Roundup: The power of the Pac
It was another banner weekend for the Pac-12, which went 8-1 against other conferences, including 3-1 against the Big Ten (you could say the Pac-12 measured up on a big weekend)… but not without a few shades of controversy. The craziest game of ‘em all went down in Tempe, where Arizona State won in bizarre fashion against Wisconsin 32-30: Wisconsin QB Joel Stave ran into his lineman as he went to kneel down and set up a game-winning field goal attempt, causing mass confusion on the field while the clock bled out. After the fact, Big Ten officials told Wisconsin that the refs botched the late-game sequence. If you haven’t seen it already, here’s the play in question. Regardless, Arizona State is now No. 23 in the latest AP poll, giving the Pac-12 five ranked teams.
You just don’t go into Lincoln, Neb., fall behind by 18 to the Huskers, and expect to come out with a victory. But that’s exactly what happened when UCLA scored 38 unanswered points to derail Nebraska 41-21, beating the Huskers for the second consecutive year. It was an exceptionally emotional game for the Bruins, who honored fallen teammate Nick Pasquale with a W.
Another Saturday, another slaughterhouse session for the Quacks. The victim this time was Tennessee, as Marcus Mariota was dynamic in Oregon’s blowout win over the Vols (59-14 your score; 23-33, 456 yards passing and four TD passes for No. 8). After a performance like that, John Canzano believes Mariota would have reduced Johnny Manziel to a mop-up man (Johnny Football committed to Oregon before deciding to switch it up and head to Aggieville).
Washington got its first nonconference road win in six years in large thanks to the play of Keith Price (another 300-yard day) and Bishop Sankey, who rushed for a career-high 208 yards. With a ground performance like that, Gregg Bell wrote “Sank-you very much: Dawgs beat Illini 34-24” for a headline to the GoHuskies.com recap. Huskies now up to No. 17 in the AP poll.
Jared Goff had another solid game for the Golden Bears, but it was not nearly enough in a 52-34 loss to the fourth-ranked Buckeyes. Cal has been an exciting team to watch under Sonny Dykes, but the Bears’ secondary woes were exposed by Ohio State. On the bright side, Goff is the first Cal quarterback since Aaron Rodgers to throw for at least 300 yards in three straight games.
There was one conference battle on the Saturday ledger, and if it’s any indication of how the rest of the Pac-12 season is going to play out, you need to cancel all your Saturday plans through December 7. Oregon State edged Utah 51-48 in an overtime thriller in Salt Lake City behind career performances from Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. There was a scary moment in the game for the Beavs when running back Storm Woods had to leave the field in an ambulance, but the good news is that Woods was released from the hospital and flew home with the team.
Down 13-0 in the first half and trailing by 10 entering the fourth quarter, the Utes’ great comeback ended up incomplete. And, unfortunately for Whittingham’s crew, Utah’s schedule will only get tougher with UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State, USC and Oregon still on the slate.
A little more out of conference action of a different flavor this morning: Pac-12 Networks' Rick Neuheisel broke out his guitar on The Dan Patrick Show and sang a tribute to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. As you can see, this isn't the first time Coach has belted out a song on-air.
Big bounce-back week for the Men of Troy. After a 10-7 loss to Washington State that left many people grumbling, USC looked a ton more explosive in a 35-7 shellacking of Boston College. It was a game in which USC and Cody Kessler found a comfort zone (Kessler completed 14 passes in a row at one point and was 15-17 for the game) and Tre Madden had his third straight 100-yard rushing game, making him the first Trojan to do so since the legendary Marcus Allen back in 1981 (he won the Heisman Trophy that year).
‘Twas a sluggish start to things in West Point, but Stanford got past Army 34-20 in a game that really wasn’t as close as the score indicated (Army got a late touchdown to make it more respectable). David Lombardi of The Bootleg (and Pac-12 Post, woot woot) grades Stanford’s performance against Army.
Let’s continue with the grade theme here in the roundup, as we take you to Tucson for Arizona’s report card for the UTSA game, a 38-13 victory over the Roadrunners.
Washington State accomplished two things on Saturday: 1) It throttled Southern Utah 48-10, which 2) allowed for the arrival of Austin Apodaca, who saw his first snaps at quarterback once Connor Halliday put the game out of reach. Apodaca was 3-7 for 27 yards through the air against the T-Birds.
No game for Colorado because its contest against Fresno State was postponed due to severe flooding in and around Boulder. So instead of trying to serve up a cold plate of revenge to the Bulldogs, the Buffs served first responders and displaced families on Saturday. Good stuff from the Buffs.