This week in Pac-12 Football

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PAC-12 FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK:

COUGS PULL RABBIT OUT OF A HAT: The Pac-12 posts impressive comeback wins in back-to-back weekends. Following UCLA’s erasure of a 34-point deficit for a 45-44 win over Texas A&M in week 1, WASHINGTON STATE makes a 21-point deficit disappear with just over 8:00 remaining in the game for a 47-44 three overtime win over Boise State.

SEEKING PERFECTION: There are 43 FBS teams that remain perfect at 2-0. Eight of those teams are from the Pac-12. Only the 14-team SEC has more with nine teams sitting 2-0 after week two. Here’s a comparison to other conferences in non-conference play to date:

SEC 21-4 (.840) - 9 teams at 2-0
Pac-12 19-4 (.826) - 8 teams at 2-0
Big Ten 20-6 (.769) - 8 teams at 2-0
Big 12 13-6 (.684) - 4 teams at 2-0
ACC 15-7 (.682) - 5 teams at 2-0

PAC-12 QBS EXCEL: UCLA’s Josh Rosen leads the FBS with nine touchdown passes and points responsible for with 54 (27.0 per game). But he’s not the only Pac-12 quarterback to post impressive numbers in the young season. Here’s were some of the Pac-12 signal-callers rank in the FBS:

Comp. % Pass Eff. Pass TDs Pass Yds/g
Luke Falk, WSU .781 (5) 146.9 (44) - 252.0 (36)
Justin Herbert, ORE .778 (6) 199.0 (8) 4 (24) 323.0 (16)
Tyler Hilinski, WSU .762 (8) 153.0 (34) - 145.0 (98)
Sam Darnold, USC .746 (12) 171.1 (21) 4 (24) 302.5 (19)
Tyler Huntley, UTAH .735 (15) 140.5 (55) - 263.5 (28)
Manny Wilkins, ASU .700 (24) 175.7 (14) 4 (24) 299.0 (20)
Jake Browning, WASH .696 (25) 171.1 (21) 4 (24) 271.5 (25)
Josh Rosen, UCLA .679 (31) 185.2 (12) 9 (1) 410.0 (3)
Ross Bowers, CAL .667 (35) 152.3 (35) 4 (24) 281.5 (21)
Steven Montez, COLO .667 (35) 141.1 (54) - 250.5 (39)

THE RANKINGS: Five Pac-12 teams are ranked in both the AP and Coaches polls. USC (4/4), WASHINGTON (6/6), STANFORD (19/19) and WASHINGTON STATE (21/22) grace the AP poll, while UCLA (25/nr)makes its first appearance in the AP poll and UTAH (nr/2) continues to be ranked in the Coaches poll.

PAC-12 IN THE NFL: When NFL opening day rosters were revealed, 258 former Pac-12 players found themselves listed on active rosters. USC led all Pac-12 teams with 42, followed by UCLA with 30. California, Stanford and Utah had 28 former players make active rosters.

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.

PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

OFFENSE
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Darnold completed a career-best 80.8% of his passes (21-of-26) for 316 yards with 4 TDs against the Pac-12’s most experienced secondary in USC’s 42-24 win over No. 14 Stanford. He completed his first 11 passes of the game. His TDs went 4, 11, 22 and 25 yards. It was the sixth time in his career he has thrown at least 3 TDs and fourth time with at least 4 TDs. It was the 12th consecutive game that he has thrown for at least 200 yards and the fifth time in his career for more than 300 yards.

DEFENSE
Peyton Pelluer, LB, WSU
Had a team-high 14 tackles as Washington State rallied from 21-points down to Boise State with eight minutes remaining in the game to win in three overtimes, 47-44. Down 31-17 with just under six minutes remaining, he intercepted a pass and raced 36 yards for the touchdown, cutting the lead to seven. It was his first interception of the season and second of his career.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Dante Pettis, PR, WASH
Pettis broke the Pac-12 record for punt returns for a touchdown with the seventh of his career when he ran a punt back, zig-zagging 67 yards for a score on the final play of the first quarter Saturday vs. Montana. Pettis had also returned a punt for TD the previous week, at Rutgers (61 yards). He’s the only player in the nation this season to have returned two punts for scores. He currently sits just one shy of the NCAA record of eight, shared by Wes Welker (Texas Tech) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma). Pettis also caught four passes for 32 yards in the Huskies’ 63-7 victory .

THIS WEEK'S GAMES:

ARIZONA (1-1) at UTEP (0-2)
Fri., Sept. 15 • 7:15 pm PT • ESPN • #AZvsUTEP
ARIZONA: The Wildcats have won the last 12 meetings with UTEP with the last loss coming in El Paso in 1970 (33-17) ... Arizona rushed for 152 yards in Saturday’s loss to Houston, marking the eighth straight game the Wildcats have rushed for 150 or more yards in a game ... The Wildcats finished with 219 passing yards vs. Houston. Junior QB Brandon Dawkins had 178 passing yards and sophomore QB Khalil Tate added 41. It marked the first time Arizona passed for more than 200 yards in a game in the last seven contests  ...  Junior S Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles collected his sixth career interception and now has an FBS best three picks on the season.

UCLA (2-0) at Memphis (1-0)
Fri., Sept. 16 • 11:00 am CT • ESPN2/ABC mirror • #UCLAvsMEM
UCLA: UCLA has won 18 of its last 21 non-conference matchups and 16 of 17 regular-season, non-conference games under head coach Jim Mora. The Bruins are 37-3 under Mora when ahead at the half ... Junior QB Josh Rosen is the first Bruin quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards in back-to-back games to open a season since Cade McNown (1998) ... Rosen’s 12th, 300-yard game breaks the school record with McNown, who had 11 ... Rosen’s five TD passes against Hawai’i, a career high after throwing a personal-best four last week against Texas A&M, are the most since Ben Olson threw five against Stanford on Sept. 1, 2007 ... Redshirt senior WR Darren Andrews is the first Bruin receiver to haul in 3 TD catches in a game since Marcedes Lewis (Oct. 9, 2004) and now has an FBS best 5 TD catches this year.

Northern Colorado (1-0) at COLORADO (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 12 noon PT • P12N • #UNCOvsCU
COLORADO: Colorado sold 20,715 season tickets. The increase of 2,704 season tickets over last year’s total (18,011) represents the sixth‐largest increase from one year to the next since records are available dating back to World War II ... D.J. Eliot’s defense held Texas State to a field goal, this marks the first time since 1958 that Colorado has not allowed a touchdown in its first two games of the year (offensive or otherwise). In 1958, CU opened with a 13‐3 win over Kansas State and then shut out Kansas, 31‐0 ... In the red zone, opponents have run 9 plays for a net minus‐2 yards ... WR Devin Ross and Bryce Bobo became the 15th and 16th players in CU history to catch 100 or more passes in a career. Ross has 103 receptions for 1,201 yards, while Bobo has 103 career receptions for 1,069 yards. Teammate Shay Fields is already a member of the club and currently has 155 receptions for 2,117 yards.

OREGON STATE (1-2) at WASHINGTON STATE (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 2:30 pm PT • P12N • #OSUvsWSU
OREGON STATE: Sophomore RB Artavis Pierce picked up his second career start and responded with 147 all-purpose yards in the loss to Minnesota. He rushed for 35 yards, added 10 yards on receptions and 102 yards on kick returns. Pierce is averaging 5.1 yards per carry ... Junior RB Ryan Nall is 15th on OSU’s career rushing list with 1,611 yards ...Freshman S David Morris finished the Minnesota contest with 17 tackles, the first Beaver since Lance Mitchell to record at least 17 in a game. Mitchell ended the game against TCU on Sept. 4, 2010 with 18.

WASHINGTON STATE: The triple overtime win over Boise State was the third three overtime game in WSU history (2000 vs. Arizona; 2002 vs. Washington), but the first victory ... Senior QB Luke Falk threw for 193 yards, breaking Connor Halliday’s WSU record of 11,304 career passing yards, he now owns 11,397. Falk also tallied 197 yards of total offense, breaking Alex Brink’s WSU record of 11,011 career total offense, he now owns 11,141 ... Sophomore QB Tyler Hilinski came on in relief of the injured Falk and was 13-of-18 for 130 yards and 2 TDs in the fourth quarter alone to tie the game and force overtime ... Sophomore RB James Williams caught six passes for 36 yards and 2 TDs, including the winning 17-yard score in the third overtime.

OREGON (2-0) at Wyoming (1-1)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 5:00 pm MT • CBSSN • #UOvsWYO
OREGON: Sophomore QB Justin Herbert completed 25-of-33 passes for 365 yards and 3 TDs. With that performance, he moved up to eighth nationally with a 199.0 passing efficiency rating. It’s the sixth time in the last nine games that Herbert has thrown for at least 250 yards ... Senior RB Royce Freeman rushed for 153 yards and 2 TDs in the 42-35 win over Nebraska. He moved into sixth on the Pac-12 career rushing list with 4,349 rushing yards and his 50 TDs are fourth in conference history. He needs 55 rushing yards to pass former UCLA Bruin Johnathan Franklin (4,403 yards) for fourth on the Pac-12 career list, and three more rushing TDs will push him past former USC Trojan LenDale White (52 TDs) and tie him for second with former Duck LaMichael James (53 TDs).

ARIZONA STATE (1-1) at Texas Tech (1-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 7:00 pm CT • FSN • #ASUvsTTU
ARIZONA STATE: Junior QB Manny Wilkins has completed 42 of 60 passes for 598 yards and 4 TDs this season. He is one of three Pac-12 starting quarterbacks (UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins) who have not thrown an interception this season. His 175.7 passing efficiency rating ranks 14th nationally ... Redshirt freshman WR Frank Darby had three receptions for 111 yards against San Diego State. His 53-yard reception for a touchdown was the third 50+ yard touchdown pass this season for Wilkins ... Senior LB Koron Crump added two more sacks against San Diego State and now has four on the season.

Texas (1-1) at USC (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 5:30 pm PT • FOX • #TEXvsUSC
USC: The Trojans extended their winning streak to 11 games with the 42-24 win over Stanford, its longest win streak since posting 12 straight in 2008-09 ... Sophomore QB Sam Darnold completed 21-of-26 for 316 yards. It’s the 12th straight game he’s thrown for a least 200 yards and fifth time for over 300 yards ... Freshman RB Stephen Carr rushed for 119 yards on 11 carries for his first 100-yard game. Junior RB Ronald Jones II rushed for 116 yards and joins Carr as the first pair of USC running backs with 100 or more yards in a game since Jones (223) and Aca’Cedric Ware (130) did so vs. California on Oct. 27, 2016 ... Junior WR Deontay Burnett had 9 receptions for 121 yards for his third straight 100-yard receiving game.

Fresno State (1-1) at WASHINGTON (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 6:30 pm PT • P12N #FRESvsUW
WASHINGTON: For the second straight game, senior WR Dante Pettis returned a punt for a touchdown with a 67-yard return against Montana. It was his seventh career punt return for a TD, setting a Pac-12 career record and he is now one shy of matching the NCAA career record. His seven punt returns in his three plus seasons are more than the Huskies totaled in the previous 23 seasons ... Junior QB Jake Browning connected on 22 of 26 passes for 259 yards and 2 TDs. He’s tossed multiple TD passes in 14 of his last 16 games. With 515 career completions, Browning becomes the fourth Husky quarterback with 500 career completions. He joins Cody Pickett (821), Keith Price (757) and Jake Locker (619).

Mississippi (2-0) at CALIFORNIA (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 7:30 pm PT • ESPN • #MISSvsCAL
CALIFORNIA: Junior RB Patrick Laird had a career high 191 rushing yards on 12 carriers (15.9 avg) and three TDs in the win over Weber State. He’s the first running back since Daniel Lasco (at Oregon State, 2014) to score three rushing TDs in a game. Laird has rushed for 200 yards on 15 carries (13.3 avg) in two games this season after posting just 65 rushing yards on 11 carries (5.9 avg) over the previous two years ... Cal won its fourth consecutive home opener and is now 21-0 all-time against Big Sky schools ... After allowing 42.6 ppg last season, Cal’s defense has allowed 25.0 ppg (down 17.6 ppg) in the first two games of the season.

STANFORD (1-1) at San Diego State (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 7:30 pm PT • CBSSN • #STANvsSDSU
STANFORD: Junior RB Bryce Love is currently fourth in the FBS, averaging 170.0 rushing yards per game. He’s rushed for 100 or more yards in each of the last four games for a total of 570 yards on 58 carries (9.8 avg). Love has an impressive 8.4 yards per carry average for his career as he’s rushed for 1,349 yards on just 160 carries over the last two-plus seasons ... Has made 180 consecutive extra-point attempts, the fourth-longest streak in the nation (Michigan - 291, Memphis - 213, Texas A&M - 208). 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 (81) has more ... Stanford leads the nation with 280 sacks since 2011.

San Jose State (1-2) at UTAH (2-0)
Sat., Sept. 16 • 8:00 pm PT • ESPN2 • #SJSUvsUTAH
UTAH: With its 19-13 win over BYU, Utah extends its winning streak against BYU to seven games. Utah last won seven straight in the series from 1951-57 ... Utah is 23-1 in non-conference games since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, including a 17-0 record the last four years ... Sophomore QB Tyler Huntley had a career-high passing yards and rushing yards for the second-straight week, and his first career 300-yard passing game. Huntley threw for 300 yards (27-of-36, 0 TD, 0 INT) and rushed 19 times for 89 yards and a five-yard touchdown. He had 89 of Utah’s 116 rushing yards. ... Senior transfer Darren Carrington had his second 100-yard game in two games at Utah and his ninth career 100-yard game (seven at Oregon).

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