Perfect Week 1 sets tone for Pac-12 Football

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PAC-12 FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK:

COMEBACK VICTORIES: With UCLA overcoming a 34-point deficit to defeat Texas A&M 45-44, researchers were scrambling to find the largest deficit ever overcome by a Pac-12 team. Considering the FBS record is 35 points by Michigan State in its win over Northwestern in 2006, UCLA’s performance is now a Pac-12 record. Here’s a list of the top three comebacks in Pac-12 history:

34 pts UCLA vs. Texas A&M, Sept. 3, 2017 (trailed 44-10 , won 45-44)
30 pts CALIFORNIA vs. Oregon, Oct. 2, 1993 (trailed 30-0, won 42-41) ,
28 pts WASHINGTON STATE at Stanford, Oct. 20, 1984 (trailed 42-14, won 49-42)

PERFECT WEEK 1: Pac-12 teams were a perfect 11-0 during week 1 and are a combined 12-1 in nonconference action this season. Here’s a comparison to other conferences in non-conference play to date:

Pac-12 12-1 (.923)
SEC 11-2 (.846)
Big Ten 10-2 (.833)
ACC 10-3 (.769)
Big 12 7-3 (.700)

OPENERS: The Pac-12 was 11-1 in season-openers, a much improved performance over last year’s season-opening record of 7-5. UTAH extended its winning streak for season-openers to 10, followed by OREGON (6) and CALIFORNIA (4) ... With WASHINGTON’s 30-14 win at Rutgers, the reigning Conference champions/co-champions are 110-20-4 (.836) all-time in season openers, including a 23-2 (.920) mark over the previous 21 seasons.

THE RANKINGS: Four Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AP poll, five teams in the Coaches poll. USC (6/5), WASHINGTON (7/7), STANFORD (14/14) and WASHINGTON STATE (20/22) grace the AP poll, while UTAH (-/23) is listed in the Coaches poll.

SHORTENED TIME OF GAME: The Pac-12 Conference will conduct a test program to improve the viewing experience for fans in stadium and on-air by taking steps to shorten the length of football games. All non-conference football games on Pac-12 Network this season (could be up to 15 games) will have reduced break times between the 1st and 2nd quarters and between the 3rd and 4th quarters. In addition, three non-conference games will have adjusted commercial formats to reduce four additional minutes of break time, and halftime for seven non-conference football games will be reduced from 20 to 15 minutes (approval was needed from each opponent). For certain games, Pac-12 Networks will experiment with :01 kickoff times. These experimental efforts are meant to shorten game length up to 10 minutes and reduce broadcast windows by up to 15 minutes. Below is the Pac-12 Networks schedule of games and the experimental adjustments for each game.

POLL NOTES: USC made its 20th appearance all-time in the Top 5 in the AP preseason poll ... Washington’s No. 8 preseason ranking is its highest since opening at No. 4 for the 1997 season. The Huskies have been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 17 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch in the Top 10 since 1990-92 (37 straight weeks) ... It’s the seventh consecutive season that Stanford has appeared in the AP preseason Top 25. The Cardinal are one of eight teams to have appeared in the AP preseason poll in each of the last seven seasons, joining Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Oklahoma, LSU and Georgia ... Washington State is making its third-ever appearance in the AP preseason Top 25 (also in 1952 and 2002).

PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

OFFENSE
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen led UCLA to the second-largest comeback in FBS history in a 45-44 win over Texas A&M. Rosen completed 35 of 59 passes for 491 yards, the third-highest single-game yardage in school history. His 35 completions rank as the second-highest single-game mark in UCLA history. In the second half alone, Rosen completed 26 of 36 attempts for 377 yards and all four of his single-game best touchdown passes. On the game-winning drive, he completed seven of 10 passes for 76 yards including a 10-yard scoring pass to Jordan Lasley. In the fourth quarter alone, he threw for 292 yards.

DEFENSE
Devante Downs, LB, CAL
Downs totaled 13 tackles (eight solo) along with 0.5 tackles for loss (-1 yard), one forced fumble, one interception that he returned 39 yards and one quarterback hurry in Cal’s 35-30 win at North Carolina. Downs’ pick on the final play of the first half on the Golden Bears’ own 18 yard-line was a critical play that helped prevent North Carolina points just before the break. Cal’s defense allowed only 30 points to the Tar Heels after giving up an average of 42.6 ppg last season (including 48.8 ppg in true road games).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Jake Olson, LS, USC
In an emotional moment that has resonated nationally, blind long snapper Jake Olson snapped for USC’s final PAT versus Western Michigan. Olson was born with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the retina. He lost his left eye when he was 10 months old and, despite numerous procedures on his other eye, he had his right eye removed when he was 12 in 2009.

THIS WEEK'S GAMES:

Texas State (1-0) at COLORADO (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 12 noon MT • P12N • #TSUvsCU
COLORADO: The Buffs won their season-opener for the third straight season with the 17-3 win over Colorado State ... The 3 points the Buffaloes allowed were the fewest in  a season opener since 2010 (24-3 win over CSU in Denver) and 1988 (45-3 over Fresno State in Boulder); otherwise, you have to go back to a 0-0 tie at Wisconsin in 1965 to find the last time CU allowed fewer … Third time in the last 11 games that CU did not allow a touchdown, and the fewest points the Buffs have allowed in any game since a 48-0 win over Nicholls State in 2015 ... Senior RB Phillip Lindsay rushed for 140 yards and 1 TD ... Lindsay moved into ninth on the school’s career rushing list with 2,373 rushing yards ... With 89 career receptions, Lindsay needs five more to become CU’s all-time leader in receptions by a running back.

Nebraska (1-0) at OREGON (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 1:30 pm PT • FOX/FOX Deportes • #NEBvsUO
OREGON: The Ducks opened the Willie Taggart era with the most points scored by Oregon in the modern era (post World War II). The last time the Ducks scored more than 77 points was a 97-0 win over Willamette in 1916. ... Senior RB Royce Freeman rushed for 150 yards and 4 TDs in the 77-21 win over Southern Utah. He moved into seventh on the Pac-12 career rushing list with 4,296 rushing yards and his 48 TDs tie him for fifth in conference history with Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (2011-13) and UCLA’s Skip Hicks (1993-97) ... Junior RB Tony Brooks-James returned the game’s opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD. It was the fifth of 100+ yards in Oregon history.

Hawai’i (2-0) at UCLA (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 2 pm PT • P12N • #UHvsUCLA
UCLA: Junior QB Josh Rosen completed 35 of 59 passes for 491 yards and 4 TDs in the epic comeback victory over Texas A&M. Down 44-10 with 19:08 remaining in the game, Rosen led the Bruins to 34 unanswered points in the 45-44 win. All four TD passes came in the fourth quarter when he led TD drives of 2:04, 1:06, 1:31 and 1:56. In the fourth quarter alone, he was 19-of-26 for 292 yards. He connected a combined 27 times with sophomore TE Caleb Wilson (15 receptions for 203 yards) and senior WR Darren Andrews (12 receptions, 147 yards and 2 TDs) ... After allowing 264 rushing yards in the first half, the UCLA defense held strong in the second half collecting five or the team’s six sacks for the game, while limiting Texas A&M to 96 rushing yards after the break (38 yards in the fourth quarter).

Weber State (1-0) at CALIFORNIA (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 2 pm PT • P12N Bay Area • #WEBERvsCAL
CALIFORNIA: Sophomore QB Ross Bowers delivered in his first start, completing 24 of 38 pass attempts for 363 yards and 4 TDs in a 35-30 road win at North Carolina ... Junior WR Vic Wharton III had five receptions for 156 yards and one TD ... Cal snapped a nine-game losing streak in true road games with the victory the Golden Bears’ first in a true road game since a 30-24 win at Washington on Sept. 26, 2015 ... After allowing 42.6 ppg last season (including 48.8 ppg in true road games), Cal’s defense limited North Carolina to 30 points – fewest for a Golden Bear defense in a true road game since a 30-24 loss at Utah on Oct. 10, 2015.

Montana (1-0) at WASHINGTON (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 5 pm PT • P12N • #MONTvsUW
WASHINGTON: Senior WR Dante Pettis posted his sixth career punt return for a touchdown with a 61-yard return in the win at Rutgers. The sixth punt return for a score ties the Pac-12 career record set by former California Golden Bear DeSean Jackson (2005-07) ... Junior QB Jake Browning connected on 17 of 30 passes for 284 yards and 2 TDs. He’s tossed multiple TD passes in 13 of his last 15 games ... Junior RB Myles Gaskin was the team’s leading receiver with five receptions for 79 yards and 1 TD. He had 19 receptions for 137 yards and 1 TD all of last season.

STANFORD (1-0) at USC (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 5:30 pm PT • FOX • #STANvsUSC
STANFORD: The 62 points scored by Stanford in its 62-7 win over Rice are the most in a season-opener for the Cardinal since a 68-20 win over San Jose State (1968) ... Junior RB Bryce Love posted a career-high 180 yards rushing on 13 carries (13.8 avg). Love has an impressive 7.8 yards per carry average for his career as he’s rushed for 1,189 yards on just 153 carries over the last two-plus seasons ... Junior RB Cameron Scarlett scored 3 TDs on ground with just eight carries. He rushed for 59 yards (7.4 avg) ... Has made 177 consecutive extra-point attempts, the third-longest streak in the nation (Michigan - 287, Memphis - 213). The streak dates to Stanford’s matchup at Oregon State on Oct. 26, 2013 ... Stanford’s 75 wins against FBS opponents this decade ranks second nationally. Only Alabama (80) has more ... Stanford has won at least eight games for a school-record eight straight seasons.

USC: The Trojans extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 49-31 win over Western Michigan ... Feel good moment of the season occurred with 3:13 remaining in the game when blind long snapper Jake Olson entered the game and had a successful snap on USC’s PAT conversion. Olson lost his eyesight to cancer at the age of 13 ... Junior RB Ronald Jones II rushed for 159 yards and 3 TDs in the win over Western Michigan. He’s posted five 100-yard rushing games in his last six regular season games ... Sophomore QB Sam Darnold completed 23 of 33 passes for 289 yards. It’s the 11th straight game he’s thrown for a least 200 yards. Junior WR Deontay Burnett was his primary target, pulling in seven receptions for 142 yards.

Minnesota (1-0) at OREGON STATE (1-1)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 7 pm PT • FS1 • #MINNvsOSU
OREGON STATE: Through two games, junior QB Jake Luton has completed 45 of 72 pass attempts for 539 yards and 3 TDs. His combined 539 passing yards are the most for the Beavers in back-to-back games since 2014 (Nov. 15 - 251 yards vs. Arizona State; Nov. 22 - 314 yards at Washington) ... Junior TE Noah Togiai entered the season with 14 career receptions for 104 yards and 2 TDs. In two games this season, he’s already tallied 12 receptions for 162 yards and one score ... Junior RB Ryan Nall moved into 15th on OSU’s career rushing list with 1,580 yards ... Senior LB Manase Hungalu led the Beavers defensively in the win over Portland State with nine tackles, including two tackles for loss, and an interception he returned 21 yards for a score.

UTAH (1-0) at BYU (0-1)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 8:15 pm MT • ESPN2• #UTAHvsBYU
UTAH: Extended its season-opening victory streak to 10 years with the 37-16 win over North Dakota ... Offensive Coordinator Troy Taylor’s debut resulted in 499 yards total offense. Only once in 13 games last season did the Utes post more than 499 yards total offense when they cranked out 539 yards at UCLA (thanks to Joe Williams school-record 332 rushing yards) ... Sophomore QB Tyler Huntley completed 23-of-32 passes for 227 yards and 1 TD, while rushing for 70 yards on 18 carries in the win over North Dakota ... Sophomore RB Zack Moss rushed 22 times for 128 yards and one score ... Senior transfer Darren Carrington caught a career-best 10 passes for 127 yards and 1 TD.

Houston (0-0) at ARIZONA 1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 7:30 pm PT • ESPNU • #HOUvsAZ
ARIZONA: The Wildcats rushed for 506 yards and 7 TDs in their 62-24 win over Northern Arizona. While no individual rushed for 100 yards, eight different Wildcats rushed for 30 or more yards ... Including last year’s season finale vs. Arizona State (511 yards/7 TDs), Arizona has rushed for 1,017 yards and 14 TDs the last two games ... Senior QB Brandon Dawkins has rushed for 275 yards on 19 carries (14.5 avg) the last two games ... Junior S Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles had two interceptions in the season-opening win. He had two of Arizona’s eight total interceptions all of last year ... Junior WR Shun Brown had a 66-yard punt return for Arizona’s first touchdown of the season. The 66 return yards were more than the 56 yards UA totaled on all punt returns over 12 games last season.

Boise State (1-0) at WASHINGTON STATE (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 7:30 pm PT • ESPN • #BSUvsWSU
WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars held Montana State to 143 total yards in pitching a 31-0 shutout. It was the fewest yards allowed since 2004, 125 vs. Colorado in Seattle. The 28 yards passing allowed was the lowest since 1994, 18 at Oregon State ... Senior QB Luke Falk opened the game completing his first 20 pass attempts and finished the night 33-of-39 for 311 yards and 3 TDs. His 92 career TD passes are now a school career record and move him into fifth on the Pac-12 career list ... Falk moved up to seventh on the Pac-12 career passing list with 11,204 yards ... Sophomore RB James Williams had a career-best 13 receptions for 163 yards and 2 TDs.

San Diego State (1-0) at ARIZONA STATE (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 9 • 8 pm PT • Pac-12 Network • #SDSUvsASU
ARIZONA STATE: Junior QB Manny Wilkins completed 22 of 27 passes for 300 yards and 2 TDs in 37-31 win over New Mexico State, but was victim to seven sacks ... Senior RB Kalen Ballage, who rushed for 14 TDs last season, picked up where he left off by punching in two rushing TDs ... Senior LB DJ Calhoun tallied a career-high 13 tackles against New Mexico State.

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