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Intriguing Weekend For The Pac-12, College Football Week 2

Evan Budrovich |
September 9, 2012 | 2:09 p.m. PDT

Staff Writers

Sean Mannion and the Oregon State Beavers upset the mighty Badgers. (Conway_Ba/Creative Commons)
Sean Mannion and the Oregon State Beavers upset the mighty Badgers. (Conway_Ba/Creative Commons)
With all the talk of USC Football with Heisman candidate, Matt Barkley, let’s take a break from the action and discuss how the other teams in the Pac-12 fared this weekend. 

In a weekend full of top-25 matchups and showdowns of top programs nationwide, the Pac-12 notched some reputation-building victories along with some disappointing loses. 

The Ugly:

Utah State 27, Utah 20

The weekend actually began with some confusion and doubt as Utah lost to Utah State in OT, 27-20. John White IV was effective all night, carrying the rock 27 times for 96 yards. The rest of the team was ineffective for most of the game, including having a punt blocked and returned for a Utah State touchdown. 

Quarterback Jordan Wynn left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Backup Senior Jon Hays entered the game and contributed immediately with some key plays to keep the Utes in the game. 

Utah looked slow offensively and struggled to contain the dual-threat option that Chuckie Keeton provided for Utah State. Keeton passed for 216 yards, while rushing for 86 yards. This game presented some telling signs for a team that, if asked 24 hours earlier, would have been my dark horse to win the Pac-12 South. 

Although Utah lost this week, it still has talent on defense. The defensive line, featuring Star Lotulelei and brothers Joe and Dave Kruger, was strong on Friday. This DL could present issues for the USC running game and could put more pressure on Barkley, but the Utah offense presents no major threats outside of John White IV. 

Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28

Wow. The 1-1 Sacramento State Hornets, who lost to New Mexico State last week 49-19, defeated the Buffaloes. The worst part of this matchup is that Colorado was leading 14-0 in the first quarter and still managed to blow the lead when Edgar Castaneda kicked a game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired. 

The Buffaloes remain the weakest team in the Pac-12 giving this conference a major cupcake on the schedule, something commissioner Larry Scott desperately wanted to avoid.

The Bad:

No. 3 LSU 41, Washington 3

Keith Price and the Huskies traveled to Baton Rouge and started quite strong with an early field goal, but could not muster much else on offense after that point. The Tigers eventually found a rhythm, moving the football, as they went on to dominate the affair, 41-3. 

LSU gashed the Washington run defense, accumulating 242 yards on 52 carries. In contrast, the Huskies could not develop a rushing attack at all, gaining 26 yards on 24 rushes. Steve Sarkisian’s gang should not panic after this performance, because facing the daunting LSU defense is no easy task regardless of who’s under center.

The key for Washington moving forward will be its ability to involve the tight ends and running backs in the passing game. Price needs other options to lighten the load, so he can utilize his dual-threat abilities in order to properly propel the Huskies offense moving forward. 

California 50, Southern Utah 31

The Golden Bears started off extremely slow offensively, but picked up the pace in the fourth quarter by scoring 30 points to take home the victory. Zach Maynard completed 17 of 23 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon for the Bears. 

Star receiver Keenan Allen caught five balls for 69 yards and a touchdown, but was actually outdone by receiver Chris Harper who notched seven receptions for 94 yards. Ise Sofele rushed for more than 100 yards, giving the Bears offense some much-needed balance. 

The big news on the injury front for Cal was that starting right tackle Matt Summers-Gavin sat out in order to rest the knee that he bruised against Nevada. The Bears may not be elite in the Pac-12, but they have the weapons on offense to compete with any team in the conference. 

The Good: 

Stepfan Taylor is doing his best to carry the Cardinal, who must move on without Andrew Luck. (jgirl4858/Creative Commons)
Stepfan Taylor is doing his best to carry the Cardinal, who must move on without Andrew Luck. (jgirl4858/Creative Commons)
No. 25 Stanford 50, Duke 13

The Stanford Cardinal came out firing on all cylinders against the Duke Blue Devils and did not fall into the trap that ensued against San Jose State a week ago. The Cardinal were led with 275 yards passing from Josh Nunes and 69 yards rushing from standout back Stepfan Taylor.

The biggest play of the game came in the third quarter when Kyle Olugbode returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cardinal a 43-6 lead, putting the game effectively out of reach. 

The performance by David Shaw’s team was much more promising and should give the Cardinal some confidence as they prepare for the Trojans. The big issue for the Cardinal will be whether their elite line-backing core can cover the speed and elusiveness that the USC offense presents on a weekly basis. 

No. 4 Oregon 42, Fresno State 25

Oregon fell behind, 3-0, in the first quarter but took little time to regain control blowing away the Bulldogs. Marcus Mariota led the way for the Ducks with 166 yards on 19 of 27 passing, while also racking up 67 yards rushing. 

Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas were explosive for Oregon, per usual, combining for 303 yards rushing on 41 carries. Once again the Oregon offense proved that it is the toughest offense to stop when it gets rolling in the no-huddle spread option attack.

The Ducks ended the night with 366 yards rushing, continuing their pace under Chip Kelly of racking up yards at an astronomical rate. Watch out Pac-12, because the Oregon Ducks are ready to explode with another cupcake matchup against Tennessee Tech next week.   

Washington State 24, Eastern Washington 20

Congrats to Mike Leach for winning his first game as the head coach at Washington State. Although his high-flying offense has not hit its stride yet this season, getting the first win will be a huge confidence booster for this program. 

Jeff Tuel played well for WSU completing 20 of 26 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Tuel left in the third quarter with a knee injury and is uncertain for next weekend’s matchup against UNLV. 

The Great: 

Arizona State 45, Illinois 14

In the first of many marquee wins for the Pac-12, Arizona State legitimized itself in a rout over Illinois 45-14. Taylor Kelly completed 18 of 24 passes for 249 yards with a touchdown and played quite well for a team that needs a leader to fill the shoes Brock Osweiler left empty after last season.  

The big player of the day for Todd Graham’s offense was Chris Coyle. Coyle caught 10 balls for 131 yards, including two touchdowns. The offensive performance was arguably the best of the season for ASU - even more impressive than its 63-6 victory over NAU last week.  

Not only was the Sun Devils offense powerful, but their defense also came out to play in Tempe this weekend. ASU only allowed 99 yards passing, while causing three interceptions combined with six sacks on the night. 

Maybe rules like no earrings on the team, is starting to resonate with the Sun Devils, who only registered one penalty on the night and looked disciplined throughout the contest.  

UCLA 36, No. 16 Nebraska 30

Bruins TB Johnathan Franklin is dominating on the ground, thus far. (TheDailySportsHerald/Creative Commons)
Bruins TB Johnathan Franklin is dominating on the ground, thus far. (TheDailySportsHerald/Creative Commons)
The UCLA Bruins recorded one of the biggest wins in recent school history while keeping new head coach Jim Mora’s winning streak alive by knocking off the No. 16-ranked Cornhuskers. 

Amongst a large Cornhuskers contingency, Brett Hundley stepped up his play leading his Bruins to a key victory. Hundley outplayed dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez by completing 21 of 33 passes for 357 yards, while also rushing for 48 yards.  

Johnathan Franklin continued his torrid pace by rushing for 162 yards on 16 carries. Not only did Franklin carry the rock well, but he also led the team in receiving yards with 113 on four receptions.  

The Bruins defense limited the effectiveness of Taylor Martinez when it mattered most, with a key safety and defensive stop in the fourth, allowing the team to complete the victory. If the Bruins continue to play inspired football, they may rise into the position of spoiler to steal the Pac-12 South title from the Trojans. 

Arizona 59, No. 18 Oklahoma State 38

Congratulations Rich Rodriguez. Your program recovered from barely defeating Toledo in OT, to the next week stomping an Oklahoma State team that was coming off an 84-point stomping of Savannah State.  

After falling behind, 14-0, Matt Scott went on a torrid passing tear, leading the Wildcats to 23 straight points to close out the first half. On the night, Scott completed 26 of 39 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns. 

Running back Ka’Deem Carey repeated his excellent performance against Toledo by controlling the time of possession for Arizona with his strong running. 

Carey rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Carey also added a receiving touchdown, completing one of the most impressive offensive nights across the Pac-12.

Oregon State 10, No. 13 Wisconsin 7

In the biggest shocker of the weekend for the Pac-12, the Oregon State Beavers defeated the Badgers by controlling the game from beginning to end. This was shocking, to say the least, after watching Wisconsin dismantle Oregon State last year behind the powerful running of Montee Ball. 

The Beavers outgained the Badgers, 354-207, while limiting Heisman candidate Montee Ball to 61 yards on 15 rushes. The entire Wisconsin offense looked overwhelmed by the speed and aggressiveness of the Oregon State defense, which did a tremendous job of creating penetration all afternoon.  

The Beavers took advantage of the short passing game, capitalizing on their first chance to play, after their game against Nicholls State was canceled due to Hurricane Isaac. 

Sean Mannion implemented the shotgun spread offense that coach Mike Riley had been demanding all offseason, to perfection. Mannion threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, allowing the Beavers to gain an 11-minute advantage in time of possession.

This game may be more of a one-hit wonder than a season-long preview, but Oregon State proved that its defense and ball-possession offense will be tough to handle in the Pac-12.    

Final Thoughts: On the weekend, the Pac-12 sported a 9-3 record on the weekend, including three wins over top-25 programs. USC, Oregon and Stanford, the three favorites in the conference, took care of business in their respective games. 

Some up-and-coming teams made names for themselves while giving the Pac-12 some much-needed props in the eyes of the national media. New coaches added not only first wins, but also big wins for their programs which will help recruiting over the next few seasons.

This weekend presented fireworks all over the board, presenting some key storylines and expectations for the season moving forward, with Pac-12 play set to begin next week. 



Reach staff writer Evan Budrovich here, or follow him here.



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