SEATTLE - 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 earn a 20-12 victory over Washington State on Saturday.
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.
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.
Brink, a freshman, recovered by throwing a 60-yard TD strike to Jason Hill, pulling the Cougars to 17-12 with 8:04 to go. Brink's attempt on a two-point try was broken up by Tyrone Henderson, whose block punt led to the TD by Vickers.
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 goal line.
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.
It wasn't any better after the break, hinging the outcome on whichever team could gather some first downs or generate some kind of a big play -- offense, defense or special teams.
That turned out to be the Buffaloes.
Tyrone Henderson 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.
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 rushing.
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.
Colorado's Joel Klatt was 12-of-24 for 78 yards with one interception.