NCAA Football: Washington State at Houston

Washington State players celebrate after defeating the Houston Cougars on Friday night at NRG Stadium.

Anthony Gordon passed for 440 yards and three touchdowns to rally No. 20 Washington State to a 31-24 win over Houston in a battle of the Cougars at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Gordon completed 36 of 48 passes and connected with nine receivers as Washington State (3-0) dominated play in the second half after trailing 14-7 at halftime. Gordon is just the third quarterback in NCAA history to throw for 400 or more yards and three touchdowns in his first three starts, joining Graham Harrell and Patrick Mahomes, both at Texas Tech.

Brandon Arconado paced the WSU receivers with nine catches for 115 yards. D’Eriq King passed for 128 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 94 yards and two scores for Houston (1-2).

Houston got on the board first midway through the second quarter when King threaded a 13-yard scoring pass between four defenders to Marquez Stevenson to take a 7-0 lead. The touchdown throw completed an 82-yard, 15-play drive that used almost half the period.

Washington State finally found its offensive stride on its next possession, tying the score on Gordon’s 39-yard TD hookup to Easop Winston Jr. with 5:36 to play until halftime. But that was plenty of time for King, who drove Houston 75 yards in seven snaps to a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a 14-7 lead with 2:27 to play in the second quarter.

Max Borghi’s 1-yard run at the 10:24 mark of the third quarter knotted the score at 14-14. Washington State took charge on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Gordon to Dezmon Patmon at the end of a four-play, 91-yard possession and led for the first time in the game, at 21-14, with 7:30 to play in the third quarter.

Gordon’s third TD pass, a 7-yard score to Travell Harris with 6:43 remaining, capped a 95-yard, eight-play drive and finished off Houston.