Colorado, Washington look for positives in disappointing seasons
Colorado and visiting Washington had hopes of challenging for a Pac-12 championship this season, but instead will meet on Saturday to wind down what has been a disappointing year for both teams in Boulder, Colo.
The Huskies (4-6, 3-4 Pac-12) are dealing with some controversy ahead of the game. Washington fired head coach Jimmy Lake on Sunday after a little more than a season in the position.
Huskies defensive coordinator Bob Gregory was named the interim coach.
Lake was suspended for a game for a sideline incident during a loss to Oregon on Nov. 6. He didn’t coach in the loss to Arizona State last week and Washington athletic director Jen Cohen met with Lake on Sunday night and fired him.
Lake was elevated to head coach before the 2019 season and led the Huskies to a pandemic-shortened 3-1 record but the team has regressed in his second season. The sideline incident — he appeared to strike linebacker Ruperake Fuavai — as well as past allegations of being physical with players in 2019 and the poor on-field performance were all factors, Cohen said Sunday.
“There wasn’t one factor that led me to this decision. Wins and losses, no fan support (are some) of many factors that you’re considering when you’re making a decision this impactful,” Cohen said.
The Huskies need to focus on Colorado (3-7, 2-5) to keep their hopes alive of becoming eligible to play in a bowl game. Washington needs to beat the Buffaloes and Washington State in the final game to become bowl eligible.
Colorado won’t reach six wins no matter what happens in the last two games. The Buffaloes had a strong start, winning their opener and nearly beating No. 6 Texas A&M in the second game, but have only managed wins over Arizona and Oregon State in double overtime.
Last week Colorado led at UCLA 20-7 before the Bruins reeled off 37 straight points. Now, the Buffaloes are in the role of spoiler.
“We’ve got some seasons to ruin still if we want to,” tight end Brady Russell said. “That’s some motivation for sure. And just pride also. That’s big, going out with some dignity. I know we don’t want to go out like we did (Saturday) for the rest of the season. That’s embarrassing.”
Colorado will play the last two games without linebacker Joshka Gustav and wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig after both suffered season-ending injuries at UCLA.
–Field Level Media