LARAMIE – Washington State kicked off its 2018 season at 7,220 feet above sea level to take on Wyoming.
Gardner Minshew, getting the week one start, took the opening possession into Cowboy territory. Blake Mazza knocked through a 24 yard field goal to give WSU an early 3-0 lead.
After the Cougar defense forced a quick three-and-out, WSU found themselves back on offense. Several personal fouls charged to Wyoming and a shifty 18-yard run by James Williams put Wazzu in the red zone. Minshew and Williams capped off the drive by connecting on a two-yard touchdown reception extending the lead 10-0.
It was not all upside for Washington State in the first quarter, however. A special teams misfire resulted in a safety as a bad snap sailed over the head of punter Oscar Draguicevich III and into WSU’s own endzone. After 15 minutes, Washington State led 10-2.
Wyoming’s defensive end Garrett Crall stripped freshman halfback Max Borghi on a shovel pass to set the Pokes offense up in favorable field position. Five plays and 30 yards later, the Cowboys scored on an eight-yard run by Nico Evans cutting Wazzu’s lead 10-9.
The Cougar offense responded with a 51-yard drive highlighted by an explosive connection to Tay Martin. A 41-yard field goal converted by Blake Mazza extended the Cougar lead 13-9.
Wyoming hit back and took their first lead just before the half on a 23-yard scamper by Avante’ Cox. Cornerback Antinio Hull set up the series after intercepting Washington State’s signal caller on a pass attempt to Tay Martin. At the half, Wyoming led 16-13.
Starting the third quarter, Wyoming received the opening kickoff. Quarterback Tyler Vander Waal led the Pokes 62 yards in 13 plays setting up placekicker Cooper Rothe for a 30 yard try. After converting the attempt, Wyoming extended their lead 19-13.
Minshew and company quickly responded. The graduate transfer hit Jamire Calvin between the hashes multiple times, once to convert on fourth down, to keep the following drive alive. The series was solidified by a six-yard swing pass to Max Borghi for the score. Borghi’s first collegiate touchdown put the Cougs back on top, 20-19.
Once gaining the fourth quarter lead, Washington State never looked back. In their next offensive series, two quick completions to Dez Patmon put Wazzu inside the red zone. Soon after, Minshew synched up with Easop Winston Jr. near the back-corner pylon from seven yards out pulling Wazzu further ahead 27-19.
Later in the fourth, Max Borghi and James Williams put the game on ice by recording a pair of rushing touchdowns: Borghi from 14 yards out and Williams from just three.
Washington State pulls it out, 41-19, and moves to 1-0 on the season.