Ryan is a sophomore multimedia journalism production major from Edmonds, and the fall 2018 sports editor. He joined the Evergreen in fall 2017 as a freshman...
Minshew, Cougars finish off historic season with bowl victory
WSU stops late two-point conversion attempt by Iowa State to secure program record 11th win
December 29, 2018
No. 13 WSU football defeated No. 24 Iowa State 28-26 in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Saturday night to earn its first bowl victory since 2015 and reach a program record 11 wins this season.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Head Coach Mike Leach said. “I may be more proud of this team than any team I’ve ever coached and I want to thank every one of these guys.”
Both teams had turnovers early in the game, but junior cornerback Marcus Strong’s 71-yard interception return for a touchdown was the game’s first big play. However, the touchdown was called back for taunting.
NFL Hall of fame cornerback Deion Sanders voiced his opinion on the penalty on Twitter and said Strong did “nothing wrong” and deserved to celebrate a big play.
Despite the touchdown being called back the Air Raid offense was able to capitalize with a 22-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Gardner Minshew II and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Renard Bell. The score put WSU (11-2) up 7-0 and was the only points scored in the first quarter of the game.
The second quarter saw Iowa State’s redshirt senior linebacker Willie Harvey and redshirt sophomore defensive end Eyioma Uwazurike both be ejected for targeting penalties.
Later in the quarter, Minshew dove into the end zone from 7 yards out to put the Cougs ahead 14-0. Iowa State (8-5) freshman quarterback Brock Purdy answered with a touchdown run of his own to cut the lead to one score.
WSU again capitalized on Cyclone mistakes when Minshew found junior wide receiver Dezmon Patmon from 9 yards out with just over a minute remaining in the first half. The score put the Cougars up 21-7.
Iowa State redshirt sophomore kicker Connor Assalley hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 21-10 at halftime.
The Cyclones would score 10 unanswered points in the third quarter to cut the Cougars lead to one. WSU had been shaky in the third quarter all season but dominate in the fourth quarter, outscoring opponents 144-40 in the final 15 minutes coming into the game.
In the fourth quarter, sixth-year linebacker Peyton Pelluer forced a key turnover, striping the ball from ISU junior running back David Montgomery.
“They had a blocker up on me and I had to get through him, and Montgomery was right there on the other side,” Pelluer said while describing the play. “I just got my hands on the ball and it was pretty loose so I yanked at it and ended up with it.”
With the ball in the hands of the WSU offense, freshman running back Max Borghi found the end zone with just over 10-minute remaining to put the Cougars up 28-20.
The Cyclones would respond though as Purdy would sneak across the goal line with 4:02 remaining to pull Iowa State within two points.
Iowa State would lineup for the two-point conversion in an attempt to tie the game but before the Cyclones could snap the ball the team was a given false start penalty.
Once the ball was snapped, Purdy was under pressure immediately and dumped the ball off to Montgomery, but he was immediately swallowed up by redshirt freshman rush linebacker Willie Taylor III.
After stopping the Cyclones on the two-point conversion attempt, the Cougars were able to run out the clock and secure their 11th victory this season.
Minshew set several passing records in the game, including becoming the Pac-12 single season leader in passing yards and completions. He was rewarded for his efforts in the game with the offensive MVP, finishing the night with 299 passing yards and three total touchdowns.
Minshew said he was grateful for the one season he got to play in Pullman and will never forget this experience.
“I want to say thank you to these coaches, this university and these fans for taking me in,” Minshew said. “This place is really special. Being a part of it is an honor and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.”