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Washington State Cougars, Pirate Take ‘State vs. State Bowl’

December 30th, 2018 · Tags:Cities · Sports


I can barely remember The Alamodome from the first time the PingWi-Fi Blog visited. But I remember all too well the circumstances. Now, a decade later, Coach Mike Leach’s charges returned and recorded a second win in the Valero Alamo Bowl … and this time the captain was there with them to swing his sword.

Pirate Gang Rallies Around New Captain — Ruffin McNeill, Tech Wins In Alamo Bowl

You may recall, in one of the most brainless acts in college football history — Texas Tech (my school) fired and refused to pay salary owed to the most winningest, most cunning, most “do-more-with-less” coaches in its history — just prior to Tech winning The 2008 Valero Alamo Bowl. The Red Raiders won the game without The Pirate … the mad scientist … Coach Mike Leach … I digress … 


This time Leach and his team — The Washington State Cougars — took the stage with the full support of an enlightened administration and fervent fan base who realize their college is off the beaten path for recruiting … where winning seasons take brilliance, some luck — and the heroics of a pretty cool-headed signal caller.  (Leach has led The Cougars to five bowl games in the last six years …)

Enter the mustache … Gardner Flint Minshew II, in the State vs. State Bowl.

Gardner Minshew de-boarded the team plane in San Antonio wearing something that resembled an Elvis impersonator’s leisure attire, then went on to win The 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl, rewriting the bowl game’s records with 35 completions for 299 yards and two touchdowns against a bigger, stronger, more physical Big 12 up-and-comer Iowa State.  But … that is kind of business-as-usual for the Pac 12’s most charismatic gunslinger.  It was Minshew’s gutsy, in-ya-face, acrobatic, 7-yard touchdown run  in the middle of the second quarter that really set tone for the Cougars — establishing an early 14-0 nothing lead.  

Many argued that controversial calls also helped the outcome of the game as well with two of The Iowa State Cyclones’ best defenders shown the door at The Alamo Bowl, flagged and ejected for targeting … the second infraction separating the Cougar QB from his helmet, in a scary mustache reveal.

The up side for Cyclone State was that the ejections fired up an already vocal fan base (sitting immediately behind me) … awakening the boo birds, and The Cyclones responded on the field too … scoring 16 in the second half in a close game.  But, of course most fans think every call should go in their favor, and the replays on the stadium’s Jumbotrons were not analyzed, replayed in slow motion, etc. for our viewing.  Cyclone Nation was not happy.

So … I did what any social media kinda guy would do … I texted Facebook  friends at home — who didn’t have a “dog in the race.”  In their opinion, the calls — viewed on TV at home — seemed legit.  Who knows?  But this is certain, with all of the new politically correct rules in college football and the NFL … the referees will make mistakes as usual (understatement) … replay officials will miss the call too … and sadly, fierce tacklers now have to forget everything they have every been taught. 

Interesting … I had not seen this before.  Most football fans are aware that a player is required to sit out a play after their headgear is removed from their person … but it usually isn’t the quarterback, which would create a pretty big problem for a fast-paced offense.  Well … Mike Leach — the mad scientist and also a lawyer — is of course up on his rules, and knew he could call a time out which overrulesd the need for the QB to sit out a play.  Mike Leach has always been known as a coach who values every every snap of the ball — whether it is going for it on fourth down … or scoring when a game is already decided to continue improving his offense … So it was no surprise, with the game outcome still undecided, time running out in the fourth, he kept Minshew “minshewing” …  In true Leach form, during a run-out-the-clock possession, in which most coaches would run the ball, Leach opted for a pass play, surprising just about everyone, to seal the deal.

But don’t get me wrong.  Leach wasn’t the only mastermind at work in San Antonio the other night. The Valero Alamo Bowl was the only bowl in the country to have two Conference Coaches of the Year on both sidelines.  Both team were fighting to win the most season wins in their respective  histories.  The Cyclones fell just short.


Iowa State’s Coach Matt Campbell was named Big 12 Conference co-Coach of the year after winning seven of their final eight games in The Big 12. Campbell also won the Big 12 Conference “Coach of the Year” last year. Had The Cyclones taken home the Alamo Bowl hardware, the win would have tied Iowa’s State’s record for wins in a season 9, after they took third place in the Big 12.

So Coach Campbell was noticeably upset after the second of two defenders was removed from the playing field for the controversial hit on Minshew … upset, he charged the field a little and was flagged as he enthusiastically presented his case to the stripes … so upset that security guards and officers on hand all went to ready alert on my end of the stadium.



Campbell’s team had moments of brilliance — most associated with Freshman Brock Purdy, ISU’s tough, bulky quarterback hitting the tallest man on the field with an aerial …  ISU’s Hakeem Butler tallied nine catches and 192 yards, the second most in Valero Alamo Bowl history, including a flashy, elevated one-hander.  And in the meat-and-potatoes category, the Cyclones’ David Montgomery ran for 124 yards on 26 carries, resulting in one of ISU’s scores.  Purdy passed for 18 completions on 27 attempts for 315 yards, and carried 10 times for 46 tough yards.

Long story short, Cougs win, 28-26

Know what I sayin?