On a night where Washington State could seemingly do no wrong, the Mike Leach-led Cougars (10-1, 7-1) displayed a complete and dominating effort against PAC 12 South opponent, the Arizona Wildcats (5-6, 4-4). CSN photographer Jack Ellis was on the field capturing the game’s biggest moments and plays.
Offensive Line Coach Mason Miller’s unit is among the best in the nation, allowing only 7 sacks in the first 10 game of the season. Despite the loss of All-American offensive guard Cody O’Connell and All-PAC 12 tackle Cole Madison to graduation, the Cougar O-line has shown no drop off and has seen noticeable improvement as the season progresses.
Wide receivers Easop Winston Jr. (Left) and Dezmon Patmon (Right) lead the WR Corps in terms of yards, second and first on the team, respectively. Winston Jr. has 561 yards with 7 TDs on the season, compared to Patmon’s 724 yards and 3 TDs.
Martin Stadium continues to be kind to the Cougars, as the home win streak extends to 13, dating back to 2017. Washington State looks to reclaim the Apple Cup for the first time since 2012, which would punch their ticket to Santa Clara for the PAC 12 Championship Game.
Running Back James Williams opened up the scoring fest with a 1-yard run on WSU’s opening drive. Williams has scored in all but two of the Cougars’ contests in 2018 and leads all skill players with 12 TDs.
Cornerback Marcus Strong celebrates his second interception of the year, and first since Week 1 against Wyoming. The interception took place on Arizona’s opening drive, allowing Minshew and Co. to create an early 14-0 lead.
Max Borghi, the other half of Washington State’s dynamic duo, ran for 50 yards and a score tallying 65 more yards through the air on 6 receptions. Borghi has found the end zone in the last six games, dating back to Oregon State in early October.
Coug legend Bob Robertson was recognized on the sidelines for his commitment to Washington State Athletics. Robertson, 89, called WSU football games for 52 years and WSU basketball for 23 years. Speaking on behalf of all of Cougar Nation: Enjoy retirement Bob, you’ve earned it.
Defensive lineman Taylor Comfort, the big man from Sultan, WA, played in integral part in containing Arizona halfback J.J. Taylor and keeping quarterback Khalil Tate in the pocket. The Arizona running game accounted for just 134 yards on 37 carries (3.4 YPA).
Senior Andre Dillard is a veteran on the O-line and has been an important part of keeping quarterback Gardner Minshew II on his feet. Minshew II enjoyed a clean pocket for most of the night, only giving up 1 sack to the Arizona defense.
Receiver Jamire Calvin has played a more minor role in recent weeks, but came up big against Arizona with 37 yards on 5 receptions. Calvin finally found the end zone recording his first touchdown of 2018.
Calvin Jackson Jr. had a career night with a season-high 85 yards on 5 receptions. Prior to tonight’s game, Jackson Jr. did not have a touchdown to his name; that changed in the waning seconds of the first quarter, and again(!) halfway through the second.
Immediately following Calvin Jackson Jr.’s second score, a muffed kickoff recovered by Kainoa Wilson in the end zone signified the floodgates opening for the Cougs. The touchdown put Washington State up 41-14 just over halfway through the second quarter.
Linebacker Peyton Pelluer officially became WSU’s most veteran player Saturday night as he has now suited up 52 times as a Cougar. The sixth-year Senior has beaten all but one team in his time as a Cougar, and he hopes to change that next week when rival Washington comes to the Palouse.
With Arizona deep in WSU territory late in the first half, it seemed eminent that the Wildcats would put up points and take the momentum heading into break. That was until a play went awry, leading to a fumble recovery by Marcus Strong in the back of the end zone. WSU scored just two plays and 80 yards later.
Minshew II threw a school-record 7 TDs against a mediocre Wildcat secondary completing 76.4% of his passes and throwing 473 yards. Minshew II stayed in the game late into the second half, possibly due to the importance of boosting stats with a growing Heisman campaign.
Outside of several deep throws from Khalil Tate, the Cougar defense largely held the Arizona’s offense in check. Seen above, Redshirt Junior Tristan Brock celebrates after forcing a Wildcats punt in the third quarter.
Coming into Saturday night’s game, flashbacks to last year’s 27-58 loss to Arizona at the hands of mobile Tate created unease among many WSU fans. However, the Cougars answered the call holding Tate to just 25 yards on 8 attempts. Justus Rodgers (37) caused a 4-yard loss on his solo sack on the night, his second of the season.
Easop Winston Jr. capped off the scoring onslaught with a 9-yard reception late in the fourth quarter. When was the last time WSU scored this many points? It was a sunny November afternoon in 2016 against a familiar opponent. WSU routed Arizona 69-7 the last time the Wildcats visited Martin Stadium.
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