Stepping up when necessary
In the last section, we covered how Minshew stepped up his performance after an early pick off. He wasn’t the only one. On Utah’s initial drive, it appeared as Cougars safety and leading tackler Skyler Thomas forced a fumble at midfield which WSU recovered. Instead, Thomas was called for targeting and ejected from the game. As a result, Utah kept the ball.
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Seven plays later Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley ran the ball 24 yards up the middle for a score. Thomas’ backup couldn’t make the stop.
This game was a tale of two halves. The first half looked like a wide-open shootout, while the second turned into a defensive struggle. The opening half ended in a 21-21 tie. The Cougars defense obviously embarrassed by their performance took their game to another level in the third and fourth quarters.
After Utah kicked a field goal to take a 24-21 lead on their initial drive of the second half, the Washington State defense shut the door on their guests. The Utes had five more possessions in the half for 81 total yards. WSU Linebacker Peyton Pelluer was the defensive MVP with 13 tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and a sack.
The Cougar offense couldn’t get the ball across the goal line since they scored their third touchdown six minutes into the second quarter. Winston beat his coverage and Minshew hit him with a perfect over the shoulder pass at the 35. He faked out the opposing safety and ran the ball into the end zone for the winning TD.
Getting the win yesterday was important because next week the Cougs go to Corvallis, Oregon to take on the Beavers. Washington state now has a good chance to win two games in a row before they take on the Oregon Ducks.