PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Gardner Minshew threw a school-record seven touchdown passes and No. 8 Washington State routed Arizona 69-28 on Saturday night, continuing the Cougars’ longshot bid for the College Football Playoff.
Washington State (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12, No. 8 CFP) raced out to a 55-14 lead at halftime and was not seriously threatened on the way to its seventh consecutive victory. The Cougars host archrival No. 17 Washington next Friday, with the Apple Cup winner taking the Pac-12 North title.
With their 10th win of the season, the Cougars tied a program record last accomplished in 2003. They also won their 13th straight home game and set a season high for points.
Minshew, being pushed by WSU as a Heisman Trophy candidate, completed 43 of 55 passes for 473 yards and was not intercepted.
Khalil Tate threw four touchdown passes for Arizona (5-6, 4-4), which had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Arizona was hurt by six penalties and three turnovers in the first half, helping Washington State put the game away early.
Washington State scored on its first possession, with James Williams rushing over from the 1.
On the next series, Tate was intercepted by Marcus Strong. Aided by two consecutive facemask penalties against the Wildcats, Washington State advanced to the 1-yard line. Max Borghi ran in for the touchdown.
Tate fired a 24-yard pass to Shawn Poindexter to cut Washington State’s lead to 14-7.
Minshew replied with touchdown passes to Calvin Jackson Jr. and Dezmon Patmon for a 28-7 lead.
Tate threw a 37-yard TD pass to Tony Ellison.
Minshew hit Jackson for a 6-yard touchdown pass, but the kick failed and Washington State led 34-14.
Arizona fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the ball was booted into the end zone, where Kainoa Wilson fell on it for a 41-14 Washington State lead.
Minshew added touchdown passes to Williams and Tay Martin for a 55-14 lead at halftime.
Tate threw a pair of touchdown passes in the third quarter and Minshew tossed a couple in the fourth.
Arizona: The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 with an average of 206 yards rushing per game, but couldn’t get much going against a stout WSU defense. They need a win next weekend to become bowl eligible.
Washington State: The balanced Cougars own the nation’s best passing attack (392 yards per game) and rank 20th in defense. They need two victories to win the Pac-12 and have a chance at a CFP berth.
Arizona hosts Arizona State in their annual rivalry game next Saturday.
Washington State faces No. 17 Washington next Friday, with a trip to the Pac-12 championship game on the line.