Let’s start with Cal’s last opponent of the year.
UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44
Texas A&M led UCLA 44-10 at 7:15 PM.— Avinash Kunnath (@avinashkunnath) September 4, 2017
Sunset in Pasadena: 7:15 PM.#Pac12AfterDark is more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
This game was over. There was no reason to think the Bruins were coming back.
Then Josh Rosen threw one touchdown. Then another. Then another. The Aggies forgot to cover the tight end (200 yards!) and somehow were unable to take any time off the clock. It was like the Super Bowl, except UCLA needed ANOTHER touchdown to comeback, and did it in the same amount of time!
What a bizarro win. Rosen threw a few passes that should’ve been picked, Texas A&M lost their quarterback, but in the end UCLA is 1-0. Jim Mora has earned that multi-year extension now, don’t you think?
USC 49, Western Michigan 31
There were a ton of alarming notes if you were a Trojan fan. Namely, USC could not stop Western Michigan’s run attack for much of the game. Luckily, the Trojans had Ronald Jones to storm their way to victory, but you have to be concerned about that type of porous run defense with the Trees coming to town in a week’s time.
Caveat: Western Michigan could be quite good. I mean, they were in the Cotton Bowl last year.
Also, a great moment near the end of the game with blind long snapper Jake Olson.
This is anything but a regular PAT.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 3, 2017
Jake Olson, blind since age 12, just snapped for the first time in a live game. https://t.co/amyHcFoVue
Washington 30, Rutgers 14
Pac-12 teams tend to struggle on East Coast trips, and Washington was no exception. Only a Dante Pettis punt return touchdown provided UDub with a halftime lead, but after that the Huskies cranked it up and rolled off 20 points on their first four second half drives.
Yeah yeah, it’s Rutgers, but I’ll see what Washington does the next few weeks before passing judgment on their potential flaws. To be continued.
Colorado 17, Colorado State 3
The Buffs offense might have lost a ton of its bite (Phillip Lindsay proved to be enough), but the Buffs defense looks like it’s going to maul a ton of its foes. Three second half forced turnovers plus a few turnovers on downs thwarted any second half comeback as both teams stayed scoreless for the final 30 minutes.
That being said, the Pac-12 officiating was painful, and killed the Rams. Three offensive pass interference penalties went against Colorado State and wiped out a ton of big gains.
Ole Miss 47, South Alabama 27
Good news for the Rebels: They have the offense to beat anyone. A.J. Brown might be the best talent we face all year, but you can’t focus on him exclusively, or Metcalf and Lodge will pounce all over you. Jacob Peeler’s wideouts will be going against a strong Cal secondary unit. Challenging matchup ahead for the Bears.
Weber State 76, Montana Western 0
Weber State might be a decent FCS squad. They ran for 300 rushing yards against Montana Western of the NAIA this week, and they went 7-5 last season. But they did also lose to Utah State by 39. Cal should win this one.
Oregon State 35, Portland State 32
Just another FCS scare for Oregon State. The Beavers needed a two-minute drive to take the lead. Then they needed to stave off a 40 second drive by the Vikings for the missed game-tying field goal.
The Beavers look like they’re a bit away from being a good football team. So watch them beat Minnesota next week.
Oregon 77, Southern Utah 21
Looks like the Ducks offense is going to be supercharged this year. The Ducks have found their new quarterback in Justin Herbert, Royce Freeman and Kani Benoit are going to be a pain. Now will the defense show up for the big games? We’ll know when Nebraska comes to town next week.
Washington State 31, Montana State 0
The Cougars defense is looking nasty. Montana State is hapless, but only 143 yards of total offense in a college football game is mighty impressive work by a Wazzu team that has made defense a big priority. Boise State next week should show how far this defense has come in a year.
Arizona 62, Northern Arizona 24
The Wildcats may be young, but they looked downright nasty in running all over NAU. 506 rushing yards, eight rushers of 30 yards or more, six rushers of 50 yards or more, three rushers of 700 yards or more, with Brandon Dawkins leading the way. If Arizona can be effective on the ground, they’ll be unbelievably dangerous.
We don’t play them until 2019, but just a check-in
Arizona State 37, New Mexico State 31
There are some deep concerns for ASU. They struggled to run the football with Kalen Ballage and their defense was torched for nearly 400 yards by an Aggies team that has won 11 games in the past six seasons. They were up big in the first and third quarters only to gradually see the margin grow thinner at game’s end.
Utah 37, North Dakota 16
New year, new faces, same methodical Utes. New offensive coordinator (and Cal quarterbacking great) Troy Taylor had a fine performance breaking in new faces at quarterback and wide receiver, and Utah threw their way to a comfortable 21 point win.
Stanford did not play football this week due to the Australia game last week, making for a perfect weekend of college football because I forgot Stanford had a football team.
Great to have you back, college football.