Each year it seems the Alamo Bowl is one of the best of all the bowl games. This year’s contest more than lived up to that title. In a bowl season marked by numerous blowouts the game between Washington State and Iowa State went down to the wire as the Cougars held on for a 28-26 victory. Here now are three takeaways from Washington State’s thrilling Alamo Bowl Win.
Three Takeaways From WSU’s Thrilling Alamo Bowl Win
And there we have it, folks! @WSUCougFB comes away with the victory with a final score of 28-26. This is the 11th time since 2005 that #ValeroAlamoBowl was decided in the final minutes. Congrats on the 11-win season! #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/rSyEblF5nV
— Valero Alamo Bowl (@valeroalamobowl) December 29, 2018
Gardner Minshew Went Out In Style
In his final game with the Cougars Minshew threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for another score. However, the desperation play Minshew made in the fourth quarter may be remembered most.
On third down and clinging to a 21-20 lead the “Mississippi Mustache” escaped the pass rush to flip a last second shovel pass to Tay Martin for 20 yards. Max Borghi ran it in from 10 yards out to put them up by eight. He completed nine of 13 passes in the fourth quarter for 78 yards.
With the 299 yards passing in the Alamo Bowl, Minshew finishes his career with 4,776 yards. That breaks the Pac-12 single season record set by California’s Jared Goff of 4,719. He was the nation’s leading passer and also won the Johnny Unitas Award as the top senior quarterback.
— QB Country (@QBCountry) December 29, 2018
There’s no doubt Minshew is going to be hard to replace next season as both a quarterback and cult hero.
Penalties And Turnovers Hurt Iowa State
Behind freshman quarterback Brock Purdy the Cyclones nearly pulled off the comeback. They rallied from down 21-10 to get it to a one point deficit but a missed field goal cost them the lead.
A one yard run by Purdy cut the lead to 28-26 with 4:02 remaining. However on the two point conversion the Cyclones were whistled for a false start. Having to start from the eight yard line a pass from Purdy to David Montgomery was stopped well short. The Cougars then ran out the clock to seal the win.
For the game Iowa State had three turnovers to go along with 10 penalties, seven of which were false starts. Purdy threw two interceptions and Montgomery’s fumble in the fourth quarter set up the game clinching drive for Washington State.
In addition the Cyclones had two key defenders ejected in the second quarter for targeting penalties. Senior linebacker Willie Harvey was tossed after smashing Minshew’s face mask on a sack. Defensive end Enyi Uwasurike got booted following a sack which knocked off Minshew’s helmet. Following that penalty coach Matt Campbell received an unsportsmanlike conduct flag which really fired up Iowa State.
Iowa State won the statistical battle but again turnovers and penalties spelled their downfall. The outgained the Cougars 515 to 327 holding them to 135 yards and 10 points below their season averages. Purdy threw for 315 yards with 192 of those going to wide receiver Hakeem Butler, six short of the Alamo Bowl record.
Looking To The Future
In the final of our three takeaways from Washington State’s thrilling Alamo Bowl win, we look at 2019. Mike Leach’s Cougars set a school record with 11 wins in 2018. However they must find a replacement for Minshew. If he does, and with 14 starters returning, then the Cougars are at the top of the Pac-12 next season.
On the other side of the ball, 2018 was a great year for the Cyclones and the future looks bright. Following Purdy’s insertion into the lineup, Matt Campbell’s squad rallied from 1-3 to finish 8-5. Furthermore their third place finish in the Big 12 was the best in 40 years. Purdy returns however the fates of both Butler and Montgomery are to be determined as one or both could enter the NFL Draft. Should they return the Cyclones immediately become a favorite in the Big 12.
Thanks for checking out three takeaways from Washington State’s thrilling Alamo Bowl win here at Last Word On College Football. Stay with us for previews and recaps of every bowl through the national championship.