Another week down, another week we learn things about the teams in the Pac-12 Conference. Conference play begins in earnest next week and we have a bit of an idea of who is struggling and who is not.
Going into the Michigan State game most everybody believed this game was going to be ugly. However, most people thought it would be ugly due to the fact that Michigan State was believed to be a very good team and would come out with a fairly easy victory.
You still have to lace up the cleats and play the game.
With both offenses struggling mightily, defense was at a premium in East Lansing on Saturday.
Who was going to make the plays?
Arizona State made the plays when it had to. Michigan State did not.
Sun Devil quarterback, Jayden Daniels, who was 15-26, for only 140 yards converted a fourth and 13 by scampering 15 yards to keep the Sun Devil drive alive. With a stifling Spartan defense, Daniels engineered an 11 play, 75 yard game winning drive to help the Sun Devils escape with a 10-7 victory.
The win helped Arizona State go to 3-0 on the season. This was a win that can catapult a team’s season into something special. With Colorado coming to Tempe next week, the Sun Devils need to keep the momentum going by beating the Buffaloes.
Arizona is probably looking in the mirror a bit after Saturday’s 28-14 win over Texas Tech and thinking that they could be undefeated if it wasn’t for a disappointing loss to Hawaii in their season opener.
Khalil Tate electrified the home crowd in Tucson with an 84 yard touchdown run. Tate had a total of 314 yards and two touchdowns as the Arizona Wildcats racked up 499 of offense.
Arizona used the running game in the fourth quarter to really shut the door on Texas Tech. The Wildcats used 13 straight running plays to go on a 99 yard drive to win the game.
Simply put, Arizona imposed their power game on the Red Raiders. Texas Tech had no answer for the running game.
“We just physically wore down.” Texas Tech coach, Matt Wells stated. (espn.com)
Arizona now gets a bye as it prepares for it’s Pac-12 opener against UCLA on September 28. With UCLA having it’s issues right now, the Wildcats can go to 3-1 if they play like they did Saturday night.
Mike Leach and the Cougars have something going out in the Palouse. Washington State does not get a lot of talk from people, but what they lack in publicity, they make up for in their play on the field.
Once the Cougars got out of a slow start, the Cougars showed what is possible with the Air Raid offense.
Washington State quarterback, Anthony Gordon, threw for 440 yards and three touchdowns. It was also Gordon’s third straight game in which he threw for over 400 yards, but the important thing was that his Cougars came out with a 31-24 win over the Houston Cougars.
Mike Leach was pleased by his teams play in the second half.
“I thought we were frantic in the first half both offensively and defensively. Then when we settled in I thought we played well in the second half.” Leach mentioned. (espn.com)
The one area that Coach Leach can not be happy with is the 11 penalties for 132 yards. That has to be cleaned up heading into their Pac-12 opener next week against the struggling UCLA Bruins.
I told people that would listen that the Trojan win last week over Stanford was great, but that the brakes needed to be pumped just a little bit in thinking that the Trojans were back. I also told people that the game with BYU would be tougher than what they thought.
I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so.
BYU is no scrub and they showed it on Saturday afternoon by picking off Trojan quarterback, Kedon Slovis, three times and in the end BYU came away with a 30-27 win in Provo, Utah.
Slovis showed freshman mistakes. There were a lot of passes thrown into tight coverage. You play with fire and you will get burned. Slovis got burned three times.
Slovis was 24-34 for 281 yards and two touchdowns, but the interceptions really hampered USC all day.
The inability of the Trojans to score only a field goal on it’s final three drives is something of a concern moving forward.
Next up for the Trojans is Pac-12 South rival, Utah, on a short week. The game will be in the L.A. Coliseum. To say that this game is big for both teams would be a huge understatement.
The California Golden Bears are playing some good football right now. The offense is coming along to go with that good defense. When these two things happen that equates to a 3-0 record.
Now, it was not all rainbows and unicorns for California on Saturday. The Golden Bears nearly let a 20 point lead slip away. When the final horn sounded it was a 23-17 victory for the upstart Golden Bears.
California quarterback, Chase Garbers, was only 9-22 for 129 yards and one touchdown.
“We have to play better. It starts with me. I just have to put the ball in the right spot.” Garbers said.
The Golden Bear defense was active as well. California had six sacks and also forced two turnovers.
Any win is a good win, but being held to just three points in the final three quarters is something that has to concern California head coach, Justin Wilcox.
California will head to Ole Miss next week. If the Bears can come out like they did on Saturday it can be a competitive game with Mississippi. Consistency will be the key for the Bears next week.
The rest of the Pac-12:
Oregon rolled over Montana at Autzen. Oregon State got in the win column with a rout of Cal-Poly. Utah destroyed Idaho State. Washington sent Hawaii back to the islands with a blowout win. Stanford looked like they didn’t belong on the same field as UCF. UCLA is just a disaster right now with the loss to powerful Oklahoma.
Pac-12 Conference games are in the front view window and it’ll be an interesting show. Will it be a usual blood bath or will a team separate themselves out and coast to a Pac-12 Championship?