Thinking of 3: WSU remembers Hilinski in rout of San Jose State

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Kym Hilinski, right, is comforted by her son Ryan Hilinski as the Washington State Cougar flag is raised before an NCAA college football game between Washington State and San Jose State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. Kym Hilinski's son Tyler Hilinski, who was a Washington State quarterback, died as a result of suicide in January. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

PULLMAN — On an emotional night where the parents of deceased Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski raised the Cougar flag prior to the game against San Jose State on Saturday, the Cougars handled San Jose State 31-0 in a nonconference game at Martin Stadium.

Gardner Minshew, the graduate transfer from East Carolina who won the starting quarterback job this season, passed for three touchdowns and ran for one for WSU (2-0).

In the first half, he hit Tay Martin on scoring tosses of 15 and 36 yards, and ran for a 1-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half. He was also intercepted twice in the first half, which ended with the Cougars up 31-0.

Minshew finished 34 of 51 for 414 yards.

Travell Harris caught six passes for 83 yards for WSU, and Martin caught six passes for 68 yards.

San Jose State dropped to 0-2.

The pregame gesture by Hilinski’s parents capped a brief tribute to the player who took his own life last January.

The 21-year-old Hilinski, who would have been the presumptive starter this season, shot himself in his apartment on Jan. 16.

Parents Mark and Kym Hilinski have said they do not know why.

This was the first WSU home game since. The program is remembering Hilinski this season by wearing decals with his No. 3 on their helmets, and maintaining his locker. Hilinski’s parents and two brothers raised the Cougar flag prior to kickoff, drawing lengthy applause from the crowd.

A suicide prevention video was also played on the scoreboard before the game.

The family has created Hilinski’s Hope, a charity to raise awareness of mental health issues. A Hilinski’s Hope flag is displayed inside Martin Stadium this season.

Hilinski had shown flashes of brilliance in backing up Luke Falk last year, leading the Cougars to a come-from-behind victory over Boise State. The image of Hilinski being carried off the field after the overtime victory is etched in the memories of Washington State fans.

An autopsy revealed Hilinski suffered from Stage 1 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the earliest stage of the disease that has been linked to the repeated head trauma common in football and other contact sports. The disease, which can only be diagnosed in an autopsy, is known to cause violent moods, depression, dementia and other cognitive difficulties.

A full box score was not available as The Press went to press.

San Jose St. 0 0 0 0 — 0

Washington St. 14 10 0 7 — 31

First quarter

WSU — Martin 15 pass from Minshew (Mazza kick), 12:55

WSU — Martin 36 pass from Minshew (Mazza kick), 5:45

Second quarter

WSU — FG Mazza 36, 5:48

WSU — Minshew 1 run (Mazza kick), :00.

Fourth quarter

WSU — Williams 3 pass from Minshew (Mazza kick), 4:39

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