Wazzu thrashes Colorado, ends Buffaloes’ bowl hopes

Cameron Ward ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more while defensive lineman Brennan Jackson returned two fumbles for touchdowns as Washington State embarrassed Colorado 56-14 on Friday in Pullman, Wash.

Ward completed 18 of 30 passes for 288 yards to lead the Cougars (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12). Josh Kelly caught six passes for 130 yards for Washington State, which must win at No. 5 Washington next week to reach six wins and gain bowl eligibility.

Colorado (4-7, 1-7) lost for the seventh time in eight games and won’t appear in a bowl in coach Deion Sanders’ first season. The Buffaloes lost starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders to an arm injury in the second quarter when he was hit hard trying to corral a botched snap. He was 6 of 10 for 86 yards and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter before leaving the game.

Colorado used two other quarterbacks after Sanders’ departure, but they couldn’t move the offense, either. The Cougars held the Buffaloes to 255 total yards and recorded five sacks.

Lincoln Victor scored on a 15-yard run just over six minutes into the game to get Washington State on the board. Jackson picked up a Sanders fumble at the 5:14 mark and rumbled 40 yards for a 14-0 lead.

After Sanders and Hunter connected for their score, Leyton Smithson made it 21-7 Cougars by slaloming through Colorado’s kickoff coverage for a 98-yard touchdown return.

Ward turned the game into a blowout in the second quarter. After finding Nakia Watson for a 23-yard scoring strike, Ward added touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards in the final four minutes for an insurmountable 42-7 lead entering halftime.

In the third quarter, Ward hit Kyle Williams on a go route behind Hunter for a 34-yard scoring strike. Jackson’s 74-yard scoop and score pushed the lead to a 56-7 cushion with 5:23 remaining in the third.

The Buffaloes tacked on a final touchdown in the fourth quarter on Sy’veon Wilkerson’s 1-yard run.