We saved the most astonishing stat for last.
Despite attempting at least 182 more passes than any other team in the conference, Washington State has surrendered the fewest sacks in the Pac-12: seven.
Only two teams in the country have yielded fewer: Army, which runs the option and has thrown only 79 passes all season; and North Carolina State, which has 189 fewer attempts than WSU.
If you combine pass attempts and sacks, the Cougars have had 544 dropbacks this season. WSU quarterbacks have been sacked only 1.3 percent of the time they’ve dropped back to pass.
(Note: This does not account for QB rushing plays for no gain or positive yardage; without going through play-by-play footage, it’s impossible to know whether they were designed runs or scrambles.)
Oregon State has allowed an FBS-high 44 sacks. Using that same formula, Beavers QBs have been sacked on 11 percent of their dropbacks.
UA coach Kevin Sumlin laughed when asked how his team can go about generating pressure against a quarterback who hardly ever gets sacked.
“You have to have a mix of different things, whether it’s pressure, whether it’s coverage,” Sumlin said. “You can’t just go into the game with one thing against a scheme like this and against a veteran quarterback. We’re going to have to mix it up and obviously take some chances.”
Two opponents have sacked Minshew two times: Eastern Washington and Utah. In half the games he has played for Washington State, Minshew has not been sacked.