PULLMAN – It had been a nippy day in Pullman when the Eagles of Eastern Washington gave the Promised Land a visit for round two. Washington State, eager to settle a score, hosted the in-state foe to conclude their out-of-conference schedule.
It was somehow refreshing that Wazzu went on to bury the Eagles to a tune of 59-24. After setting a school-record 551 total offensive yards in his last matchup against the Cougs, Eastern quarterback Gage Gubrud left Martin Stadium humming a different song Saturday.
During fall camp, Head Coach Mike Leach cited “moving the offense” as a signal callers single most important quality. Tonight, Gardner Minshew II did just that.
The Cougar offense charged past Eastern’s secondary like a hot knife through butter. Minshew II, more comically known as the Mississippi Mustache, played catch with 10 different receivers in the victory.
The Cougar quarterback racked up 470 yards and two touchdowns in the winning effort; he completed 79 percent of his attempts in the process. His most featured target, Tay Martin, was credited with 13 receptions for 149 yards and one fourth quarter trip to the end zone.
The Cougar backfield complimented the Air Raid by executing at a high level in short yardage situations. James Williams took six touches for three scores while freshman Max Borghi carded a touchdown of his own.
To the Eagles credit, their defensive line gave WSU fits. Redshirt freshman Mitchell Johnson not only sacked a WSU quarterback for the first time this season, but he did it twice in the same set of downs. The pair of sacks forced one of few Cougar punts; however, not much came of it as Oscar Draguicevich III booted just shy of a 50-yard average.
Make no mistake, this game was not won with an offense alone. Jalen Thompson, Darrien Molton, and Jahad Woods, all recording interceptions, kept the EWU offense frugal. As a byproduct, WSU dominated time of possession by a lopsided 36:02/23:58 affair. And while special teams was not perfect, Travell Harris returned a kickoff 100 yards for a quick six points in the second quarter.
“I thought we played a complete game on all sides,” said Head Coach Mike Leach to the media. “They’re a good football team and they may win the national championship this year.”
Washington State moves to a perfect 3-0 on the season and extends their home winning streak to nine games. Next Friday, WSU opens Pac-12 play at Southern California for a 7:30 p.m. showdown.
Q1 9:27 – WSU 7, EWU 0
James Williams draws first blood for the Cougs with a one-yard rushing touchdown. (Blake Mazza PAT good)
Q1 1:45 – WSU 14, EWU 0
Gardner Minshew II slings his first score of the night to Easop Winston from 14 yards out. (Mazza PAT good)
Q2 12:11 – WSU 14, EWU 3
Roldan Alcobendas 37-yard field goal good.
Q2 11:56 – WSU 21, EWU 3
Following the EWU field goal, Travell Harris took the ensuing kickoff 100-yards to the house. (Mazza PAT good)
Q2 2:17 – WSU 28, EWU 3
After 15 plays and 98 yards, James Williams plowed into the west end zone for his second touchdown of the evening. (Mazza PAT good)
Q2 0:39 – WSU 28, EWU 10
In the first half’s closing minute, Gage Gubrud hooked up with redshirt freshman Andrew Boston on a post route for EWU’s first touchdown.
Q3 11:41 – WSU 28, EWU 17
Gubrud synched up with Zach Eagle for a 34-yard touchdown. (Alcobendas PAT good)
Q3 4:37 – WSU 35, EWU 17
James Williams capped off a 99-yard drive with an eight yard rush. It would be the junior halfback’s third trip to the end zone. (Mazza PAT good).
Q3 3:54 – WSU 35, EWU 24
Gubrud finds a wide open Dennis Merritt for a 44-yard touchdown reception. (Alcobendas PAT good)
Q4 14:05 – WSU 38, EWU 24
Blake Mazza converts on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Q4 9:47 – WSU 45, EWU 24
Gardner Minshew II throws into coverage, but Tay Martin reels in the 21-yard pass for a touchdown. (Mazza kick good).
Q4 8:24 – WSU 52, EWU 24
After a fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff, Max Borghi topped off a three play 18-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown rush. (Mazza kick good)
Q4 1:21 – WSU 59, EWU 24
Backup quarterback Trey Tinsley cashes in for six with Robert Lewis on a six-yard connection over the middle. (Mazza kick good).