Week 2 for the Pac-12 conference in this early college football season played out much like we expected it to (unlike the horror show that was Week 1). Other than one surprise result (and a good one at that - looking at you Wazzu), our conference got wins where it was supposed to. The Pac-12 came out 10-2 with the two Oregon schools taking the biggest blemishes.
Let's see what grades each Pac-12 team got for their Week 2 play. Let us know what you think of these assessments - fair, too easy, too harsh?
Outcome: win over Nevada, 44-20
The Wildcats put away the Nevada Wolf Pack in a game that many expected to be a decent challenge for UofA. This matchup was really close last season in Tucson with the Wildcats pulling it out at the end, but this time around was not as exciting. Arizona got a nice methodical win after their Week 1 matchup against UTSA was too close to build much confidence in the team for the fanbase. QB Anu Solomon connected with Johnny Jackson early in the 1st quarter, followed by RB Nick Wilson running it in a few minutes later to quickly put the Wildcats up 14-0. Solomon had a respectable game: completing 24 of 33 passes and throwing for 264 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. The highlight player for UofA was Wilson with 21 carries for 194 yards (that's 9.2 yards per carry!) and 3 TDs. Are we having an early sighting of Ka'Deem Carey 2.0 in Tucson?!
Outcome: win over Cal Poly, 35-21
This game should've never been played - it was such a non-event that Vegas didn't even allow people to bet on it. After getting shown-up the week before against Texas A&M, everyone thought the Sun Devils were going to destroy the lowly FCS Mustangs this week. Well, ASU needed all four quarters of this game to pull-out the win. QB Mike Bercovici threw for 2 TDs in the last eight minutes of the game to come away from their tie heading into the fourth quarter. RB Demario Richard rushed for 121 yards on 25 carries and got 2 TDs in this game. WR Devien Lucien had a decent game with 7 receptions for 79 yards. But, seriously though, one could argue that ASU deserved an F for even letting this game be close for three quarters.
Outcome: win over San Diego State, 35-7
Cal performed admirably in a game that many expected to be a lot closer. After two games, the Bear Raid is in full attack mode. After a tough first quarter in which only SDSU got one TD, Cal shut-out the Aztecs the rest of the way. QB Jared Goff completed 17 of 24 passes and threw for 321 yards (that's a major 18.9 yards/completion!), 3 TDs, and 1 INT. RB Daniel Lasco amassed 123 yards on the ground and 1 TD. And, WR Trevor Davis had only 3 receptions, but collected 138 receiving yards - including his longest catch for 75 yards! - and 1 TD. The Golden Bears showed a very balanced offensive skillset all game long, and the defense was no slouch either.
Outcome: win over UMass, 48-14
The Buffs took a trip to Hawaii in Week 1 that they won't soon forget. But, their Week 2 game will surely be a nice way to start healing those early wounds. Colorado welcomed the Minutemen into Boulder and then proceeded to lay the hammer, cruising to an easy victory. QB Sefo Liufau completed 15 passes on 24 attempts and amassed 168 yards through the air, 1 TD, and 0 INTs. RB Michael Adkins II had 19 carries for 119 yards and 1 TD. And star WR Nelson Spruce had 6 receptions for 64 yards and 1 TD. The Buffs defense held UMass to only 147 yards on the ground as well as creating 1 INT. This is going to be a long season for Colorado, but victories like these will go a long ways in developing this squad.
Outcome: loss to Michigan State, 28-31
You can't get an A for losing, but Oregon did everything they could to get a win - Michigan State was just too good. In the marquee matchup of the weekend, the Ducks come out strong and put up a real fight against the Spartans. QB Vernon Adams Jr. had a decent showing - completing 22 of 39 passes and collecting 309 yards through the air, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. RB Royce Freeman had 24 carries for 92 rushing yards and 1 TD. WR Bralon Addison had 7 receptions for 138 receiving yards. Oregon's offense is still developing around Adams, but things are still looking bright for the Ducks this season. Kudos to them for scheduling such a challenging opponent so early in the season.
Outcome: loss to Michigan, 7-35
In their second Pac-12 matchup of the season, the Michigan Wolverines laid the hammer on OSU. After losing their Week 1 game to Utah, the entire world knew HC Jim Harbaugh would have his team ready to play and win - and that was too bad for the visiting Beavers. Freshman QB Seth Collins had the reins pulled in on him - completing 9 of only 16 passes and throwing for 79 yards and 1 TD. Rather, OSU HC Gary Andersen elected to run the ball on the Wolverines D - utilizing a committee of runners on 33 rushes - but only amassing 90 total yards on the ground. Michigan, on the other hand, piled up 225 yards rushing (RB De'Veon Smith had 126 yards and 3 rushing TDs) and 180 yards through the air. Nevertheless, kudos to the Beavers for taking on the challenge of going to the Big House and attempting match-up against the Wolverines.
Outcome: win over UCF, 31-7
The Cardinal arguably took the worst loss in Week 1, but came back strong in Week 2 and walloped the UCF Knights. QB Kevin Hogan had a career-high 341 yards through the air, including completing 17 of 29 throws and collecting 3 TDs. RB Christian McCaffrey had 20 carries for 58 rushing yards. WR Bryce Love had just 2 receptions, but had 135 receiving yards (including a 93-yard catch) and 1 TD. The Stanford run D showed-up this game, too - allowing the Knights to only get 30 yards on the ground and 151 yards through the air. This was a good win for the Cardinal as they head into their Pac-12 games next week (@ USC).
Outcome: win over UNLV, 37-3
The Bruins are starting off their 2015 campaign with a lot of buzz right now. Their only real question mark heading into the season was how true freshman QB Josh Rosen would perform - well, those questions seem to be all answered now. Rosen threw for 223 yards in his second ever game, including 1 TD and 1 INT - had this game not been a blowout, he would've had more snaps. Star RB Paul Perkins had 18 carries for 151 rushing yards and 2 TDs against the Rebels. In addition to gaining 273 yards on the ground, UCLA also pulled-in 260 yards from its air attack (which was led by WR Jordan Payton with 5 catches for 70 receiving yards and 1 TD). UCLA's stout defense - despite losing star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes for the season - held UNLV to only 56 yards in the air and 181 yards on the ground. UCLA may be having a special season one whole year earlier than expected.
Outcome: win over Idaho, 59-9
No top FBS team ever gets high marks for playing Idaho - period. This game looked like your classic varsity vs JV matchup. QB Cody Kessler had a fantastic game - completing 26 of 31 passes and throwing for 410 yards and 3 TDs. On the ground, the Trojans rushed for 284 yards, led by RB Ronald Jones II with 8 carries for 83 yards and 1 TD. In the air, USC did not let up and really let its athletes shine all game long - led by emerging star WR JuJu Smith-Schuster with 10 receptions for 192 yards and 2 TDs. But, other than putting up video game numbers and highlights for an easy W, this game didn't tell us much about the Trojans. Fortunately, we only have to wait until next week to see what USC is really made of with Stanford coming to town.
Outcome: win over Utah State, 24-14
While this was a win for the Utes, it came at a heavy price. Starting QB Travis Wilson got injured (shoulder) in the 2nd quarter and did not come back. Defensive lineman Hunter Dimick also left with a leg injury in the 2nd quarter. But, star RB Devontae Booker carried the Utes all game long with 31 carries for 120 yards and 1 TD. Freshman WR Britain Covey (all 5'8" and 166 lbs of him) led the Utah receiving corps with 6 receptions for 61 yards. Utah State put-up a fight against the Utes, heading into halftime tied at 14 apiece. The Aggies had 117 yards on the ground and hauled in 256 yards through the air. But, the Utes defense was pretty good all game long, including making 2 INTs.
Outcome: win over Sacramento State, 49-0
Like some other Pac-12 brethren, the Huskies chose to play a warm-up game in Week 2. They welcomed the Sac State Hornets into town, gave them a check, and proceeded to destroy them on the field. QB Jake Browning completed 17 of 24 passes for 326 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. RB Myles Gaskin had 14 carries for 146 rushing yards and 3 TDs. The Huskies receiving corps had 17 receptions for 326 yards and 2 TDs. U-Dub's run defense was spectacular - holding the Hornets to just 11 net yards on the ground. This game was ultimately an easy victory for the Huskies - next week's match-up against Utah State will tell us more about this young team.
Outcome: win over Rutgers, 37-34
The Cougars began their 2015 campaign with a loud thud last week, but thoroughly atoned for it this week. Traveling over 3,000 miles and 3 time zones away, WSU took on lowly Rutgers. While the Scarlet Knights athletic program is the epitome of dysfunction, it still plays in a major conference and has significant players. On the last drive of the game and the Cougars down by 4 points, QB Luke Falk led 10 plays for 90 yards down the field, culminating in an 8-yard game-clinching TD pass to River Cracraft. Falk had a monster game for WSU, completing 47 of 66 passes and throwing for 478 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. Leading WR Gabe Marks had 14 receptions for 146 yards and 1 TD. While this may be a rough season for the Cougars, this win over Rutgers will be a shining moment for them.
Key Week 3 Matchups
California @ Texas: This game in Austin is going to go a long ways in showing us how good this Golden Bears team can be this season. With superstar QB Jared Goff at the helm with all those dangerous wideouts, anything is possible. The Longhorns are in a real decline right now, so Cal may be catching a break when they head into town. HC Sonny Dykes took his team to practice in the East Bay heat this summer - let's hope that pays off for them on Saturday. [Saturday 9/19, 4:30pm PST, FOX]
Stanford @ USC: This is the first Pac-12 on Pac-12 matchup of the season! The Cardinal travel to the Coliseum to take on a hot Trojans team right now. Many folks picked Stanford to finish 2nd on the Pac-12 North division this year - if they are going to live up to that hype, they will have to make a real statement this game. The problem for them is that all of USC's offensive and defensive weapons appear to be hitting their strides right now. [Saturday, 9/19, 5pm PST, ABC]
BYU @ UCLA: This is starting off to be a pretty magical season for the BYU Cougars. After losing QB Taysom Hill for the season in their first game, QB Tanner Mangum has led BYU to two wins that needed last-second hail mary passes. Both BYU and UCLA are streaking right now - this will be an exciting matchup at the Rose Bowl. This will be Bruins QB Josh Rosen's first game against a ranked team with a decent defense and another chance to claim more national accolades. [Saturday, 9/19, 7:30pm PST, Fox Sports 1]