Mobile, Ala. • Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon is used to waiting his turn.
Gordon, who didn’t start until his senior year, led the North to three touchdowns in the third quarter in a 34-17 victory over the South in the Senior Bowl on Saturday.
The Cougars’ prolific passer entered the all-star game for senior NFL prospects after halftime and twice took the North downfield.
“I came out swinging when it was my time,” said Gordon, who wore the No. 3 jersey in honor of late Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski. “I guess that kind of correlates to my time at Washington State. I spent a lot of time waiting, but when my time came I was ready.”
Gordon, who finished second nationally in passing yards and touchdowns, completed 8 of 12 passes for 69 yards and two short touchdowns. That included a 2-yard touchdown pass to Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool for a second straight big third-down completion.
An off-balance Gordon then hit Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden late in the third for a 5-yard TD. It was set up with an interception by Troy Pride Jr. of Notre Dame.
“My baseball background allows me to throw the ball from some unorthodox angles and AGG making that play for me was big time,” Gordon said. The former high school baseball player backed up Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew before getting his turn.
The game’s most highly touted passer, Justin Herbert of Oregon, shined for the South and was named game MVP. The likely first-round pick was 9 of 12 for 83 yards and a touchdown, all in the first quarter, and added a 19-yard run.
“In this day and age in the NFL, you’ve got to be able to make some plays with your feet and be able to create a little bit,” said South coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Michigan’s Shea Patterson delivered the game’s biggest offensive play and passed for 131 yards. He opened the second quarter with a 75-yard touchdown pass on his first play. TCU running back Darius Anderson was wide open on a wheel route and sprinted down the left sideline.
Anderson had just 128 yards receiving last season, but had 87 in this one to go with 43 rushing yards. The North’s Joshua Kelley of UCLA had a game-high 105 yards on 15 rushes.
The game featured two-minute drives to end each quarter.
One of the game’s top-rated prospects, South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, sat out the game with quad tendinitis, according to Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.
Big day for Utes defensive end Anae
Bradlee Anae took full advantage of his opportunity at the Senior Bowl.
After a productive week of practice, Utah’s career leader in sacks registered three of them on Saturday.
“He did a great job,” Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia told reporters after coaching the North to victory. “He’s really improved. We’ve gone over a lot of things with him from a pass rush standpoint, from a technique standpoint, and he tried to take all that (to the game). He’s got a great gift, a great ability to rush the edge.”
Anae had back-to-back sacks on Heisman Trophy finalist Jalen Hurts in the second quarter. Later, Anae beat Oregon left tackle Calvin Throckmorton before crushing Hurts as he released the ball. The pass floated thanks to Anae’s pressure as Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison picked it off.
Anae added a third sack in the second half when he beat Texas Tech left tackle Terence Steele to drop Colorado quarterback Steven Montez.
Utes safety Terrell Burgess broke up a pass in the end zone Saturday, while linebacker Francis Bernard, by many accounts, had a productive week in practice in front of personnel from all 32 teams
Utah had six players accept Senior Bowl invitations. Julian Blackmon suffered a season-ending injury in the Pac-12 championship game, Leki Fotu had his Senior Bowl physical red-flagged at the beginning of the week, and Zack Moss opted to skip the game to prepare for the NFL Combine.
While Herbert was the game MVP, Florida running back Lamical Perine was named South player of the game and Gordon won North honors. Perine is from Mobile and played for Theodore High School. He said he had more than 40 people at the game.
“A lot of Perine chants and Gator chomps,” Perine said. “That made me feel good.”
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love started for the North and completed 4 of 6 passes for 26 yards. He was in for 12 offensive plays in the first quarter and returned in the fourth quarter for 15 more plays.
During the practices leading up to the game, Love was voted the North’s Offensive Player of the Week for the quarterback position.
The Tribune’s Josh Newman contributed to this report.