Washington State QB Anthony Gordon threw nine touchdown passes but the No. 19 Cougars blew a huge second-half lead and lost 67-63 to UCLA on Saturday night.
Washington State had the ball with 1:07 left and the chance for Gordon to throw his 10th touchdown pass for the game-winning score. But he got sacked on the first play of the drive by Keisean Lucier-South, fumbled the ball and UCLA recovered and ran out the clock.
The Bruins had the ball and a chance for a 63-63 tie with less than three minutes left. But coach Chip Kelly eschewed the opportunity for a game-tying 36-yard field goal with 2:40 left and chose to go for it on 4th and five. Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s pass fell incomplete.
The Bruins immediately got another possession though as Easop Winston Jr. fumbled the ball away as he tried to get a first down. That turnover was Washington State’s fifth of the night.
Three plays later, Thompson-Robinson found Demetric Felton on a screen pass for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.
The play clock was running down right before that TD pass, too. Kelly was wanting to call timeout if UCLA was going to get a delay of game penalty. But he wisely waited.
PLAY OF THE GAME pic.twitter.com/Wwfo6gdgek
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UCLA scored 50 points in the second half
Washington State led 49-17 in the third quarter and UCLA reeled off 29-straight points to cut the deficit to 49-46 thanks to the help of some Washington State turnovers. Then after Washington State pushed the lead back to 10 the Bruins scored 14 more points to take a 60-56 lead.
For some perspective on UCLA’s second-half outburst, the Bruins combined for 42 points in the first three games of the season.
“It’s a Pac-12 After Dark Saturday night win” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said of his team’s crazy comeback.
Thompson-Robinson had the best game of his young career. The sophomore was 25-of-38 passing for 507 yards and five touchdowns and an interception and also rushed for two touchdowns. His game-winning touchdown pass to Felton was somehow just UCLA’s third third-down conversion of the game. The box score is worth a look. The game was insane.
Gordon still shy of FBS TD record
Gordon finished the game 41-of-61 passing for 570 yards as the teams combined for 1,377 yards and set a Pac-12 record for the most points in a single conference game. The game fell four points short of the FBS record for most points in a non-overtime game set in 2016 when Pitt beat Syracuse 76-61.
Gordon’s nine touchdown passes are two short of the single-game record set by Houston’s David Klingler in 1990. And those nine scores came in just his fourth college start.
Gordon spent the first four years of his college career as a backup at Washington State and won the starting job ahead of graduate transfer Gage Gubrud. And all Gordon has done in the four games he’s played in 2019 is throw for 21 touchdowns and complete over 70 percent of his passes. But he threw two interceptions on Saturday night in addition to that late fumble.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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