Quirky special teams touchdown, goal-line forced fumble go Washington State’s way as rout of Arizona starts early
PULLMAN – Although Arizona had plenty of problems stopping Washington State in the first half Saturday night, the blowout-in-the-making included two bizarre plays that made Cougar fans scream.
Just 4 seconds after WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew hit Calvin Jackson Jr. for a 6-yard touchdown pass to give the Cougars a 35-14 lead, WSU’s Jack Crane lined up for the ensuing kickoff.
The kickoff looked every bit the duck, but Crane’s high, short kick somehow got to the Martin Stadium turf and bounced forward into the end zone.
WSU’s Dezmon Patmon tried, but failed, to scoop up the ball, but backup receiver Kainoa Wilson grabbed the ball for a rare kickoff touchdown, giving WSU a 41-14 lead with 7:04 left in the first half.
A few minutes later, after James Williams scored on a 10-yard pass from Minshew to make it 48-14, the Wildcats drove deep into WSU territory.
Then came the second bizarre play. On third down on the 3-yard line, Arizona’s Gary Brightwell surged toward the goal line but fumbled on the 1. WSU’s Marcus Strong, who earlier had an interception, recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
It took WSU two plays to race 80 yards, capped by a 50-yard touchdown pass to Tay Martin that gave WSU a 55-14 lead shortly before halftime.
That score was one point shy of the school-record 56 points scored in the first half in 1997 against Southwestern Louisiana.