In the first PAC-12 Week 1 Review, Utah were the team to get week 1 underway in front of a record crowd at the Rice-Eccles Stadium. 51,511 fans saw the Utes beat FCS team Weber State 40-17, with lots to like going forward into the week 2 match-up at BYU. Charlie Brewer had a steady debut for the Utes with figures of 19-27, 2 touchdowns and an interception. It could have been so much better if TJ Pledger and Cole Fotheringham hadn’t dropped catchable balls in the end zone. TE Dalton Kincaid did catch a touchdown from Brewer, he also caught another in the 4th quarter from 2nd string QB Cameron Rising, who came in for a couple of plays.
Devin Lloyd had another stellar game on defence, with a career high 12 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and an interception on the day. Tavion Thomas also had a day, rushing for over 100 yards with a couple of scores. Utah is being tipped by a lot of people to win the PAC-12 South. There is room for improvement, but a solid start in week 1 has got the ball rolling.
Another early Friday Morning (BST) match up saw Arizona State run out 41-14 winners over Southern Utah. The damage came on the ground, with 222 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns from 40 combined carries. Rachaad White and Deamonte Trayanum both ran in two scores each 58 and 52 rushing yards respectively. Fans might be concerned with the lack of passing game, but when your running backs are hot, you feed them the ball. QB Jayden Daniels only threw the ball 12 times, connecting with his targets 10 times for 132 yards. More will be needed from him in future games but I wouldn’t be too concerned after week 1.
The Sun Devils defence did show up, picking off the Southern Utah QB 3 times, 2 of them from LB Darien Butler. They also forced a fumble in the first quarter which was recovered by D.J Davidson. All in all it was an okay performance from the Sun Devils. The special teams unit will need to cut out the sloppy mistakes that were on show. Next week they welcome the UNLV Rebels to Temple.
Colorado ground out a 35-7 win over Northern Colorado of the Big Sky Conference. The Buffs started slow and didn’t make a dent in the score until the second quarter. It had to be Jarek Broussard with the first score of the new season. The 1 yard score was the Sophomore running backs only TD of the night, but rushed for 94 yards from 15 carries. Freshman Brendon Lewis started his first full game for the Buffaloes at QB and there were signs that they could be on to a winner. Yes, he only connected 10 times from 15 attempts, but he looked composed in the pocket. His only TD was a beautiful 17 yard throw on the run.
The defence was solid, managing to shut out the Bears up until near the end of the 3rd quarter, their only score of the game. This was helped when Colorado CB Mekhi Blackmon picked off QB Dylan McCaffrey in the end zone. It was a satisfactory performance across the board for the Buffaloes. A trip to Denver next week to face top 6 ranked Texas A&M is a daunting task. More will be needed, but they will travel with some momentum.
A week 1 to forget for Stanford as they went down 24-7 to Kansas State of the Big 12. The main talking point was QBs Tanner McKee and Jack West splitting time, neither player doing enough to demand the starting job. David Shaw said after the game that neither QB was at the level we needed them to play, an understatement to say the least. If it wasn’t McKee not getting the snap off in time, resulting in burned time-outs, it was West throwing interceptions. If your passing game isn’t at it, you could do with the run game being active. The Cardinal had a total of 39 rushing yards from 22 attempts, I think the numbers say it all.
The defence did well to hold the Wildcats to just 24 points. The main highlight coming from CB Kyu Blu Kelly who acrobatically intercepted a pass in the end zone. Stanford needs to put this game in the rear view mirror and move on quickly. It’s hard to do that when you don’t know who your number 1 QB is heading into week 2. It doesn’t get any easier, a short trip to play USC is next.
Oregon rallied late to beat a plucky Fresno State 31-24 and avoid an upset. The Ducks started the game like it was going to be anything but close. The defence came up big early with two forced fumbles from Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell, both leading to eventual scores. 14-0 and it looked like a matter of how many points would Oregon win by. The turning point came when star defensive end Thibodeaux was taken off injured, followed by linebacker Dru Mathis.
The defence stalled after that and the Bulldogs fought back, and took the lead 24-21 at the beginning of the 4th quarter. The defence stepped up again when Justin Flowe forced another fumble which resulted in a field goal, tied game. The offence then clicked, going 63 yards on 6 plays to give the Ducks the lead. In his first career start for Oregon, QB Anthony Brown finished 172 passing yards and 56 rushing yards with a pair of touchdowns, one of which came from a 30 yard run which was the winning score. It wasn’t a pretty win for Oregon, but they got the job done. The offence got loose late and the Thibodeaux injury doesn’t seem like it will keep him out for week 2. All good news for their trip to college football powerhouse Ohio State.
USC came out triumphant in their season opener 30-7 against San Jose State. The Trojans scored 2 touchdowns and a field goal in the final quarter to shake off a resolute Spartan team. San Jose State never looked like winning despite the deficit never being more than 2 scores until the 4th quarter. This was due to a dominant USC defence. Drake Jackson set the tone with an early interception in the opposition half, resulting in a highlight reel touchdown catch from Tahj Washington. Although the Trojans offence only scored 2 offensive touchdowns on the day, they put up decent numbers.
Drake London, one of the best wideouts in the country, had 137 reception yards on the day. It’s a big year for QB Kedon Slovis, the USC Junior was put under pressure all game, but dealt with it well, finishing the game 25-36 with 263 passing yards and 2 scores. The third TD of the game had to come from the defence, who were great all game. Safety Greg Johnson picked off the Spartan QB and ran it back 37 yards to give USC a 23-7 lead. Another touchdown followed soon after to cap a satisfactory performance on offence. Stanford up next at the Coliseum and another strong performance should see another win.
Oregon State lost its 6th consecutive season opener, going down to Purdue 30-21 in Indiana late Saturday night. The result was no reflection on how bad the defence was, which had one of their best games. It was all on the offence. Not only lack of it, but putting the Beavers defence in tough situations. Sam Noyer had a first game as starting QB for OSU to forget. The Senior had figures of 10-21 and 94 yards with 1 interception, before being pulled late in the 3rd quarter. Chance Nolan came in and led the Beavers on 2 touchdown drives in the 4th quarter.
As mentioned the defence played good football, keeping the score to within a touchdown at half time and only a field goal in the third quarter. In the 4th the defence couldn’t hold out anymore, conceding two touchdowns to a quality offence who will put up bigger numbers in most games. One of the 4th quarter touchdowns was a result of giving the Boilermakers good field position. The Beavers gambled on 4th down, it didn’t pay off resulting in a turnover on Oregon State’s own 37 yard line. Week 2 the Beavers travel to Hawaii, with questions at quarterback for HC Jonathan Smith.
In what was supposed to be a standard win for Washington, the Huskies went down 13-7 in a shock loss to Montana of the FCS. It’s hard to say if the Huskies looked past the Grizzlies, with 3 of the teams starting receivers on the side lines. Rome Odunze was in uniform but unused, while Terrell Bynum and Jalen McMillan were not suited up. Would it have made a difference to a lacklustre offence that did start the game with a 78 yard opening touchdown drive. Most of the damage was done on the ground, before Dylan Morris sneaked in the TD. That’s about as good as it got for Washington, with Morris throwing 3 interceptions on the night.
The defence played well enough to think they would come out on the winning team, holding Montana to just 10 first downs. TE Cade Otton had 82 receiving yards, but the Huskies lack of third down completions on top of the turnovers cost them the game. After what should have been a 1-0 start, Washington travel to Michigan to take on the Wolverines. They will need to be much better on offence to come away with a win.
UCLA followed up their week 0 win with an impressive 38-27 win over 16th ranked LSU. There will still be doubters about this Chip Kelly team, but they are answering them the best way they can by winning games in style. The running game was on full show again for the Bruins. As they did against Hawaii, Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown ran all over the Tigers, putting up 208 yards combined and a touchdown each. Dorian Thompson-Robinson doubled his passing yards from last week. On 16 targets, DTR had 260 yards on 9 completions.
Still lots of room to improve going forward, but a big step was taken from week 0. Greg Dulcich is a player making noise in Pasadena. The TE had a 117 yard game, mainly thanks to a 75 yard touchdown that was a thing of beauty. The defence can’t be forgotten about either. They continuously made life hard for the LSU QB, with pressure, hits and sacks. They even maintained the Tigers running game to 49 yards from 25 attempts. Lots of positivity on the Bruins team and more can be expected. Fresno State up next and the momentum is going to be hard to stop.
Arizona came up short, losing 24-16 to BYU in Jedd Fisch’s debut as Wildcats HC. In what will always be a loss on paper, Arizona showed signs of being a much more competitive team under Fisch. The defence looked far from the team that had conceded an average of 40.2 points in their previous 12 losses under previous HC Kevin Sumlin. Holding a strong BYU offence to just 69 yards in the first quarter and just 368 yards on the day. QB Gunner Cruz started his first full game after his transfer from Washington State. He was shaky at times, being sacked 4 times, twice in the red zone.
His numbers were okay for a junior on his first start, 34-45 for 336 yards, 1 touchdown and an interception. Lots to be positive about going forward with Cruz. The score would have been even closer if kicker Lucas Havrisik hadn’t left 6 points on the field, with two missed field goals. Stanley Berryhill III had his first 100 yard game, the Junior made some key catches from his 12 receptions. It’s a promising start for Arizona under Fisch, even in a game they lost. Onto the next one at home to a tricky San Diego State team.
Justin Wilcox lost his first non-conference matchup as the California HC, losing 22-17 to Nevada. The Bears stormed out the blocks in the 1st quarter, with two touchdowns to put them up by 14 entering the 2nd quarter. Then the offence disappeared. Cal had 3 drives all resulting in 3 and outs in the 2nd quarter. The second half a total of 187 yards from 6 drives, resulting in 1 from 2 field goals, an interception and a turnover on downs. Nevada put up 22 unanswered points before the converted field goal.
QB Chase Garbers was numbers were 25-38, 177 yards, 1 TD and I INT, 69 of those yards came in the 1st quarter. He looked flustered as soon as the Wolfpack defence brought pressure. The defence kept Nevada to under 400 yards and safety Miles Williams got a cross to the sideline well to pick of Nevada QB Carson Strong just before the goal line. Wilcox will look at the 1st quarter as a positive going into week 2, but there is some big concerns. A trip to Texas to face TCU isn’t going to be easy.
A late Utah State TD handed the Cougars a 26-23 loss in their home opener. Washington State found themselves 23-11 up just inside the 4th quarter, but gave up 15 points in the last 6 minutes to throw away the victory. It’s been a turbulent few months for HC Nick Rolovich, with his anti-vaccination stance, this loss against a FCS team they should be beating will not ease any pressure. The starting QB situation was answered when Jarett Guarantano trotted out for the first drive, he didn’t last long. The senior suffered an injury when sacked for a safety on his fourth drive.
In came Jayden De Laura, they guy most people would be the starter. He wasn’t much better, hitting a completion rate of 54.6% and throwing for 1 touchdown. This wasn’t helped by the offensive line, who allowed too much pressure on the QBs. The defence was good, up until the 4th quarter. The Cougars gave up 439 total yards, 148 of them coming in the 4th quarter. Max Borghi started this season well after an Injury in 2020, rushing for 86 yards and 1 touchdown. The TD was an impressive 64 yard score. The Cougars play Portland State next and an impressive performance will be expected.