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Pac-12 Recap Week 6: Washington State throttles Stanford, USC beats Colorado

The state of Washington runs the north, but who runs the south?

NCAA Football: Washington State at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado (17) at USC (21)

This was such a winnable game for Colorado, but they showed they were not quite ready for the spotlight of a top 25 ranking and being alone in first place of the south division. The Trojans outgained the Buffs 539 to 371 and the game should not have been close, but it was. Colorado’s defense forced four turnovers in an attempt to makeup for its offensive struggles, but it wasn’t enough. Freshman QB Steven Montes struggled as he completed just 25 of 40 passes for 197 yards; he also threw one touchdown and one interception. Colorado WR Bryce Bobo had a great game as he caught and threw a touchdown pass to pull the Buffs even after falling behind 14-0. USC took the lead back on a 7-yard touchdown pass by Sam Darnold. The Buffs responded with a field goal, but never got the ball back. The Trojans find themselves back in the thick of the south division race just two weeks after the sky was seemingly falling. At 2-2 in conference they are just one game behind Colorado and Arizona State having beaten both of them, though Utah is also 2-1 and beat USC.

Washington (70) at Oregon (21)

For four quarters the Huskies took out 12 years worth of frustration against Oregon. Washington QB Jake Browning threw six touchdown and rushed for two more. Myles Gaskin added 197 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in a dominating effort in Eugene. This game was every bit the mismatch it appeared to be on paper as the Huskies outgained the Ducks 682 to 409 and it probably could have been worse. The Ducks are a complete mess and find themselves at the bottom of the north division with an 0-3 conference record. They chose to bench QB Dakota Prukop in favor of freshman QB Justin Herbert and he performed admirably, but I’m not sure that was the right decision. Herbert completed 21 of 34 passes for 179 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception. It was a decent performance, but why not let Prukop be the sacrificial lamb to the Huskies and start Herbert after the bye week against a significantly weaker defense at Cal? It gives the freshman an extra week to prepare for his first start in a game that is actually winnable. Mark Helfrich ... wow, is there any way he could save his job at this point?

California (44) at Oregon State (47)

I’ll keep this short ... because we all know how this one played out. I don’t want to write about it and I’m sure you all don’t want to read about it. Several things to be miffed about in this one. The Bears didn’t score an offensive touchdown in the first half. The defense yielded 474 yards rushing on 50 attempts against a team that poses absolutely no threat passing the ball. I’m surprised its taken this long before an opponent realized they could simply run the ball almost every play en route to the endzone. Somehow, despite injuries to Davis Webb and Chad Hansen, the Bears almost came all the way back to save face. Unfortunately, the comeback fell just short ... kind of like Webb’s pass to Demetris Robertson in overtime. This loss makes a bowl game much less likely. Ugh.

Arizona (23) at Utah (36)

The Utes can count themselves a bit fortunate they were playing a hapless Arizona squad because Utah was flat to start the game. They committed 11 penalties in the first half, including a slew of false starts ... at home. One false start at home is bad enough, but eight? Arizona scored on the first play of the game with a 75-yard bomb from Brandon Dawkins to Shun Brown. Dawkins would add a six-yard touchdown run to go up 14-3 before the Utes rattled off 26 consecutive points to take control of this contest. Though they won the game, there are some things to be concerned about if you’re a Utah fan. Utah’s leading rusher, Armand Shyne, has been lost for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury. Arizona passed for 348 yards and racked up almost 500 yards of total offense. Utah ended the game committing 14 penalties for 98 yards, which is something you can get away with against Arizona, but not against better teams. Utah takes on Oregon State next. Whatever you do, Utah, don’t take it lightly. You’ve been warned.

Washington State (42) at Stanford (16)

These two teams are a prime example of how fast things can change in football. Stanford was on top of the world a couple of weeks ago as they were preparing for a top-10 showdown with Washington. Now, they’re in free-fall after consecutive thumping losses due to a severely struggling offense. Washington State started their season with a stunning loss to Eastern Washington and followed it up with a loss to Boise State. They’ve responded with consecutive victories against the two programs that have won each of the last seven Pac-12 conference championships. The Cougars now look to be the only shot, albeit a long one, at keeping Washington from winning the north division. As Vince Vaughn said in The Internship, though, sometimes the longshots pay off the biggest.

UCLA (20) at Arizona State (23)

How is Arizona State 5-1? They keep finding ways to win though, so I guess it’s time to give them some credit. Manny Wilkins missed out with an injury and the Sun Devils’ backup QB, Brady White, picked up an injury which might keep him out for a good chunk of time. Nonetheless, the Sun Devils step up on one side of the ball every week (except against USC, for some reason). The offense lit up the scoreboard against Texas Tech and Cal, but the defense had to step up and win this one. They held UCLA’s rush attack to minus-1 yard on 23 carries. UCLA might have some trouble throwing the ball now that sophomore QB Josh Rosen is as beat up as he is. Rosen left the game against ASU twice and did not return the second time after taking a big hit and hurting his right shoulder. He threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. ASU kicker Zane Gonzalez’s game-winning field goal broke the NCAA record for made field goals with 89.


USC (3-3) at Arizona (2-4), Saturday at 12:30 on FOX

Utah (5-1) at Oregon State (2-3), Saturday at 1 on Pac-12 Network

Stanford (3-2) at Notre Dame (2-4), Saturday at 4:30 on NBC

Arizona State (5-1) at Colorado (4-2), Saturday at 5 on Pac-12 Network

UCLA (3-3) at Washington State (3-2), Saturday at 7:30 on ESPN