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Record stuff: Anthony Gordon tosses 39th touchdown to break Washington State single-season mark

Washington State Cougars quarterback Anthony Gordon (18) high fives Washington State Cougars wide receiver Dezmon Patmon (12) after scoring during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Over the last four years, Anthony Gordon has relished the opportunities he’s had to learn under prolific Washington State quarterbacks like Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew.

Now he’s breaking their records.

The redshirt senior quarterback threw five touchdowns in a 49-22 win over Stanford on Saturday to top Falk and Minshew for most touchdowns thrown in a single season at Washington State. Gordon’s predecessors in Pullman previously shared the record with 38 touchdowns – Falk reaching that total as both a sophomore (2015) and junior (2016), and Minshew hitting last year in his lone season with the Cougars.

The first-year starter is still in close contact with Falk and Minshew, and he messaged both players earlier this season to congratulate them on their respective success in the NFL. Falk played in three games for the New York Jets and Minshew started in eight for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

They could be the ones reaching out to Gordon now.

“Maybe expecting a text from Gardner, maybe call him or something, maybe after Sunday,” Gordon said. “It was pretty cool, but I couldn’t do it without the help of the offensive line, and the receivers make it pretty easy. Threw a little two-yard pass to Easop (Winston Jr.) and he went all the way for a touchdown, so my job’s pretty easy when we’ve got guys making plays like that.”

On Saturday, Gordon completed 44-of-60 passes for 520 yards, five touchdowns and one interception to further cement his national lead in each of those categories. Coming into the game, he had a 596-yard lead on LSU’s Joe Burrow for passing yards and had 34 touchdowns to Burrow’s 33.

WSU coach Mike Leach, who recruited Gordon out of City College of San Francisco, spoke with high regard for his QB after the 27-point win, saying “Right now he’s playing quarterback better than anyone in the country.”

Asked to respond to Leach’s assertion, Gordon said “That’s quite the compliment from coach Leach. He’s had some unbelievable quarterbacks throughout his career, so he’s got a good eye for talent at quarterback. So it’s awesome to hear, but I also know I haven’t reached my ceiling yet, I feel like. I can improve, I can eliminate turnovers of course and definitely not get sacked.”

Gordon will be able to target a few more milestones as he approaches the final two weeks of the season. If he throws for 686 more passing yards against Oregon State, Washington and possibly a bowl opponent, Gordon will become the 16th player in FBS history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season.

He’s also encroaching on the single-season Pac-12 record for passing yards, which was set by Minshew last season when the ex-Cougar QB threw for 4,779, and now needs four more touchdowns to match Jake Browning’s single-season conference record.