Week 12 in the Pac-12 gave us all sorts of exciting drama. From the Utes losing yet again, to the Los Angeles school setting-up yet another epic season finale showdown next week, to a Big Game to forget for Cal fans, the Pac-12 was certainly not short on entertainment this past weekend.
Let's take a look at each conference game and check out what each team has to look forward to in the upcoming final week of the season.
Arizona State 52, Arizona 37
This year's Territorial Cup didn't get much hype as both Arizona teams are sputtering into their postseasons. ASU was up most of the game on the Wildcats and pretty much had the outcome locked up for almost the entire game. With the pre-game announcement that UofA QB Anu Solomon would sit with concussion, ASU fans knew they had this one in the bag.
QB Jerrard Randall started the game for the Wildcats, but was completely ineffective at starting any momentum for his side. So, third-string QB Brandon Dawkins came in and had a better showing (completing 16 of 30 passes, throwing for 305 yards, 2 TDs & 2 INTs, also running for 78 yards & 1 TD on 21 carries). Through the air, WR Trey Griffey (Ken Griffey Jr's kid) led with two receptions for 138 yards & 1 TD. But, without Solomon at the helm, the Wildcats offense pretty much stalled most of the game even though they managed to put up 37 points.
UofA finishes the season at 6-6 and hoping they get picked for a decent bowl game.
ASU QB Mike Bercovici had a nice showing (completing 21 of 32 passes, throwing for 315 yards, 2 TDs & 1 INT). RBs Kalen Ballage (18 carries, 110 yards) and Demario Richard (14 carries, 105 yards & 1 TD) led a strong ground attack all game long and setting up the air game for Bercovici. The major beneficiary of that effective rushing attack - WR David Lucien with 9 catches for 190 yards & 1 TD.
Next up for the Sun Devils - our Sturdy (or not so sturdy of late?) Golden Bears in both teams' season finales before going bowling.
UCLA 17, Utah 9
What's going with the Utes? Pressure too much to handle? In another underwhelming effort, the Utes drop their third game of the year and are surely making the ESPN GameDay crew shake their heads for going to Salt Lake City earlier in the year.
The Utes failed to score a touchdown in this lackluster game. QB Travis Wilson is superman no more - completing 13 of 26 passes for only 110 yards & 0 TDs/INTs. Star RB Devontae Booker was out for this game - backup RB Joe Williams put-up a decent effort and flashed his shifty potential for Utes fans. UCLA had the Utes number on both sides of the ball, rendering this game basically unwatchable. Luckily, the USC/Oregon and ASU/Arizona games were on at the same time to give us decent distractions.
Up next for the Utes - a home matchup against the lowly Buffs. That will help salvaged a 9-win season for this Utah squad.
For UCLA, QB Josh Rosen performed decently - completing 15 of 30 passes, throwing for 220 yards & 1 TD. WR Jordan Payton was the main beneficiary of Rosen's work (7 catches for 105 yards). RB Paul Perkins had another solid game (28 carries for 98 yards & 1 TD). The most telling stat for the Bruins was the two turnovers it forced against the Utes.
For Pac-12 South fans, let's forget about this bore of a game. Next week's clash between rivals UCLA and USC is for all the marbles - the Pac-12 South title and a trip to the conference championship game.
Oregon 48, USC 28
The resurgence of the Ducks is upon us! Wow. After losses to Michigan State (which is really looking like a good loss now with MSU upsetting Ohio State this past weekend), Utah & Wazzu, many of us left Oregon for dead. But, QB Vernon Adams made it back from injury and the Ducks have now reeled off five straight wins against the conference's best. Adams was extremely effective at pacing his offense against USC - completing 20 of 25 passes, throwing for 407 yards, 6 TDs & 1 INT. Those 6 TDs were the most ever thrown against the Trojans.
For USC, this was a tough loss for a team that could have taken the lead in the Pac-12 South with a victory in Eugene. QB Cody Kessler completed 30 of 41 passes, throwing for 238 yards & 2 TDs. RB Justin Davis was extremely effective on the ground (16 carries for 141 yards). But, in the end, it was Oregon's fast-paced offense that sealed the deal for the Ducks and sending USC to a crucial game against UCLA next week.
Washington 52, Oregon State 7
For reals? OSU should act like FCS schools and charge FBS teams to play them to get easy wins. U-Dub QB Jake Browning had a fantastic game completing 18 of 20 passes and throwing for 211 yards & 4 TDs. RB Myles Gaskin added to the Huskies domination with 23 carries for 127 yards.
Washington is now at 5-6 and have to beat their rival next week to get bowl eligibility. This is going to be a fantastic Apple Cup!
For the Beavers, there's really not much more anyone can say about their complete and utter waste of a season. HC Gary Andersen stepped into a mess and the injury bug hit hard and often. OSU's reward for going 2-9 thus far (0-8 in conference play)? Getting crushed in Eugene next week by their rivals and sending them into an offseason with countless question marks.
Stanfurd 35, California 22
This is how this year's Big Game started:
This is what Cal saw all night long:
Furd was the superior team from the very beginning, and they just wouldn't let up. Correction: RB Christian McCaffrey would not stop running... and running... and running... all over Cal's hopes of even sniffing something positive in this installment of the Bay Area rivalry. Cal had no answers for the superstud and Heisman contender (amongst many other facets of Furd's game) - McCaffrey had 29 carries for 192 yards, 1 reception for 49 yards & 1 TD, and 3 kickoff returns for 148 yards (including one return for 98 yards and a touchdown).
With McCaffrey's dominance, QB Kevin Hogan barely had to do anything - completing 7 of only 12 passes and throwing for only 96 yards & 1 TD.
Up next for the Cardinal: a monstrous matchup at home against Notre Dame. While Furd is not going to the CFB Playoffs this year, they are setup well to shatter the Fighting Irish's hopes of doing so.
For Cal, this was a Big Game to forget. HC Sonny Dykes' squad was outmatched, outclassed, outcoached, out-whatever you want to call it. Poor line play on both sides of the ball doomed the Golden Bears yet again. QB Jared Goff completed 37 of 54 passes, throwing for 386 yards & 2 TDs. RB Tre Watson had a decent game (14 carries for 87 yards). WR Bryce Treggs finally put up some nice numbers (7 catches for 102 yards & 1 TD). But, the outcome was most had expected - a Furd blowout, a steaming Dykes stalking the sideline all game long, and Cal fans left to wonder what this season could have been.
Washington State 27, Colorado 3
The Cougs welcomed the Buffs into town and then proceeded to limit Colorado to just one field goal en route to yet another loss for a bad Buffs team. Wazzu QB Luke Falk was on fire (completing 27 of 35 passes, throwing for 199 yards & 1 TD) until he left the game with a serious head injury after getting sacked and smacking his head on the frozen turf.
Backup WSU QB Peyton Bender stepped in admirably (completing 13 of 22 passes, throwing for 133 yards, 1 TD & 1 INT). On the ground, RB Gerard Wicks had 13 carries for 123 yards. Through the air, WR Gabe Marks hauled in 11 catches for 110 yards & 1 TD.
The somber development of Falk's injury certainly overshadowed this game for Wazzu. Falk's involvement in next week's Apple Cup is going to be crucial for the Cougs to have success against the Huskies.
For Colorado, an already lost season just added another number to the L column. Backup QB Cade Apsay was not good at all (completing 26 of 40 passes, throwing for 238 yards, 0 TDs & 2 INTs). Star WR Nelson Spruce was the only Buff with commendable production (10 catches for 120 yards).
Up next for Colorado - probably another walloping, this time at the hands of a Utes team trying to salvage whatever is left of their once-amazing season.