The PAC-12 Week 2 Review sees a battle of the hunt animals, The Wolverines sharpen their claws and The Cougars win again.
In one of the games of the weekend, Oregon secured a victory with a 35-28 upset win. Most thought this was going to be an Ohio State win, more so when defensive players Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe were slated not to play 30 minutes before kick off. Oregon were having none of that, the offence and defence showed up and took the game to the Buckeyes. Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead had a game plan that the opposition had no answer for until late in the game. On the ground they punished Ohio State, with CJ Verdell having a storming game. The Junior running back rushed for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns, one a scintillating 77 yard score. On top of that he had 34 yards receiving and a touchdown.
Anthony Brown looked composed in the pocket, more so in the first half before the Buckeyes started bringing more pressure. The defence was outstanding. I wish I had more words available to talk about every player on that side of the ball, they really were excellent. Special mentions to Noah Sewell, Mykeal Wright and DJ James, but for me safety Verone McKinley III was superb. He made a couple of important plays on the ball to stop big catches and he had the only interception of the game. This is a massive win for not only Oregon, but the PAC-12 as a conference. Next week they must not overlook a team they should beat in Stony Brook.
California slipped to 0-2 with a 34-32 loss to TCU, but played well in defeat. Although they played well in defeat, Cal did leave points on the field. on the first drive, the Bears were at the TCU 7 yard line on 4th and 1, instead of adding the field goal they chose to go for it and came up short. They missed an extra point from the first touchdown and that resulted in two attempts at 2 point conversions later in the game, both failing.
It’s easy to say Cal should have won this game with hindsight, but it was still a much better performance than last week against Nevada. Chase Garbers finished with figures off 16 from 27, 309 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns, one of them was a 54 yard pass to receiver Trevon Clark. That was one of Clark’s two receptions on the day for 122 yards. Cal running back Damien Moore had a good day, with two touchdowns and 71 yards. Another loss for the Golden Bears but some positivity. A win should be coming their way when they play Sacramento State at home next week.
In a low scoring and sloppy game, number 5 ranked Texas A&M saw off Colorado 10-7 in Denver. The PAC-12 outfit may feel hard done by, but the offence couldn’t capitalise on the defence putting them in positions to go win the game. People will argue that the big factor of the game was when Aggies starting QB Haynes King left the game with an injury in the first quarter, replaced by Zach Calzada. Maybe correct, but the Buffs can only make life difficult for whoever’s behind the opposition offensive line. They did that constantly. Up until the start of the 4th quarter, the Colorado defence held Texas A&M to 73 passing yards and 49 rushing yards.
Couldn’t ask for much more from the defence, with linebacker Nate Landman leading the team with 10 tackles, all solo. The offence just didn’t build on their decent showing in the first half. After Jarek Broussard’s touchdown capped a 69 yard scoring drive, then a 53 yard drive that resulted in a missed field goal from the next drive, Colorado fell flat. The Buffaloes accumulated 57 total yards on offence in the second half. QB Brendon Lewis was only sacked once, but he had pressure coming from all over. He also missed a few throws that should have been completed. A bad day for the offence and I’m sure Karl Dorrell and Colorado will know they should have come away with a famous win. Another tough game at home to Minnesota 6pm (BST) next week.
Washington State bounce back from a opening week loss, with a comfortable 44-24 victory over Portland State. The game was really put to bed in the first half, with the Cougars putting up 30 points, most of them coming from Jayden De Laura. The sophomore QB, threw for 2 touchdowns and ran a 10 yard score in himself. De Laura who got the start after an injury to Jarrett Guarantano last week, took his opportunity. On the day he had stats of 21-29, 303 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception.
Two of those touchdowns were hauled in by Travell Harris. The third was De Laura’s first, a lovely grab from Calvin Jackson Jr. over the top of the defender and he managed to tap his toes down in the back of the end zone. The running game was effective too, with Max Borghi and Deon McIntosh rushing for over 50 yards and a score. The defence did well for most of the game, but still they were still some concerns how easy the Vikings moved the ball at times. Its a step in the right direction for Rolovich’s team. Next up is a home game against USC.
Washington fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2008, after a convincing 31-10 loss to Michigan at The Big House. Looking at the box score, you can tell where this game was won and lost. The Huskies gave up 343 yards rushing on the day and only 44 yards passing. It was like GroundHog day. Constantly the Wolverines handed off the ball to their running backs and gained yards. It was a throwback performance of a dominant run game, where Washington had no answers. What Michigan did well, the Huskies did not do well.
Managing only 50 rush yards from 32 carries, a problem that needs to be addressed quickly after only 112 yards on the ground in two games. Morris had 293 passing yards on the day, but Washington failed to score on its seven first half drives. The first points arriving from a field goal late in the 3rd quarter. The only thing to take from the game was to see wide receiver Terrell Bynum on the field, who caught 5 passes for 115 yards and a 4th quarter touchdown. Lots of concerns going into week 3 against Arkansas State. Jimmy Lake needs to regroup and get this team playing like we know they can.
Arizona losing streak was extended to 14, after a 38-14 loss to San Diego State in their home opener. The wildcats were looking to build on their positive performance in their loss to BYU in week 1. It couldn’t have got off to a worse start for Jedd Fisch and the Wildcats. 8 minutes in and Arizona were 21-0 down. Either side of a 3 and out from the Wildcats, the Aztecs gave up a 55 yard rushing touchdown and a 73 yard play that led to another touchdown. Then another 3 and out resulted in a blocked punt, that was caught and run back for another touchdown. Sloppy play all around in that first quarter from Arizona.
The Wildcats struck back with a 43 yard touchdown from Stanley Berryhill II, who shrugged off tackles and sped off into the end zone, all his own work. That was Gunner Cruz’s only meaningful play, the freshman was replaced by Will Plummer midway through the 3rd quarter. Plummer threw for 109 yards and a touchdown in his time on the field. The Aztecs stuffed the Arizona run game to only 49 yards. A big step backwards for the Wildcats, who will go into their third and final non conference game against Northern Arizona next week. Can they snap the losing streak?
Utah’s streak in this rivalry game finally came to an end, with a 26-17 loss to BYU. It was a closely fought game, but the Utes just came up short in some of the key areas. First they had two turnovers to the Cougars 0. One of them a fumble from Tavion Thomas resulted in a field goal. It also killed a drive where Utah had started from their own 2
yard line and was about to get a first down near the 50 yard line, when Thomas didn’t secure the ball well enough and lost the ball through contact. The other key areas were first downs and possession of the ball, again Utah just fell short to BYU on both. A key back to back possession that could have seen the victory head back to Utah, happened late in the 2nd quarter. At 4th and 2, Utah had the ball on the BYU 8 yard line. Micah Bernard failed to convert, which led to a turnover on downs. BYU stormed 93 yards down the field to score, to take the lead to 16-7 before the half. Small margins were the difference is a great game of football. Utah will need to pick themselves back up when they travel to play San Diego State in week 3.
After a slow start, Arizona State finally put to bed UNLV in the second half, with a 37-10 victory. A poor first half showing saw the Sun Devils go in at the half with a lead of only 4 over a poor Rebels team. They came out in the second half a lot better and outscored the opposition 23-0. When quarterback Jayden Daniels finally got it going, he started making plays we know he’s capable of. Daniels finished the day with 175 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also had 122 yards on the ground, a career high for him.
Running back Rachaad White added another 2 rushing touchdowns to this season’s tally, along with 90 rushing yards. White who arrived from JUCO in 2020, is really becoming a player to watch in this Sun Devils offence. Although the defence stuttered in the first half, the offence was decent enough. Second half they were even better, limiting UNLV to just 14 yards on offence. Arizona State travel to BYU next week, who are 2-0 against PAC-12 opposition this season. A slow start like this against the Cougars could put them in a hole early.
Oregon State beat Mountain West outfit Hawaii 45-27, in an impressive performance on offence. The Beavers had 558 offensive yards on the day and scored on their opening 4 drives of the game, the first 3 drives all touchdowns in the 1st quarter. Running back B.J. Baylor was the star of the game. Baylor had 171 yards from 18 carries and 3 touchdowns, one of them a 66 yard score. Chance Nolan got the start ahead of Sam Noyer, who was replaced last week for Nolan in the loss to Purdue. In his 4th year, Nolan stepped up and performed well. He ended the game with figures off 21 from 29,
302 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns. Freshman Anthony Gould had his first 100 yard game and scored his first touchdown, in only his second start in college football. The defence were good in the first half, but may have taken their foot off the gas, conceding three touchdowns in the second half. A good performance from the Beavers, especially on offence. Next week they are at home again, against Idaho.
In the first in conference game of the season, Stanford caused a shock with a 42-28 win over USC at the Coliseum. Stanford head coach David Shaw, who was indecisive on his starting QB in last weeks loss to Kansas State, put the faith in Tanner McKee who did not disappoint. McKee carved the USC defence open, a defence who looked like a stubborn unit in last weeks victory.
Nathaniel Peat at running back, rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown. They only had a further 26 yards to add to the rushing total, but had further touchdowns from Isaiah Sanders and from quarterback McKee. Those 15 yards from Peat only came from 6 carries, mainly thanks to a 87 yard score in the 1st quarter. The USC defence helped Stanford at times, with penalties that handed the Cardinal extra yards that extended drives.
Stanford plays hard ball
Stanford’s defence made it hard for USC to get any rhythm going on offence. The Trojans had more possessions, first downs and more yards on the day than the Cardinals, they just couldn’t move the ball like they are use to in the first half. USC was always in touch with Stanford, never being more than 11 points behind. They cut the deficit to 8 points early in the 3rd quarter and forced a punt from Stanford on the next play.
It looked like the tide was turning in favour of the Trojans. Any sort of momentum was shut down when USC QB Kedon Slovis through an off target pass to Drake London. The ball slipped through his hands and was picked of by corner back Kyu Blu Kelly, who ran it in for the score. Two USC three and outs and two Stanford possessions later, the cardinal led by 29, thanks to touchdowns from McKee and Sanders. The game was over. USC rallied with two late touchdowns from Drake London and Darwin Barlow. Lots to digest for Clay Helton before their trip to Washington State. Stanford will want to build on this when they travel to play Vanderbilt of the SEC.
Written by Jordan Merritt @jordm87