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Inside the Pac-10: And Troy Fights On, And On, And On...

Don't forget to fill out the Eastern Washington report card, only thirteen grades in so far! They're due in Monday at noon PST!

USC 18, Ohio State 15

Golden Bear fans keep on getting more and more confident that this is their year, that the Bears are going to take over the Pac-10 and set their mark. You watch USC stumble around for fifty-five minutes at the Horseshoe, their quarterback not being able to thread a football through, and you start feeling the same things.

Then you see the Trojans rock on two quick two minute drives at the end of each half. You see Matt Barkley complete two huge passes, you see the offensive line take over when they're called to do so and help the Trojans convert every short yardage opportunity that comes theri way. You see Joe McKnight juke and jive his way on that las tcritical drive. You see USC take advantage of two Buckeye miscues (Terrell Pryor's interception, and the Buckeyes not running out the clock at the end of the half).

Vulnerable? Probably. Deadly? Always. Not in this lifetime can you count USC out. And they will always be the favorites until someone burns their walls for good.

What did USC-Ohio State tell you about the Trojans? Do you respect them more or do you fear them less? Discuss it in the comments!

Rest of the games and more discussion questions after the jump.

Paragon did have three additional observations on USC's performance, take note of the first two observations Cal fans!

First...Special Teams was absolutely atrocious. For all the pissing and moaning we have heard about not having a special teams coach having one didn't seem to help with the poor punting and missed field goal.

Second...It didn't matter how many running backs we had in The Stable never was able to get up a lather to really be effective because the Offensive line was getting pushed around by their D line. But Props to Joe McKnight for stepping it up at the right time!!

Third...The defense did a great good job against Pryor, he made some plays...a few nice throws and some key runs but lets not get crazy he was not Vince Young tonight...At least not yet.


via (Image taken by Monica's Dad)

California 59, Eastern Washington 7

Okay, the Bears didn't bring their A-game for this one. Hell, you could say they didn't even bring their B-game. Given the result, that seems okay to me.

Cal played a lot of soft zone coverage (and by soft I mean "I WILL STAND RIGHT HERE AND DARE YOU TO NOT THROW HERE"), and Matt Nichols obliged by completing 70 percent of his passes. Yet the Eagles only gained 235 yards, and Taiwan Jones was completely shut down as the Bears enveloped the line of scrimmage. While Cal didn't have a flawless run blocking scheme or even very good pass protection (Riley was blitzed on several occasions and had to get rid of the ball a little bit more than he wanted to), the focus wasn't quite there for many players, excluding the runners.

Like I said on Thursday (because I'm a prophet!!!), Cal would run the ball a lot today, and it showed quickly. In fact the Bears really did nothing out of the ordinary with their run blocking. Lot of man blocking, lot of guard pulling, occasional zone runs, but otherwise a very standard performance in terms of form and style. Other than a clever little pitch involving Best lining up at the LoS, Cal did nothing out of the ordinary. Well, except rush for 300+ yards.

Ultimately this one was a game of talent, and Cal happens to have way more. Credit the Eagles for fighting, but even after playing as best as they could, they were down 31 after three.



Forest 24, Trees 17

Don't let the final score deceive you. Andrew Luck had a deceptively good game, 23 of 34, 272 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT is nothing to frown at, considering the Furd's recent inability to airmail anything.

On the bright sense, the Furd's defense still looks horrid. Blogger So Dear, Wake Forest's SBN blog, has the story.

For all of the ups and downs, Wake Forest is 1-1, and finally had solid play on both sides of the ball, with 459 yards of offense on the day and no scoring from Stanford in the second half. Josh Adams and Kevin Harris combined for over 100 yards and Chris Givens and Devon Brown also racked up 98 yards on their own. [Riley] Skinner was 18-26 for 187 yards, had a rushing touchdown of his own and a 20 yard reception.

More importantly, the Cardinal only ran 20 plays in the second half. You could say that the Furd offense didn't do enough to keep the offense off the field or the Furd defense couldn't do enough to put the offense on the field. Given that five Demon Deacons rushed for more than 5 yards per carry (including Skinner), I'll opt to the latter.

danzig suggested that Andrew Luck has been the second best quaterback in the Pac-10 season next to Riley. Do you agree with that assessment?


via (Image from EDSBS)

UCLA 19, Tennessee 15

The result is irrelevant here, because like most games last Saturday, it came down to turnovers. Rocky Top Talk discusses how turnovers cost the Vols their chance at victory.

Turnovers were the definitive story on the day, as the one lost fumble by UCLA led to Tennessee's only touchdown on the day, while the three interceptions and one lost fumble by Tennessee allowed the Bruins to score 10 points that would prove crucial to their victory in Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers will now have to answer some questions about their performance, including whether the interceptions and errant passes thrown by Jonathan Crompton were flukes, or if Crompton is indeed back to his 2008 habits. His plight will not be helped much in the eyes of the Volunteer faithful as even the fumble recovered by UCLA was one that had last touched his hands (on a botched snap when Cody Sullins initiated the play too early).


This is how little faith Tennessee fans have in Jonathan Crompton:

On the Vols' final drive of the game, dozens of UT fans where I was sitting headed for the exits on third down. They didn't stop to watch 4th and 14. They didn't turn around when an offsides penalty created 4th and 9. They didn't listen when other UT fans chastised them for doing so.

And Crompton, true to the form that is without question a more accurate picture of his abilities than the one we saw last week, didn't give them a reason to be wrong.

So the short answer is that Jonathan Crompton was horrible. The better answer is that UCLA's defense was really good.

Hardesty (who you remember from 2007) and Brown, Tennessee's two primary backs, averaged a quiet 2.4 yards per carry, and Monterio was stopped on the biggest play of the game in the Volunteer red zone. Crompton telegraphed his passes pretty well, and UCLA's excellent secondary were quick to snuff out most of Tennessee's offensive drives. Bruins Nation was especially happy with the play of Rahim Moore.

We might as well just start the Rahim Moore for Heisman campaign, given all the hype we were barraged with on the greatness of Eric Berry. Berry is a great player but Moore is now on a journey (if he stays on course) to become one of the greatest Bruin defenders in the tradition of Easley and Turner. Moore once again put together a monster game with 2 picks and would had 3 if not for the homerrific SEC (how do you say that slowly again?) officials who seemed to be making terrible calls and giving Bruins bad spots all game long.

Pretty grimy, but the Bruins get the job done. That's exactly how you'd expect UCLA to upset Cal. A performance like this one shows you they're definitely capable of that sort of mayhem October 17th.

Did the Bruins convince you they're a good team this Saturday?



Oregon 38, Purdue 36

This was a totally ridiculous, highly entertaining game. This result could've gone a thousand ways. You could say Oregon got plenty of fortuitous bounces--five turnovers turned into 24 points, 17 of those going to Oregon. Purdue also missed an extra point, which was the difference. The Ducks were quite the opportunists.

It was the sign of two teams with two rookie head coaches. Execution was not there.

Big question: Can Oregon overcome the loss of their two incumbent running backs? From the results of yesterday, you'd have to say....uhh, maybe? The Ducks got 193 on the ground, but their leading rusher was Masoli, who ate up half of those yards. The running backs averaged around four and a half yards a carry--reasonable numbers, but they're going to need more than that to win their tougher games. For a pretty rookie offensive line, you can't ask for much more.

But they might need more, especially with Utah and Cal coming to town the next two weeks. Also worrisome: Nick Allotti's defense giving up 451 yards of offense and allowing 86 plays to Oregon's 62.

Has Oregon regained their groove, or are they still funking around?


via (Image from Daniel Gluskoter)

Oregon State 23 UNLV 21

Saw the tail end, so all I have to say is that Canfield stepped up pretty well for the Beavers on the road, with big contributions from the Rodgers brothers too. Building the Dam concurs.

Senior quarterback Sean Canfield completed 25 of 31 passes for 198 yards. He threw two touchdown passes (Camp, James Rodgers), and was sacked on three occasions. Canfield was 10 of 11 passing in the first half.

In addition to the aforementioned players, Damola Adeniji, Jordan Bishop, and Casey Kjos also caught passes in the game for the Beavers. The most memorable was Bishop's 14-yard reception from Canfield in which he was upended by a UNLV defender, did a complete flip in mid-air, but retained possession of the ball. Jordan fishished with 5 grabs for 43 yards in the game.


For the second week in a row, the Beavers relied heavily on James and Jacquizz Rodgers. Jacquizz rushed for 166 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown, and James caught six passes for 48 yards and scored once as well.

"We're just going out there and playing for ourselves," James Rodgers told televison cameras after the game. "A lot of people doubt us. We didn't play to well today. And I thought the defense did great. Offense, we still have a lot of work to do."

Is Oregon State going to be a dangerous team down the road?

Quick looks

Minnesota 20, Air Force 13: Cal fans should watch out for throws to Decker next week, according to The Daily Gopher.

Adam Weber is going to get Eric Decker killed in the Big Ten season. HE HAS GOT TO STOP THROWING TO HIM ALL THE TIME. Worst indication of this: Hayo Carpenter came in in the second quarter and BLOCKED FOR DECKER ON A SCREEN PLAY. Anyone else see something wrong with this? There is no way teams with solid secondaries, such as NU, UW, OSU, PSU and Iowa are going to let Decker beat them, so it's imperative to develop Stoudermire, Green and Carpenter more than we are.

How do you think Cal should gameplan to beat Minnesota?

Maryland 38, James Madison 35 (OT)

I didn't include this in the primer last week. I should have. What on Earth happened Testudo Times?

I'll be frank: Maryland probably shouldn't have won this game. If JMU had a decent kicker, or if they didn't commit 105 yards of penalties, or if they didn't - for some reason I am still yet to grasp - share phenomenal QB Drew Dudzik's time on the field with Justin Thorpe, James Madison probably wins the game.

Both the offensive and defensive lines were manhandled by smaller, less athletic players. Sure, the OL was without Bruce Campbell, but they were facing a much smaller opponent, and one with less natural talent. There were several occasions when Chris Turner had to make a hurried throw and was under pressure, and there was a gaping lack of holes for Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett. That hurts Meggett especially - he's a downhill, run hard type of back, and needs holes to succeed.

Bottom line: You shouldn't read too much into Cal's opening season victory. The fact that an FCS team could gash the Terps for 268 rushing yards in College Park on 6.4 yards per just isn't good. Certainly makes our rout of Maryland way less impressive.

How do you feel about Cal's opening victory given Maryland having now seen their performance against JMU? Are we really as good as we looked?

Washington 42, Idaho 23

UW Dawg Pound is impressed with the way the coaches are pumping up the players.

The enthusiasm on the sidelines was fun to witness in person. This staff works harder than the players which is just fun to watch. These guys leqd by example and I really like it. From a scheme and play calling perspective they didn't impress me as much as they did last week. Once again with USC coming in next week I am sure that they are saving some stuff on both sides of the ball. They did make some gutzy calls along the way but I don't think they open up the complete bag until next week. I would give the offense an A but the defense is scaring me right now. Lets hope it was the vanilla schemes because if it isn't USC is going to have a field day.

Does UW have a chance to upset the Trojans?

Hawaii 38, Washington State 20

James Montgomery is one of the few positives in this depressing loss for Cougars fans.

Player of the Game: James Montgomery. 6.9 yards per carry! 117 yards! A thingy where you go in that one zone that scores points! What's that called? I forgot. Anyway, Monty is for real, and he keeps convincing me that we need to put the ball in his hands more often. A bright spot in a sea of gloominess.

Is Wazzu in danger of going winless?

Arizona 34 Northern Arizona 17: AZ Desert Swarm was quite happy with the performance.

Nic Grigsby ran for a career high 207 yards and had the 2nd longest run in school history with his 94 yard TD scamper in the 4th quarter. Matt Scott played with the first team for the majority and was 14-20 for 150 yards with a TD and an INT. Foles was 6-8 for 44 yards and had 1 TD. Scott actually returned to the game after Foles entered, confusing the hell out of me. We'll get to that later. The defense was not nearly as impressive as they were against CMU, who just beat Michigan State, but Trevin Wade did come up with a pair of interceptions.

Do you care at all at what Arizona does this September?