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.