Cougars beat Beavers

WSU made big plays on both sides of ball to come out on top



Graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew II runs the ball while looking for an open pass during the game against San Jose State on Sept. 8 at Martin Stadium.

JACKSON GARDNER, Evergreen reporter

A quick start set the tempo for WSU football who ultimately claimed a 56-37 victory over Oregon State University in Corvallis on Saturday night.

The Cougs were out to a 14-point lead in the first three minutes of action, all it took was a three play 75-yard drive and a blocked punt by redshirt junior receiver Kainoa Wilson that was returned for a touchdown to get the Cougs ahead early.

“Really good job from [special teams] coach [Matt] Brock and his group,” Head Coach Mike Leach said. “And also Kainoa Wilson. He’s got a knack for blocking punts and he certainly did on that play. I thought it really gave us a great start which in the end was probably pretty crucial.”

It wouldn’t be long before the Pac-12’s leading rusher OSU freshman running back Jermar Jefferson got involved. The next two scores for the Beavers that would tie the game came on the back of Jefferson who would run into the end zone from 6 and 7 yards out.  Jefferson would find the end zone for the Beavers twice more before the game concluded.

“Yea he’s slippery,” redshirt senior nose tackle Taylor Comfort said. “You think you have his arms around him and, I don’t know, he’s just slippery.”

Graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew II yet again eclipsed the 400 passing yards mark for the sixth time this season. In addition, Minshew threw for five touchdowns, a personal best for the Mississippi native.

Though he spread the ball out quite a bit, his go-to guy for the game was sophomore receiver Tay Martin. Martin put the Cougars up by seven on a 38-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and then a 27-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to extend WSU’s lead to 19.

“I just got confidence in myself and I got confidence in Gardner,” Martin said in response to why he thought he was able to win so many one-on-one battles. “I just know Gardner is going to put it in the right spot for me to make a play.”

But perhaps more important than Wilson’s blocked punt was the turnover that Comfort forced while the Beavers threatened to score in the fourth quarter and bring their deficit to just one score.

The Cougars had just extended their lead to 12 and on the ensuing drive OSU had marched right into the red zone on just two plays. What looked like would end up as a three-play scoring drive for the Beavers, Comfort put to rest on the next play and then WSU would drain the life out of the Beavers by turning that turnover into points.

“Our whole team has the next-play mentality,” Comfort said.  “Yeah know, bend don’t break, so yeah I think it embodies [our defense].”

With the Cougars season steadily heading in the right direction, they will get a week off with a bye this upcoming weekend. The next time the Cougars take the field will be Oct. 20 at Martin Stadium when University of Oregon comes to Pullman.