Washington State defense limits San Jose State to fewest yards under Mike Leach

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 Davontavean Martin (1) runs the ball in for touchdown on a fourth down pass 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 Dezmon Patmon (12) hauls in pass 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)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Travell Harris (5) runs the ball 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 running back Max Borghi (21) flies through the air on a run 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)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kyle Sweet (17) has a pass broken up by 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)
Washington State Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) dives on a run 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 Rodrick Fisher (88) watches a s a pass flies out of his grasp 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)
Washington State Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) watches a replay from the sidelines during the first half of a college football game against San Jose State on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Taylor Comfort (56) sacks San Jose State Spartans quarterback Montel Aaron (7) 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 defensive lineman Taylor Comfort (56) reacts after sacking San Jose State Spartans quarterback Montel Aaron (7) 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 linebacker Dominick Silvels (20) sacks San Jose State Spartans quarterback Montel Aaron (7) 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 quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) throws 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 running back Max Borghi (21) 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)
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)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kyle Sweet (17) is brought down on a run 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)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Davontavean Martin (1) reacts after scoring a touchdown 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 Davontavean Martin (1) hauls in a touchdown pass that was ruled incomplete 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 Davontavean Martin (1) reacts after bringing down a touchdown pass that was ruled incomplete 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)
WSU fans cheer for their team 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 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 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 Davontavean Martin (1) strains for a pass 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 quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) runs the ball in for a touchdown 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)
Washington State Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) is mobbed by teammates after he ran the ball in for a touchdown 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)
Kym Hilinski leans into her son Ryan after the family raised the WSU flag in honor of their son Tyler 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)
Kym Hilinski leans into her son Ryan and gives a three gesture for her son Tyler after the family raised the WSU flag 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)
Commentator Cindy Brunson reports from the sidelines during Saturday’s game between WSU and San Jose State at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU sophomore Brandon Harbo wears a Tyler Hilinski "3" towel on his head with friend Leo Orozco, right, before the start of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU freshman Meghan Henry distributes "3" towels in honor of WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski before the start of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU fans showed up early and sporting signs before the start of a college football game against San Jose State on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Jamire Calvin (6) heads to the field before 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 Dezmon Patmon (12) hauls in a pass over San Jose State during the second 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 Dezmon Patmon (12) hauls in a pass over San Jose State during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
A young WSU fan passes the time by dancing during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
San Jose State Spartans wide receiver Justin Holmes (9) runs the ball against WSU during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
San Jose State Spartans wide receiver Justin Holmes (9) runs the ball against WSU during the second 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 linebacker Fa'avae Fa'avae (58) runs the ball off a fumble play that was blown dead during the second 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 Travell Harris (5) runs the ball for a first down during the second 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 safety Deion Singleton (22) brings down San Jose State Spartans wide receiver Leki Nunn (17) during the second 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 safety Deion Singleton (22) intercepts a pass in the end zone intended for San Jose State Spartans tight end Josh Oliver (89) to hold San Jose State scoreless during the second 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) and Washington State Cougars linebacker Peyton Pelluer (47) celebrate after defeating San Jose State on Saturday, September 8, 2018, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Washington State’s Air Raid offense may get most of the attention but the Cougars’ defense held San Jose State to the fewest yards of any opponent for the past 24 years.

New quarterback Gardner Minshew said he appreciated his defensive teammates continually returning the ball to the offense in the 31-0 Cougar victory on Saturday at Martin Stadium. Overall, the defense limited the Spartans to 109 total yards, including not enough rushing yards (9) to earn a single first down.

It’s the fewest yards allowed under coach Mike Leach and the fourth-fewest yards allowed in program history. The last time the Cougars held an opponent to fewer yards were 97 yards gained by Oregon in 1994 in a 21-7 WSU win.

“I know how that’s how they expect to play,” Minshew said of the defense. “I don’t think you can do better than zero.”

As Minshew slashed San Jose defenders for 414 passing yards and three touchdowns, the defense harassed Spartan quarterback Montel Aaaron with five sacks en route to the shutout.

“I thought defensively, I felt we played very well for the better part of three-and-a-half quarters,” Leach said. “Anytime you get a shutout, it doesn’t matter who you get the shutout against, that’s a fantastic effort.”

Leach credited the play of the revamped defensive line. It was the first game for Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei, a junior-college transfer who just became eligible after the Wyoming game. He recorded his first career sack against SJSU.

“I thought the defensive line, especially once they got warmed up, did a good job of affecting the quarterback,” Leach said. “I thought that the secondary was fairly solid all night. I really only saw three balls or so where I felt like, ‘Geez, that’s a good thing they didn’t complete that.’”

Overall, the defense recorded five sacks, which was the most since the eight they racked up against Utah last season.

One of the sacks was recorded by Dominick Silvels, a 6-3, 230-sophomore linebacker who coaches moved to the Rush position during fall camp.

“They told me they were going to move me,” Silvels said. “I’m all for that. I just want to get on the field and help my team out. I know that I can beat a lot of big guys with my speed.”

Justus Rogers, 6-2, 230-pound redshirt sophomore, said the defense came into the game focusing on stopping San Jose’s run game.

“It’s always a good feeling knowing that you can stop the run,” he said. “That’s what we did. That’s just a testament to everywhere from D-line to the secondary, outside backers, inside backers, just the whole unit. I think we executed all over the field to make that happen.”

Rogers, who had three tackles including a sack, said the team fed off the energy of the 26,141 fans who attended the Cougars’ first home game.

“Home games in general are always fun because the crowd gets into it with you and you know they are rooting for you,” he said.

Still, Rogers said he believes Washington State’s best defensive effort is yet to come.

“I think I can speak for everybody on the team when I say we are not satisfied with that,” Rogers said. “I’m pretty sure we can do better.”