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Pac-12 bowl football recap: How did teams perform during bowl Season?

How did the Pac-12 do?

Harry How

Well, now bowl season is over. For the P-12, at least. At the start of the season, we took a look at where the various teams were going and what the fanbases expected. So, that was at the start. How are things at the end? The Pac-12 went 6-3 with a great loss by Stanford! Just one of those instant classic losses that ensure Cal is better than Stanford at all times!

Let's delve deeper in chronological order:

Washington State

Washington State 45
Colorado State 48

So, WSU lost a close game. WSU was in control, but then fumbled the ball at the most inopportune times, giving CSU a last gasp chance to win.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- With less than 2 minutes to play and Colorado State down by eight points, Shaquil Barrett knew the Rams needed the ball back quickly to finish an improbable comeback against Washington State.

Once down by 22 points in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the Rams got their chance when Cougars running back Jeremiah Laufasa came barreling toward Barrett.

"I was kind of thinking in my mind, yeah, 'That was our shot to get back in the game right there,' " said Barrett, who stripped the ball. "I really didn't think I was going to get the opportunity."

That fumble, at the Cougars 33, set up Kapri Bibbs' 1-yard run score and Donnell Alexander's two-point conversion run that tied it at 45 with 33 seconds left.

Then, Washington State's Teondray Caldwellfumbled a kickoff return at the 24, setting upJared Roberts' 41-yard field goal as time expired gave Colorado State a 48-45 victory Saturday in the bowl season's opening game.

Coug fans, as could be imagined, were NOT enthusiastic. They even were using their own epitaph on themselves:


The only thing you can say.

No better term.

Finally, finally! My school doesn't suck at football.

Can't shake it

It’s games like this that make it hard to shake that figure of speech. I hate it. But those were some amazingly stupid plays at the end.


I know it's frowned upon but...

… is it not the truth?

Well considering it's a made up term.

You could just go with "choked"… you know if your not into prolonging your own victim-complex. I’m not so I’ll go with "choked"…

And boy did we choke.

get over yourself. It's a word. a colloquialism. mostly a joke.

Sorry if you're offended...

but it’s akin to a kid calling himself a "screw up". No kid that calls himself a "screw up" ends up running for president. He just ends up being a screw up. Wouldn’t you prefer that WSU not be synonymous with choking? If you want to use the phrase, I guess go for it. I just wanted to chime in hopes that not many other people do.


20 Fresno State 20
25 USC 45

An extremely tumultuous year ending well for the Trojans. Interim Coach Some Person helped USC rout the FSU Bulldogs:

Kessler passed for a career-high 344 yards and a bowl-record four touchdowns in the Trojans' 45-20 victory over No. 21 Fresno State on Saturday night under interim coach Clay Helton.

"This is a team that hopefully will be remembered forever in USC history," said Kessler, the game's MVP. "These guys, it doesn't take a lot to get us motivated. When you're playing just for someone else next to you, you don't want to let him down."

Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor had two touchdown catches apiece, Javorius Allen rushed two more scores, and the Trojans (10-4) answered every question about their motivation by repeatedly dancing on the sideline during the storied program's first postseason victory since 2009.

"I can't say how proud I am of this team," Helton said. "We had to see: Were we going to use it as an excuse to be on our third-string head coach, or were we just going to say, `We're not going to fail today."

What is sad is that for all of the "DISASTROUS SEASON" talk for USC, they won 10 games. They had 4 head coaches if you count Kiffy, Coach O, Sark, and Some Guy. The fans were happy with the end result:

Playing for the final time this season in what has been anything but an ordinary season, the No. 25 USC Trojans came out with passion, determination and swagger in a 45-20 pounding of No. 21 Fresno State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

The Trojans dominated during the first and only game under interim head coach Clay Helton. From the very first offensive drive, which went 65 yards on 12 plays, all the way to the final horn, the Trojans' offense set the tempo from start to finish.

While the offense may have broken more records on the day, USC's defense put on the ultimate display slowing down Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year Derek Carr by limiting him to only 217 yards passing on 54 passing attempts, tying the Las Vegas Bowl all-time record.

Even Mr. USC himself was pleased:

Goddamn USC.

Oregon State

Boise State 23
Oregon State 38

Oregon State was stumbling heading into the Hawaii Bowl. They had lost 5 games in a row. However, against a BSU team reeling from losing its superstar coach (coached by former Cal asst coach Bob Gregory!), OSU got back in the win column:

Biletnikoff Award-winner Brandin Cooks grabbed eight balls for 60 yards and a touchdown. He extended his Pac-12 single-season record to 128 receptions and broke the conference record for yards receiving with 1,730, passing Southern California's Marqise Lee.

Sean Mannion threw for 259 yards and a touchdown, giving him a Pac-12-record 4,662 yards passing for the season.

"When you win, you'd like to say it's a good ending -- a good beginning for the upcoming year," Riley said.

Oregon State kept Boise State (8-5) out of the end zone until the third quarter, well after the Beavers had opened a big lead.

Although the score looks reasonably close, OSU led 38-6 at one point. Oregon State fans were happy:

What a great win, and a great Christmas gift for Beaver Nation!

I’m really proud of the team. They came out and made plays on both sides of the ball. It wasnt perfect, but they got it done when they needed to.

Amazing what happens when you can run the ball effectively, and you pressure the opposing QB.

You know, looking at the last two games, I wish it was the beginning of the season. This team has a confidence and purpose that they didnt have before, especially on defense.

Now hopefully the basketball team can beat Hawaii today!



Brigham Young 16
Washington 31

Washington was also caught up in the coaching maelstrom in the Pac-12. They had an odd bowl coaching staff with Scrabble Supername and current USC coach Marques Tavita Tuiasosopo acting as interim head coach. What a weird few weeks! The bottom line was a solid victory for the Dawgs:

SAN FRANCISCO -- A tumultuous month that started with coach Steve Sarkisian leaving for another job ended with a milestone win for Washington.

Bishop Sankey ran for 95 yards and two scores to tie Washington's career touchdown record, and the Huskies went on to beat BYU 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday night.

"I can't say enough about these guys," interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo said. "They wanted it, and through some turmoil, they stayed focused, they came together as a team and came here with a purpose."

Keith Price added a 16-yard TD pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and John Ross returned a kick 100 yards for another score to help the Huskies (9-4) win their most games since going 11-1 and winning the Rose Bowl in 2000.

This gave UW its 9th win on the season, which is the most they've had in some time. UW fans are psyched, as you could imagine:


10 Oregon 30
Texas 7

Well, Oregon did what Cal couldn't: Beat Texas and humiliate Mack Brown. This wasn't quite the offensive explosion you think it is. The Oregon D scored 2 TDs, so although Oregon racked up a bunch of yards, they only scored 16 points. They had to settle for a lot of FGs along the way:

Quarterback Marcus Mariota had 386 total yards and Oregon returned two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling Brown's emotional farewell after 16 seasons at Texas with a runaway 30-7 victory Monday night.

The BCS-snubbed Ducks (11-2) dominated throughout -- even though their famously high-powered offense scored just one touchdown and repeatedly settled for field goals. Yet the rout didn't seem to completely balm the sting of not playing in a BCS bowl for the first time in five years, with Oregon players after the game still reflecting on their championship hopes derailed by November losses.

Oregon fans were happy and were especially happy with the end for their vaunted DC Aliotti:

What a great end for Aliotti

Was hoping for a safety when we pinned them at the 3, but two TAINTS? That’s even better. That’s the Aliotti I want to remember – the one confusing the fuck out of Andrew Luck and having him throw TAINTS while failing to tackle the ball carrier, or delivering hits that knock the ball lose and get us the ball in great position like they did against Owusu in 2010 (though…ugh) and in the Rose.

Aliotti, you’ve been with us for the best years of Oregon’s football history. You’ve made me proud, you’ve made me mad, and you’ve made this team into a powerhouse.

"Oregon executes like it's Robespierre during the Reign Of Terror. " - TwistNHook
"I am drunk - And why isn’t the author of this post banned for using stats" - Nolein


14 Arizona State 23
Texas Tech 37

Well, we are getting into unknown territory here, a Pac-12 loss. We had a bit of a streak going there with solid wins! Now, ASU does what Cal COULD do: lose to TTU in the Holiday Bowl. It gives me the warm fuzzies to think of another team losing to TTU in the Holiday Bowl. No more FOREVER ALONE! This time, however, it wasn't a blowout:

SAN DIEGO -- Davis Webb helped end Texas Tech's unsightly five-game losing streak while making sure the Red Raiders' seniors had a great sendoff.

The freshman threw for 403 yards and tied a Holiday Bowl record with four touchdown passes, and Texas Tech raced to a 37-23 victory over No. 14 Arizona State on Monday night.

Webb tied the record set by BYU's Jim McMahon in 1980 and matched by Kansas State's Brian Kavanagh in 1995 and Texas' Major Applewhite in 2001.

ASU fans were stunned and showed it:

agree with ASUadmin

Luckily half the country didn’t watch this game, probably because of the time and perceived lopsided match up. Still ASU should have taken TTECH to the woodshed. A couple BS pass interference calls on J. Strong and another costly drop by smith doomed the comeback.

What’s up with Deantre Lewis?

ASU 1972

Is Special Teams Coach retained?

Totally agree.

I just don’t see how Graham justifies keeping his Special Teams Coach for another season. This was embarrassing and it’s not the first game where this has happened.

Happy New Year everyone!


Arizona 42
Boston College 19

The other half of the desert Pac-12 team collection did quite a bit better. I'd been waiting for Trey Griffey (aka Ken Griffey Jrs kid) to have a breakout game and he finally did. He had 2 TDs:


I'm sure dad (and grand-dad!) was proud. Griffey wasn't the only Cat to have a big day as Ka'Deem Carey went off, too:

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Ka'Deem Carey took a decisive victory in a showdown between two of the nation's top running backs. Arizona's complete domination of Boston College was even more impressive.

Carey rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns, B.J. Denker threw for 275 touchdowns and two touchdowns and the Wildcats had an easy time in a 42-19 victory over the Eagles in the Advocare V100 Bowl on Tuesday.

It was another impressive performance for Carey in what might be his final college game. The 5-foot-10, 207-pound junior topped 100 yards rushing for a 16th straight game.

AZ Desert Swarm was happy that they showed up BC:

Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey outplayed Andre Williams in a 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl blowout of the Boston College Eagles, and Arizona's complaints about snubs were validated in the 42-19 win. But to throw aside the production for Carey and Williams this season isn't fair to either player.

It is fair to say that the outcome on Tuesday in Shreveport, La., said a lot about the two teams and the conferences they play within. The talent gap between the two teams showed in the individual numbers by Carey and Williams.

Arizona's junior took 28 carries for 165 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns, but Williams could only muster 75 yards on 29 yards, a 2.9 per carry average.

The Wildcats, with their small -- for a Pac-12 school -- defense stuffed Williams at the line of scrimmage time and time again. Rarely did Williams run through contact, and never did he show any sort of speed that the Doak Walker Award voters especially might have seen in ACC play.

Overall, it was Arizona looking far and away like the more athletic team.


Virginia Tech 12
17 UCLA 42

In my preview post, I noted how this was an interesting matchup due to BCS slotting. Since the Pac-12 had only 1 team make the BCS and the ACC had 2, Pac-12 teams got slotted down while ACC teams got slotted up. 17th ranked UCLA was probably a team that deserved better than the New Year's Eve Day Sun Bowl. VT probably didn't even deserve that. But thanks to the vagaries of the soon to be dead BCS, that is what we got.

It was a predictable UCLA rout, except that it was actually 14-7 UCLA at half. UCLA and QB Brett Hundley just plain dominated the 2nd half:

EL PASO, Texas -- Brett Hundley shredded Virginia Tech's fourth-ranked defense in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

The UCLA quarterback had 86- and 7-yard touchdown runs and finished with 161 yards on 10 carries in the No. 17 Bruins' 42-12 victory over the Hokies on Tuesday.

"I guess he can run a little," UCLA coach Jim Mora said. "He played well. He was poised."

Hundley also completed 16 of 29 passes for 226 yards and two scores.

"It was a special game," Hundley said. "We played well as an offense. We had to make adjustments. When we did, we got things going."

Hundley and UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt shared MVP honors. Zumwalt had 10 tackles and returned an interception 43 yards to set up a touchdown.

"It's the best game I've ever seen him play," Mora said about Zumwalt. "He was unbelievable from start to finish.

The Bruins (10-3) outscored the Hokies (8-5) 28-2 in the fourth quarter.

UCLA fans weren't quite as enthusiastic about this win as one might expect:

The offense, as was the case all season, had some tough stretches in this game. Looking at the raw numbers, it's a much better than average performance. 447 yards and 42 points against one of the best defenses in college football is outstanding on paper. More than twice as many yards as Alabama's offense put up on the same defense in week one.

The reality is a little less rosy though. 14 of those points were created almost entirely by the defense (Jack's TD return and Zumwalt interception return got UCLA to the 10-yard line) and the last TD was a deep ball (gorgeous as it was) with VT down 35-12.

Brett Hundley did not have a great first half throwing the ball. It was fairly bad actually. He had missed throws, bad protection, drops, lots of bad things happened. Running the ball, however, he was near immaculate. Ran for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns, the vast majority reacting to a pass rush that was in his face most of the game (not anything unusual there).

By choice, or at least it seemed that way, he basically didn't try to run the ball in the 2nd half (actually lost 7 yards rushing on 4 attempts and two of those were sacks and another was a short scramble on a pass). His passing in the second half, however, was that of an NFL QB, which is a big part of what is frustrating about Brett in his time as a Bruin. He threw for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns (and also drew a pass interference call, props toSteven Manfro as well) on 11 throws. He essentially had one incompletion in the 2nd half.

The rest of the running game was predictably atrocious against VT's front seven. UCLA had 17 carries from running backs for 2 or fewer yards. That doesn't count any rushes by either Brett Hundley or MIke Fafaul (who made a shockingly nice throw on a deep out toLogan Sweet). That means there were 5 carries by running backs (or Myles Jack) that got 3+ yards. That's terrible, even against a great front line like Virginia Tech.

Overall, this wasn't a terrible day, especially considering the opponent. But not as good as the defense played. Go with a B- (2.7) here. An offense can't be built around a quarterback escaping a pass rush and running for 20 yards a pop and expect to win every game.


5 Stanford 20
4 Michigan State 24

In conclusion,