Quirky special teams touchdown, goal line forced fumble go Washington State’s way as rout of Arizona starts early
PULLMAN – Although Arizona showed plenty of problems stopping Washington State in the first half, the blowout-in-the making on Saturday included two bizarre plays that made Cougar fans scream.
Just four seconds after Washington State 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 the high and short kick by Crane somehow got to the turf of Martin Stadium and rocketed forward into the end zone.
WSU’s Dezmon Patmon tried, but failed, to scoop up the ball. However, backup receiver Kainoa Wilson grabbed the ball for a rare kickoff touchdown to give 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 Washington State territory.
Then came bizarre play two. On third down on the 3-yard line, Arizona’s Gary Brightwell surged toward the goal line only to fumble 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, which was capped off by a 50-yard touchdown pass to Tay Martin to give WSU a 55-14 shortly before halftime.
That score is one point shy of the school-record 56 points scored in the first half. That came in 1997 against Southwestern Louisiana.