PULLMAN – Luke Falk was setting records, Gabe Marks was abusing any and every cornerback, Mike Leach was winning games, and Easop Winston Jr. met Anthony Gordon. The year was 2015.
It’s well known in the media circles of Washington State athletics, but maybe not much further outside that. Indeed, Washington State’s most lethal offensive duo crossed paths in junior college playing at the City College of San Francisco – they won a championship in the process.
Easop broke onto the scene in 2018 after slamming the door shut in Utah’s face – an 89-yard reception to the house – for a 28-24 victory. Gordon watched from the sideline that night as he lost the quarterback battle to Gardner Minshew II the preceding month.
But that’s not how this story ends. We’re now just a few weeks into their senior year, the duo is quickly lacing every defensive coordinators nightmare.
“Being at junior college, we always joked about [playing together] thinking it would be cool. I honestly thought we’d have to go different paths,” Gordon told the media following the No. 22 ranked Washington State Cougars (2-0) routing of the Northern Colorado Bears (0-2) by a decisive 52-17 margin Saturday evening in Martin Stadium.
“Once I found out that he was coming here, the light went off in my head about the ‘what ifs’ and what could happen if both found our way out on the field.”
He connected with Easop on six occasions for 113 yards and two trips to the end zone Saturday. The pair averaged almost 19 yards per completion.
“It’s pretty awesome to see it happen, he’s one of my best friends,” Gordon said.
By the time Gordon’s night came to an end somewhere in the fourth quarter, he was responsible for 464 yards and four touchdowns.
It’s just Gordon’s second career start with the Cougs, though he’s already collecting the neccessary lore to earn nicknames with fans and alumni. Call him what you like, but ‘Air Gordon’ stands chief among them.
The 6-foot-3 signal caller additionally belongs to a broader identity coined by Easop: City Situation.
“If you asked me after [City College] we’d be playing again, I would have looked at you crazy. Only god knows,” Easop said.
City Situation is as much of a battle cry as it is an identity for the receiver and his gunslinger. And standing beside the duo, two other Cougs can claim membership in left guard Rob Valencia and corner Derrick Langford – all products of CCSF before making their way to the Palouse.
The Juco experience – featured on the popular Netflix series ‘Last Chance U’ – is no easy path. But everyone pays their dues in one way or another; and with that sacrifice comes payout.
Affirming the narrative, Valencia and Langford both earned starting spots Saturday. It was Langford’s first.
They say good things tend to happen once you become the author of your own story, and that’s exactly what these boys have done. And taking it an extra step, their biographies-in-the-making are all peer reviewed.
“We just have a different relationship. I can get mad at him and he can get mad at me. We both don’t take it personal,” Easop said of Gordon. “We know what to expect from each other.”
The pursuit of excellence complimented by this bilateral accountability led to Easop’s third career 100-yard game – no small task at any level of football.
“This is a dream come true,” Easop said. “I know ten years down the line we’ll be talking about it.”
As for now, they live in the present looking to execute coach Leach’s orders of winning one game a week.
Washington State travels to ‘Advocare Texas Kickoff’ for a neutral site showdown with the Houston Cougars (1-0) Friday night at NRG Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:15 p.m. with live coverage on ESPN.
(Top photo: Jack Ellis – Cougar Sports Network)
Q1, 9:22 – WSU 7, UNC 0
Gordon takes a free play deep 32 yards to Easop. The duo – former JuCo teammates at City College of San Francisco – hook up for point from 7 yards a few plays later. (Blake Mazza kick good)
Q1 5:58 – WSU 7, UNC 7
Milo Hall evens the score on an 11-yard scamper to the east end zone. (Collin Root kick good)
Q1 2:48 – WSU 14, UNC 7
Max Borghi wins a footrace taking a 4-yard swing pass to the left pylon for points. (Mazza kick good)
Q2 13:53 – WSU 21, UNC 7
Brandon Arconado takes a post deep into UNC territory for 39 yards. Borghi ends the series with a 2-yard touchdown run. (Mazza kick good)
Q2 3:40 – WSU 21, UNC 10
Placekicker Collin Root knocks down a 50-yard field goal after a rare Cougar punt for possession.
Q2 0:01 – WSU 24, UNC 10
Willie Taylor III forces a fumble recovered by Skyler Thomas. Cougs get three off Mazza’s chip-shot ending the first half.
Q3 11:43 – WSU 31, UNC 10
Gordon hooks with with Easop from seven yards out on the corner fade. The pair set up the score with a 23 yard connection earlier in the series. (Mazza kick good)
Q3 7:11 – WSU 38, UNC 10
Max Borghi caps of a 50-yard series between the tackles for a 3-yard house call – his third trip across the goal line. (Mazza kick good)
Q3 4:19 – WSU 45, UNC 10
Arconado scores from 5 yards out after Easop sets up the strike on a pair of explosive receptions. It was Arconado’s second career touchdown. (Mazza kick good)
Q4 9:37 – WSU 52, UNC 10
Trey Tinsley steps in for Gordon in late garbage time delivering s strike to Tay Martin across the goal line. The drive was set up by a muffed UNC snap recovered by Karson Block in the red zone. (Mazza kick good)
Q4 3:55 – WSU 52, UNC 17
Receiver Cole Ingersoll rushes 28 yards in open field for a touchdown. (Root kick good)
Q4 1:23 – WSU 59, UNC 17
Halfback Deon McIntosh rolls to the end zone for padding. (Mazza kick good)