Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew, receiver Travell Harris earn weekly Pac-12 honors
PULLMAN – After going two weeks without recognition, Washington State players picked up two of the three weekly Pac-12 Conference honors after Saturday’s 59-24 blowout win over Eastern Washington at Martin Stadium.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a career-high 470 yards, on 45-of-57 passing, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Travell Harris claimed the second honor, winning Special Teams Player of the Week after recording WSU’s first kick return touchdown in two seasons – a 100-yard sprint from one end zone to the other in the second quarter of Saturday’s win.
The Cougars last earned conference player of the week honors after a 33-25 win over Utah in Salt Lake City last season, and multiple were recognized then as well – defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa and kicker Erik Powell.
Minshew, a first-year starting QB for WSU who transferred from East Carolina, becomes the fourth Cougar quarterback to earn Offensive Player of the Week honors in eight years. Luke Falk won the accolade six times throughout his career, Connor Halliday earned it twice and Jeff Tuel once, during the 2010 season. Prior to that, a WSU offensive player hadn’t won the award since 2008.
Speaking of Minshew’s ability to adapt to WSU’s Air Raid offense so quickly, coach Mike Leach said Monday, “Well, he played some of it in high school. I think he’s done a good job. I think the biggest thing was a little bit schematically, but just getting used to the players around him because we have a very young receiving corps. … So them getting used to him, him getting used to them.”
The Mississippi native is currently the national leader in passing average (401.0 ypg) and completions per game (39.0).
Harris, a Florida native who doubles as a kick returner and “H” slot receiver for the Cougars, wins the award after just his third collegiate game. He recorded 125 yards on five kick returns Saturday, is one of 12 players in the country who’ve returned one for a touchdown this season and currently leads the Pac-12 in kick return average at 37 yards per game.
“I knew it was only a matter of time,” WSU running back James Williams said. “Our whole special teams did good and they had a bunch of perfect blocks and Travell just made the most of his opportunity.”