July 19th, 2024

Stanford receiver Farrell not surprised by Canadian Ayomanor’s stellar performance

By Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press on October 18, 2023.

Stanford teammate Bryce Farrell wasn't the least bit surprised by Canadian Elic Ayomanor's breakout performance Friday night versus Colorado. Ayomanor (13) celebrates after making a touchdown catch in overtime of an NCAA college football game, in Boulder, Colo. Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski

Teammate Bryce Farrell wasn’t the least bit surprised by Canadian Elic Ayomanor’s breakout performance Friday night versus Colorado.

Ayomanor had 13 catches for a school-record 294 yards and three TDs in rallying Stanford to a stunning 46-43 double overtime road win over the Buffaloes, who are coached by former NFL star Deion Sanders. The Cardinal erased a 29-0 deficit at halftime with the largest comeback in school history while handing Colorado its largest blown lead ever.

“The first day I saw Elic step on campus “¦ and when we first saw Elic run a route, we were like, ‘Yeah, this is a dude that will be in the NFL,'” Farrell, a senior receiver with the Cardinal, told reporters Tuesday. “He has the body type, he has the mindset and has all of the intangibles.

“So when he had that game, no one was shocked about that. I think everyone has seen what he can do and knows what he can do. It was just a matter of time before it came out. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”

The six-foot-two, 210-pound Ayomanor, of Medicine Hat, Alta., did all of his damage in the second half and overtime. Although Ayomanor had a 97-yard TD reception in the contest, his 30-yard touchdown grab with Stanford trailing 43-36 in the first overtime went viral on various social media platforms.

And with good reason. Ayomanor had to reach behind him to get the ball, then clutched it against the helmet of Travis Hunter, Colorado’s two-way star who had the Canadian in one-on-one coverage, before pulling the ball free as he entered the end zone.

“That’s as good a catch as I’ve ever been a part of,” Stanford head coach Troy Taylor said Tuesday. “I’ve seen the start of that quite a few times where you have the ball be kind of behind the person but very rarely (is) he able to maintain it.

“When I saw it I thought, ‘Wow, it’s a great catch. Is he going to be able to finish it?’ That’s what made it remarkable.”

Predictably Ayomanor was named the Pac-12’s offensive player of the week. He became the first Cardinal to claim the honour since 2020 while cracking the 100-yard receiving plateau for the first time in his U.S. college football career.

Ayomanor headed to Stanford after attending high school in the U.S. (Deerfield Academy, a private school in Deerfield, Mass.). He’s one of three Canadians with the Cardinal, along with Aaron Armitage, a junior linebacker from Ajax, Ont., and Brendon Barrow, a junior running back from Toronto.

Ayomanor entered Friday’s contest with 15 catches for 207 yards and a TD over Stanford’s first five games. A sophomore, Ayomanor didn’t appear in a game last season as a true freshman.

Taylor also wasn’t fazed by Ayomanor’s production Friday night.

“Both he and Bryce are the two fastest guys on the offence,” Taylor said. “Now, there’s being fast and playing fast and (Ayomanor) played really fast Friday night.

“We always knew he had the potential to do that, a lot of it is just confidence. This is something he can build upon and it’s also for our team “¦ to show you can have kind of a rough start and then come back and turn it around and have a great game. Games never go exactly how you want them to, even when you win there’s going to be ups and downs. I’m really proud that he continued to work through those things and showed the competitive greatness that we knew was inside of him.”

Stanford (2-4, 1-3 Pac-12) snapped a seven-game conference losing streak. The Cardinal host No. 25 UCLA (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) on Saturday night with the Bruins having won three of the last four meetings.

Taylor admits Friday’s victory will always be one he remembers fondly.

“I’ve coached a lot and played in a lot of games,” he said. “I don’t remember all of them but that’s one that I personally will remember, just doing it with a bunch of guys you admire and love makes it really special.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2023.

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