Magic Minshew Continues His Remarkable Run; Wazzu Wins Again in Thrilling Fashion

It was just another Saturday night in Pullman, Washington as the California Bears flew into town with a 5-3 record, having pulled off a huge upset against the Washington Huskies a week ago. Wazzu was coming off a huge win over the Stanford Cardinal the week before. Wazzu with a 7-1 record, was looking to win their 12th straight game at home and bring their record to 8-1 on the season as they currently stood alone atop of the Pac-12 northern division. The Cougars were also looking for redemption against California because the year before, when the Cougars were highly ranked, they were routed by the Golden Bears. Washington State University was entertaining all the Cougar Dads, as it was “Dad’s Weekend” in Pullman. Kickoff was at 7:45pm on national TV (ESPN). Experts picked a blowout by the Cougars. Little did they know that the Cougars were in for a fight not to go 7-2 on the season.

California won the coin toss and chose to kick to WSU to start the first half. Minshew went 7-9 in the passing department as he moved his Cougars down the field with ease. The PAC-12’s top-ranked defense of Cal held their own when the time was right. Wazzu settled for a 29-yard field goal to go up 3-0.

On the ensuing drive, Cal moved down the field, having success in the running game. The Cougars eventually put a stop to that as the Golden Bears missed a field goal that would have tied the game at 3. Minshew took over again as he picked apart the defense of Cal and moved his army of Cougars down the field. They were eventually stopped by the Bears’ defense as California took over on downs.

It was starting to look like a defensive battle on national television, not what the country was expecting. Wazzu was fine with a defensive battle if they were ahead when time expired. As the first quarter came to an end, Minshew threw an interception in Wazzu territory as California was rewarded with great field position.

California opened the 2nd quarter with the momentum as they quickly drove down the field in nine plays that ended in a touchdown pass to go up 7-3 with 11 minutes left until halftime. With the way Cal was playing defense, would Minshew be able to rally the troops?

There was no doubt in the stadium or in the eyes of Minshew. The Cougars put together a drive that would be 9 plays to go 75 yards for a touchdown. Max “The Touchdown Machine” was the star of the drive as he was involved in 4 of the plays including a 5-yard touchdown to put the Cougs back on top 10-7. The two teams would battle the rest of the quarter, exchanging field goals. Wazzu would leave the field at half-time with a 13-10 lead, knowing that this would be a battle to the end.

The 3rd quarter opened with each team in an offensive funk as drives were put together but both teams ended up punting the ball back to each other. The Golden Bears took over on their own 10-yard line. After successfully moving the ball to their own 35-yard line, California’s quarterback went back to pass and threw an interception to Willie Taylor III of the Cougars who brought the ball back to the goal line of the Golden Bears. The problem was, he fumbled it into the end-zone, and the Cougars were unable to recover as the ball went out of the end-zone. Just like that, Cal had the ball on their own 20-yard line. California would then go on a time-consuming drive that would end with a field goal and a 13-13 tie. Wazzu would close out the 3rd quarter with the ball but Cal would stop them shortly after that as the 4th quarter started.

The 4th quarter has been probably the most entertaining period of the season for Wazzu. Once again, they didn’t disappoint Cougar Nation. After punting back to the Golden Bears, California went on the drive of all ages, a 14 play/76-yard drive that took nearly 6-minutes off the clock. Past WSU teams would give up at this point, not our beloved Cougs.

On the 14th play of the drive, the Cal QB went back to pass. The defensive line put enough pressure on the Cal QB to force a bad pass into the end-zone that Cougar safety Skyler Thomas stepped in and made a sensational interception, Wazzu’s ball on the 20-yard line. Minshew and the Cougars took over with just less than 8 minutes to go. Would Minshew have any magic left? As calm, cool and collective as Cougar Nation has ever seen him, he led the Cougs down the field eating over 4 minutes off the clock, something not seen on typical Wazzu drives. On the 11th play, Kicker Blake Mazza attempted a 30-yard field goal to put the Cougs up by 3 with four minutes to play. Seems easy, right? Mazza whiffed and the score remained tied. Wazzu’s defense on previous years would usually give up the go-ahead points.

The Cougar’s “new and improved” defense shot down the Golden Bears offense and forced them to punt, a huge mistake as the Golden Bears left just over 2 minutes left on the clock. Can “Magic” Minshew pull off another miracle? The fans were going nuts, and so was the national TV audience. Certainly “Uncle Rico” Minshew would pull this off!! Mr. “Heisman Candidate” didn’t disappoint as he took the Cougars on a 69-yard drive in just over two minutes. The first two plays from scrimmage resulted in negative yardage, but the Cougars were rewarded a holding penalty on Cal’s defense. This resulted in a first down! On 3rd down, 2 plays later, Minshew found Jamire Calvin over the middle for 23-yards. The next play he hit Easop Winston for 24-yards all the way to the California 10-yard line. Minshew wasn’t done with his magical drive as on the very next play he hit Winston for a 10-yard touchdown!!! The Cougars went up 19-13 (the extra point was missed) with 32 seconds to go. California couldn’t generate a miracle as the Cougars held on for the victory. They had another “Heismanesque” 4th quarter by Minshew and his troops. The Cougars were now 8-1 as their magical season continues!!

Takeaways from the thrilling 19-13 victory over the Golden Bears:
⦁ The Defense was unstoppable. Week to week we are unsure how many points they will give up or how many big plays. Tonight, they held their own against California. The Cougars secured 5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses. They also forced 2 turnovers and gave up only 13 points to a good California Golden Bears team. Once again Peyton Pelluer lead a balanced attack on defense with 10 tackles, ½ of a sack and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Logan Tago also had a big game on defense with 3 tackles, 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Despite the heroics of Minshew and Winston, the defense was certainly the stars of the game. Hats off to all of them!!

⦁ “Magic” Minshew with another all-star performance in perhaps his weakest performance of the season. He was heroic when he needed to be, and his stats prove it. Minshew completed 35-51 passes for 334 yards and 1 big touchdown while throwing 1 interception. He completed passes to 11 different receivers, and though he wasn’t effective on all his drives, he made the important ones count. He might not be the Heisman trophy winner this season, but he deserves to be in New York for consideration. Look at each game and tell me why he doesn’t deserve the consideration.

⦁ Wide Receivers on this club come in all shapes and sizes. Each week, someone rises to the occasion while others fall. One thing they all have in common is that the accommodate each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Tonight, it was “Mr. Clutch” Easop Winston coming through big time. Dezmon Patmon continues to become the number one wide receiver we are so craving here at Washington State. As for Tay Martin, I am calling you out again. Where are you? Why the downfall? The talent you have is out of this world. We are thankful for this group we have, but we need Tay Martin down the stretch.
⦁ I’m going to say it. Pac-12 refs are awful. The Pac-12 needs to take a serious look at the job they are doing and need to reassess the “Targeting” rule and when to call it. The inconsistency among the officiating crews this year is unacceptable, and I hope that they plan to fix this come off season. Meanwhile, we have the rest of the year to put up with their shenanigans.

⦁ This team is talented on both sides of the ball, but my new favorite player is Max Borghi. This kid can play, and I know that we are all looking forward to watching him the remainder of this career. “Mr. Touchdown” has 9 touchdowns and a combined 78 touches with just under 500 yards of offense, not too shabby in a part time role. Keep it up Max, your future is bright!

Washington State’s next opponent is the Colorado Buffaloes on the road this Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 on ESPN. Colorado can’t be taken lightly. They are tough at home and are surrounded by good talent on both sides of the ball. This year is special. We are sure to see some more magic this Saturday afternoon. It should be another close ballgame with WSU coming out on top 41-32. Cougar Nation where will you be watching this Saturday?

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.