News & Analysis

Gardner Minshew can vault himself into the Heisman talk with an Apple Cup victory

Nov 17, 2018; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars students hold up signs in support of Washington State Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) during a game against the Arizona Wildcats in the second half at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 69-28. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

For some time, the Heisman Trophy has been a two-headed race between Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, and rightfully so. However, now that the Washington State Cougars are sitting at 10-1 and in the thick of the College Football Playoff discussion, QB Gardner Minshew has thrown himself as more than just a dark-horse contender for the Heisman Trophy.

With a win against the Washington Huskies, Washington State would then clinch a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Utah and would firmly place Minshew not only on the invite list to New York but also truthfully in the thick of things between him, Tagovailoa and Murray.

Aside from Minshew, the Cougars could also shock the system with a win against Washington and then against Utah, could potentially position themselves to garner a spot in the top four of the final College Football Playoff rankings.

This preview is brought to you by Eckrich, the Official Smoked Sausage of the College Football Playoff.

Keys to the game in the Washington State vs Washington matchup:

– Washington State's passing offense is the highest-graded in the Pac 12 at 90.1

– Washington's pass coverage grade is the highest in the Pac-12 at 94.2

– Gardner Minshew's adjusted completion percentage of 56.4% on deep passes is fifth-highest among the nation's quarterbacks

– Washington defensive backs Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy have graded out in the top five of their respective positions

– Washington QB Jake Browning is in the process of his worst-graded season to date, in four years of grading

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Oklahoma vs West Virginia | Washington vs Washington State | Michigan vs Ohio State | Georgia vs Georgia Tech | Alabama vs Auburn | South Carolina vs Clemson | Notre Dame vs USC

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