Cougstock Comes to Pullman: Washington State University and Gardner Minshew Dance Their Way to Victory!

What a week it was for Pullman, Washington as Washington State University was finally going to get the recognition they deserved! During their bye week they were informed by ESPN College Game Day that they would be finally coming to Pullman for the big game as Wazzu Nation went nuts! WSU had made a name for themselves by waving their flag for 15 years, every single week on the popular ESPN show. WSU was facing Oregon, a formidable opponent, and it was the 15-year anniversary of the WSU flag-waving so now it was the time for ESPN to give the Cougars the respect they deserved!

The city of Pullman called a state of emergency to be able to accommodate the large crowds they were expecting, possibly 100,000 people for the week, including 15,000 to 20,000 for the Game Day morning show. “Cougstock” was coming to Pullman, sure to be a crazy social event starring Mike Leach as “The Coach” of the Cougars and Gardner “Uncle Rico” Minshew as the QB. Anything might happen.

Saturday morning was not an ordinary morning, as Cougar Nation and “others” crowded the streets of WSU as ESPN went live on the air. They didn’t disappoint as an estimated 15,000 plus showed up. For 3 plus hours, they entertained a national TV audience as the ESPN announcers were in awe, something they didn’t anticipate. It was an amazing experience as ESPN went off the air with announcer Lee Corso picking the Cougars to win. With that said, he put on the head of Cougar mascot Butch T. Cougar, something that no one anticipated as the rumor was that he was going to go with the Ducks of Oregon. “Cougstock” wasn’t over, there was still a football game to be played across the street that night.

Wazzu received the opening kickoff as Minshew and the Cougars quickly drove down the field. Minshew was cool and calm as he picked apart the Ducks one by one. He completed 7 passes before he threw his first mistake of the night, an interception inside the red zone as Oregon put an end to the Cougars drive. The Cougs quickly got the ball back as the defense shut down the high-powered Duck offense, lead by QB Justin Herbert, a future NFL number one draft pick. Minshew lead the Cougars down the field in 6 plays to take the 7-0 on a fancy 24-yard touchdown run by James “Boobie’ Williams, perhaps the play of the year. Again, Oregon failed to move the ball and had to punt back to the Cougars.

Minshew would lead the Cougars on a 12-play drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass to WR Renard Bell as the Cougars opened the 2nd quarter with a 13-0 lead after a botched extra point. Wazzu’s defense would continue to dominate the high-powered Ducks as they forced another 3 and out, sacking Herbert in the process. The stadium was going wild, nobody thought this game was going to be one-sided.

On the ensuing drive, Minshew would lead the Cougars down the field for another touchdown. Easop Winston would catch a 6-yard touchdown to put the Cougars up 20-0. Minshew would complete 10-10 passes on the drive. Just before the half, “Uncle Rico” Minshew would put the Cougars up 27-0 on a 15-yard TD pass to RB and freshman sensation Max “Touchdown Machine” Borghi. As we went to the half up 27-0, the fans of “Cougstock” were going insane. This can’t be, shutting out Justin Herbert and the high-powered Duck offense. Something wasn’t right. We would soon find that out.

Oregon would receive the 2nd half kickoff and drive down the field to score their 1st touchdown of the ballgame. They would dominate both sides of the ball as the crowd would become silent. This blowout was turning into a “Couged it” performance. Wazzu would get the ball twice during the 3rd quarter, failing to move the ball that included another interception by Minshew which could have been prevented had WR Tay Martin ran a better route. Oregon would score 17 third quarter points as the lead was 27-17 as we went to the 4th quarter with the Cougs having the ball.

Minshew would start the 4th quarter taking the Cougs down into Duck territory and having them stall which lead to another punt. Justin Herbert wasn’t finished, and neither were his Ducks. He would take the Ducks on a 16-play drive going nearly the entire field. The Cougar Defense would rise to the occasion and hold the Oregon Ducks to field goal, cutting the lead to 27-20 with less than seven minutes to play. The Cougars have been here before in the past, sensing a possible comeback by the other team. But this year was different, with “Uncle Rico” Minshew behind the helm, anything can happen, and it did.

With six plus minutes on the clock, he would move the Cougars down the field in 8 plays. He would hook up with WR Dezmon Patmon for 22 yards a touchdown. The Cougars were up 34-20, with just under four minutes to go. In college football, being up by 14 that late in the game wasn’t always a given, especially for Washington State. The Oregon Ducks certainly had the ability to come back to tie the ballgame. Wazzu had seen it before. This season is different though, there’s a different feeling in that locker room. Oregon did their best to drive down the field, but they would turn it over on downs. WSU would run out the clock and would win the football game 34-20.

“Cougstock” would end with the Wazzu fans rushing the field and passing Minshew around like they were in a mosh pit at a rock concert. It was insane. An amazing day at Washington State University. The fans continued to celebrate as the Cougars were winners in perhaps the biggest game they have played in quite a long time. “Cougstock” was a huge success.

Takeaways from W.S.U. versus Oregon:

  • Gardner Minshew deserves player of the year in the Pac-12 if this play continues!
    Absolutely he deserves the award. Against Oregon he went 39-51 for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns. He did throw 2 picks, but only one was his fault. Minshew is a special person. A friend told me he told the team in the beginning of the season that they would make the college football playoffs. While that is still far away from happening, the Cougs winning is out is still legitimate and they certainly could be playing for Roses this year (or at least in the Bowl Games that count). Minshew is what this program needed. He has lit a spark which everyone needed. Cougar Nation can’t wait to see what happens over the next 5 weeks.

  • Wazzu’s Defense is good!
    They may not be the top-tier in their conference but they make the big plays when needed. For quarters 3 and parts of 4, they were weak tonight, but that happens to any good team. They made the plays when needed. They shut out the Ducks in the 1st half, and in the 2nd half they were mediocre, but when they were needed to stop the Ducks they did. Peyton Pelluer continues to be the leader of this defense. He made big plays all evening. The defense sacked Herbert 3 times and they gave up only 58 rushing yards. Minshew and the “new and improved defense” were the heroes of the evening.

  • Calling out WR Tay Martin and DB Darrien Molton!
    Tay Martin 6 catches for 25 yards was unacceptable for the number one receiver. We didn’t really see any big catches from you, and when the opportunity was there you allowed them to intercept the ball. Tay Martin the potential is there, so bring it son! Darrien Molton 3 pass interference calls!! That shouldn’t have happened after the first one. This wasn’t the only game where mistakes have happened. We all know you have it in you. Come next week it’s time to bring it!
  • Is the best running back duo in the country James “Boobie” Williams and Max “Touchdown Machine” Borghi?
    The two combined for 19 carries for 93 yards and 1 touchdown. Out of the backfield, they caught a combined 14 passes for 93 yards and 1 touchdown. The answer is yes, they are the best running back duo. They only continue to get better and better.

Next week the Cougars travel to play the Stanford Cardinal. This will not be an easy game for 2 reasons: the first being that it is a road game. The other reason is that they are they Stanford Cardinal. They always have the biggest athletes, a top-notch defense and a great running back to deal with (Bryce Love). This should be a game of high scoring with the Cougars coming out on top because this is a different season. We have Minshew. Cougar Nation we need to have our TVs on watching this if we can not be there in person. This is our year. Believe in these guys. This is the real deal.

Go Cougs!

 

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Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I’m a graduate of Washington State University and I’m a die-hard baseball fan.

News Reporter
Brian joined the SSU in 2017 and covers the Everett AquaSox. I'm a graduate of Washington State University and I'm a die-hard baseball fan.