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NCAA Football: Washington State at Arizona State

Appreciating Anthony Gordon

You only have 120 more minutes of game time to bask in Air Raid glory. Get it while you can.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Gordon is ridiculous. In this age of transferring if the wind blows the wrong direction on a Tuesday in April, it’s ridiculous that he sat behind two future NFL starters to wait his turn for 13 games behind center. His proclivity to trash talk defenses, belying his NorCal surf town roots, is ridiculous. Bowling a helmet to celebrate going bowling? Ridiculous. His ability to stand completely flat-footed and uncork rockets? Physically ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that he has thrown for just under 5000 yards in eleven games.* And in this season full of ridiculousness, it is the most ridiculousest that he’s thrown for a Pac-12 record 45 touchdown passes in, again, only eleven games.

*And remember, he sat for the fourth quarter in each of the first two games. If he ends up 100 or so yards short of the single-season yardage record held by BJ Symons, I am going to be unreasonably retroactively angry about this. NEVER SIT QB1; RECORDS ARE ON THE LINE.

2018 was magical all around. From getting Pelluer back for an extra season, to Minshew Mania and all that entailed, to GameDay, to winning a school-record eleven games, everything about last season was something that will never be recreated. And the reasons for that are innumerable. It was a unique moment in time.

Oregon State v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

But what Anthony Gordon is doing in 2019? It’s special. Record-shatteringly special. It could be easy to see this season as a disappointment if we sit in the afterglow of 2018. But this is still one of the top half of seasons for Wazzu football history (and still has the potential to be really, really good). And Gordon’s lone season at quarterback on the Palouse needs to be remembered and held up for what it is: The single greatest season by any quarterback in Washington State history.

Yeah, that’s right. I said it. Change my mind.

To celebrate Mr. Gordon’s season, and to remember just how good he has been all the way through, I thought we’d look back at all 45 of the touchdowns that put him at the top of the conference’s all-time list. For each, I’ve listed the game, the receiver, the yards gained in parentheses, and my best guess at the play call.

LET US REVEL IN THE RIDICULOUS.


1: NMSU - Gordon to Rodrick Fisher (41)

Ace 90Y. Rodrick Fisher is fast, and he outruns the NMSU defender on the post.


2: NMSU - Gordon to Dezmon Patmon (48)

Ace 98 Z-Under(?). Dezmon Patmon is also fast. The double move fools NMSU, and Dez races to the corner of the end zone.


3: NMSU - Gordon to Easop Winston, Jr. (19)

Ace 92 Z-In. Easop finds space in the middle of the Aggie defense.


4: NMSU - Gordon to Travell Harris (54)

Ace 66. Harris goes straight up the seam, breaks a tackle, and heads to the CrimZone.


5: NMSU - Gordon to Harris (20)

Late Bubble. Harris does most of the work here, cutting all the way back across the field to house the quick screen.


6: UNCO - Gordon to Winston (7)

Early F-Move Scissors(?). Winston, the Red Zone Assassin, gets inside leverage on the corner and Gordon hits the window.


7: UNCO - Gordon to Max Borghi (4)

Late F-Move Swing. Borghi gets outside of no less than four Bear defenders.


8: UNCO - Gordon to Winston (7)

Late 6. Gordon drops a dime to Winston in the corner of the end zone.


9: UNCO - Gordon to Brandon Arconado (5)

Ace 618 Y-Option. Gordon’s security blanket splits two defenders and toe taps in front of the end line for six.


10: Houston - Gordon to Winston (39)

Ace 95H/Y Z-Vertical(?). You would think that eventually defenses would have learned you can’t play man coverage against Easop Winston. They have not learned this.


11: Houston - Gordon to Patmon (39)

Ibid. Patmon just goes a little more skinny to the post. Same yardage, same play, same result.


12: Houston - Gordon to Harris (7)

Late 618 Y-Option. Gordon buys time and Harris works himself open in the back of the end zone.


13: UCLA - Gordon to Winston (4)

Early F-Move Y-Corner. The corner jumps Borghi in the flat, leaving a spot in which Winston can settle.


14: UCLA - Gordon to Winston (28)

Blue 6 H-Out. They still haven’t learned.


15: UCLA - Gordon to Harris (10)

Late H-Lisa. Travell snags the errant ball on the inside screen and gets behind the convoy to find the end zone.


16: UCLA - Gordon to Winston (3)

Late 98 Z-Slant. STILL HAVEN’T LEARNED.


17: UCLA - Gordon to Davontavean Martin (3)

Early 6. Beautiful back shoulder throw to Tay, and he gets his feet down inbounds for the score.


18: UCLA - Gordon to Renard Bell (35)

Ace 90H H-Wheel(?) Bell has man coverage from a guy that has no business being in man coverage against Renard Bell.


19: UCLA - Gordon to Patmon (6)

Blue 618 Z-Out. Patmon gets on the corner’s toes and breaks off the route to the front pylon before he can react.


20: UCLA - Gordon to Winston (33)

Ace 6 Y-Option. THEY ARE STUBBORN IN THEIR LACK OF LEARNING.


21: UCLA - Gordon to Borghi (65)

Late 618 Switch X-Under. The front end of the play clears everybody out, Borghi gets the one block he needs from Renard Bell and sprints up the sideline, making the UCLA defense look slow.


22: Utah - Gordon to Deon McIntosh (4)

Blue 6 F-Texas. The receivers clear out the middle of the field and McIntosh slips to the inside for the score.


23: ASU - Gordon to Harris (35)

Late 66 Z-Out. Gordon throws away from the middle safety and Travell makes a great adjustment on the ball in the air, twisting his body to find it.


24: ASU - Gordon to Patmon (2)

Early Scissors(?). Patmon takes advantage of a busted coverage by the Sun Devils and Gordon zips it to him in the back of the end zone.


25: ASU - Gordon to Winston (2)

Ace 92H F-Wheel. Borghi’s release freezes the flat defender, and Winston gets inside leverage. Gordon squeezes the ball into the window.


26: Colorado - Gordon to Borghi (4)

Late H-Move 92Z F-Wheel. The route combination clears out the top of the screen for Borghi, who waltzes into the end zone.


27: Colorado - Gordon to Patmon (22)

Late H-Move 98 Z-Under(?). Throwback to Patmon’s first TD. The only difference here is that because Colorado is pressing him at the line, Patmon uses a jam release and goes right to the middle, instead of running the hitch first.


28: Colorado - Gordon to Arconado (44)

Ace Wide 66. The wide splits get the two inside receivers far away from the middle safety, and Arconado outruns the underneath defender.


29: Colorado - Gordon to Martin (1)

Blue 90Y F-Texas. Gordon drops it in the bucket to Tay at the side of the end zone. Perfect touch pass, and Tay sets up the corner very well.


30: Oregon - Gordon to Bell (15)

Late H-Lisa. The blockers wipe out most of Oregon’s defenders on that side, leaving one to try and stop Bell from getting to the corner.


31: Oregon - Gordon to Arconado (19)

Green Z-Move 6 F-Wheel. The vertical off-screen to the bottom and the wheel route spread the safeties apart, then Arconado gashes them down the middle.


32: Oregon - Gordon to Arconado (5)

Early Scissors(?). The fancy coachspeak would be he sits in the void in the zone, but I mean Arconado just kinda gets in the end zone and stands there until he catches the ball. Pretty easy.


33: Cal - Gordon to Arconado (17)

34: Cal - Gordon to Bell (1)

The Cal game doesn’t seem to exist on the Intertubes, which A) is perfectly fine by me, and B) lends further credence to the belief that Cal has some sort of voodoo magic when it comes to us. Maybe we never actually played Cal, and Justin Wilcox just Cerebro-d us all into believing the game happened. At this point, I’ll believe pretty much any theory when it comes to them.


35: Stanford - Gordon to Winston (29)

90Y. Weird highlight angle, so we can’t see what the whole thing looked like but basically Easop Winston is faster than eleven trees.


36: Stanford - Gordon to Martin (16)

Green 90X. This was kind of a unicorn. I can’t recall ever seeing the X drag at that depth all the way across the field like Tay did here. But it worked.


37: Stanford - Gordon to Winston (15)

Early Scissors(?). This might be the single best throw Gordon has made all year. Winston is surrounded by three Cardinal defenders and the window is incredibly tight. Gordon sends a laser-guided missile right into Winston’s hands and the Assassin absorbs the hit. Look at the force Gordon generates from a flat-footed stance. He’s kind of unreal.


38: Stanford - Gordon to Arconado (5)

Ace H-Corner. Just a complete bust by the Stanford coverage. The corner is playing man on the X, but the two defenders nearest Arconado are zoned up. He runs away from everybody and into the back corner for six.


39: Stanford - Gordon to Borghi (2)

Late Y-Corner F-Swing. A couple of blocks by the in-breaking receivers spring Borghi to the front pylon, and he goes airborne to give Gordon the WSU passing TD record with three games to play.


40: OSU - Gordon to Patmon (12)

Ace 90Z. Great patience on the Shallow cross by Gordon. Of course, it’s easy to have that patience when the pocket is as clean as it is. Gordon flicks it out to Patmon who is safe at second.


41: OSU - Gordon to Bell (10)

Ace H-Move 6. Bell finds space on the opposite hash, Gordon finds Bell, Bell finds the end zone.


42: OSU - Gordon to McIntosh (33)

Late Shovel. The return of the shovel pass! Largely ineffective for the last two years or so, the shovel finally found some work. McIntosh got a huge lane on the right side, broke one tackle, and found pay dirt.


43: OSU - Gordon to Calvin Jackson, Jr. (36)

Late H-Move 92Z X-Post. Netflix gets in on the fun as he exploits man coverage and runs away from everybody.


44: OSU - Gordon to Bell (10)

Ace Y-Corner. Bell stems the free safety and pins him inside, then breaks to the corner and all that empty space in which Gordon can operate.


45: OSU - Gordon to Patmon (14)

Late 92Y H-Wheel. Gordon finds Patmon on the mesh route and Patmon helicopters his way into the end zone, setting the stage for the Borghi run to send the Cougs to their fifth straight bowl game.

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