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Pac-12 Recap: And then there were four

Colorado or USC will take on Washington or Washington State in the Pac-12 Championship Game later this season.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State (24) at Colorado (38)

What were the chances preseason that a late season matchup between Colorado and Washington State would be between division leaders? About as good a chance as Leicester City had of winning the Premier League last season I’d say, but it happened. The Buffs are now one step away from clinching the south division. The scoring started when Phillip Lindsay galloped into the endzone from nine yards out with 10:34 remaining on the clock. The Cougars immediately responded when Luke Falk found Robert Lewis for a 14 yard touchdown. The Buffs next drive ended prematurely with a lost fumble, but the Cougars failed to take advantage of the good field position by missing a field goal. The Buffs turned the ball over on downs with their next possession and Falk made them pay when he connected on a 46-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Morrow to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead after one. It took until about halfway through the second quarter before any scoring occurred. Sefo Liufau capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14. The Cougars added a field goal which concluded the first half scoring to give Wazzu a three-point halftime lead.

Colorado opened the second half with an 11-play, 71 yard touchdown drive capped off by a 7-yard Liufau run, giving the Buffs a 21-17 lead. Following a couple of failed drives, Falk found John Thompson for a short touchdown pass to regain the lead 24-21. The Buffs took a punch to the mouth and responded with an eight play, 75 yard touchdown drive to take the lead right back on a Liufau touchdown run. The Buffs added a field goal after Washington State turned the ball over on downs. The Cougars went backwards on a three-and-out before surrendering another Lindsay touchdown run to essentially seal the game.

Falk had torched NCAA defenses all season long completing passes at a ridiculous clip, but he struggled in that department against the Buffs. Falk completed 26 of 53 passes for 325 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Cougars actually ran the ball well, but no one carried it more than seven times. Morrow amassed 87 yards on just seven carries and they rushed for 137 yards on 22 carries as a team. Colorado stayed more committed to a balanced attack and it paid dividends. Lindsay rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries, while Liufau totaled three touchdowns and 108 yards on 23 rushing attempts. Colorado hosts Utah next week and a victory would clinch the south division, while Washington State faces off against Washington in a winner takes the north battle.

Oregon (30) at Utah (28)

I don’t even know what to say about Utah. They took a 14-3 lead in the third quarter against an Oregon team that is just terrible and four Justin Herbert touchdowns later they are on the short end of the stick. The Utes are 8-3. They will almost certainly still be in the top 25 rankings, yet two of their three losses are to awful football teams in Oregon and Cal. It doesn’t make any sense, but Utah hardly ever does. It is because of losses like this that Utah, despite being pretty good for a while now, have yet to win the south division since joining the Pac-12. Maybe they were looking ahead to the matchup with Colorado, a matchup that would have been for the south division championship if they had beaten Oregon. Anyways, that’s enough about Utah. On a positive note for the Ducks, Herbert looks like he could be something pretty good if he continues to develop. In a hostile environment in Salt Lake City, the freshman quarterback amassed 324 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for another touchdown to cap his fantastic day.

Washington (44) at Arizona State (18)

The Huskies snapped their 10-game losing streak against Arizona State in emphatic fashion. Myles Gaskin got back on track against a bad team by rushing for 127 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. Jake Browning, though, did not rebound quite as cleanly from the beating he took from USC last week. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 27 of 44 passes for 338 yards. Hardly a great performance against a lousy Sun Devils defense. No matter to the Huskies, though, as all they needed to do was win to setup a battle for the north against Washington State.

USC (36) at UCLA (14)

It was a Fafaul, Fafaul day for the Bruins as they hosted their arch rivals USC. Sam Darnold didn’t play his best game, but he knew he didn’t have to to beat the hapless Bruins. Darnold completed 25 of 36 passes for 267 yards while throwing two touchdowns and interceptions on the night. Ronald Jones II gained 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns to severely outperform UCLA’s entire team on the ground. Continuing a season long trend of being abysmal on the ground, the Bruins accrued 55 yards rushing on 19 carries. Just how bad their rush offense actually is will be put to the test next week when they play against an historically bad rush defense.

Stanford (45) at California (31)

Ugh. I didn’t expect the team to regain the Axe, but it still sucks when we lose to Stanford. It sucks worse when you allow 284 yards — a Big Game record — and three touchdowns to Christian McCaffrey. There was a chance early on for Cal to set a tone and get a more-than-one-score advantage over the trees, but the offense couldn’t take advantage of some of the stops the defense got. Plus, when the offense scored the defense never backed it up with a stop. The program is in a rut and it is going to take a long while to dig out of it. I don’t think this staff is capable of doing so ... I’m not sure who is, but there has to be a coach out there that can turn it around ... right?

Arizona (17) at Oregon State (42)

Stop me if I’ve talked about this before ... Arizona is bad. This loss was probably rock bottom for them as far as this season goes. Oregon State is improving, but they are going through some injury problems and still aren’t very good. Oregon State quarterback Marcus McMaryion threw for FIVE touchdowns to five different receivers! He threw five touchdowns without throwing an interception. He only attempted 19 passes, but he completed 16 of them for 265 yards. Ryan Nall rushed for 124 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries. This matchup wasn’t always a blowout. The Beavers took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter, but the Wildcats cut the deficit to seven points with a touchdown. They couldn’t get a stop though, so they were down 21-10 at halftime. The Beavers blew them away in the third quarter as they outscored the Wildcats 14-0 in that quarter. These two squads will look to end their terrible seasons on a high note next week against their biggest rivals.


Washington (10-1, 7-1) at Washington State (8-3, 7-1), Friday at 12:30 on Fox Sports 1

Arizona State (5-6, 2-6) at Arizona (2-9, 0-8), Friday at 6:30 on ESPN

Notre Dame (4-7) at USC (8-3, 7-2), Saturday at 12:30 on ABC

Oregon (4-7, 2-6) at Oregon State (3-8, 2-6), Saturday at 1 on Pac-12 Network

UCLA (4-7, 2-6) at California (4-7, 2-6), Saturday at 4 on ESPN2

Utah (8-3, 5-3) at Colorado (9-2, 7-1), Saturday at 4:30 on FOX


Arizona (3-0): The Wildcats improved to 2-0 this season after holding off a Cal State Bakersfield (2-1) comeback bid in a 78-66 victory. Arizona was shorthanded as they only played seven players in that game (an eighth played one minute). Lauri Markkanen dominated the Roadrunners to the tune of 26 points on 8-11 from the field. Arizona picked up its third win of the season in a 95-65 victory against Sacred Heart (1-2). Arizona takes on Northern Colorado (1-2) and Santa Clara (2-2) this week.

Arizona State (3-2): The Sun Devils had a rough week as they were dismantled by an impressive Northern Iowa (3-1) squad 82-63. Because this was in a tournament, ASU didn’t have to wait long to get that taste out of their mouth as they rebounded to earn an 80-71 win against Tulane (1-4). They couldn’t cap a winning week though, as the Davidson Wildcats (3-1) stunned ASU 68-60. The only game this week for Arizona is a matchup with The Citadel (3-2).

California (2-0): Cal overcame a feisty UC Irvine squad without Ivan Rabb, Grant Mullins, and Jabari Bird to pull out an overtime victory 75-65. Charlie Moore put up a freshman record 38 points! This week the Bears take on San Diego State (2-1) in Sacramento, Wyoming (3-0), and Southeastern Louisiana (2-1).

Stanford (4-0): The Cardinal took down Cal State Northridge (2-2) 96-69, Weber State (1-2) 67-49, and Colorado State (2-1) 56-49 to improve to 4-0 this season. Reid Travis is carrying Stanford right now as he is averaging 19 points per game. Stanford’s only game this week is against the Miami Hurricanes (3-0) in what should be a game that shows what Stanford is made of.

Colorado (3-0): The Buffs beat Seattle (1-2) 67-55, and UL Monroe (1-2) 89-70 to stay undefeated. They will face their first true test of the season against Notre Dame (3-0) tonight. The Buffs will also take on Wofford (1-1) on Sunday.

Utah (3-0): The Utes continued their extended exhibition season by walloping Concordia College 96-53. In their first matchup with an actual Division I NCAA team, the Utes smashed Coppin State (0-5) 94-51. Utah takes on a Division I team with a victory this season when they take on UC Riverside (1-2) this week.

Oregon (2-1): The Ducks went down to Waco, Texas, to take on Baylor without Dillon Brooks and it got ugly. Baylor (3-0) stomped the Ducks 66-49, so Oregon clearly needs Brooks. They rebounded with a 76-54 win against Valparaiso (3-1). Their only game this week is against a struggling Georgetown (1-2) squad.

Oregon State (2-2): The Beavers started the season 2-0, but they came crashing down to Earth this week as they slipped to 2-2. First up was a 63-60 loss to Lamar (2-1), followed up by an 83-58 loss at Nevada (3-1). The Beavers will look to rebound this week when they travel to Tulsa (1-2) and host Fresno State (2-1).

UCLA (4-0): The Bruins improved to 4-0 behind an 88-68 victory against San Diego (1-3) and by defeating Long Beach State (1-4) 114-77. The Bruins look awesome racking up 100-plus points against all of these zero and one win teams, but we’ll see if they’re really back once the competition stiffens. They take on Portland (3-0) next.

USC (3-0): The Trojans took a road trip to College Station and scored an impressive 65-62 win against Texas A&M (2-1). This week they take on New Orleans (1-2), SMU (3-1) and UC Santa Barbara (0-3).

Washington (2-1): Washington recovered from losing to Yale by defeating Cal State Fullerton (2-2) 104-88 and Northern Arizona (1-4) 92-58. It looks like Washington still has defensive issues that they need to sort out. They take on Long Beach State and Western Kentucky (2-1) this week.

Washington State (3-1): The Cougars struggled to beat Central Washington 81-76, so it comes as little surprise that Creighton (4-0) dominated the Cougs 103-77. The Cougars responded quickly by beating Montana State (3-1) 87-63 the following night. This week they take on Loyola-Chicago (4-1) and San Jose State (1-2).