SAN ANTONIO — Gardner Minshew II threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, and No. 12 Washington State stopped No. 25 Iowa State on a late two-point conversion in a 28-26 victory in the Alamo Bowl on Friday night.
Minshew passed for 299 yards to help Washington State (11-2) set a school record for wins in a season. He finished with 4,779 passing yards this season, breaking the Pac-12 single-season record previously held by California’s Jared Goff (4,719).
Minshew’s biggest play came out of desperation, and it set up the winning score.
Minshew, who had been held in check in the third quarter, escaped a third-down pass rush to flip a shovel pass that went for 20 yards. The play stunned the Cyclones, and Max Borghi ran in from 10 yards on the next play to put the Cougars ahead 28-20.
Iowa State’s last chance came after Brock Purdy scored from a yard out with 4:02 left. The Cyclones went for two, but a pass play was stopped well short of the goal line after a false-start penalty pushed the line of scrimmage back to the 7.
Washington State: Minshew dazzled again and did it while taking some big shots. Twice the quarterback was hit by tackles that resulted in Iowa State defenders getting tossed from the game. Minshew kept plugging away, checking through his reads, often dumping out passes to avoid trouble.
Iowa State: Iowa State’s defense did a solid job against one of the country’s top quarterbacks all night, but the Cyclones were bedeviled by key turnovers. Purdy threw two first-quarter interceptions, including one that set up Washington State’s first touchdown, and the ever-reliable Montgomery coughed up the ball just when he was starting to wear down the Cougars’ defense and breaking tackles. He lost the ball while moving the pile toward a first down.
Washington State: Coach Mike Leach has to find another big-armed quarterback to be among the nation’s passing leaders in 2019. If that happens the Cougars should be among the Pac-12 favorites as they return 14 starters on offense and defense, plus their kicking specialists.
Iowa State: The Cyclones were in the mix for a Big 12 title game berth late in the season and will expect to again be in contention in 2019, with Purdy leading an experienced lineup that loses only five senior starters. The key will be the NFL draft options for 1,000-yard rusher Montgomery and 1,000-yard receiver Butler.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.