Washington (45) at Washington State (17)
The Huskies emphatically sealed their place in the Pac-12 Championship Game as the representative for the North division by destroying Washington State in the Apple Cup. This contest went south fast for the Cougars as they found themselves down 14-0 early in the first quarter, and 28-3 at the end of the first quarter. The Huskies opened the game with a seven play, 76 yard drive which took 3:27 off of the clock before Myles Gaskin ran into the endzone from two yards out to go up 7-0. Washington State lost a fumble on their first drive, which eventually led to a touchdown pass from Jake Browning to Dante Pettis to increase the lead to 14-0. Washington State responded with a field goal to cut the lead a bit, but Washington scored a touchdown on a 61-yard pass to Pettis to effectively put the game away at this point. After a Cougars punt, Washington finished a long drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to John Ross to increase the lead to 28-3.
Browning had a great game as he threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing. Washington ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns as a team, while holding the Cougars to 65 yards on 25 rushing attempts. Luke Falk struggled to complete passes at his normal rate for the second consecutive week, throwing for 269 yards on 33 of 50 passing. Falk threw three interceptions and just one touchdown pass.
Utah (22) at Colorado (27)
The Utes managed to stick around in this one despite an abysmal performance from their offense. Utah quarterback Troy Williams tossed two interceptions to just one touchdown on 13 of 40 passing for 160 yards. Their star running back, Joe Williams, was held to 97 yards on 26 carries and he also lost two crucial fumbles. Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau didn’t have a great game either, but it wasn’t quite as bad as Williams’ game. Liufau completed 23 of 44 passes for 270 yards, one interception and two lost fumbles. The Utes held the Buffs passing game in check as they rushed for just 108 yards on 38 carries as a team. This wasn’t a great offensive game. The Utes opened the scoring with a punt return for a touchdown and the Buffs scored a crucial touchdown late in the game on a fumble return. The Buffs will have to improve offensively if they want to take down the Huskies in the Pac-12 Championship Game, while the defense must maintain their stellar play to keep Browning and co. in check.
Arizona State (35) at Arizona (56)
I’ve been referring to Arizona as one of the worst teams in the history of the conference for several weeks now, and I stand by that even though they picked up a comprehensive win over their floundering rivals. To give up 56 points to Arizona, a team that had scored just 58 points in their previous four games combined, is abysmal. It has seemed as though Arizona State quit on the season for a while now, but I still thought they would beat the Wildcats. Not only did they lose, but they were thoroughly worked over.
Arizona attempted eight passes. EIGHT passes for the entire game. Arizona State allowed four different rushers to average at least nine yards per carry. The Wildcats carried the ball 48 times for 512 yards and SEVEN touchdowns! The Sun Devils’ rush defense was non-existent. Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins, despite completing just 3 of 8 passes, did throw a touchdown. Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins tried to keep his team in the game almost entirely on his own, but it wasn’t enough. Wilkins threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns on 43 of 58 passing. He also threw an interception and rushed for 79 yards. ASU averaged just 3.2 yards per carry as a team. Both of these squads are probably glad the season is over. College football in Arizona has been rough this season.
Notre Dame (27) at USC (45)
USC continued its hot streak at the expense of their struggling rivals from South Bend. Notre Dame’s miserable season ended on a fitting note as they were torn apart by Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson returned a punt for a 55-yard touchdown, a kick for a 97-yard touchdown, and he caught a 52-yard pass for a touchdown. Team statistics were fairly even across the board, but USC was able to stick to the running game more once they got a multiple-score lead and it forced Notre Dame into throwing the ball more. Plus, the big plays on special teams and defense (Ajene Harris returned an interception for a 33-yard touchdown) kept Notre Dame at arms length all game. Notre Dame running back Josh Adams had a monster game as he rushed for 180 yards on just 17 carries, but the Irish couldn’t commit to the run as they fell behind. Ronald Jones II was USC’s leading rusher with 134 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold had an easy game as he threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 19 of 29 passing.
Rice (17) at Stanford (41)
The Cardinal predictably dominated a clearly overmatched Rice team behind their running attack. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 204 yards and one touchdown on 30 carrries, while Bryce Love added 111 yards and one touchdown on seven carries. Even Keller Chryst ran the ball well as he totaled 49 yards and one touchdown on three rushing attempts. McCaffrey added a receiving touchdown as well.
Oregon (24) at Oregon State (34)
Surely this seals Mark Helfrich’s fate, right? It isn’t simply that they lost to Oregon State. It’s more about HOW they lost to Oregon State. This game was tied at 14 at halftime before the Ducks came out firing to start the second half. Justin Herbert tossed a touchdown pass to Charles Nelson, and Aidan Schneider added a field goal to put Oregon up 10 points deep into the third quarter. Then Oregon State rattled off 20 unanswered points to snap the eight-game losing streak they have endured against the Ducks. Oregon was ranked to start the season and they ended up 4-8 and dead last in their division. Who would have guessed Oregon State would finish ahead of Oregon way back in the preseason? Nobody.
On the flip side of the coin, Oregon State should be pleased with the progress they showed this season. It is hard to be happy about a losing season, but no one would have expected Oregon State to win three conference games. They are heading in the right direction, which is definitely something that cannot be said about their arch-nemesis.
UCLA (10) at California (36)
This was fun. In a season that hasn’t been fun at all, it was nice to see the team FINALLY pick up a win against a conference opponent from California. The Bears didn’t just beat the Bruins. They embarrassed UCLA. The defense pitched shutout in the first half, which is something I never thought I’d say again. If Cal doesn’t sneak into a bowl game this season then this was a good game for the seniors to go out on. UCLA’s offense was horrible this season. Cal’s defense was horrible this season. I was intrigued by which one would win out going into the game and it wasn’t even close. UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul was held to 176 yards, one touchdown, and one interception on 12 of 30 passes. UCLA’s struggling running attack found out there wasn’t any rushing defense it could look good against. Cal’s much-maligned rush defense held UCLA to 84 yards on 24 attempts. Also, shoutout to Chad Hansen for an incredible season. It would have been great to see what his numbers would have looked like had he not picked up that injury against Oregon State.
Colorado (10-2, 8-1) vs Washington (11-1, 8-1), Friday at 6 p.m. on FOX
Arizona (5-1): The Wildcats went 2-1 this week as they defeated Northern Colorado (2-4) 71-55, held off a feisty Santa Clara (3-4) squad 69-61, and lost to undefeated Butler (6-0) 69-65 in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational. With injury problems and the mysterious absence of Allonzo Trier to worry about, Arizona continues to field just eight scholarship players. Butler was able to hold Lauri Markkanen in check, for the most part, as he scored 15 points and five rebounds before fouling out. Aside from Kobi Simmons, who has contributed all season, no one on the roster could step up with enough scoring to push Arizona past Butler. The Wildcats are talented, but they need Trier. Arizona takes on Texas Southern and Gonzaga this week.
Arizona State (4-2): Arizona State picked up a victory in its only game this past week as they beat The Citadel (3-3) in a wild track-meet 127-110. The schedule this week is tough as the Sun Devils will take on Kentucky (6-0) and UNLV (4-2).
California (4-1): Cal went 2-0 this week behind strong performances from Ivan Rabb and Charlie Moore. The Bears defeated Wyoming (3-2) by a score of 71-61, and Southeastern Louisiana (4-3) 67-55. Wins are always good, but the Wyoming victory wasn’t all good. Kam Rooks is out indefinitely with a knee injury and it remains unknown when Jabari Bird will be able to suit up again. The Bears take on Louisiana Tech (3-2) and Alcorn State (2-3).
Stanford (6-1): The Cardinal lost to Miami FL. (4-2) 67-53, beat Indiana State (2-4) 65-62, and took down Seton Hall (4-2) 66-52 to finish fifth place in the AdvoCare Invitational. This week the Cardinal take on St. Mary’s (5-0) and travel to Kansas (5-1).
Colorado (5-1): The Buffs lost 89-83 to Notre Dame (6-0) and beat Texas (3-2) 68-54 to finish third place in the the Legends Classic. Colorado finished off their week by defeating Wofford (1-5) 75-60. This week they face off with Colorado State (5-1) before travelling to take on Portland (3-2).
Utah (4-0): The Utes maintained an undefeated start to the season by winning 85-67 against UC Riverside (1-3). The Utes take on Butler and Montana State (4-2) this week.
Oregon (4-2): The Ducks were upset 69-65 by Georgetown (3-4), but beat Tennessee (2-3) 69-65, and UConn (2-4) 79-69 to finish fifth in the Maui Invitational. Those results looked more impressive before I looked up their records. Oregon faces Boise State, Western Oregon, and Savannah State this week.
Oregon State (2-4): The Beavers lost 75-64 at Tulsa (2-2) before losing a close game to Fresno State (3-2) 63-58. As if losing two games wasn’t bad enough for Oregon State, they lost Tres Tinkle to a broken wrist. Ouch.
UCLA (7-0): The Bruins stayed undefeated by going 3-0 this past week. Their first victim was Portland by way of a 99-77 scoreline. Then they defeated Nebraska (4-2) 82-71. They then won the Wooden Legacy Classic by taking out Texas A&M (4-2) 74-67. Next up for the Bruins is UC Riverside and Kentucky. The game against the Wildcats should be very interesting.
USC (6-0): The Trojan annihilated New Orleans (2-3) 88-54, pulled out a squeaker over SMU (4-2) 79-73, and beat UC Santa Barbara (0-5) 96-72. Next up for the Trojans is a trip to San Diego (2-4) and a home game against BYU (4-2).
Washington (4-2): The Huskies beat Long Beach State (1-7) 94-88, then they took down Western Kentucky (3-3) 86-47, before falling 90-83 to TCU (6-0) in the championship game of the Global Sports Classic. Washington doesn’t play again until December 7 against Gonzaga.
Washington State (3-3): The Cougars had a tough week. A really, really tough week. It’s going to be a long season for Washington State. The Cougars lost 88-79 to Loyola Chicago (5-2), and 88-76 to San Jose State (2-3). Between the SJSU loss and the close win against Central Washington earlier during the season, the Cougs just don’t look good right now. Next up for Washington State is Utah Valley (4-1) and New Orleans.