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Canadian receiver Ayomanor makes a statement for Stanford

Elic Ayomanor Elic Ayomanor - The Canadian Press

Elic Ayomanor’s historic game looked like a disaster through two quarters.

The Canadian wide receiver finished with 13 catches, a Stanford-record 294 receiving yards and three touchdowns last Friday against Colorado, helping the Cardinal overcome a 29-point halftime deficit in a 46-43 double-overtime win.

But the first two quarters were a different story.

Ayomanor dropped a pass on Stanford’s opening drive, and a deep throw on a post route later in the first half went through his hands after Ayomanor had gotten behind Colorado's Travis Hunter on what looked like it would be a sure touchdown.

“That route he misplayed – that sometimes is just confidence,” Stanford head coach Troy Taylor said on Tuesday. “Turning around and coming back, and then doing what he did in the second half – this is something he can build upon and show you can have a rough start and turn it around and have a great game.”

Stanford quarterback Ashton Daniels was also quick to encourage Ayomanor on the sideline after the missed opportunity.

"I came back to him and said, ‘I’m coming to you,’” Daniels said after the game. "Elic's been through a lot since he's been here. I don't think I've seen anyone work as hard as he has. I know I have an extremely reliable guy I can count on."

Ayomanor had 97- and 60-yard touchdowns in a 93-second span in the third quarter and saved his best for last. Trailing 43-36 in overtime, he reached around Hunter and pinned Daniels’ throw to the defender’s helmet while backpedaling into the end zone for a game-tying score.

A field goal by Joshua Karty in the second overtime sealed the largest comeback win in Stanford’s 103-year history.

“You’re not really thinking in the moment,” Ayomanor said of his overtime catch. “I wasn’t thinking about anything other than the second I was in at that time.”

The touchdown in overtime may have been one of the viral moments of this college football season, but Ayomanor's two third-quarter scores were also significant. The 97-yard catch and run was Stanford's longest play from scrimmage this season, and the longest reception by a Cardinal since 1999. His 60-yard touchdown on the next possession made him the first Pac-12 receiver to score multiple touchdowns of 60 yards or more since Washington's John Ross III in 2016.

Originally from Medicine Hat, Alta., Ayomanor attended high school in Deerfield, Mass., before committing to Stanford. After redshirting his freshman year in 2022 following an off-season knee injury, he’s wasted no time having an impact. 

“I think one thing I realized is I need to get in a lot better shape,” he joked after the win over Colorado. “I’m huffing and puffing. I’m on an oxygen tank. I had to really push through it.”

Ayomanor’s game against Colorado vaulted him into fifth in the Pac-12 in receiving yards (501) and has him on pace to become the seventh Stanford receiver to have a 1,000 or more yards in a single season.

And while Ayomanor's name may not have been recognizable on a national stage prior to Friday, his breakout game against Colorado came as no surprise to his teammates.

"The first day I saw Elic on campus, we were like 'This is a dude that will be in the NFL,'" teammate Bryce Farrell said on Tuesday. "He has the body type, he has the mindset, and has all the intangibles.

"When he had that game, no one was shocked. Everyone's seen what he can do, and it was just a matter of time before it came out."