UCLA had trailed 49-17 in the third quarter.
Gordon’s fumble was Washington State’s sixth turnover.
“It’s a Pac-12 After Dark Saturday night win,” UCLA Coach Chip Kelly said afterward during an on-field interview with ESPN.
Oh, yes, Chip Kelly. His Bruins scored 25 more points against the Cougars than they had in their first three games of the season combined to help Kelly improve to 1-3 this season and 4-12 in Westwood.
Kelly, with 2:38 left and UCLA trailing 63-60, elected to go for it on fourth and five from the Cougars 17 rather than attempting a relatively short tying field goal. Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw an incomplete pass, and Washington State took over on downs.
And of course redemption arrived for Kelly when on the Cougars’ ensuing series, when Krys Barnes forced and recovered a fumble by Cougars wide receiver Easop Winston Jr.
Four plays later, Thompson-Robinson completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Demetric Felton for the final margin with 1:07 to play.
Thompson-Robinson threw for 507 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 57 yards and two more touchdowns.
The teams combined for 1,377 total yards.
“Give our guys credit,” Kelly said during his postgame news conference. “Special teams contributed. Our offense contributed. The defense came up with key turnovers at good times. It’s a big win for us.”
Thompson-Robinson threw touchdowns on four straight possessions to bring the Bruins within a field goal after they had trailed, 49-17, with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
“Our guys got frantic and panicked,” Cougars Coach Mike Leach said. “We collapsed in every phase of the game.”
Gordon’s eighth touchdown pass, breaking the school-record Gardner Minshew set last season, put Washington State back in front, 63-60, with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter.
Oh yeah, Minshew took time off from being the Jacksonville Jaguars’ rookie starting quarterback and emerging cult hero to watch the game from the Washington State sideline.
He wore a Cougars jersey and jean shorts he said he customized on his own.