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Pac-12 Football Week 7 Review: Utah & Furd continue dominance

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The Pac-12's top dawgs (Utah, Furd, minus Cal because of its bye week) exerted their dominance in Week 7. In a series of unsurprising results, the rest of the conference's better teams handled their business, but not without some drama along the way.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the outcomes of this past week's Pac-12 games were as expected, they came to fruition after much drama and fireworks.  Except for two games (UCLA-Furd & WSU-OSU), nearly every game had its hold-your-breath moments as the more dominant teams took a while to assert their dominance and finally pull-out their victories.

In this Week 7 edition of Pac-12 game reviews, let's take a look at the conference's games and see what deserved a thumbs up or thumbs down from each matchup.

Stanford 56, UCLA 35

On this past week's ESPN Thursday primetime matchup, Furd dropped the hammer on UCLA and (surprisingly!) did it with some flair.  If you haven't heard about this play, you definitely will because it will be on every 2015 college football season highlight montage.  Check out WR Francis Owusu with this amazing catch:

On the ground, Furd also put on a clinic with RB Christian McCaffrey shredding yet another defense this season.  McCaffrey had 25 rushes for 243 yards and 4 TDs.  Someone please get this kid a fire extinguisher - that is some superhuman stuff.  QB Kevin Hogan had limited throws (he's just a game manager anyways, right?), completing 8 of 15 passes and throwing for 131 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.

For the Bruins, freshman QB Josh Rosen laid another egg of a game.  He completed 22 of 42 passes and threw for 325 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs on his way to a meager 42.2 QBR.  RB Paul Perkins was good on the ground with 14 carries for 104 yards and 1 TD.  WR Darren Andrews was UCLA's leading receiver with 4 catches for 100 yards and 1 TD.

This is now the second game in a row that the once-almighty Bruins have lost.  The Cal Bears better be ready for a fight next week at the Rose Bowl against what will undoubtedly be an angry UCLA squad

Thumbs Up: Furd receiver Francis Owusu - like the TV commentator said on that play - go ahead and book your flight to Los Angeles next July for your trip to the ESPYs for the Play of the Year award.  Well done.

Thumbs Down: The Bruins defense has surely gotten bit by the injury bug.  Their prolific offense can only put up so many points a game.  At some point, the UCLA D needs to make some timely stops and help-out their counterparts.

Washington State 52, Oregon State 31

Wazzu HC Mike Leach has got his Air Raid firing on all cylinders these past few games.  QB Luke Falk completed 39 of 50 passes, throwing for 407 yards, 6 TDs, and 2 INTs.  WR Dom Williams was the biggest beneficiary of Falk's prowess in this game, catching 11 receptions for 158 yards and 2 TDs.  After getting to play the conference's worst team, the Cougars face the Arizona Wildcats next in what will surely be a shootout of (hopefully) epic proportions.

For Oregon State, there's not much to add on top of all the horrible reviews that they've already gotten this season.  HC Gary Andersen is surely wondering why he left Wisconsin for this disaster.  QB Seth Collins was mediocre through the air (completing 17 of 30 passes, throwing for 176 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), but showed-off his running ability quite often (23 carries for 124 yards and 1 TD).  Where are the wins going to come for this Beavers team?  Next week at home versus lowly Colorado, maybe?

Thumbs Up: HC Mike Leach is doing a lot lately to get off the proverbial coaching hot seat (which he was smack dab on top of early in the season).  Let's hope the Air Raid keeps up, if not for anything other than our own entertainment!

Thumbs Down: While WSU's offense is surely clicking in the box scores, it did get essentially shut-out during the second half of this game.  OSU figured something out, which means other teams will, too, when they gameplan for the Cougars.

Notre Dame 41, USC 31

After losing their head coach earlier in the week, the Trojans put-up a real good fight in South Bend against a ranked Notre Dame team.  QB Cody Kessler was just average, completing 30of 46 passes and throwing for 365 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs.  On the ground, USC could only muster-up 150 net yards and 1 TD on 30 team carries.  Through the air, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had 6 receptions for 139 yards and 1 TD.

As a team, the Trojans weren't bad at all.  They controlled the time of possession (31:08 compared to Notre Dame's 28:52) and limited the Fighting Irish to just 214 yards on the ground and 262 yards through the air. But, penalties hurt USC dramatically (10 flags for 105 yards lost).  Interim HC Clay Helton had the Trojans ready for this one, but they just ran into a better Notre Dame team.

Thumbs Up: Kudos to this USC team for staying focused and showing up for this game.  After all the turmoil of their first half of the season, things can potentially settle down a bit now with Helton in charge.  Up next for the Trojans - a home game against the almighty Utes next week.

Thumbs Down: The Trojans have to play more disciplined football (which has never really been their forte, anyways).  Losing more than a whole football field's worth of yardage is a surefire way to counteract anything good that you're doing with the football.

Arizona 38, Colorado 31

Colorado HC Mike MacIntyre sure looks like a dope right now after guaranteeing a win against Arizona.  Supposedly, the Buffs are sick and tired of losing.... yet they just keep losing.  CU QB Sefo Liufau is always under pressure with a weak O-line up front that doesn't give him much time at all - to pass or run.  Nonetheless, you've got to commend Liufau for staying in the pocket and taking all those hits - he finished this game completing 28 of 43 passes, throwing for 339 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs.

For the Wildcats, having QB Anu Solomon in the game surely makes a world of difference.  His poise in the pocket and touch on the ball have improved tremendously from last year's campaign.  Solomon completed 22 of 37 passes, throwing for 283 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs.  But, the player of the game for the Wildcats was RB Jared Baker with 23 carries for 207 yards and 2 TDs.  Baker had a 79-yard TD scamper early in the game to put the Wildcats up.  Through the air, WRs Nate Phillips (6 receptions for 106 yards) and Cayleb Jones (6 receptions for 94 yards) both had big games.

Thumbs Up: While Colorado does keep losing games, it's abundantly clear that they are not a bad team (unlike OSU).  There is talent on both sides of the ball and no one can question their effort level.  If CU's O-line can put together a good game, expect Liufau to make opposing D's pay.  Next week at the Beavers should provide the Buffs their first conference win of the season.

Thumbs Down: UofA let the Buffs hang around for much too long in this game, even letting them go up for a lengthy period of time in the second half before coming back to win.  If RichRod et al are going to have success against better teams, they can't allow themselves to play down to their competition.

Utah 34, Arizona State 18

This game was immensely closer than its final score would indicate.  Until the Utes scored 20 points in the 4th quarter, they were actually underscored by the Sun Devils for most of this game.  While ASU QB Mike Bercovici's stat line was not great (completing 20 of 41 passes, throwing for 242 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT), he exhibited great command of the offense and didn't get flustered by Utah's dominating defense.  Through the air, Sun Devils WR David Lucien excelled with 6 catches for 118 yards.

For two weeks in a row, Utah made a habit of letting games stay close against quality competition.  Against ASU, QB Travis Wilson was quite limited at times, finishing with 26 completions on 36 passes and throwing for 297 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs.  Star RB Devontae Booker was a beast with 21 carries for 118 yards and 2 TDs.  Through the air, WR Kenneth Scott had 5 receptions for 116 yards and 1 TD.  DB Cory Butler-Byrd had the only interception of this game.  The Utes continue to dominate as they head to Los Angeles next week for a big-time game against the reeling Trojans.

Thumbs Up: The vaunted Utah run defense was at it again this game - allowing only 15 net yards rushing (on 28 ASU carries).  Wow.  Hats off to Utah defensive coordinator John Pease and head coach Kyle Wittingham for putting together this amazing unit.

Thumbs Down: ASU was up in this game for oh so close for oh so long.  The Sun Devils will have two weeks to mull it over as they have a bye next weekend.

Oregon 26, Washington 20

Oregon QB Vernon Adams was back for the Ducks - and that proved to be the ultimate difference-maker in this matchup.  Adams finished the game completing 14 of 25 passes for 272 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs.  RB Royce Freeman was a monster on the ground, picking-up 27 carries for 138 yards.  Through the air, WR David Carrington had 5 receptions for 125 yards and 2 TDs.  While this game was ultimately too close for comfort for the Ducks - this game came down to the Huskies' last possession - HC Mike Helfrich and his squad has got to be feeling better to have their QB back and a bye week ahead.

One week after upsetting the Trojans (and ultimately sealing the fate of Steve Sarkisian), the Huskies must've felt really good coming into this game at home against a slumping Oregon team.  Well, now they're back to the drawing board, especially with freshman QB Jake Browning sustaining a significant shoulder injury in the 4th quarter.  Browning's campaign included completing 19 of 30 passes and throwing for 199 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs.  RB Myles Gaskin had 18 carries for 155 yards and 1 TD.  U-Dub doesn't have a lot of time to figure-out their issues given they head down to Furd next weekend.

Thumbs Up: Luckily for the Ducks, while they obviously have no long-term QB plans, they did get their offensive leader back for this year.  Adams' health will dictate how the Ducks do from game-to-game the remainder of this season.

Thumbs Down: Browning going down for the Huskies is a huge loss given that he was really their only bright spot so far this season.  Things could get pretty ugly next week down at the Farm for UW.

Key Week 8 Matchups

Cal @ UCLA: The 20th-ranked Cal Golden Bears head down to the Rose Bowl to face the suddenly declining UCLA Bruins.  QB Josh Rosen is in a slump - one that Cal fans surely hope continues through Week 8.  Cal is coming off a bye week in which they barely lost at Utah the week before.  As a pseudo rivalry game, expect their to be fireworks in this national TV mid-week game.  [Thursday 10/22, 6:00pm PST, ESPN]

Utah @ USC: The Utes are the Pac-12's only hope for a CFB Playoff team right now.  After two tough games against Cal and ASU at home, Utah heads to USC next weekend to play a team that is going to be revved-up after barely losing to Notre Dame.  USC needs to salvage this season - what better way to do than dealing a blow to fellow Pac-12 South foe's national championship hopes?  [Saturday 10/24, 4:30pm PST, FOX]