A recap of Week 3 in the Pac-12? Let’s get to it.
Washington 21, Utah 7
As a myopic, foolhardy Cal fan, I was desperately rooting for Utah on the off-chance that tagging a loss on UW would help Cal contend for the North crown. And good lord was it not fun to watch Utah and their 3.8 yards/play try to Tercel the ball down the field and actually score on UW’s unfortunately excellent defense.
Utah’s whole shtick is defensive excellence and offensive competence. And that really can work if the offensive competence part means no mistakes. But when your offense is so limited in terms of explosiveness it means that you can’t make any mistakes to have any hope of scoring enough to contend. Utah made mistakes, and the minute UW built a 2 score lead it honestly felt like the game was over.
UW can be had this year, and I’d be surprised if they made it through the Pac-12 without a loss or two. But it’s going to take a much cleaner performance from the opponent to make it happen.
Nevada 37, Oregon State 35
Simply speaking, the Beavers should have won this game. And no, I’m not referring just to a missed 34 yard field goal as time expired. OSU missed another (longer) kick, and had a -2 turnover margin. Those mistakes allowed Nevada to race out to a large lead that they just barely managed to maintain despite being outplayed on a per-play basis.
A bummer for OSU, who were unlucky losers in one of maybe 3 or 4 games they circled as potential wins prior to the season beginning. But better to lose when you should’ve won than to just get blown out, which is what would’ve happened last year.
Oregon 35, SJSU 22
Some concerning signs for Ducks fans. To be fair, SJSU never truly threatened to make this game competitive. But Oregon struggled badly to run the ball and didn’t manage a run longer than 9 yards on 49(!) carries. Meanwhile, the passing game was again explosive when the ball was caught (19 yards/completion) but Justin Herbert wasn’t particularly accurate, hitting on just 47% of his attempts.
One can’t help but think that stronger running defenses and more competent secondaries will be able to exploit the apparent gaps in what Oregon can do on offense. Teams with statistical top-10 defenses like Stanford and Cal and Washington, the next 3 teams Oregon faces. The Ducks have to play their best ball immediately or watch their hopes of Pac-12 North contention die before people put up their Halloween decorations.
Washington State 59, Eastern Washington 24
I want to say that giving up 24 points to an FCS team is iffy, but EWU is one of the stronger FCS offenses, so this is another piece of evidence that the Cougar defense is at least OK, and potentially pretty good. Meanwhile, the Air Raid continues to master the short pass, as WSU managed a typically silly 51 completions without managing a pass longer than 26 yards. Mike Leach loves the whole pirate thing, but in reality his primary weapon of choice is the paper cut.
Stanford 30, UC Davis 10
Stanford boring’d their way to an easy, unimpressive win over an FCS team. Since this game wasn’t interesting, let’s talk about Stanford’s running game.
Bryce Love didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury. He’s averaging 4.1 yards/carry and has only broken off one longish run, and Stanford’s offense can become pretty reliant on his ability to maximize yardage each time he breaks into the 2nd level.
It’s possible, perhaps even probable, that Love comes back refreshed and healthy from a week off and is the same home run hitter that carried Stanford last year. But it’s also possible that injuries have sapped the explosiveness that made him so valuable last year. If that’s the case, the Stanford offense will be significantly limited.
Texas 37, USC 14.
I’m just going to keep laughing. USC went up 14-3 at the end of the 1st Quarter, then proceeded to get annihilated by Texas the rest of the way. Guess who was the leading rusher in the game? Tre Watson with 72 yards on 18 carries. On the other hand, USC for all of their talent at RB, rushed for a total of 16 times. (Thats including 2 sacks by Texas) This season looks to be UGLY for the Trojans. This be where we see Clay Helton’s true coaching acumen after inheriting a talented roster and Sam Darnold, and so far? It doesn’t look too great.
San Diego State 28, ASU 21
Wow. What a game this was. A game ending targeting call? Thats never happened in College Football right? This game was insane. All you needed to do was watch the final 4 minutes of the game and it was exactly all the drama you expect from Pac-12 After Dark. Herm Edwards won’t have to deal with the constant questions about where his first loss might come from, but most of expected it to be against Michigan state, not San Diego State. What a bizarre timeline we live in.
Colorado 45, New Hampshire 14
Not much to be said here. The Buffs played an FCS team at home to wrap up their OOC schedule and scored in every quarter. Steven Montez was not even asked to throw more than 20 times. Travon McMillian only ran 15 times, but ate up 162 yards. It was a game that was wrapped up early, with no chance for New Hampshire to come back. The Buffs are 3-0. The only undefeated team in the South.
Arizona 62, Southern Utah 31.
This one was weird. You would think this would've been a blowout with some easy score towards the end, but the game was only separated by 1 TD at half time. Arizona then exploded for 24 points in the 3rd and the game was in the books. Khalil Tate got back to his electrifying ways with 349 yards on just 13/20 passing with 5 TDs. So he does this against an FCS but has yet to truly be effecting against any FBS team. This team goes as he goes so if teams have figured out a way to neutralize him, then it could be a long Pac-12 season for Kevin Sumlin in Tucson.
Fresno State 38, UCLA 14
TEDFORD. TEDFORD IS BACK IN THE PAC12. Kind of. The former Cal Coach beat his replacement when Tedford decided to leave Oregon for the Cal HC job. How life comes full circle. Tedford never beat Chip Kelly when they were both head coaches. Now Tedford comes in and beats UCLA and Chip in one fell swoop. UCLA on the other hand drops to 0-3, and is an absolute nose dive. Is Westwood happy with Chip at HC? Maybe we should ask Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s dad. Or ask the players conditioning to ring-around-the-rosey at halftime.