Washington State offense finds fourth-down success in first half against San Jose State

Washington State Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) runs the ball for a first down during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kyle Sweet (17) runs the ball against San Jose State during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Maybe Washington State should start every drive on fourth down.

The Cougars five times left their offense on the field on fourth down in the first half against San Jose State on Saturday and came away with five first downs and one touchdown to Tay Martin.

After quarterback Gardner Minshew converted a fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, head coach Mike Leach trucked him out again on fourth-and-10 from the San Jose 36-yard line.

Minshew threw a strike to a streaking Martin for the touchdown with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 14-0 Washington State.

In the second quarter, Leach again went on fourth-and-3 from the SJU 28.

Among a flock of yellow flags, Minshew again hit Martin and the play was initially called a touchdown until it was reversed on review.

A pass interference penalty kept the drive alive, but Minshew threw an interception on the next play.

Later in the half, Minshew hit Kyle Sweet for 12 yards to convert a fourth-and-6 from the San Jose State 34.

A couple of plays later, Minshew went on fourth-and-1 from the 3 and appeared to score.

After he was declared short, Minshew dove over the goal line on the next play to give Washington State a 24-0 lead as the half expired.