Welcome back. Three weeks, three wins, three different players of the week. It’s always nice to be able to spread the love around, and that’s what we’ll do here as well. As with the first two games, the third game was rife with good-to-great individual performances in all three categories - offense, defense and special teams. Even the Pac-12 thought WSU had a great group of performances Saturday, as Cougars took home conference Player of the Week honors for both offense and special teams.
Any time the special teams pulls off something for the first time in 20 years (and provided it’s not a dubious thing), some mention here is merited. Additionally, the defense did a great job of holding EWU in check, something they didn’t exactly do in 2016. Just imagine the scoring margin had the WSU defenders actually carried out their assigned duties on those two long Eastern Washington touchdowns. Regardless, it was another game in which, though our player of the week was easy to spot, the award could have gone to one of several players. Let’s get to it.
Shout Out: Oscar Draguicevich
My man D+11 only got to punt three times, but he averaged an outstanding 47.3 Net yards per punt, and put one of those inside the 20.
Honorable Mention: Jahad Woods
Woods was so good on Saturday that both Jeff and I thought he deserved mention as a standout. That his performance stood out despite only logging four solo tackles should tell you something about his impact. Even when he wasn’t getting credit for a stop, he was filling gaps, disrupting plays and generally making life miserable for the EWU offense. Woods did notch half-a-sack and had one of the most impressive interceptions you’ll ever see. He may not have been the player of the week, but he was recognized for making the play of the week.
2nd Runner-Up: Davontavean Martin
I saw a clip of Martin sitting on the sideline, and the kid looks about a decade older than he did when he showed up on campus. He’s quickly becoming a full-on man, as evidenced again on Saturday. He makes at least one play per game that leaves one’s jaw agape, and Saturday was no different. Martin had more than twice as many catches (13) as the second leading receiver, racking up 149 yards and a touchdown along the way. He and Minshew are become the new Falk-Marks duo. Oh, about that touchdown...
1st Runner-Up: Travell Harris
There’s a video out there somewhere that shows a drill where a WSU-bound Harris jukes a DB so bad that the poor kid falls down. I can’t find it now, but maybe someone who is a better internetter can. Harris’ kick return Saturday reminded me of that video, because he juked two poor defenders, then caused one last EWU player to fall down in a futile attempt at catching the speedster from Tampa.
The 100-yard touchdown return came on the heels of EWU’s first score, and pretty much broke the game open. Harris even made a tackle on special teams, displaying his great versatility.
Harris’ kick return TD was the first for a Cougar at Martin Stadium since I was a student. That means it’s been a while.
Before Travell Harris's 100-yard dash against EWU yesterday, the last WSU player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in Martin Stadium was Dee Moronkola on Oct. 10, 1998 (88 yards vs. Oregon). #GoCougs— Craig Powers (@TheCraigPowers) September 16, 2018
Winner: Gardner Minshew II
I almost feel like there should be co-winners, Minshew and Minshew’s facial hair/headband combo. Alas, there can only be one. Minshew was lights-out on Saturday, and if he keeps it up, WSU will undoubtedly be a bowl team. He completed a whopping 80% of his passes, and it’s not like he went 8-10. No, he completed 80% of his 57 passes! For nearly 500 yards! If Minshew were selfish, he’d probably have a couple more touchdown passes, too, but he’s been great at checking to runs near the end zone, which has worked out amazingly well so far.
Through the first two games, Minshew’s yards-per-attempt hadn’t been much to brag about, but that changed against EWU. When you see that many attempts, and that many completions, you may think that the offense was dinking-and-dunking its way down the field, as had been the case previously. Nope. On those 57 drop backs, Minshew averaged 8.25 YPA. Let’s hope he can stay somewhere near that going forward. On a night full of great performances, the man behind center shined brightest. Congratulations, Gardner. You can cross “CougCenter POTW” off that bucket list.
Who was WSUs Player of the Week?
This poll is closed
Gardner Minshew II
Aaron Best and his pregame gesture