No. 22 WSU Cougars roll to 59-17 win over Northern Colorado
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) – In two games as a starter, Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon is averaging better than 50 points and 400 passing yards. He isn’t doing it alone.
WSU 59, Northern Colorado 17: Stats
“The offensive line is always great,” Gordon said after throwing for 464 yards and four touchdowns to help No. 22 Washington State pound FCS school Northern Colorado 59-17 on Saturday.
“There were no sacks,” said Gordon, who completed 31 of 39 passes, with one interception. “They work hard up front.”
Max Borghi scored three touchdowns and Easop Winston Jr. caught two scoring passes for Washington State (2-0). Brandon Arconado caught eight passes for 127 yards and a touchdown.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 8, 2019
“It’s awesome seeing Arconado have a career day,” Gordon said.
“He’s gotten better and better,” coach Mike Leach said about Arconado, a former walk-on. “His body has changed physically as far as speed and strength.”
Leach said Gordon also had a good game.
“I thought he was quick and sharp,” Leach said. “Obviously, he forced one ball.”
Washington State had 649 yards of total offense, to 355 for Northern Colorado.
Jacob Knipp completed 8 of 15 passes for 128 yards for Northern Colorado (0-2) of the Big Sky Conference. Milo Hall rushed 31 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Northern Colorado coach Earnest Collins Jr. pointed to turnovers as a key.
“We turned the ball over five times,” Collins said. “Turnovers will kill you. You can’t have five turnovers and expect to win a game or be close in a game.”
Washington State linebacker Jahad Woods said the turnovers were by design.
“This is what we practice all the time, taking the ball away,” he said.
Winston caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Gordon on the Cougars’ first possession for a 7-0 lead.
Hall ran up the middle on the ensuing possession for an 11-yard touchdown to tie it.
Gordon replied with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Borghi for a 14-7 lead.
The Bears drove into Washington State territory, but running back Jullen Ison fumbled and the Cougars’ Ron Stone recovered at the 29. Gordon’s 39-yard pass to Arconado set up Borghi’s 2-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 lead.
Collin Root kicked a 50-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 21-10 late in the first half.
Blake Mazza kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired for a 24-10 halftime lead for Washington State.
Winston caught a 7-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the second half as Washington State took a 31-10 lead.
Borghi ran over the goal line from the 3 midway through the third quarter for a 38-10 Washington State lead.
Washington State linebacker Ron Stone was ejected from the game for targeting Knipp in the third.
Gordon is the current Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Cougars to a 58-7 win over New Mexico State in his starting debut.
“We can’t get caught up in two good games we’ve had,” Gordon said. “We can’t get complacent.”
TIME OF POSSESSION
Northern Colorado had the ball for 36 minutes, to 23 minutes for Washington State. That’s a big reason Leach doesn’t put much stock in that statistic. “We did a good job of shutting down drives at key times,” Leach said of his defense.
Northern Colorado: The Bears were predicted to finish last in the Big Sky this season.
Washington State: The Cougars have pounded two overmatched opponents and need to face tougher competition to get a better picture of their abilities.
Two impressive wins, plus No. 21 Syracuse losing big to Maryland, could produce a higher ranking for the Cougars.
“I thought we were explosive on both sides of the ball,” Leach said. “We’ve just got to be sharper.”
Northern Colorado: At Sacramento State on Saturday.
Washington State: At Houston on Friday.