All right everyone, go ahead and exhale. Everyone feeling ok? I see your hands still shaking. That one was fun, yeah? Never in doubt with the Mississippi Mustache at the controls.
WSU took care of business Saturday night, felling the Stanford Cardinal 41-38 thanks to Blake Mazza’s field goal with 19 seconds left after an up-and-down affair in Palo Alto. Gardner Minshew advanced his Heisman candidacy (I can’t believe I’m actually typing that) by going 40-50 for 438 yards and three touchdowns to move WSU to 7-1 an 4-1 in conference, which puts the Cougs all alone in first place in the Pac-12 North.
Brent Schwartz helps me break down the action from Dezmon Patmon’s workman like effort racking up 127 receiving yards on 10 catches to Jamire Calvin’s alternative method of excitement, reaching 102 yards on just three receptions. This was the Cougs’ toughest test yet, and they never gave up despite trailing by 14 and 11 at different points in the game. You wouldn’t know it from watching the calm demeanor of Gardner Minshew as he completed 80% of his passes and stayed cool under pressure when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter.
How about that shotgun QB sneak, by the way? I had no idea Minshew could carry a defensive lineman two yards on his back.
The defense struggled, but stood strong when they needed to in key moments. They also got a little help from David Shaw’s conservative playcalling, which kept Stanford from breaking the game open. It all resulted in Mike Leach becoming the first coach to beat David Shaw’s Cardinal in three consecutive meetings.
The Pac-12 officials must read the news, because it seemed like they were a little upset with Mike Leach’s critical comments about Pac-12 integrity and officiating with some ticky-tack penalties, but even that wouldn’t be enough to deny the Cougs their seventh victory. Stanford defense and questionable officiating isn’t enough to contain the ten different receivers Minshew connected with on Saturday night. This Coug team is scrappy, and it’s clear they never believe they’re in too deep of a hole to come back from.
It was a crazy week in the Pac-12 Conference, with Utah continuing their winning ways, Oregon State authoring a thrilling win from down 21 points in the fourth quarter, the Ducks getting crushed by a different kind of feral feline, and the Trojans falling flat against Arizona State.
Most glorious of all, however, was California’s 12-10 win over Washington, decided not in small part by questionable coaching decisions from Chris Petersen. With their loss, the Cougs’ path to the Pac-12 North championship is just a little easier than it was before.
Of course, having a few candidates for all-conference players and one for the Heisman trophy doesn’t hurt, and we take a look at which Cougs might be able to rack up some honors.
Switching gears to California, they come to Pullman next Saturday to take on the Cougs. We take a look at what they do well, why they’ve been so successful on defense, and what the Cougs need to do to prevent an upset in Pullman.
It’ll be a tough battle, and the pressure will be on in every game the rest of the way with a clear path to the Rose Bowl and perhaps even the College Football Playoff for the No. 10 ranked Cougs. (You know, the only ranked team in the state of Washington.) They have the ability to pull of the win this coming Saturday, but will they? Listen to us and we’ll tell you. Until next time, Go Cougs!