Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew drops back to pass during the second half of the Cougars’ 31-0 victory over San Jose State on Sept. 8 in Pullman. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew drops back to pass during the second half of the Cougars’ 31-0 victory over San Jose State on Sept. 8 in Pullman. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

WSU quarterback loving life in Pullman

East Carolina transfer Gardner Minshew has the Cougars at 2-0 to start the season.

By Scott Hanson

The Seattle Times

What’s not to love?

These are certainly fun times for Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew, the graduate transfer from East Carolina, who first prevailed in a three-way battle to become the starting QB, and has now led the team to 2-0 record.

“I am having so much fun,” he said Tuesday evening after practice. “Winning is always fun, and doing it here is a lot of fun. I feel like we have a good team, a great coaching staff and great fans. And they are really making it a good experience.”

After deciding to leave East Carolina, Minshew had committed to playing his final season at Alabama, where he almost certainly would have been a backup before beginning a career in coaching there.

But then WSU coach Mike Leach called, and soon Minshew was Pullman-bound, where he had a much better opportunity to play. And to throw. A lot.

Minshew has completed 72 of 108 passes for 733 yards, with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He is sixth in the nation in passing yards.

The WSU offense sputtered in the second half of the Cougars’ 31-0 victory over San Jose State on Saturday night, not scoring in that half until late in the fourth quarter.

Leach called out the offensive line, the receivers and the running backs. Minshew might have escaped the criticism, but as the leader of the offense, he feels a responsibility for how the entire unit performs.

“We are all trying to get on the same page to where we can be successful, and my responsibility lies on all of us, myself included — especially myself,” he said. “It’s something we are attacking this week.”

Minshew said the Cougars are looking at each week as a chance to get better, and the goal is to be the most improved team each week.

“That’s one thing we keep saying,” he said. “It’s week to week, and we have many opportunities to get better.”

Minshew is piling up the offensive stats, but he is focused on just one, which became clear when asked what grade he would give himself through two games.

“I would say 2-0,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Coaches trust me at quarterback to win games, and that’s all I am trying to do, and we can only do it one week at a time. So that’s all I am trying to do.”

To do that, Minshew said there are things he needs to improve. The offense will likely have to put up big numbers to beat FCS power Eastern Washington at home on Saturday. Eastern defeated WSU 45-42 two seasons ago.

“I’ve got to take care of the ball better,” he said. “I’ve got to throw fewer interceptions. (Interceptions), that’s something I can’t have. Just continue to make plays and getting more on the same page with our receivers, and getting our chemistry better every week.”

Minshew said playing in his first game at Martin Stadium last week “felt like home.” He is from Brandon, Miss., a town of around 22,000, close to the size of Pullman.

Minshew said he feels comfortable with his new town, and his new offense, despite not joining the team until the start of fall camp in August.

So, what’s not to love?

“I am extremely happy to be here,” Minshew said. “There is no place you would rather be than Martin Stadium on a Saturday, and I am very excited for the opportunity.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Lake Stevens beat Eastlake 45-28 in a 4A state semi-final football game at Pop Keeney Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 in Bothell, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
A look at this week’s top local high school football matchups

The Week 6 slate includes a 4A state semifinal rematch, key league matchups, a crosstown rivalry and more.

Jackson rallies before the start of meet against Kamiak Thursday afternoon at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, Washington on October 6, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jackson races past Kamiak in battle of girls swim powers

The Timberwolves win 106-77 in a matchup of two teams that have combined to win at least a share of every Wesco 4A conference title since 2015.

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Blue Jays, Mariners send aces to mound in Game 1

Seattle’s Luis Castillo will square off against Toronto’s Alek Manoah on Friday.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Sept. 26-Oct. 2

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Sept. 26-Oct. 2. Voting closes… Continue reading

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep roundup for Thursday, Oct. 6

Prep roundup for Thursday, Oct. 6: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Edmonds-Woodway’s Steven Warren Jr. steps up in the pocket to make a pass against Snohomish on Friday, Sep. 23, 2022, at Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Week 6 prep football leaderboard

A look at the area’s top passers, rushers and receivers.

Stanwood's Michael Mascotti relays the next play to his teammates during football practice on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football picks for Week 6

Local experts take a crack at picking the winners for the sixth week of games.

Blake Springer draws back for a pass during practice at Monroe High School Tuesday afternoon in Monroe, Washington on August 30, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Associated Press high school football poll for Week 6

Four Snohomish County teams receive top-10 rankings.

The Mountlake Terrace Hawks rally before the match against Archbishop Murphy Thursday night at Lynnwood High School in Lynnwood, Washington on September 22, 2022. The Hawks and Wildcats finished the match with 1-1 tie. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After years of struggles, unbeaten Terrace girls thriving in Wesco 3A/2A

The Hawks won just one game during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The rising program hasn’t lost yet this fall.

Most Read