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Dynamic duo: Washington State’s Gardner Minshew, Mike Leach named Pac-12’s Player of Year, Coach of Year by Associated Press panel

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 6, 2018, 5:59 p.m.

Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew  puts a fake mustache on head coach Mike Leach as he is interviewed after the Cougars defeated  Colorado 31-7 on Nov. 10 in Boulder, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP)
Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew puts a fake mustache on head coach Mike Leach as he is interviewed after the Cougars defeated Colorado 31-7 on Nov. 10 in Boulder, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP)

Two days after coaches in the Pac-12 Conference voted Gardner Minshew as the league’s offensive player of the year and Mike Leach as its coach of the year, media members came to a similar consensus.

Minshew, the Cougars’ fifth-year graduate transfer quarterback, was named the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Year and its Newcomer of the Year when the Associated Press All-Pac-12 teams were unveiled Thursday morning. The WSU QB was also unanimously chosen as the Pac-12’s top quarterback by the voting panel, comprised of 10 sports writers who cover the league.

Leach, who led WSU to a 10-2 regular-season mark and extended the Cougars’ bowl streak to four seasons, was selected as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

WSU placed three other players on the AP All-Pac-12 teams. Senior left tackle Andre Dillard was named to the first-team offense, while senior defensive end Logan Tago and junior safety Jalen Thompson were both named to the second-team defense.

The Evergreen State again swept the major awards, as Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven was named the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year in the conference.

Behind Leach and Minshew, WSU had the nation’s top passing offense in 2018 at 379.8 yards per game. The Cougars were the top scoring offense in the Pac-12 at 38.3 points per game and led the league in total offense at 461.8 yards per game.

Dillard was a 12-game starter on an offensive line that conceded just 11 sacks in 12 games – a number that ranked seventh in the FBS. A first-year starter on WSU’s defensive line, Tago finished with a team-leading 10 tackles for loss and had three sacks. Thompson was second on the team with seven pass breakups. He had one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while tallying 61 tackles.


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Sports >  WSU football

USA Today tabs Washington State right tackle Abraham Lucas as Freshman All-American

UPDATED: 6:30 p.m.

Lucas started all 12 games on WSU’s offensive line during the regular season and helped the Cougars reduce their sacks total from 44 in 2017 to just 11 in 2018. The Everett native and Archbishop Murray product anchored the right side of an offensive line that was named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award – given to the nation’s top O-line – and he was integral in WSU’s FBS-leading passing totals.