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Pac-12 Football Week 4 Review: Utah, UCLA, USC lay the hammer down in the South

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With the onset of conference games for most of the Pac-12 squads in Week 4, we got a preview of how our conference is going to just beat-up on each other this season. It looks like not all of our teams are as good as they thought they were. Three teams had statement wins, three teams had statement losses, and the rest were just average.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

In this Week 4 edition of Pac-12 game reviews, the old montage of "Numbers Don't Lie" could not be anymore appropriate.  In every conference game, all winning teams deserved their wins and they put-up the stats to prove their cases.  Let's take a quick glance at the numbers and we'll see why the winners won and the losers lost.

Stanford 42, Oregon State 24

The 21-st ranked Cardinals waltzed into Corvallis and proceeded to lay the hammer from the get-go.

Stanford

Oregon State

Total Yards

488

386

Passing: Total Yards (Comp-Att; Yards per pass)

163 (9-14; 11.6)

275 (20-36; 7.4)

Rushing: Total Yards (Attempts; Yards per rush)

325 (48; 6.8)

111 (36; 3.1)

1st Downs (3rd down efficiency)

22 (7-12)

20 (7-16)

Penalties (Yards lost)

4 (25)

6 (65)

Turnovers: Fumbles lost / Interceptions thrown

1 / 1

1 / 0

Time of Possession

34:35

25:25

Stanford QB Kevin Hogan completed 9 of 14 passes for 163 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, amassing a total QBR of 87.6.  RB Christian McCaffrey deserved the game ball for the Cardinal with an amazing effort for 206 rushing yards on 30 carries.  HC David Shaw and crew called a good game after their Week 3 upset win over USC, avoiding a potential upset loss to the Beavers as they look ahead to their match-up against the Wildcats next week.

Oregon State QB Seth Collins had a rather pedestrian game, completing 20 of 36 passes for 275 passing yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs.  Stars RB Storm Woods and WR Victor Bolden were both held to subpar games by the superb Stanford defense.  Woods only got 35 yards on the ground with 12 carries.  Bolden only got 15 yards through the air on 6 catches.  WR Jordan Villamin deserved the game ball for the Beavers with 138 receiving yards on 7 catches, including 1 TD haul.

Colorado 48, Nicholls State 0

The Colorado Buffaloes bageled the Nicholls State Colonels in their last non-conference game before their Pac-12 slate starts next week in Eugene.

Colorado

Nicholls State

Total Yards

636

166

Passing: Total Yards (Comp-Att; Yards per pass)

278 (18-31; 9.0)

40 (6-22; 1.7)

Rushing: Total Yards (Attempts; Yards per rush)

358 (62; 5.8)

126 (34; 3.7)

1st Downs (3rd down efficiency)

33 (9-18)

8 (4-16)

Penalties (Yards lost)

4 (30)

4 (45)

Turnovers: Fumbles lost / Interceptions thrown

1 / 0

1 / 2

Time of Possession

35:49

24:11

The Buffs had a fantastic game to round-out their non-conference schedule.  Since their rough Week 1 loss at Hawaii, Colorado has come back strong to win three in a row.  Their defense stepped-up big in this game vs. Nicholls State, as evidenced by the major discrepancies in offensive yardage by the two teams.  QB Sefo Liufau had a nice game completing 13 of 21 passes and throwing for 227 yards and 1 TD.  Back-ups Cade Apsay and Jordan Gehrke also got some playing time - that may end-up being the most beneficial part of this game for the Buffs as Liufau is sure to get knocked around once they face Pac-12 defenses.

California 30, Washington 24

One week removed from its heart-stopping win over Texas, Cal rolled into Seattle and put together a methodical win over Washington.

California

Washington

Total Yards

481

259

Passing: Total Yards (Comp-Att; Yards per pass)

342 (24-41; 7.4)

152 (17-28; 4.6)

Rushing: Total Yards (Attempts; Yards per rush)

139 (51; 2.7)

107 (27; 4.0)

1st Downs (3rd down efficiency)

28 (10-20)

15 (2-9)

Penalties (Yards lost)

6 (35)

5 (53)

Turnovers: Fumbles lost / Interceptions thrown

1 / 1

3 / 2

Time of Possession

39:49

20:11

Cal nearly controlled the ball for nearly 2/3s of this game.  Both defenses were quite stout against the run, but the Huskies gave-up some meaningful runs with Cal RB Vic Enwere (23 carries, 84 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD) pulling-off some Marshawn Lynch-esque rumbles down the field.  DBs Damariay Drew and Darius White both hauled-in an interception each.  Cal QB Jared Goff had a mediocre game (for his standards), completing 24 of 40 passes for 342 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 Hail Mary INT.  Per the usual, Goff spread the ball nicely across his many receiving threats: Kenny Lawler (7 catches, 112 yards, 1 TD), Bryce Treggs (5 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD), Darius Powe (6 catches, 79 yards), Stephen Anderson (3 catches, 43 yards), Maurice Harris (1 catch, 19 yards), and Trevor Davis (1 catch, 8 yards).

While Cal had a veteran in the QB spot, the Huskies rookie QB Jake Browning should some flashes of promise but mostly his immaturity being so early on in his career.  Browning completed 17 of 28 passes for 152 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs.  His decision-making while scrambling was quite poor and his reads through his progressions is still a work-in-progress.  While Huskies fans were surely treated to what they could expect from Browning in a few years (a la Jared Goff), they couldn't help but be reminded that they still have a true freshman running their offense.  RB Dwayne Washington had a couple of really nice sweeping runs on his way to 10 carries for 109 rushing yards and 1 TD.  On the defensive side of the ball, DL Elijah Qualls was a beast up front for the Huskies and flashed some promising Danny Shelton moments for UW fans.

UCLA 56, Arizona 30

In the marquee national game of the week, Arizona laid a very loud thud for all to see.  This match-up even had ESPN's Lee Corso picking the Wildcats for the first time ever in his weekly GameDay mascot heads picks.  Is it back to mediocre obscurity for RichRod's squad?

UCLA

Arizona

Total Yards

497

468

Passing: Total Yards (Comp-Att; Yards per pass)

284 (19-28; 9.5)

115 (10-28; 4.0)

Rushing: Total Yards (Attempts; Yards per rush)

213 (47; 4.5)

353 (59; 6.0)

1st Downs (3rd down efficiency)

23 (11-15)

32 (8-16)

Penalties (Yards lost)

9 (76)

5 (40)

Turnovers: Fumbles lost / Interceptions thrown

0 / 0

2 / 1

Time of Possession

31:55

28:05

While the stats do not tell the story of one team getting thoroughly shellacked, a deeper dive shows us otherwise.  UCLA came out like gangbusters and scored 6 TDs on the Wildcats in the first half - there was no recovering from that.  Through the air, the Bruins' QB Josh Rosen nearly made a first down on every pass he made (9.5 yards per pass).  UCLA also protected the ball with no fumbles or interceptions.  Bruins RBs Soso Jamabo (9 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD) and star Paul Perkins (24 carries, 85 yards, 3 TDs) kept the Wildcats' defense honest against the run and allowed Rosen to feast through the air.

For the Wildcats, the loss was one thing - potentially losing QB Anu Solomon to head injury (sustained in the 2nd quarter) is going to be a season-changer.  In his absence, back-ups Jerrard Randall (4/16, 45 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and Brandon Dawkins (2/2, 15 yards) struggled.  The only effective unit for the the Wildcats was their run game - RB Nick Wilson has 24 carries for 136 rushing yards while Randall added 128 rushing yards and 1 TD on 16 quarterback keepers.  The Wildcats were flying high for three weeks (even getting up to a #16 ranking), but this demolition at home by UCLA for all the world to see is going to hurt a lot.  For Wildcats fans, if Solomon doesn't come back this season with his full health, expect to see many more empty seats at their remaining home games.

Utah 62, Oregon 20

What happened here?!  We all knew the Ducks weren't going to be great this year, but with their hard-fought loss to Michigan State, we held out hope that they could still be pretty darn good.  Well, all that evaporated when the Utes went up to Eugene and completely dominated Oregon's not-so-high-flying team and dropped the Ducks back down to Earth.

Utah

Oregon

Total Yards

530

400

Passing: Total Yards (Comp-Att; Yards per pass)

257 (20-32; 8.0)

178 (14-30; 5.1)

Rushing: Total Yards (Attempts; Yards per rush)

273 (42; 6.5)

222 (40; 5.6)

1st Downs (3rd down efficiency)

24 (6-13)

20 (4-14)

Penalties (Yards lost)

6 (54)

10 (90)

Turnovers: Fumbles lost / Interceptions thrown

0 / 0

1 / 2

Time of Possession

36:40

22:30

An Oregon team that gets held to 400 total offensive yards is not one that many of us recognize.  The stout Utes defense limited the once-mighty Ducks air attack to just 5.6 yards per pass and ground attached to only 5.6 yards per rush.  Coupled with some self-inflicted wounds (1 fumble and 2 INTs), the Oregon attack never got off the ground.  QB Vernon Adams started the game for the Ducks, but was pulled in the 2nd quarter for being generally inept (completing only 2 of 7 passes for 26 yards & 1 TD).  Backup QB Jeff Lockie performed only slightly better (completing 10 of 20 passes for 139 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs).  The Ducks generally looked lost most of this game and couldn't find any rhythm to get them started.  This was their worst loss at home since 1977.

On the other side of the field, the Utes heard all their hype coming into the game and matched it word-for-word.  QB Travis Wilson returned from his shoulder injury and completed 18 of 30 passes for 227 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs, amassing a fantastic 97.4 QBR.  Wilson also carried the ball 6 times for 100 yards and 1 TD on the ground.  Star RB Devontae Booker ran 22 times for 98 yards.  In addition to an amazing offensive performance, Utah's defense also placed its stamp on the game, including an interception each for Marcus Williams and Dominique Hatfield.  This could be one of these turning-point wins for the Utes program that really excels them to the front of the conference and knocking on the door of some national Top 10 rankings.

USC 42, ASU 14

ASU is on their way to a way down year, while USC is trying to re-establish themselves after dropping to Stanford in Week 3.  USC's athletes showed-up for this game and really gave it to a falling Sun Devils team.

USC

ASU

Total Yards

455

454

Passing: Total Yards (Comp-Att; Yards per pass)

379 (20-34; 10.5)

272 (23-44; 5.8)

Rushing: Total Yards (Attempts; Yards per rush)

76 (32; 2.4)

182 (35; 5.2)

1st Downs (3rd down efficiency)

18 (10-16)

26 (5-13)

Penalties (Yards lost)

10 (91)

2 (25)

Turnovers: Fumbles lost / Interceptions thrown

1 / 1

3 / 1

Time of Possession

27:32

32:28

USC QB Cody Kessler had a field day against the Sun Devils - completing 19 of 33 passes and throwing for 375 yards, 5 TDs, and 1 INT.  Kessler threw for an average of 11.4 yards per pass!  Speedster WR Adoree Jackson had 3 receptions for 131 yards and 1 TD, including an amazing 80-yard run down the sideline for a TD.  Star WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had 5 catches for 103 yards and 2 TDs.  Defensively, the Trojans gave ASU QB Mike Bercovici fits all night long, especially when ASU got close to scoring.

Bercovici completed 23 of 44 passes for 272 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT, on his way to a lowly 12.2 QBR.  RB Demario Richards had 14 carries for 131 yards and 2 TDs, and WR Gary Chambers had 5 receptions for 103 yards.  ASU had a lot of magic in last year's game at USC, which gave us Bercovici's Hail Mary pass to WR Jaelen Strong as the game ended.  This time around, none of that magic was left.  Even though HC Todd Graham still defiantly believes this is the best ASU team that he's had, their results are speaking otherwise.  This game may be the beginning of the end for the submarining 2015 Sun Devils.

Key Week 5 Matchup

Arizona @ Stanford: After dropping an ugly one to UCLA, the Wildcats have one week to get it back together before they head down to the Farm.  Whereas this was once looking to be a match-up against a streaking Arizona team versus a falling Stanford team, the fortunes appear to be reversed now.  [Saturday 10/3, 7:30pm PST, Pac-12 Network]