6-of-27 for 77 yards. In the second half, he
completed only one of six throws. Brink, meanwhile, completed
12-of-23 passes for 251 with one touchdown and one interception.
"If we make some catches, I think it's a different ballgame,"
Colorado's Joel Klatt was 12-of-24 for 78 yards with one
Washington State has moved one home game from Pullman to Seattle
each of the last three years, drawing big crowds from legions of
fans who live on the west side of the Cascade Range.