Welcome back. Another win, another well-qualified pool of Cougar Football candidates. It’s a little more difficult but also much more fun this way! I imagine trying to put together something like this back in 2009, and I shudder. I mean, there would have had to come a point where somebody besides Reid Forrest was able to take home the top spot (along with every runner-up spot), right? Don’t answer that.
We could almost write up two separate columns this week, one for the first half and one for the second. You can probably guess which side of the ball would garner top honors in each half. Abject laziness shall carry the day once again, however, so we’ll do our best to combine both halves into one. Enough of the suspense, assuming you didn’t figure out our winner by, you know, reading the headline.
Shout Out: The person on the WSU sideline who used their siren call to lure the Utah safety wildly in that direction on Dezmon Patmon’s 65-yard touchdown. I don’t know who you are or what you said, but it sure worked.
That reminds me of this.
Dishonorable Mention: The ref who flagged Easop Winston Jr. following his 89-yard touchdown. Hey old guy, unless the kid does something egregious, maybe let him be happy.
Honorable Mention: Mother Nature
71 degrees with sun and light winds, at least at first, for homecoming? Hard to envision a better scene for WSU fans to watch a game. This is especially true if the result is a “W.”
3rd Runner-Up: Oscar Draguicevich
Another game, another solid performance from the punter. Draguicevich averaged a whopping 48 yards on five punts, with a net of 43.4. Oscar currently stands first in the Pac-12 and third in the nation with a net punting average of 44.9 yards. He is also very good at hemming returners near the sideline, making returns difficult.
2nd Runner-Up: Easop Winston Jr.
This is not only for Winston’s 89-yard, ankle-breaking, game-winning touchdown. It’s also due to the face that (I think?) Winston was one of the few receivers who didn’t have a case of the dropsies on Saturday. Due in large part to that long score at in the fourth quarter, Winston led all receivers with 115 yards. For the second straight week, he is showing us all how much better he got during his redshirt season.
1st Runner-Up: Peyton Pelluer
As we mentioned Sunday, Pelluer’s sixth season of eligibility for WSU has been manna from heaven. While the linebackers performed well in his stead a year ago, he is clearly making a huge impact this season, and I’m probably not alone in my belief that his injury last season was a huge blessing in disguise. Pelluer was far and away WSU’s best defender, logging five solo tackles among 13 total stops, including 1.5 TFL and a sack. That sack was critical, as it forced Utah into third-and-26, effectively ending the possession. The punt that followed preceded the 89-yard game winner.
Winner: Gardner Minshew II
It was common knowledge that Utah entered Saturday’s game with the nation’s leading pass defense. Now sure, Utah hadn’t faced any team with the caliber of passing attack WSU has, but they are very tough on all three levels. Mississippi Mustache don’t care. Minshew spent the first half slicing that vaunted defense to ribbons, using his pocket agility and read progressions to put up 286 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) on a Utah defense that had been allowing 93 yards per game through the air. Speaking of that agility, this is something we haven’t seen in a long time.
The second half was a different story, as Minshew couldn’t develop the same rhythm he’d had before, due to a few different factors such as dropped passes and an improved Utah pass rush. He certainly came through when it counted, though, as he took advantage of 1-on-1 coverage and laid a perfect pass into Easop Winston’s hands. You know the rest.
Minshew averaged a solid 7.9 YPA, and threw three touchdowns against what is now the NCAA’s 31st-ranked pass defense, in terms of yards-per-game (yes it’s not a good stat but they were touted as being first in terms of YPG a week ago so help me out here). Anyway, congratulations on being our first two-time winner, Gardner. I’m fine if you want to be selfish and end up here a few more times.
One last video, in which Minshew takes on the role of Maverick, aviator glasses, leather jacket and all, while Peyton Pelluer (I think) makes a cameo as Goose. Peyton, buddy (if that’s you), hold that phone horizontal, and watch the ejection handle. Go Cougs!
Who was WSU’s Player of the Week against Utah?
This poll is closed
Gardner Minshew II
Easop Winston Jr.
Utah for joining the Pac-12 and continuing to employ Kyle Whittingham