In the last week of regular season games, the Pac-12 brought out its dramatics! Rivalry games proved their worth as all underdogs showed-up to play and some even eeked-out victories. Two last-second, game-winning field goals secured wins for the Bay Area teams. And, now, the Pac-12 title game is set for next week (Furd vs. USC).
Let's take a look at each conference game and check out how each Pac-12 team concluded its regular season before the bowl games begin.
Oregon 52, Oregon State 42
This year's installment of the Civil War ended up providing more excitement than many would have expected - but that's what happens in rivalry games, right? Oregon went up big on the Beavers (up 31-7 at halftime), but OSU would not give up in its search for its first conference win this season. The Beavers scored a bunch of points and came to within 3 points of the Ducks before Oregon pulled away for good.
Oregon QB Vernon Adams was very effective, throwing for 366 yards & 3 TDs. RB Royce Freeman added 27 carries for 167 yards & 2 TDs, and WR Bralon Addison had 8 catches for 106 yards & 3 TDs. Oregon actually uncharacteristically won the possession game (holding the ball for over 32 minutes) in this matchup.
For OSU, the player of the game was RB Ryan Nall with 19 carries for 174 yards & 1 TD. The Beavers now head into an offseason with a boatload of questions to answer. This was unquestionably a disastrous year for new HC Gary Andersen - he's got all sorts of problems to fix this spring and on.
Washington 45, Washington State 10
Who saw this coming?! Riding all sorts of momentum, WSU was on its way to a myriad of coronations. Then, the Huskies came calling and knocked the Cougars back down to Earth. Mike Leach's air raid needs a general - well, QB Luke Falk was out for this one and backup QB Peyton Bender was pretty ineffective (37.7 QBR). 10 points from this high-powered offense - that's just not going to cut it.
On the other side of the ball, Huskies QB Jake Browning threw for 203 yards & INT. But, RB Myles Gaskin carried the day again, this time with 32 carries for 138 yards & 2 TDs. Sidney Jones and Azeem Victor both picked-up an INT each, contributing to the 7 turnovers that U-Dub forced this game. Couple that with controlling the clock (possessing the ball for over 37 minutes), and the Huskies cruised to an easy victory in the Apple Cup.
Utah 20, Colorado 14
In yet another spirited effort by a lowly Pac-12 team, the Buffs put up a good fight all game long against their forced rivals. Star WR Nelson Spruce had 5 receptions for 111 yards & 1 TD to lead the Buffs offense. But, both Buffs QBs (Cade Apsay & Jordan Gehrke) were ineffective - combining for 19 completions on 38 passes, and throwing for only 258 yards, 2 TDs & 3 INTs.
On the other side of the ball, Utah QB Travis Wilson was also pretty meager - throwing for only 108 yards, 1 TD & 1 INT. But, RB Joe Williams carried the day for the Utes with 34 rushes for 187 yards & 1 TD. In what was a sure sign of Utah's second-half decline, the Utes couldn't pull away from the Pac-12 bottom dweller and get a definitive win. Oh, how the Utes fell from their once anointed Top Dog status.
USC 40, UCLA 21
This Pac-12 semifinal matchup between SoCal rivals had a lot on the line, and the Trojans came out more hungry and determined to salvage a once-promising season. QB Cody Kessler threw for 175 yards & 2 TDs, RB Justin Davis had 25 carries for 130 yards, and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had 6 catches for 85 yards. USC put together a strong performance on both sides of the ball and are now on their way to the Pac-12 Championship Game in Santa Clara next week.
For UCLA, one week after getting a great win against then #13 Utah, the Bruins dropped their most important game of the season. The Bruins looked out-gameplanned most of this game and just couldn't find a way to climb back into the game against their crosstown rivals. QB Josh Rosen threw for 227 yards, 1 TD & 2 INTs, and RB Paul Perkins had 17 carries for 95 yards & 2 TDs. But, USC controlled the clock (possessing the ball for over 40 minutes) and turnovers game (3-1) on their way to their most important victory of the season.
Stanfurd 38, Notre Dame 36
It was Furd's turn to play spoiler, and what better team to do that against than the Fighting Irish? It came down to the very end as Furd K Conrad Ukropina kicked a 45-yard field goal to win the game with time expiring. Notre Dame's CFB Playoffs are now officially gone (although anyone could argue their resume didn't indicate they should've been in that conversation in the first place), just like Furd's.
QB Kevin Hogan had a great game - completing 17 of 21 passes, and throwing for 269 yards, 4 TDs & 0 INTs. On the ground, RB Christian McCaffrey had 27 carries for 94 yards. Through the air, WR Devon Cajuste had 5 catches for 125 yards & 1 TD. Furd is now onto the Pac-12 title game against the Trojans next weekend, for the right to play in the Rose Bowl.
California 48, Arizona State 46
Like their rivals, Cal pulled off a dramatic last-second victory this weekend. After going down by 21 points, QB Jared Goff took control of the reigns and decided (in what was probably his last home game for Cal) he had enough losing this season. On the last drive of the game, Goff led Cal for 9 plays, 69 yards, and killing 2:29 minutes in time - culminating in K Matt Anderson's first ever game-winning field goal.
Goff finished the game completing 30 of 51 passes, and throwing for 542 yards & 5 TDs. RB Tre Watson had a nice game with 15 carries for 92 yards & 1 TD, and senior WR Bryce Treggs had 5 catches for 147 yards & 1 TD. Cal is going bowling again!
For ASU, QB Mike Bercovici had a decent game, completing 27 of 43 passes, and throwing for 395 yards & 4 TDs. RB Demario Richard added 33 carries for 131 yards and WR Devin Lucien had 8 receptions for 200 yards & 3 TDs. But, a second half collapse by the ASU defense let Cal back into the game and then ultimately win the whole thing. The Sun Devils are going to be asking "what if?" for a while after this stunning loss.