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Anthony Gordon’s nine TD passes not enough as UCLA erases 32-point deficit, stuns Wazzu in 67-63 come-from-behind win

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Gardner Minshew was the talk of the NFL last week but, as he returned to Pullman for the first time, the quarterback watched as one of his records fell in one of the wildest #Pac12AfterDark affairs you’ve ever seen, an epic 67-63 UCLA win over his alma mater Washington State.

First, as to the record: Anthony Gordon, in his fourth career start, tossed his seventh touchdown on the night to give No. 18 Washington State a 49-17 lead over UCLA with 6:52 left in the third quarter; with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter, Gordon hit Easop Winston from 33 yards out for his eighth touchdown pass of the night.

That eighth passing touchdown broke the Wazzu record of seven set by Minshew in 2018.  Gordon went on to add a ninth scoring toss to pad his newly-minted record.

A funny thing happened between those seventh and eighth touchdown passes, though, as the Bruins scored four straight touchdowns of their own and, with a two-point conversion mixed in, cut what was once a 32-point lead down to three at 49-46; immediately after Gordon’s eighth touchdown pass, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson‘s three-yard touchdown run with just over eight minutes remaining in the game cut Wazzu’s lead back to three at 56-53; with 7:31 remaining, Kyle Phillips returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown to give the Bruins their first lead of the game at 60-56.

Gordon’s ninth touchdown of the night — the FBS record single-game record is 11 by Houston’s David Klingler in 1990 — came with 6:11 left and gave the Cougars the lead back at 63-60.  With a chance to tie the game with under three minutes remaining, the Bruins eschewed what would’ve been a 35-yard field goal attempt and came up short on a 4th & 5 to hand the ball back to the Cougars.

But wait, the Bruins weren’t done.

With 2:27 left in the fourth, and following a replay booth review, UCLA got the ball back on a Cougars fumble at the WSU 26-yard line.  Four plays later, Thompson-Robinson’s fifth touchdown pass of the game, this one from 15 yards out to Demetric Felton, put the Bruins up 67-63 with 1:07 remaining.

On Wazzu’s first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Gordon’s fumble was recovered by the Bruins to seal the win.

In addition to his nine touchdown passes, Gordon threw for 570 yards.  This was Gordon’s fourth career start, all coming this season; he’s thrown for at least 400 in each one of those.

Thompson-Robinson also threw for a career-high 507 yards while accounting for seven total touchdowns — five passing, two rushing.

Illinois loses WR Trevon Sidney to season-ending injury

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After a series of high-profile renegings by transfer wide receivers this offseason, Illinois was able to hold on to a commitment from ex-USC Trojan Trevon Sidney.  Unfortunately for both the player and the program, that first season in Champaign has turned out to be a truncated one.

During the loss to Minnesota in Week 6, Trevon Sidney went down with an unspecified lower-leg injury.  Sidney missed the next two games, including the huge Week 8 upset of then-No. 6 Wisconsin.

Three days later, Lovie Smith confirmed that Sidney will miss the remainder of the 2019 season.  According to the head coach, Smith recently underwent surgery to repair what is still an unspecified injury.

Despite missing a pair of games, Sidney is still third on the Fighting Illini in receptions with 16.  His 123 yards are also fourth on the team.

The good news, such as it is, is that Sidney has another season of eligibility he can use in 2020.

Jerry Jones: Urban Meyer’s comment on Cowboys job a ‘compliment’

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How ’bout them Cowboys?  Urban Meyer‘s answer to a somewhat similar question has kicked up a bit of a kerfuffle.

Meyer, less than a year into his second retirement from coaching and in the midst of being lauded for his work as a college football analyst, appeared on Colin Cowherd‘s radio show late last week.  During the course of the interview, the ex-Ohio State and Florida head coach was asked about the not-vacant-yet job with the Dallas Cowboys and if he would want it.

Sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. That one? Yes.

Fast-forward a couple of days and the Cowboys’ owner has responded to what many are considering a not-so-thinly-veiled overture on Meyer’s part.

Jason Garrett, the current Cowboys head coach, is in the final year of his contract, which has led to the RPMs on that section of the coaching rumor mill ratcheting up significantly.

In addition to the Cowboys, Meyer was connected to the not-yet-vacant job at USC perhaps nanoseconds after his retirement was official.  Yesterday, our own Zach Barnett put Meyer as Florida State’s top target if the Seminoles move on from the Willie Taggart experiment, which thus far has been an abject failure by any measure.

Of course, if any of the upper-echelon Power Five schools end up searching for a new coach, Meyer will be at the top of their list as well.  Whether Meyer is attainable is another matter entirely.

Miami WR Brian Hightower tweets move to transfer portal

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All of a sudden, there’s a bit of upheaval in Miami’s receiving corps.

Earlier today, we noted the long-running, ongoing drama that is the Jeff Thomas Experience at The U. Monday evening, Brian Hightower added to the collective positional brouhaha by announcing on Twitter that, “[a]fter careful consideration and discussion with my family, and THE University of Miami coaching staff, I am entering my name into the transfer portal to openly explore the best opportunities to utilize my remaining eligibility and pursue my education.”

A four-star member of Miami’s 2018 recruiting class, Hightower was rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country.  Mark Pope was the only receiver in The U’s class that year rated higher than Hightower.

Hightower played in 17 games during his time with the Hurricanes — 10 as a true freshman, all seven this season.  He totaled 148 yards and one touchdown on 12 receptions, with eight of those catches and 88 of the yards coming in 2019.

Iowa could be without leading receiver, top tackler for Northwestern

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When Iowa kicks off its Week 9 matchup with Northwestern, the Hawkeyes could very well be at less than full strength on both sides of the football.

The Hawkeyes released its depth chart Monday for this Saturday’s game against the Wildcats, and neither wide receiver Brandon Smith nor middle linebacker Kristian Welch weren’t listed.  Smith suffered an injury to his lower right leg in the win over Purdue this past Saturday, while Welch suffered an undisclosed injury during the loss the week before to Penn State and didn’t see the field against Purdue.

Official word on the pair’s status for Week 9 probably won’t come until later on in the week.

Smith currently leads the Hawkeyes with 33 receptions and four receiving touchdowns.  His 407 yards receiving are good for second on the team.

Welch’s 47 tackles are nine more than the Hawkeyes’ second-leading tackler, Jack Koerner.  With three tackles for loss, he’s second only to Chauncey Golston‘s five.