PULLMAN, Wash. – Anthony Gordon looks like he will be able to thrive in coach Mike Leach's Washington State offense. The senior quarterback strives to follow up a memorable first college start when the 21st-ranked Cougars host Northern Colorado on Saturday.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: None.
Gordon outdueled Eastern Washington transfer Gage Gubrud to win the starting gig and he was superb by passing for 420 yards and five touchdowns in a 58-7 thumping of New Mexico State in last Saturday's opener. Gordon was 22-of-23 in the first half with the only incompletion being a drop by senior wideout Brandon Arconado in the second quarter. "He was really accurate until we dropped that one ball," Leach said after the contest. "If it wasn't for that, I don't know how many straight he would have, but probably 30, which is impressive." Northern Colorado lost 35-18 at San Jose State on August 29 in its opener and the Bears are hoping to improve on last season's 2-9 record.
ABOUT NORTHERN COLORADO (0-1)
Senior quarterback Jacob Knipp was 26-of-44 passing for 177 yards and two interceptions in the opener and also was sacked four times. "We made too many mistakes and hurt ourselves," Bears coach Earnest Collins Jr. told reporters. "We have to understand it's not about the home run, but taking what they give us. ... It's one of those games you could have won and should have won, but we can learn a lot from it." Junior safety Jerone Jackson was all over the field with 12 tackles as the defensive unit allowed 382 yards.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (1-0)
While Gordon, who won Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors, was chewing up yards in the air, sophomore running back Max Borghi was starring on the ground with a career-best 128 yards on just 10 carries to provide balance to the attack. Gordon is looking to replace the big shoes of departed Gardner Minshew II, and his five TD throws matched Luke Falk's school mark (2014) for most in a Washington State starting debut. Senior cornerback Marcus Strong had a team-best eight tackles in the opener as the Cougars limited New Mexico State to 317 yards.
1. Washington State, which has never faced Northern Colorado, has won 14 of its past 15 home games.
2. Bears senior K Collin Root matched his career best of three field goals in the opener and his 52-yarder tied for third-longest in program history.
3. Leach's 50 wins are third most in program history.
PREDICTION: Washington State 66, Northern Colorado 13