Hoffman-Ellis victorious in his Buffalo hunt

IT WAS THE kind of game that Alex Hoffman-Ellis couldn't have anticipated during his lone year playing high-school football. Hoffman-Ellis, a Los Angeles native who played two years of football total – one at Moorpark College – before donning crimson and gray as a linebacker, racked up 14 tackles and two sacks resulting in a loss of 16 yards during the Cougars' 31-27 win at Colorado.

"We just keep battling," he said of Washington State (3-1 overall, 1-0 conference) getting its first Pac-12 win. "It's adversity, and we worked in practice to battle against it."

Hoffman-Ellis' performance Saturday was just one off his career high 15 tackles, and was his fifth career double-digit tackle performance.

"He's going to turn into one of the better linebackers in our league," said coach Paul Wulff in a postgame radio interview.

HIS FIRST SACK of quarterback Tyler Hansen came with about six minutes left in the third quarter. With the Buffaloes at their own 33 and leading 20-17, Hoffman-Ellis sacked the senior for a loss of six yards to the Colorado 27-yard line.

On the Buffaloes' first drive of the fourth quarter, he did it again to Hansen, this time for a loss of 10 yards, putting Colorado at its own 15.

"It was just huge for Cougar football," Hoffman-Ellis said of his team's playmaking.

He was quick to credit the offense, saying it "capitalized and had our backs when we needed it the most."

HOFFMAN-ELLIS ALSO WAS noted for his leadership efforts, having been seen pacing up and down the line during the final two minutes in an attempt to rally his teammates.

"I was just trying to redirect guys and reinforce the message that we're in this and we can do this," he said in a postgame interview with the Spokesman-Review.

But he shrugged his efforts off as no big deal. "Over the past couple weeks we've been working on developing that mentality," he said, adding that the defense has developed an understanding of what it must do to be successful.

As a result of that understanding, the Cougars held the Buffalos to just 336 yards of total offense.

ALSO RECORDING A sack Saturday was defensive end Logan Mayes, son of Cougar great Rueben Mayes, in his first collegiate game. Mayes had initially been expected to redshirt this season, but was determined "to help us one way or another on scout team."

His attitude didn't surprise Wulff, who said the freshman has "some special gifts getting after the quarterback."

Mayes sacked Hansen for a loss of two yards with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, putting Colorado at their own 32.

"We kept going down and we kept getting back up and back up," he said in a postgame interview. "Eventually, we knocked them down and they didn't get back up and we won the ballgame."

  • Marshall Lobbestael's 376 passing yards were a career-high and the 18th most in WSU single-game history. It was the senior's third straight game with 300-plus passing yards.

  • Safety Deone Bucannon's interception in the second quarter broke Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen's streak of passes without an interception (120 coming into the game). Two weeks ago, Bucannon did the same to San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley, whose streak was 98 passes.

  • Cornerback Nolan Washington did not play after suffering a hip bruise on Wednesday, but Wulff said he could have if needed. Leon Brooks, the team's punt returner, sprained his shoulder late in the game, and Henry Eaddy took his place to field the Buffaloes' final punt. Additionally, linebacker Sekope Kaufusi and defensive tackle Toni Pole did not start after being late for a team activity. Both played later, but Pole was used sparingly.

  • Wide receiver Jared Karstetter had nine catches for 105 yards to pass Mike Levenseller and Tim Stallworth and move into a tie for eighth place with C.J. Davis on WSU's all-time career receptions list. Kartsetter, a senior, has 128 career receptions and three career 100-yard games.

  • The Cougars have now won their last two meetings in Boulder; the last game was Sept. 13, 2003, and they won 47-26. They are now 3-2 all-time at Colorado and 3-4 against the Buffaloes overall.

  • Travis Long, a junior defensive end from Gonzaga Prep, had a career-high eight tackles, including two for a loss of 10 yards. But his most important play came when he blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter after Lobbestael threw an interception on the game's first series to give Colorado possession. The ball hit Long's left wrist.

    "(Defensive tackle Anthony) Laurenzi got into the guard, opening up the A-gap for me and I just shot it and it was open," Long said in a postgame interview with the Spokesman-Review.

    Long's efforts were praised by Wulff, who called him "a good football player (and) a steady player we can depend on."

  • Saturday was the first time the Cougars blocked a field goal since Oct. 24, 2009 at California.


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