After 3 weeks of having double digit games involving Pac-12 teams to choose from, there are only 4 remaining non-conference games the entire year (half for Oregon St.; the other half involving Notre Dame), and only 5 games, all conference contests, this week. And another rarity, all the action is on Sat
The Beavers got good results from spending an extra half week on preparation for Wisconsin, and are counting on a repeat of that affect this week. Being fully healthy, including the return of safety Anthony Watkins, will be helpful as well. Especially given the changes made to the defense, including some dime coverage, as well as more nickel, under new secondary coach Rod Perry.
Oregon St. is also looking to reverse a 2 game losing streak against UCLA, which cost the Beavers a bowl game in 2010, and was instrumental in the Bruins getting to one in 2011.
The Bruins dominated a toothless Houston Cougar club, rolling to a 37-6 win. Brett Hundley threw for 320 yards, but he did complete on 27 of 42 throws, and also tossed as many interceptions as touchdowns. Johnathan Franklin led a strong UCLA rushing attack though, with 110 yards on 25 carries. As a result, he's the nation's leading rusher heading into this week's action.
Collectively, the Bruins rumbled for 247 yards on 56 rushes, which helped UCLA hold a 22 1/2 minuted edge in time of possession, effectively stifling the Houston offense.
It's not only a ground game with the Bruins though, as Hundley has UCLA ranked 19th in the country in passing yardage. Something has to give between the suddenly re-energized Beaver defense and the highly effective Bruin offense.
The Buffs were run out of town by Fresno St. The Bulldogs roared out to a 35-0 first quarter lead, extended their advantage to 48-0 by the middle of the second period, and cruised to a 69-14 win that has Colorado coach Jon Embree squarely on the hot seat. The Buffs gave up a staggering 665 yards, and compounded the problem with 4 turnovers. There is nothing whatsoever about this debacle that is a positive for Colorado.
Now they face a Washington St. team that snatched a win from them last year in Boulder when Marshall Lobbestael hit Marquess Wilson for a 63 yard game winning touchdown with a minute left in the game.
The Cougs got their second win of the season when Connor Halliday, who was filling in for Jeff Tuel, who was a game time scratch with a sprained knee, threw for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Washington St. to a 35-27 win over UNLV in Las Vegas. Halliday has only had 2 starts in his career, but has delivered the win both times.
The always informative Mike Leach didn't address whether Tuel or Halliday, or both will get the start, but finding that out might be the most interesting aspect of this game.
The Bears blew two leads, one in the fourth quarter, as well as seeing what was a tie game late in the 4th quarter turn into a 35-28 loss in Columbus to an Ohio St. team they could have beat. It wasted a spectacular 160 yard effort by Brendan Bigelow on just 4 carries, including an 81 yard run that involved spinning out of a tackle, one of the best plays of the day.
California was brutalized by the Big-10 officiating crew, both by what they called and what they didn't, but the Bears made too many unforced errors to be able to upset a top 20 opponent on the road.
The Trojans saw their National Championship prospects, and Matt Barkley's Heisman Trophy hopes, take a considerable hit when Stanford upset them 21-14. Barkley completed only 20 of 41 passes, and none went for scores, while the Cardinal picked off a pair of them. More importantly, with center Khaled Holmes sidelined, USC was only able to run for 26 net yards, while the Trojan defense was gashed for 202 yards despite putting as many as 10 defenders in the box more times than anyone can recall in any game.
Expect USC to be angry, and take their frustrations out on California, extending the Trojans 8 game winning streak over the Bears, who only have 1 win in the last 11 seasons in this series.
The Utes had to hold off three last gasp plays by BYU, including one after a penalty for fans coming on the field after a potential game tieing field goal was blocked by Star Lotulelei before the play actually ended, even though they had no impact on the play. Fortunately, the football gods over-ruled the referees, and Justin Sorensen's second attempt at sending the game into overtime caromed back off the goal post's left upright, and Utah finally had the 24-21 win in the Holy War.
Utah had to play the game without running back John White IV, who is expected back this week, and only managed to run for 49 yards on 35 carries as a result. But despite that, Jon Hayes, making his first start this season in place of now retired Jordan Wynn, threw for a pair of touchdowns, and staked the Utes to a 24-7 lead by the end of the third quarter, only to see BYU battle back with a pair of final period touchdowns.
The Sun Devils ventured outside of Tempe for the first time this season, and fell to Missouri 24-20. The Tigers jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and held a 24-7 lead after 3 quarters. Arizona St. rallied with a pair of touchdowns in less than 4 minutes, but could never get all the way back. A 4-1 turnover disadvantage was too much to overcome.
The Tigers got the win with a first time starter, Corbin Berkstresser, at quarterback. Arizona St.'s third time starter Taylor Kelly just missed being the game's leading rusher, with 59 yards, but threw a pair of interceptions as part of that turnover deficit, and completed only 14 passes, for just 178 yards.
Arizona St. has won 8 straight in the series, but prior to last year's 35-14 Sun Devil romp in Salt Lake City, the one time WAC rivals hadn't met since 1993.
The 'Cats clobbered FCS South Carolina St. 56-0, as Matt Scott completed 30 of 36 passes, for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns. Arizona rolled up 689 yards while the Wildcat defense was only allowing the Bulldogs 154. SC St. hung in for about a quarter, but melted down in the desert heat after that.
The Ducks also obliterated an FCS opponent, blasting Tennessee Tech 63-14. The Golden Eagles actually got on the scoreboard first, capitalizing on De'Anthony Thomas' fumble on a punt return, but Oregon answered with a run of 7 consecutive touchdowns. Thomas made amends with a 59 yard touchdown run, and 73 yards receiving, including a 49 yard catch and run, and a 16 yard touchdown reception.
Marcus Mariota completed 21 of 28 passes, for 308 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Byron Marshall had the best stat line of any back, running for 125 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, in relief of Kenjon Barner and Thomas.
Arizona makes their first trip outside of Tucson, as coach Rich Rodriguez visits Chip Kelly, matching up the two coaches easily most associated with the run first based read-option spread offenses. What ever the point total over-under is set at, take the over in this one.
The Huskies hammered FCS Portland St., opening a 52-0 lead before the Vikings posted a pair of late scores to make the final 52-13. A 31 point second quarter did most of the damage.
The decimated Washington offensive line, which is down 4 starters since last summer, was the main beneficiary, as the mostly second string, some of whom were making only their second of third start, got almost a complete game of playing together, something they will have to get used to with essentially no backups left, and an upcoming schedule that follows up the visit from Stanford with games against Oregon, USC, Arizona, and Oregon St. in October.
The Cardinal got 153 yards rushing from Stepfan Taylor, and 213 total yards, which earned him Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors, and 6 tackles from defensive end Ben Gardner, including 1 of the 4 sacks Stanford recorded against Barkley, which earned him the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award.
The upset also jumped Stanford from #21 to #9 in the AP poll.
Here's the complete national schedule, adjusted for the eastern time zone, and easterners who can't subtract 3 from a time.