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Pac-12 Recap Week Five: Washington crushes Stanford, Oregon drops third straight game

Week five in the Pac-12 was a crazy one as a top-10 team got crushed, an oft-maligned defense made a critical stand, and a perennial doormat is in the driver’s seat of the South division.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. The Pac-12 is a crazy conference. You never know what you’re going to see on a week-to-week basis and week five was no different. Let’s get straight into the action.

Oregon State (6) at Colorado (47)

Three Pac-12 south teams entered week five with an undefeated record (Arizona State and Utah overall, Colorado in conference) but only one left the week with an unblemished conference record. The Buffs were the obvious choice, right? Can Mike MacIntyre’s team actually win the south? Everything I’ve seen from them thus far leads me to believe that they can definitely win that division. No single team looks dominant, though none of the teams look particularly bad. The Buffs took care of business against the Beavers this week with ease as a good team should do against them at home. Colorado appears to have found a keeper in freshman QB Steven Montes, who threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns. A key stat in this one is that Montes did not throw an interception and the offensive line kept him standing the entire game as he did not get sacked. The schedule will obviously get tougher for Colorado, but they already played well away against Michigan. They have nothing to fear about facing anyone in the south division.

Utah (23) at California (28)

Way to go defense. To be able to make that many stops on goal-to-go situations when you know the game is on the line is amazing. Utah had 41 minutes time-of-possession in this contest which is a testament to the defense for standing tall and making the necessary stops to seal another top-25 win. Davis Webb found Chad Hansen and Demetris Robertson twice each for long touchdowns to take full advantage of the minimal amount of time the Bears had the ball offensively. Robertson is emerging into a huge threat for the offense, which is great to see considering how much camp time he missed during the offseason. The sky appears to be the limit with this kid. It was refreshing to see the Bears win a game without having to score 40-plus points, though it would be nice to score that many points and hold the opponent under 30 a bit more often. This game might be the confidence boost the defense needs to reach that next level as the season goes along because the rest of the schedule, for the most part, isn’t getting any easier.

Arizona State (20) at USC (41)

I didn’t see this result coming. Maybe the Sun Devils didn’t either, which could explain how they were manhandled so badly. I’m not shocked they lost in Los Angeles, but I am stunned at how poorly they played. The Trojans held a 7-6 lead before rattling off 34 unanswered points behind redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold. Arizona State QB Manny Wilkins left the game late during the first half and returned to the sidelines in a walking boot later on. Arizona State’s defense is a mess. Their only saving grace is that the offense was ridiculously explosive, but it was missing in action against the Trojans and faces major uncertainty now that Wilkins could miss an extended period of time. On the other side, though, USC desperately needed to win this game or they would have certainly seen any chance at winning the south evaporate. Next week’s contest against Colorado will have massive implications for both teams. Beating USC, no matter the state of their program, would be huge for the Buffs. Meanwhile, for USC, a loss to Colorado — no matter the momentum they currently carry — would be viewed as a major setback.

Oregon (33) at Washington State (51)

The Cougars have rebounded well after their 0-2 start and have the added bonus of having sent Mark Helfrich’s Ducks even further into freefall. Oregon has not started a season this poorly in more than a decade and you have to wonder how much longer Helfrich can hold on as Oregon’s head coach. Clearly, Washington State and Colorado are not the perennial cellar-dwellers they have been for a while now, but Oregon does not expect to lose home games (against Colorado) nor do they expect to get clobbered by the Cougs, but it is a new day in the Pac-12 and the cracks in the Oregon armor that showed up last season have only gotten worse this season. The Ducks have time to recover but they definitely have to go back to the drawing board, especially on defense. The Cougars rushed 40 times for 280 yards which allowed them to control the time of possession and keep Oregon’s defense on the field. The Ducks gave up 651 yards of total offense in an embarrassing effort. Based on this performance you have to wonder how the Ducks are going to cope with a Washington team that manhandled Stanford.

Arizona (24) at UCLA (45)

The injury bug cannot stop biting the Wildcats. Already down Anu Solomon at QB, the Wildcats lost Brandon Dawkins during this contest and went to freshman QB Khalil Tate to start the process of his development in what is looking like it could be a lost season for Rich Rodriguez’s team. Josh Rosen had one his better games this season as he accounted for four touchdowns and avoided turnovers. Still, the offense is a bit too inconsistent for the perception of the talent available to UCLA. They entered halftime having scored just 14 points but exploded for 31 in the second half. A bit more consistency could have seen the Bruins enter the second half with a more comfortable lead.

Stanford (6) at Washington (44)

Wow. This was total domination by Chris Petersen’s team and a statement game for sure. I was very critical of Washington’s ranking last week and they went out and emphatically declared that they mean business this season. Clearly, one of these teams was overrated, but it wasn’t the one I thought it would be. Stanford couldn’t generate anything offensively because the Huskies eliminated their one-man gang of Christian McCaffrey. They bottled up the Cardinal’s do-it-all playmaker and kept him from making any kind of positive impact. The Cardinal suffered greatly due to his ineffectiveness as they managed just 213 yards on 51 plays with just 29 rushing yards on 30 carries. UW QB Jake Browning was efficient and the running game was at its best this season behind Myles Gaskin and co. The Huskies get a chance to exact more revenge next week, this time against their arch-nemesis from Eugene. With the way both teams are playing there are no words to accurately describe how out of hand that matchup might get this weekend.


Colorado (4-1) at USC (2-3), Saturday at 1:00 on Pac-12 Network

Washington (5-0) at Oregon (2-3), Saturday at 4:30 on FOX

California (3-2) at Oregon State (1-3), Saturday at 6:00 on Pac-12 Network

Arizona (2-3) at Utah (4-1), Saturday at 7:00 on Fox Sports 1

UCLA (3-2) at Arizona State (4-1), Saturday at 7:30 on ESPN2

Washington State (2-2) at Stanford (3-1), Saturday at 7:30 on ESPN