PULLMAN – He took Pullman by storm, but Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew’s final game in Pullman was doomed in the Apple Cup on Friday by a storm that only the Palouse could produce.
The Heisman candidate, originally from Brandon, Mississippi, could not find enough magic through the air that was filled with white fluffy flakes as No. 16 Washington ran over No. 7 Washington State 28-15.
As Minshew slogged through the slush, and Washington players made snow angels, he took one last look back at Martin Stadium.
“I was just taking it in. Tonight, it was hard to see it, but we did a lot of good things in this stadium,” Minshew said.
“Some memories I will have forever. I can’t thank (fans) enough for how much they supported us this year.”
Despite the challenge of the snow, Minshew completed 26 of 35 passes for 152 yards. But two costly interceptions gave Washington more chances to hand the ball off to Myles Gaskin, who planted a foot in the snow and ran over the Cougars’ dreams of advancing to play Utah for the Pac-12 Championship.
WSU coach Mike Leach didn’t use the snow as an excuse. He said the Huskies just handled it better. But he praised the graduate transfer quarterback who came to Pullman from East Carolina.
“He’s had a tremendous impact on our team. He’s a tremendously competitive player,” he said. “He’s had a bigger impact on our team than any other player has had on their team. And he did it in a short period of time, which was even more impressive.”
Minshew and his mustache led the Cougars to 10 wins for the sixth time in program history. But he was unable to stop the six-game losing streak to the cross-state rivals.
He said he’s never played in a football game in which snowflakes obscured the lines on the field and made it difficult to see the ball in the air.
“They were playing in it, too,” Minshew said. “They made plays in it and we did, too. I thought we had our chances. I’m definitely disappointed.”
Cougar safety Skyler Thomas, who blunted Washington’s first drive with an interception, also praised the impact that Minshew had on his team.
“He brought that leadership and craziness,” Thomas said. “But not crazy in a bad way. He’s a great competitor. He meant a lot.”
Along with a rivalry game on national television, the Cougars lost a chance to advance to the Pac-12 Championship for the first time. They also lost an outside chance at the College Football Playoffs.
“We had a lot riding on this game, as far as our goals,” Minshew said. “I just felt like we let each other down. We wanted to win for each other, but we didn’t do it.”
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