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Pac-12 Football Week 6 Review: Washington & Arizona schools on the rise

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Washington and Wazzu pulled-out nice wins as USC and Oregon continue to embarrass themselves. Cal got all it could handle at Utah and made too many costly mistakes to pull-out an upset. And, both Arizona schools appear to be back on track after rough starts to the season. Let's check-out how each conference game went.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 conference continued to beat-up on itself with some surprising outcomes (looking at you, Washington and Wazzu) in Week 6.  The marquee game of the week (Cal @ Utah) lived up to the hype, if only for the competitiveness and not the quality of offensive playmaking.  Some of the conference's top teams got some much-needed rest (UCLA & Furd).

In this Week 6 edition of Pac-12 game reviews, let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from each conference game.

Washington 17, USC 12

The Pac-12 got a primetime match-up on Thursday night when Washington visited USC.  Unfortunately for the Trojans, the Huskies didn't listen to Vegas (deeming them 17-point underdogs) and brought it to Cody Kessler and Co.  Kessler was a disaster - completing 16 of 29 passes and throwing for only 156 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs on his way to a 9.4 QBR.  Per usual, USC RB Tre Madden (17 carries, 120 rushing yards) and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (6 catches, 82 receiving yards) did well, but not enough against a strong Huskies that swarmed Kessler all night long.

Washington freshman QB Jake Browning wasn't too much better than Kessler (completing 16 of 32 passes, throwing for only 137 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT), but his run support was there to bail him out.  RB Myles Gaskin had 22 carries for 134 yards and 1 TD.  WR Joshua Perkins also picked-up 4 receptions for 57 yards and 1 TD.  HC Chris Petersen has this Washington team ready and fired-up after dropping their previous game at home to Cal.

The Good:  Washington picking-up a nice win on the road is great for the Pac-12 North division (which seems to look like a race between Stanfurd and Cal for the top dog).  The more quality teams in the conference, the better.

The Bad:  Remember all that preseason Heisman hype surrounding Kessler?  What happened to all that?!

The Ugly:  We've got be wondering if all the negative pub that Trojans HC Steve Sarkisian is picking-up these days - including getting asked by AD Pat Haden to take a leave of absence on Sunday - is taking its toll on this team.  USC is heading to Notre Dame next week - things may just be starting to get ugly for the Trojans.

Arizona 44, Oregon State 7

After getting walloped at Stanfurd a week earlier, the Wildcats put together a complete game to pulverize OSU.  QB Anu Solomon returned from injury and had a decent game (completing 17 of 30 passes and throwing for 276 yards).  Solomon saw the field well and made nice throws in some pretty tough seams at times.  On the ground, RB Jared Baker got 10 carries for 123 yards.  In the air, WR Johnny Jackson got 3 receptions for 92 yards to lead all Wildcats receivers.  On defense, Anthony Futu picked-up one interception and a 6-yard return.

The Beavers often looked lost during this game.  QB Seth Collins got hurt, but came back to try and help-out his team.  Collins finished the game with 8 completions on 24 pass attempts, throwing for 56 yards and 1 INT.  Back-up QB Marcus McMaryion completed 4 of 10 passes for 42 yards in the air.  But, as the final score indicates, the Beavers got almost nothing on offense as the Wildcats completely stifled them.

The Good:  Arizona's defense was extremely stout in this game.  The Wildcats held OSU to only 151 yards rushing and 98 yards receiving.  This is a great sign for UofA as they get Solomon back on the other side of the ball.  Hopefully, the Wildcats can start trending-up again from here.

The Bad:  QB Seth Collins has been OSU's leader thus far this season.  We'll have to monitor his injury status - losing Collins would be a big blow to this offense and any potential noise they would make down the road.

The Ugly:  The Beavers are turning out to be like what many picked them to be - a Pac-12 bottom dweller this season.  They've been destroyed in their first two Pac-12 match-ups.  Next week at Wazzu may not look as competitive after WSU beat-up on Oregon this week.

Washington State 45, Oregon 38

Wow, just when we left Wazzu for dead in the conference, they strolled into Eugene and pulled-out a double overtime victory over the plummeting Ducks.  WSU QB Luke Falk orchestrated the Air Raid quite well, completing 50 of 74 passes and throwing for 505 yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs.  WR Gabe Marks led all Cougars wideouts with 8 receptions for 111 yards and 2 TDs.  HC Mike Leach is off the hot seat for at least one more week now.

Oregon HC Mike Helfrich?  It might be time he started feeling some heat.  With QB Vernon Adams still out due to injury, back-up QB Jeff Lockie did poorly, completing 13 of 22 passes and throwing for 123 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT.  The only bright spot for Oregon was RB Royce Freeman picking-up 27 carries for 246 yards and 2 TDs.  The Ducks are now 3-3 and headed up to Seattle for a tough match-up against the Huskies next week.

The Good:  We have an Air Raid sighting!  Wazzu is still not a good team, but at least they're entertaining to watch as they (potentially) tank yet another season.  QB Luke Falk hit 500 yards passing for the first time this season - let's hope for many more.

The Bad:  Oregon still doesn't have a true QB leader.  Was this team really all about Marcus Mariota?  Can't they find ways to win with all of those athletes they've stockpiled in recent years?  At this rate, a recent powerhouse team will go from playing for national championships to watching others play their bowl games.

The Ugly:  Those Lewis & Clark uniforms are looking pretty silly right now after that loss.  Is Oregon exposing the fact that they don't have much substance under all that flash?

Utah 30, California 24

The marquee conference game of the week did not disappoint for drama.  Both offenses teams did not play-up to their potentials, while both defenses showed that they are for reals.  Utah QB Travis Wilson was pretty much a disaster throwing the ball (completing 16 of 26 passes, throwing for 170 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs), but made up for it with a number of key runs to kill time and pick-up first downs in the second half.  Star RB Devontae Booker showed his value to the Utes, getting 34 carries for 222 yards and 2 TDs - he had a bruising 125+ yards after contact, making Cal defenders look silly as they continually slipped off him.

The story of the game may very well be Cal's QB Jared Goff faceplanting on the national stage - Goff completed 25 of 47 passes for 340 yards, 2 TDs, and 5 INTs.  To be fair, Cal's O-line had immense troubles against the stronger and faster Utah front 4 and 7 all night long.  Goff was forced to make all sorts of tough throws with minimal time, often ending-up on his back after most plays.  Goff also didn't get much help from his usual surehanded receivers, particularly WRs Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs.

The Good:  Utah is the Pac-12's flagship team right now and probably our conference's only hope of making the CFB playoffs.  Let's hope they keep it up and shake things up for the playoff voters!

The Bad:  On the flip side of that, if Utah is the Pac-12's best team, then maybe the Pac-12 is not that great.  At home on a big national TV stage, the Utes did not look good most of the game, except for a few plays.  They gave lots of good material for other teams to dissect and exploit their weaknesses.

The Ugly:  Goff's disastrous game was tough to watch for Cal fans.  There's a lot of hype surrounding Goff and if he can excel at the next level.  Well, now we know what he can (and can't) do under heavy pressure and with shrinking pockets play-after-play.  Luckily, there are plenty of games left this season for Goff to build-up his resume for the scouts.

Arizona State 48, Colorado 23

Following a great upset at UCLA last week, the Sun Devils showed-up at home and walloped the lowly Buffs.  While it was a rather pedestrian game, kudos to the Sun Devils for not letting down after beating the Bruins.  QB Mike Bercovici completed 20 of 31 passes, throwing for 260 yards, 5 TDs, and 1 INT.  On the ground, Demario Richard was pretty much shut out (8 carries for 21 yards & 0 TDs), but D.J. Foster picked-up 80 rushing yards on 5 carries.  In the air, Tim White got 7 receptions for 144 yards and 2 TDs.  On the defensive side of the ball, Kareem Orr picked-up 1 interception for a Sun Devils pass defense that was pretty mediocre overall this game (allowing Colorado to get 401 yards through the air).

While Colorado's offensive passing game was pretty effective this game - QB Sefo Liufau completed 25 of 40 passes, throwing for 389 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT - their run game was non-existent.  Across the team, the Buffs rushed the 28 times for 49 net rushing yards.  Liufau was sacked 8 times this game by a swarming ASU defense that continued its famed blitzing schemes.

The Good:  ASU appears to be back on track - and looking dominant while they're at it.  Many picked the Sun Devils as a darkhorse team to win the Pac-12 this season.  After early losses to Texas A&M and USC, ASU appears to have things figured out.  Unluckily for them, they have a date against Utah next week in Salt Lake City.

The Bad:  Colorado is extremely one-dimensional on offense.  Week in and week out, teams are going to know exactly how to shut down the Buffs.  Plus, Liufau is turning out to be surprisingly mediocre, perhaps even regressing some from last year.

The Ugly:  Where are the Buffs going to pick-up a victory the rest of this season?  Looking down their schedule, the October 24th game at Oregon State may be their only chance to get to four wins in 2015.

Key Week 7 Matchups

UCLA @ Stanfurd: The 18th-ranked UCLA Bruins head up to the 15th-ranked Stanfurd Cardinal in yet another Thursday night national match-up.  The Bruins are coming off an embarrassing loss at home to ASU, while the Cardinal are starting to shock the world and making their Week 1 loss to Northwestern a distant memory.  How will Bruins QB Josh Rosen rebound after his first ever "truly bad game"?  What risks will Furd HC David Shaw take?  [Thursday 10/15, 7:30pm PST, ESPN]

USC @ Notre Dame: Is Trojans HC Steve Sarkisian even going to be at this game?  All sorts of stories are coming out now about his external troubles, culminating in AD Pat Haden asking the coach to take a leave of absence.  The Trojans can't afford to have anymore distractions after losing at home to Washington and now heading to South Bend to face a Notre Dame program that's always out to prove doubters wrong.  This sounds like the making of a horror story for Trojan fans.  [Saturday 10/17, 4:30pm PST, NBC]

Arizona State @ Utah: The Sun Devils are good again, and the Utes are coming off a big win against Cal.  If ASU wants to re-establish itself as a Pac-12 South contender, they'll have to do it against perhaps the best South division team.  If Utah wants to make the CFB playoffs, Travis Wilson & Co better be prepared for the swarming/blitzing ASU defense.  [Saturday 10/17, 7:00pm PST, ESPN]