Welcome back. That was a slobberknocker of a game. Well ok, it was as slobberknocker-ey as an Air Raid game will ever get, so you’d probably expect that this week’s standout would come from the defense. You’d be right. If we were judging simply by the first and last drives of the game, Gardner Minshew II might well have taken home his fifth award. The middle part got a little dicey for our favorite quarterback, so he has once again fallen off his “every other week POTW” pace.
For only the second time this season, our winner doesn’t play offense. The first time came after the San Jose State game, when we honored the entire crew after they pitched a shutout. Today’s award is reserved for just one Cougar, and it’s been a long time coming. Another defender also makes his debut this week, mostly on the back of a game-changing/saving play he made. Let’s get to it.
Shout-Out: Oscar Draguicevich had another solid game, averaging 44 yards per punt and putting two of his three punts inside the Cal 20. There was also that punt where he looked like he was going to run it, at which point I nearly had a stroke. But he kicked it, and all was well.
Honorable Mention: Max Borghi
Borghi had a solid all-around game, gaining 66 yards on just nine touches, and scoring one touchdown. Max has an incredible knack, much like that of Miles Gaskin, for always falling forward for an additional yard or two after you think he’s stopped. His haste to get to the hole sometimes limits his ability to find cut back lanes, but that’s something that will hopefully evolve with experience. Needless to say, Borghi has been a critical addition to the offense after the loss of Jamal Morrow.
2nd Runner-Up: Skyler Thomas
Thomas has struggled at times this year, particularly is pass coverage, but he made one of the biggest plays of WSU’s season on Saturday. Cal’s Brandon McIlwain was rolling out to the right, and Patrick Laird was sneaking into the void between the linebacker and safety. McIlwain got a little too much on it, and Thomas took advantage. Not only was he in the right place, he made a sensational catch, and managed to get two feet down. Thomas also added five tackles to his interception.
1st Runner-Up: Easop Winston Jr.
Winston remains our only winner in a losing effort, after he took home top honors following the USC game. He’s made a number of big plays since then - the winner against Utah comes to mind - but had faded into the background a bit lately as fellow wideout Dezmon Patmon stepped into the spotlight. Winston saved his best for last Saturday, catching two straight passes to get the Cougs home.
The 24-yarder just before the TD looked like a tough catch, and Winston hauled it in with ease. He then continued his lethality in the corner of the endzone, and the Cougs were in the lead for good. In all, Winston caught seven passes, and led the team with 92 yards. If he and Patmon ever get going in the same game, Minshew might throw for 500 yards.
Winner: Peyton Pelluer
I know we’ve said it before, but it can’t be said enough - Peyton Pelluer getting this sixth season was one of the biggest off-field victories Mike Leach has had at WSU. We knew WSU had some linebacker depth if Pelluer departed, but my word has he stood out. Pelluer was all over the field again on Saturday, chasing down Cal quarterbacks and running backs. He seemingly appeared out of nowhere to make tackles. One in particular saved a huge gain, when Patrick Laird was loose up the sideline. Pelluer dove at the last moment and got a piece of lint on Laird’s shoelace, saving what could have been a massive gain for Cal.
I was a tad concerned when I saw a pic of Pelluer without his flowing locks in August, fearing a Samson situation, but apparently all that hair was slowing him down! He looks like he’s improved his speed and lateral quickness considerably this season. Pelluer led the team in tackles, again, collecting 10 stops, half of them solo. He also had 1.5 TFLs. I have no idea who the other linebackers are in this conference, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find one who has had an impact like Pelluer has. Congratulations, Peyton, and good luck in Boulder.
Who was WSU’s Player of the Week against Cal?
This poll is closed
Easop Winston Jr.
Whoever decided to keep putting Brandon McIlwain in there