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Pac-12 football week 2 recap: Utah survives BYU, ASU drops 68, Arizona avoids Grambling upset

The Pac-12 had a better second week than a first as its teams won 10 of 12 games this weekend.

NCAA Football: Grambling State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 won 10 of its 12 games this weekend though none of them were against overly impressive opponents. Washington State and Cal had chances to win against the best the Mountain West has to offer and came up short, while Arizona State took down Texas Tech in what was probably the best win of the weekend for the conference. We’ll start the recap with what was almost an embarrassing defeat for the conference.

Grambling (21) at Arizona (31)

The Tigers appeared to be cruising towards a massive upset when they had a 21-3 lead at halftime in Tucson, but an injury late in the first half to starting quarterback DeVante Kincade was too much for Grambling to overcome as they failed to score in the second half en-route to a 31-21 loss.

Kincade completed 15 of 19 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns before exiting the game with a leg injury. To be fair, the backup quarterback led their third touchdown drive of the first half, but the offense could not be sustained in the second half. The Wildcats forced six turnovers in the second half to squeak out a 10 point win in a matchup they were favored to win by 45 points.

California (40) at San Diego State (45)

The Bears had numerous chances to win this game despite never leading at any point. Davis Webb threw a pick-six in the second quarter that cost Cal a chance to take its first lead of the game. That interception was just one of a myriad of mistakes that cost Cal a win against the Aztecs including missed tackles on a kickoff return for a touchdown, too many big runs allowed, getting away from the run game with Vic Enwere, dropped passes, a fumble, and a wide open miss down the middle of the field for the win are all among the reasons the Bears fell short in this one.

Washington State (28) at Boise State (31)

The momentum gained from the Cougars surprising 2015 season is surely gone at this point. They moved the ball down the field on their opening drive before quarterback Luke Falk was picked off for an 85-yard Broncos touchdown. The Broncos pushed the lead up to 31-14 before Falk threw two fourth quarter touchdowns to get back into the game. The Cougars got the ball back late, but failed to capitalize on a chance to win the game. Washington State has talent, but they cannot stop finding ways to lose. Mike Leach’s squad faces an uphill battle to get their season back on track.

BYU (19) at Utah (20)

This was one sloppy, sloppy game. Utah committed six turnovers with quarterback Troy Williams throwing three interceptions and just one touchdown pass. BYU committed three turnovers as they tried in vain to match Utah’s futile ball control. The Utah offense is a dumpster fire, but their defense continues to find ways to win games. BYU almost pulled this one out, but the Utes stuffed the Cougars on a two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter to hold on for the victory. One has to think Utah won’t be able to win consistently in conference play if their offense continues to stink it up to this extent, but their defense might be just good enough to get them over the finish line consistently enough to have a solid season.

Virginia (26) at Oregon (44)

Oregon managed a big win against a severely overmatched opponent in the Virginia Cavaliers. The Ducks racked up 672 yards of total offense, but gave up 388 yards and 26 points to a Virginia team that — let’s face it — isn’t very good. They struggled against UC Davis last week defensively and this wasn’t much better for the Ducks. They can score points, no doubt about that, but they can give them up too. Next week’s matchup against Nebraska is Oregon’s first game featuring true competition and will say a lot about what kind of team they have up in Eugene this season.

Utah State (7) at USC (45)

The Trojans rebounded quite nicely after last week’s reality check against Alabama by destroying Utah State in Los Angeles. This one went as you would expect as the Trojans played the part of Alabama to Utah State’s USC by just overwhelming the Aggies with superior athletes in every phase of the game. USC needed this tuneup in the worst way as they will hit the road next weekend to take on a Stanford team that tore them apart in the Pac-12 championship game last season.

Texas Tech (55) at Arizona State (68)

Wow. Just wow. These two programs put on one helluva fireworks show offensively with Kalen Ballage leading the charge for the Sun Devils by tying an NCAA record for touchdowns in a single game with eight. Texas Tech threw for 540 yards to Arizona State’s 351, but the Sun Devils destroyed the Red Raiders on the ground to the tune of 301 yards to just 72 for the Red Raiders. Arizona State ran the ball 53 times to just 22 for Texas Tech, which meant the Sun Devils controlled time of possession and it helped them create some distance on the scoreboard in the second half of the game. Each team’s defense has a lot of work to do, but both programs aren’t really known for a commitment to keeping the score down, so not much is likely to change defensively this season for either squad.

UNLV (21) at UCLA (42)

The Bruins picked up a much-needed win after the Texas A&M loss last week, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. The anointed one Josh Rosen wasn’t spectacular in this game as he didn’t try to do too much throwing the ball while avoiding the back-breaking mistakes he made in last week’s loss. The UCLA pass defense limited UNLV to just 11 completions on 28 passes for 153 yards, but it wasn’t all great on that side of the ball. Their run defense allowed 175 yards while the defense as a whole allowed eight third down conversions on 15 attempts. That will have to improve in conference play if they want to win the south division.

Idaho State (7) at Colorado (56)

Not much to say about this one. Colorado got the big win they were looking for against an opponent that earned a nice payday to oblige them. The Buffs out-gained Idaho State 597 to 96 and pulled starters during the first half of the game. I’m sure the Buffs enjoyed their stroll through the park this week, but they face a much taller task next week when they take on Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan.

Idaho (14) at Washington (59)

The state of Idaho completed its footballing misery by taking a beating at the hands of Jake Browning and the Huskies. Browning threw for five touchdowns and 294 yards, but Washington failed to get the running game going to the extent they would like as they gained just 126 yards on 30 carries. That is two weeks running in which they have had to rely on Browning and the passing game to carry the offense and that has to change going into conference play if they want to continue to rise in the national rankings. For now, though, the defense and passing attack look very good.

UP NEXT (all times Pacific)

Arizona State (2-0) at UTSA (1-1), Friday at 6:30 on ESPN2

Idaho (1-1) at Washington State (0-2), Saturday at 11:00 on Pac-12 Network

Colorado (2-0) at Michigan (2-0), Saturday at 12:30 on Big Ten Network

Oregon (2-0) at Nebraska (2-0), Saturday at 12:30 on ABC

Idaho State (1-1) at Oregon State (0-1), Saturday at 2:00 on Pac-12 Network

Portland State (1-1) at Washington (2-0), Saturday at 5:00 on Pac-12 Network

USC (1-1) at Stanford (1-0), Saturday at 5:00 on ABC

UCLA (1-1) at BYU (1-1), Saturday at 7:15 on ESPN2

Utah (2-0) at San Jose State (1-1), Saturday at 7:30 on CBS Sports Network

Texas (2-0) at California (1-1), Saturday at 7:30 on ESPN

Hawaii (1-2) at Arizona (1-1), Saturday at 7:45 on Pac-12 Network

Conference play starts next week with USC taking on Stanford as one of the standout matchups of the week for the Pac-12. Oregon traveling to Nebraska, Colorado heading to Michigan, and Cal hosting Texas are the other marquee games coming up in week three. It will be interesting to see how Oregon and Colorado handle their first tough games of the season. Another interesting nugget will be if USC falls on their face in another big-time matchup.