WSU Opens up the Minshew Era in High Fashion

The Washington State Cougars opened the 2018 college football season on the road vs Wyoming. Wyoming was coming off a victory in their 1st game of the season against New Mexico State and was looking for win number 2 versus the Cougars. Washington State came into the ballgame with lots of new faces and new starters on offense and defense, including new coaches on the coaching staff. The question everyone was wondering was who will replace Luke Falk at quarterback. The answer was a man named Gardner Minshew. Minshew was a graduate transfer from East Carolina. The only thing Cougar Nation was what the internet told us. He graduated in December and was looking for a college where he could finish his career. He committed to Alabama, but Coach Mike Leach talked him into coming to Pullman and by May of this past spring he had moved to Pullman and had already learned a big portion of the Air Raid Offense that Coach Leach employs. Who was Gardner Minshew, well Cougar Nation was about to find out on the opening drive.

The Cougars received the opening kickoff and immediately drove down the field. Had it not been for penalties, they might have gone in the end zone, but instead they settled for a field goal by new redshirt freshman kicker Blake Mazza. RB James Williams dominated the ground game during that drive which completely messed up the Cowboys dominated defense. Minshew completed all his passes during the drive, looking like a young Brett Favre out on the field. He was completely in control. After stopping the Cowboys on their drive, Minshew lead WSU down the field and tossed his first touchdown pass of his Cougar career to RB James Williams as the lead increased to 10-0.

The team swapped drives with no success before WSU coughed up a punt that lead to a safety for Wyoming. Wyoming got the ball back with no success as WSU defense continued to shut out the Cowboy offense. On the very next drive, freshman RB Max Borghi fumbled it back over to Wyoming that eventually lead to a touchdown as the Cowboys cut the lead to 10-9. WSU quickly responded by driving the field and securing another field goal for Mazza. After Wyoming couldn’t move the ball, the Cougs got the ball back. Minshew than threw his first interception as a Cougar and the Cowboys drove the field and took a 16-13 lead. Both teams couldn’t move the ball as WSU went into halftime down by 3.

Wyoming opened the 2nd half by moving the ball down the field with ease as the Cougars looked helpless out there. Things settled down as the Cougars held the Cowboys to 3 points. As the lead increased to 19-13. We still had a chance as Minshew and the new and improved Cougars took over. He drove down the field as he completed 5 passes on the drive and RB James Williams add 27 yards rushing to his total. The drive ended in a touchdown catch by RB Max Borghi, the 1st of many touchdowns to come in his young Cougar career.

Both teams’ offenses went silent as the score remained 20-19 WSU as they went to quarter number 4.

After another Cowboy punt, Minshew drove the Cougars down in four plays as he ended a drive with a touchdown pass to WR Easop Winston. WSU went up 27-19 as things were looking up. Wyoming still couldn’t move the ball as the Cougars quickly got the ball back. Minshew and the air raid offense looked unstoppable as the Cougars quickly scored. Minshew went 4-5 on the drive which ended in an impressive touchdown run by RB Max Borghi, his 2nd of the ballgame.

WSU was up 34-19, as the fans sensed their 1st loss of the season and the stadium slowly emptied out. Wyoming had nothing to counter as once again they punted it back to WSU with less than 5 minutes left as WSU knew they had secured their 1st victory of the season. Minshew lead the Cougs on another long drive as the mixed it up with running and passes as they slowly ran down the clock. James Williams ended the drive with a touchdown run as the score was now 41-19.

Wyoming tried to put up a drive as the clock struck zero and WSU finally won an opening game after a 7-year hiatus.

 

5 Takeaways from WSU vs Wyoming

Gardner Minshew has won my heart. Wow, what a great first impression. After an impressive opening drive, I was thrilled of our new starting quarterback, but then my opinion of him went sour as he was so-so up until halftime. In the 2nd half it was a whole other story. I am sold on Gardner Minshew and hopefully so is Cougar Nation. He finished the ballgame with an impressive 38/57 for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he did throw an interception. We will give him a break since it was 1st game jitters. The new and improved Cougars looked comfortable with their new leader.

The Offensive Line held their own. Going into the season there was turnover on the offensive line. Many were wondering if they could hold together and protect their leader Minshew. Something clicked as they gave up no sacks and gave Minshew time to throw all ballgame. The running game had over 100 yards thanks to the holes that the O-line opened the entire ballgame. (The total by the end of the game was 75 rushing yards but that can’t be blamed on the O-line as the muffed snap on the punt earlier in the game lead to a minus 28 yards to the total running yards.)

Max Borghi, who is this kid! He was recruited to Stanford as an RB before WSU convinced him to attend Pullman. Max was involved in quite a few plays and didn’t disappoint. He did fumble the ball once, but he scored 2 touchdowns. He ran the ball for 14 yards, but those 14 yards got him into the end zone. Another big run was taken away earlier by a penalty on WSU. He also caught 6 passes for 18 yards, one of them for a touchdown. Yes, he’s only a freshman, but I’m making my prediction right here. He is the next superstar to come out of WSU, I promise you that. Cougar nation should be looking forward to watching this kid play for years to come and score many touchdowns.

Cougar Defense: They no longer are the “Speed D” but we might be calling them the “Shut-down D before years end. Minus a couple of big runs, they continued to force the Cowboys to punt the entire ballgame. Total yards allowed were 207 and they sacked the QB three times. What the future leads to this young defense, we will soon find out.

Peyton Pelluer: He only had 4 tackles, but this senior linebacker didn’t disappoint. He is the “Bobby Wagner” of the Cougar Defense. Last year he missed out on his opportunity when he broke his foot. This year he was granted another year of eligibility, and his leadership alone will make this Cougar Defense unstoppable.

 

Next up is San Jose State as they come to Pullman this Saturday the 8th of September. The Cougars are hoping to continue their unbeaten streak at home (they were undefeated last year) as they look to go 2-0 on this young season. I can’t wait to see what is next with these new and improved Washington State Cougars.

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.