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The five best non-scoring plays from the 2018 WSU football season

Oregon v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Good morning Coug fans. We’re reached double digits in the countdown to Cougar football, and while that is good and all, the football season is still way too far away. So as we look ahead to next season, I thought we’d also look back to last season. I mean, what else are we going to do?

I figured I’d do a sort of “Plays of the Year” list, except this one won’t include any scoring plays. So you won’t see James Williams score on the Big Gulp Left against the Oregon Ducks, and you won’t see Gardner Minshew II hit Easop Winston late against the California Golden Bears.

We’re focusing on important plays that didn’t end in points on the board. These are plays that meant a lot in terms of the final score but may have been forgotten.

So let’s do this.

The top five plays of 2018—non-scoring edition

Jamire Calvin’s big gain late in the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal

WSU found itself down two touchdowns as the clock ticked down in the first half at Stanford. Most teams might run out the clock, but Washington State isn’t like most teams.

On 3rd-and-3 on his own 32-yard line with one timeout, Gardner Minshew completes a 12-yard pass to Calvin, who shakes two tackles and reverses up field. Calvin is finally pushed out of bounds at the 13-yard line. This set up a Blake Mazza field goal to cut Stanford’s lead to 11 heading into halftime. Those three points ended up being huge, as WSU was able to comeback in the second half to win by three.

Jamire Calvin’s catch on third down in the fourth quarter against the Stanford Cardinal

Calvin was Mr. 3rd Down against the Cardinal.

With the game tied at 38, WSU faced 3rd-and-2 from its own 33-yard line—almost the same spot as Calvin’s first half catch-and-run. Many teams might run here, but again, WSU isn’t like many teams.

Minshew goes deep to Calvin, who hauls in a nice pass at the Stanford 35-yard line. Man, what a pass. With the game winding down, this helped WSU quickly get into field goal range. We all know what happened next.

Travell Harris steals the ball

It’s 2nd-and-10 with WSU looking for its first points of the second half against Oregon. Minshew throws deep to Harris, and it looks like Oregon’s Jevon Holland comes down with it. But while Holland and Harris are falling to the ground, Harris fights for the ball and comes up with it. This was going to be an interception at a time when the Oregon Ducks had a lot of momentum. Instead, Harris gives us an ultimate effort play and steals the ball back.

The shot of Minshew laughing right after the play is classic. Speaking of Harris.....

Travell Harris converts on fourth down against Oregon

Fourth down conversions are huge, and WSU has its fair share of fourth down opportunities given the nature of its offense. This play came on the same drive as our previous top non-scoring play.

So WSU is up 27-20 with 4:49 to play facing 4th-and-6 from the 34-yard line. Kick the field goal to go up 10 points, right? Well, that would mean bringing Blake Mazza out for a 51-yard field goal attempt. Mazza can make it from that far, but given the situation in the game, getting a first down and keeping possession to run some clock is a better strategy.

Plus, this is Washington State we’re talking about.

So Harris runs toward the sideline and Minshew finds him for what looks like a simple play—and it was. But given the situation and the setting, this was huge. Soon, Minshew would find Dezmon Patmon in the end zone, and “party on!”

Minshew snags an errant pass on the sideline

Minshew had just connected with Easop Winston to give WSU a 19-13 lead over those pesky California Golden Bears. As the WSU defense worked to seal the victory, a gruesome pass from Chase Garbers went to WSU’s sideline, bounced and found itself in the hands of Minshew, who played it up for the crowd, as only Minshew can.

I may have cheated by including this one, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

OK, those are the five plays I could come up with. What’d I miss?


Which of these five non-scoring play was the best?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Calvin on third down late in the first half at Stanford
    (25 votes)
  • 18%
    Calvin on third down in the fourth quarter at Stanford
    (38 votes)
  • 49%
    Harris steals the ball
    (101 votes)
  • 5%
    Harris converts on fourth down
    (11 votes)
  • 14%
    Minshew’s sideline snag
    (29 votes)
204 votes total Vote Now




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