For the second time in three weeks, Oregon St. fans only have other people's football games to watch this weekend. Fortunately, even those that don't live in a Pac-12 cable carrier market and have not switched to Dish Network yet can still fill every tv slot with a game, starting with another Friday night game, and including the first conference game of the season.
There are only 3 games on the Pac-12 channels, and only 1 overlap, this week. 2 games involve FCS opponents, and the third, winless Houston. So there's not much leverage for advancing the conference network's distribution this week, as all the attractive games have been picked up by the established carriers.
The Cougars got a 60 yard field goal as the first half ran out from Andrew Furney, and still had to hold off a last ditch drive to hold off FCS Eastern Washington 24-20. Washington St.'s first win of the Mike Leach era came despite getting out-passed and out-gained, and almost out-rushed, by the pass-first Eagles from the Big Sky. Eastern Washington was within inches of completing a touchdown pass at the end that would have given them consecutive wins over FBS teams to open their season.
The Rebels haven't left Sam Boyd Stadium yet, but being at home hasn't done any good. Northern Arizona, another Big Sky team, came back from a 2 touchdown deficit early in the second quarter with 17 unanswered points. Andy Wilder's 33 yard field goal with 12 seconds left clinched the 17-14 win for the Lumberjacks, their first over an FBS team in 25 years. This is the same Northern Arizona team that Arizona St. blew out of Tempe by a 63-6 score a week earlier.
The only way Washington St. should be in trouble here is if quarterback Jeff Tuel, who had to leave the Eastern Washington game with an injury to his right knee, can't go, in which case Connor Halliday will get the call. Halliday completed 5 of 11 passes in relief of Tuel against the Eagles.
The Bears ran off a 20 point second quarter after stumbling through the first period, but still found themselves up only 20-17 on FCS Southern Utah after 3 quarters. California pulled away to a 50-31 win over the Thunderbirds, another Big Sky team, but it took a 61 yard pick-6 by Marc Anthony, and a 69 yard punt return by Keenan Allen to do so.
The Bears rolled up 518 yards, including a much more reasonable 104 yards rushing from Isi Sofele than he had in the opener, but gave back 106 of those yards on a dozen penalties. Meanwhile, the Cal defense was getting sliced up by the Thunderbirds' Brian Sorensen, who completed 31 of 45 passes, for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Its going to take a much, much better effort if the Bears are going to have any luck in the Horseshoe.
The Buckeyes got nearly 300 yards of offense from Braxton Miller, who completed 18 of 24 passes for 155 yards and touchdown, and also ran for 141 yards and 3 scores on 27 carries, in the process of beating Central Florida 31-16. Meanwhile, the Ohio St. defense was picking off 3 passes.
The Golden Eagles topped 40 points for the second time this season in defeating North Greenville 42-14. The Crusaders are a Division II program. Tennessee Tech, from the Ohio Valley Conference, posted a 7-4 record last year, but this is an FCS team taking on the 3 time Pac-12 defending champions.
The Ducks fell behind 3-0 against Fresno St., but then ran off 5 consecutive touchdowns before halftime, as both Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas scored twice. The Bulldogs fought back like bulldogs, outscoring Oregon 22-7 the rest of the way, but it was too little too late, and the Ducks claimed the 42-25 win.
Barner ran for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns on 34 carries, while Thomas rolled to 102 yards on just 7 rushes. Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 27 passes to 9 different receivers, for only 166 yards, and a touchdown, and no interceptions, and also ran for 67 more yards, on 14 carries.
However, there is some bad news for Oregon, who lost both offensive lineman Carson York for the season to a broken knee cap, and safety John Boyette, who is also out for the year, needing surgery on the patella tendon in both knees. Both were 4 year starters for the Ducks. WR Josh Huff may also miss this week with a sprained knee.
This won't matter against Tennessee Tech, but count on coach Chip Kelly to use the second half of the game to work on getting some replacements ready.
The Vikings dropped a 45-37 decision at North Dakota, a fellow FCS Big Sky team, though the game wasn't a conference game, having been on the schedule before the Big Sky assimilated the Great West Conference. Kind of like when Cal and Colorado played a non-conference game last year.
Its a homecoming for Portland St. head coach Nigel Burton, as well as Viking assistant coaches Lester Towns and Ikaika Malloe, who are all Washington Alums.
The Huskies were humbled 41-3 in Baton Rogue by LSU. The Tigers didn't take kindly to Washington opening a 3-0 lead not a minute into the game, rolling up more yards on the ground (242) and in the air (195) than the Huskies did altogether (183).
The Viking game has become a vitally important exercise to get the Washington offensive line patched together before a run of games against 4 more ranked teams in a row, against Stanford, Oregon, USC, and Arizona, and then Oregon St., because right now, the Huskies can't run the ball, and can't protect Keith Price.
The Sun Devils demolished an Illinois team 45-14 that was playing without injured dual threat quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. But while Scheelhaase is the Illini's best rushing threat as well as their air attack, he doesn't play pass defense. Neither did anyone else for Illinois, as Taylor Kelly completed 18 of 24 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown in his first start, and head coach Todd Graham's other quarterback, Michael Eubank came off the bench to go 5 for 5 for another 69 yards, including an additional pair of touchdown tosses.
The Tigers looked good early in their SEC debut, taking 4 different leads on #7 Georgia in Columbia. But the Bulldogs came from behind 4 times, and then ran off 24 unanswered in the last 16 minutes of the game, pulling away to a 41-20 win that exposed Missouri's lack of depth, at least by SEC Championship Game contender standards.
It was the second consecutive impressive win for Graham and the Sun Devils, but this will be when we learn how good they really are. It's their first road game, and their first one against quality competition. Arizona St. edged Missouri 37-30 in overtime last year in Tempe, when the Tigers were in the Big 12, but have never won in the state of Missouri. The Sun Devils have also never beat an SEC team, going 0-5 in their history.
Its the first conference game of the season, an honor (and a ratings magnet) that USC had had the honor of for the second season in a row. It's also the "Battle of all Evil", at least as far as California fans are concerned, but that might be a bit harsh for the Pac-12's only private institutions.
The Trojans were somehow seen as struggling after the first quarter in the Meadowlands against Syracuse ended 0-0. Once Matt Barkley got warmed up though, he sliced up the Orangemen, completing 23 of 30 passes, for only 187 yards, but a career high 6 touchdowns, including 3 to Marqise Lee, and 2 more to Robert Woods. Woods was also USC's second leading rusher, with 76 yards, while Silas Redd posted his first hundred yard game as a Trojan, rushing for 107 yards in the 42-29 win.
USC center Khaled Holmes did suffer a significant ankle injury though, and that's a serious problem heading into Palo Alto.
The Cardinal forced visiting Duke into a 3 and out, and then got a 76 yard punt return for a touchdown from Drew Terrell. Stanford never looked back, running off the games' first 23 points, and opening 3rd quarter leads of 37-3 and 43-6, before finally blowing the Blue Devils out 50-13.
Josh Nunes only completed 16 of 30 passes, but threw for 3 touchdowns. Stanford got positive rushing yards from half a dozen players, and catches from nine, while the Cardinal defense picked off 3 passes, one for a 71 yard touchdown by Kyle Olugbode.
The Buffs blew an early 2 touchdown lead, and a 4th quarter lead, becoming the second Pac-12 team to get stung by Sacramento St. of the FCS Big Sky in as many seasons when the Hornets buzzed off with the win on the the last play of the game. This time it was a 30 yard field goal by Edward Castaneda, his third of the game, that caused Colorado to lose 30-28.
The Buffs were badly out-passed, but also out-rushed, and out-possessed, and their first ever loss to an FCS foe might have Colorado fans calling for second year coach Jon Embree to be ousted.
The Bulldogs got 115 yards rushing from Robbie Rouse against Oregon, and Rouse added another 27 on 5 catches. Derek Carr will also air it out against the Buffs, having thrown 47 times against the Ducks, completing 29. A dozen of them were to Davante Adams.
Fresno St. has only ever beaten Colorado once, out of 5 tries, but they have never played in the San Joaquin valley. That one win, by the way, was engineered by a Carr, Derek's older brother David, in 2001, a 24-22 Bulldog victory.
The Holy War took on a decidedly different feel when the Utes lost quarterback Jordan Wynn to yet another surgery requiring shoulder injury, this one not just a season ender, but a career ender, in the first half of what would turn out to be their first loss to Utah St. since 1997, and their first in Logan in 16 years.
Especially with the Cougars looking to atone for last year's 54-10 blowout loss in Provo.
The Aggies broke their 12 game losing streak against the Utes with a 27-20 win in overtime. Utah St. took a 13-0 first quarter lead that it took Utah until late in the third quarter to erase, and went up 20-13 early in the 4th quarter.
With Wynn out, Jon Hays found Kenneth Scott for the game tieing 24 yard touchdown with just over 3 minutes left, but a potential game winning 52 yard field goal as time ran out missed. It took Kerwynn Williams 2 tries to score from the Utah 1 yard line, but the second shot at it gave Utah St. a 27-20 lead that the Aggies were able to make stand up.
An offensive pass interference penalty cost the Utes a touchdown catch by Jake Murphy, and when Hays couldn't connect with DeVonte Christopher on 4th down, the Aggies had their biggest win so far this century.
The Cougars won another in the state of Utah showdown, walloping Weber St., an FCS Big Sky school, 45-13. BYU's Riley Nelson completed 18 of 29 passes, for 244 yards, in a short night, and the Cougars went on to eventually pile up 532 total yards, more than twice what the Wildcats were able to amass.
BYU got rushing production from 10 players, and catches from an even dozen. They did have a pair of turnovers, though, and the cause of last year's Holy War massacre was 7 Cougar turnovers.
Fans wanting to watch the game might miss enough of the start to miss whatever decides it by the time the Sun Devils and the Tigers get done. That would be especially disappointing for Oregon St. fans, since the Beavers have a trip to BYU and a visit from Utah coming up back to back in mid-October, and this is a great chance to scout both teams.
The Bulldogs from the FCS Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) took a 14-0 first quarter lead in their conference opener, but then saw Bethune-Cookman come charging back, running off 27 unanswered points to take the 27-14 win.
South Carolina St. completed only 8 of 28 passes, and that won't be nearly enough to keep up with the 'Cats, now that Rich Rod seems to have his offense in gear.
The Wildcats shrugged off the 14-0 lead Oklahoma St. opened less than halfway through the first quarter, and responded with 30 consecutive points of their own.
The Cowboys rallied back within 2 points, trailing only 30-28, and then to within 37-31 on a field goal 6 seconds before the third quarter ran out. But Arizona pulled away to a 59-38 win that avenged blowout losses last year in Stillwater and in the 2010 Alamo Bowl, both by more than 3 touchdowns.
Matt Scott completed 28 of 41 passes, for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, and ran for another 55 yards and a score, on 19 carries. Ka'Deem Carey contributed another 126 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26 carries, and also added 28 yards and a 4th. score receiving.
Oklahoma St. did rack up a staggering 636 yards on the Arizona defense, 436 in the air, but 4 turnovers, 3 on interceptions, while Arizona was playing turnover free football, were too much to overcome.
This will be the final tune up for the 'Cats, before facing the Ducks and the Beavers the next 2 weeks, followed by an October schedule that has Stanford, Washington, USC, and UCLA on it.
The Cougars scored 2 touchdowns in the last 5 minutes, and 15 points in the fourth quarter, to make it close, but never caught Louisiana Tech, ultimately losing 56-49 in a defenseless battle that saw the teams combine for just 9 yards short of 1,300 yards.
The game saw 78 of the 179 plays run produce first downs! Houston quarterback David Piland threw 77 passes, completing 53 of them for 580 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Combined with Bulldog quarterback Colby Cameron, there were 129 passes thrown without any interceptions!
Clearly, the Cougars can move the ball enough to be a threat to anyone, with the 4th ranked passing offense in the country. But can they keep up, given that the Houston defense has given up 86 points and 1,042 yards in their 2 losses.
The Bruins upset Nebraska in a 36-30 shootout behind great performances by both Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin. Hundley completed 21 of 33 passes, for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns, and ran for 53 more yards on a dozen carries. Franklin caught 3 of those passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, and also ran the ball 26 times for 217 yards, earning him the Pac-12 offensive Player of the Week award.
UCLA rolled up 653 total yards, which overwhelmed a pretty good 439 yard night by the Huskers, and helped the Bruins hold the ball for more than an extra quarter (+ 15:20 time of possession edge). New Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has had the UCLA offense top 640 yards in both of their first 2 games.
There's still concern for the Bruin defense against prolific opposition though; Nebraska's Taylor Martinez threw for 179 yards, including 108 to Kenny Bell, and ran for 112, and Ameer Abdullah added 119 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Last year's game was a 38-34 Cougar win, and that might prove to be a relatively low scoring contest, compared to what could happen Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.
Here's the complete, national schedule, with start times adjusted to Eastern Daylight Time, for those with an East Coast Bias.