Anthony Gordon threw nine touchdowns but it wasn't enough as UCLA outdueled the Cougars on the back of a wild second-half comeback.
As most of the East Coast slept in the post-midnight hours of Sunday morning, Week 4 of the college football season was going out with a bang.
Despite Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon throwing for a school and Pac-12 record nine(!) touchdowns, his No. 19 Cougars fell in a wild offensive shootout, 67–63, to previously winless UCLA. The 130 combined points were the most in a Pac-12 game in history.
The Bruins trailed by as many as 32 points when Wazzu took a 49–17 lead with 6:52 to go in the third quarter on a Gordon touchdown pass to Dezmon Patmon. At that point, Mike Leach's team looked to be cruising to a 4–0 start—until UCLA began a stunning comeback marked by scoring 29 unanswered points to pull the game to 49–46 when QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson connected with Devin Asiasi for a seven-yard TD.
UCLA eventually took its first lead since the first quarter on a 69-yard punt return by Kyle Philips midway through the fourth quarter, but Gordon and Washington State made a quick response with a 65-yard TD reception by Max Borghi. That set up a thrilling final two-and-a-half minutes, which included the Bruins failing on a fourth-down try and the Cougars fumbling to set up the go-ahead TD by UCLA's Demetric Felton.
Wazzu got the ball back down four with a chance to drive down the field for the win, but Keisean Lucier-South came up with a big hit on Gordon for a strip-sack (the Cougars' sixth turnover of the game) and UCLA recovered to seal a memorable victory.
"It's a Pac-12 After Dark Saturday night win," Bruins head coach Chip Kelly said on the broadcast afterward.
The offensive explosion featured both quarterbacks throwing for more than 500 yards. In addition to his nine TDs, Gordon finished with 570 passing yards after going 41 for 61, though he threw two interceptions. Thompson-Robinson accounted for seven touchdowns himself (five through the air and two on the ground), going 25 for 38 for 507 passing yards and adding 57 on the ground.
It was a much-needed win for UCLA and Kelly, who had been the subject of much criticism after an 0–3 start to 2019. The Bruins were coming off a loss to No. 5 Oklahoma but had previously also lost to Cincinnati and San Diego State.
Wazzu's brutal loss capped a rough weekend for the Pac-12's playoff hopes. With Utah's Friday-night loss to USC, Arizona State's loss to Colorado and the Cougars' defeat, 4–0 California is the conference's lone undefeated team after just four weeks of the season.