Both Washington college football teams continued their early season success last weekend. They were so good in fact that all three PAC-12 players of the week were from either UW or WSU.
So far it’s been a pretty good year for big-time college football in the Evergreen State. Both the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars are off to good starts. The Huskies (2-1, 1-0) just won their PAC-12 opener in Utah. Meanwhile, in Pullman, the Cougars (3-0, 0-0) won their third straight game. This year’s apple cup (11/23 if you forgot) is shaping up to be a good one.
Things are going so well in upper reaches of the Pacific Northwest this week, that the Washington schools won all three PAC-12 Player of the Week Awards, offense, defense, and special teams.
Special Teams – Travell Harris, WSU
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This week’s PAC-12 Special Teams Player of the Week is Travell Harris of Washington State. The redshirt freshman from Tampa, FL electrified the crowd at Martin Stadium Saturday evening. In the opening minutes of the second quarter, Harris caught a kickoff at his own goal line and ran it back 100 yards to increase the Cougars lead at the time to 20-3.
Defense – Ben Burr-Kirven, UW
If future opposing offenses don’t know who Ben Burr-Kirven (BBK) is, they better find out fast. If not, someone might be in for a world of hurt. At six-feet, 220 pounds the junior linebacker is hard hitter and leader of the Washington Huskies defense. Saturday night in Salt Lake City, BBK was all over the field on his way to making a team-leading 11 tackles.
Burr-Kirven was part of the unit that held Utah to just seven points, despite several opportunities deep in Husky territory. Maybe his best play of the night came in the second half when on third and short, he stood up quarterback Tony Huntley of the Utes and drove him back to deny Utah a first down at mid-field.
Offense – Gardner Minshew II, WSU
Washington State Cougars QB Gardner Minshew had himself a whale of a game against Eastern Washington. The graduate transfer from East Carolina took the reigns of Mike Leach’s air raid offense and threw for 470 yards on 45 of 57 passing. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s a 79% completion rate.
Minshew was on the field for six WSU touchdowns, two of which he threw. The Cougar signal caller did a wonderful job of spreading the ball around. 10 different receivers caught passes, and seven of them caught at least three passes each.