Welcome back. Following the Oregon State game, we selected Gardner Minshew II as our Player of the Week. That made it three times in six games that the quarterback took home top honors. Well it’s clear that we’re in Minshew’s head, because after Boobie and Max Borghi won the award a week ago, Minshew was determined to get it this week so he could maintain his “every other week” POTW pace.
If we’re being honest, we thought about awarding the top spot to a couple other guys, if only to spread the happiness around a bit. But in the end, we’re nothing if not a merit-based operation around here, so the top spot has to go to the guy who was almost certainly the principle reason the Cougs won - again. As always, winning makes writing this a lot more fun.
Shout Out: Traveling Cougar fans
Got a nomination for this one in the Comments section of another article, so we’ll recognize all of you who braved the wilds of Stanford Stadium on Saturday. It’s tough to gauge how many visiting fans are in the stadium, especially when the team colors are similar, but reports from the front lines indicate that WSU fans were out in full force. There are few things more fun than watching your team win in enemy territory.
Honorable Mention: Peyton Pelluer
On a night when the defense struggled mightily to stop Stanford’s passing attack, Pelluer was the main reason the Cougar defense got the stops it needed to keep the team in the game. His blitz/forced fumble in the first quarter flipped the field, and enabled the Cougs to take an early 14-7 lead.
That play was credited as a sack as well. Late in the third quarter, Pelluer read K.J. Costello and broke up a third-and-two pass that forced a Stanford punt. The ensuing WSU possession resulted in a tie game. Pelluer is having a hell of a season.
2nd Runner-Up: Blake Mazza
Mazza kicked seven balls on Saturday night, and every one of them went through the uprights. Oh, and every one of them was essential to a WSU victory. The kicking bugaboo that has plagued the team at times this season, particularly in the USC game, was nowhere to be found on Saturday, as Mazza calmly drilled the first game-winning attempt of his young career. The celebration could use a little work, though, or at least some explanation.
1st Runner(s)-Up: Dezmon Patmon and Jamire Calvin
Yes, I know those are two guys, but they were both sensational on Saturday, and it was the best way to squeeze both of them in. After making a few clutch catches in the season’s first few games, Calvin has been largely absent after he had a really rough game against Utah. It’s clear that he never stopped working, though, and he came up in a massive way at Stanford. First was the catch-and-run to set up a WSU field goal at the end of the half. If Calvin doesn’t make this play, WSU probably doesn’t get three points that would prove a tad important.
Calvin resurfaced when WSU absolutely had to have a big play. On third down late in the game, he got just enough separation down the middle and hauled in a 35-yard pass that set up WSU in field goal range. A little bit later, the Cougs took the lead for good. In all, Calvin caught three passes...for 102 yards. Every catch resulted in a first down. Not bad!
Then there’s Dezmon Patmon, who somehow gets better every week. Coming into the season, it was apparent that he was capable of a lot more than he had produced thus far. Well, Dez isn’t having that issue this year, and his exponential improvement was on display again Saturday. He was borderline uncoverable, catching pass after pass on the sideline, and even lowering his shoulder for extra yards a few times.
After a first half that produced two catches, Patmon took over on WSU’s first second half possession. On a nine play, 75 yard drive, Patmon caught passes for 11, 17, 13 and 17 yards. That’s 58 of the 75 yards. All catches resulted in first downs. For the game, Patmon led the team in catches and yards, with 10 for 127. Eight catches and 97 yards came after halftime. Not too bad.
Winner: Gardner Minshew II
I wrote in my last article that I’m pretty much out of superlatives to describe Minshew’s outstanding play this season. It’s funny how you get so caught up in the back-and-forth of a game that you miss some incredible achievements, like Minshew completing 19 straight passes passes at one point. Then there was his touchdown to Davontavean Martin, which was an NFL-level throw. Threw it over the defense, into a spot where only his guy could get it.
There were points in this game where it felt like Minshew was playing chess while everyone else was playing Candy Land or something. He had gained entry into the rarest of athletic places, commonly known as The Zone. In all, Minshew completed an astounding 80% of his passes, going 40-50. And it wasn’t just dink-and-dunk, as he averaged 8.8 YPA. Just as importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over while amassing 438 yards and three touchdowns.
Minshew has to be the current leader for Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, and if he keeps this up, will absolutely deserve an invite to New York in December to be part of the Heisman ceremony.
Who was WSU’s Player of the Week at Stanford?
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The "Mute" button anytime Ted Robinson was talking