It's a light week in the Pac-12, with only 8 of 12 teams in action, and for the third week in a row, only 1 conference game. And for the second week in a row, all the games are on Saturday. It does mark the substantial end of non-conference games, with only a few left after this weekend.
The weekend does include a rare Idaho-Washington challenge, with 2 cross-border games, though not including Boise St. Too bad the Broncos couldn't hook up with Eastern Washington to make it a tri-fecta.
The Bengals are off to a good start, albeit against Division II opponents, with their latest win a 29-3 win over Western St. of Colorado. In a familiar theme, Idaho St. is yet another team with a quarterback that can and will air it out in Justin Arias, who put the ball up 53 times last week, completing 36 of them for 429 yards and 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions. Cameron Richmond caught a dozen of those, for 152 yards and 1 of the scores. There's seemingly no end to the gunfighter types in the west, making them dangerous in any contest.
The Huskies are building up some steam of their own though, after a 34-24 win over Illinois at Soldier Field. It was Washington's first non-conference road win in over 6 years.
There's still some question about how good the Illini are, but there's no doubt about Washington's offense. Keith Price completed 28 of 35 passes in Chicago, 80%, for 342 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Bishop Sankey rolled up 271 combined rushing and receiving yards, and a touchdown in each category. Sankey's 208 rushing yards on 35 carries made him the nation's leading rusher.
The Bengals will be looking to make a game of it, and the Huskies will be working to put the game out of reach as quickly as possible.
The other early afternoon game of the day has Utah St. (2-1) at USC (2-1) at 12:30 PM PDT. It's a split ABC/ESPN2 game, and one of the best matchups of the weekend, one that may sneak up on a lot of folks. ABC will have the coverage in the west, southwest, and lower midwest, while the east, southeast, and upper midwest will have it on ESPN2. Purdue and Wisconsin is the mirror game.
The teams haven't meant since 1989, but the matchup has probably never been better.
The Aggies blew out their second opponent in as many weeks, disposing of their cross-valley FCS neighbors from Weber St. 70-6, one upping Utah in the process (the Utes routed the Wildcats 70-7 the week before). Chuckie Keeton threw for 5 touchdowns, and lead the Utah St. offense that rolled up 587 yards, and is now 8th in the country in scoring, and 15th in passing.
Meanwhile, the Aggie defense has moved up to 13th in total defense.
The Trojans got their offense squared away once they settled on Cody Kessler at quarterback. Kessler completed 15 of 17 passes, for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns, in USC's 35-7 win over Boston College. The Trojans also ran for another 257 yards and 3 more scores, with Tre Madden leading the way with 102 yards, and Justin Davis right behind with 96. Both had touchdowns as well.
Another solid effort by the USC defense has them up to 8th in the nation in points allowed, and 4th in total defense.
The Sun Devils got a gift when they got an officiating gaff at the end of the game that denied Wisconsin a shot at makeable game winning field goal, and as a result escaped with a 32-30 win.
Marion Grice led Arizona St. in rushing with just 84 yards, but came up big in the red zone, with 4 touchdowns. The Sun Devils needed that efficiency, as though Taylor Kelly threw for 352 yards, he only completed 29 of 52 throws, and none went for scores.
The number Stanford will latch onto was Arizona St.'s defense allowing 231 yards rushing, including 193 by the Badgers' Melvin Gordon, including 2 touchdowns.
The Cardinal gradually pulled away from 1 dimensional Army for a 34-20 win at West Point. Kevin Hogan only threw for 188 yards, but for 3 touchdowns, spread across 3 different receivers, with Ty Montgomery getting 130 of the yards, and 1 of the scores. Tyler Gaffney balanced things out for Stanford, with 132 yards and a touchdown, on 20 carries.
Once Stanford opened up their lead, lacking an effective passing game left the Black Knights in no position to rally.
This could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship game, or at least a game that has a lot to do with whether one of these teams will be able to make a run at the title game.
The Beavers led most of the way, but then came from behind multiple times, including in overtime, to defeat Utah 51-48, behind a 443 yard, 5 touchdown performance by Sean Mannion. As a result, Oregon St. leads the nation in passing, and Mannion is #2 in the country in passing yards, and Brandin Cooks, who had 9 catches for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the game winner, is #2 in the nation in receiving yards.
So much for the theory of needing to run the spread to run an air raid offense.
The Aztecs had last weekend off to recover from back to back large double digit losses to start the season. The last one was at #4 Ohio St., but the other was against FCS Eastern Illinois.
San Diego St. coach Rocky Long, a former Oregon St. assistant, declared his team a bad team, though he admitted he didn't know why. No one else does either, given 9 off 11 starters returned on the Aztec defense was a strength of the team that won the Mt. West Conference last year.
All of a sudden, they find themselves 118th in scoring defense, and 121st in scoring.
The Utes came close to the win against Oregon St. in large part because Travis Wilson completed 19 of 33 passes, for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also ran for another 142 yards, and 3 more scores, on 13 runs. Had Wilson not thrown 3 second half interceptions, on for a pick-6 in the opening minute of the third quarter, Utah probably would be in the lead of the Pac-12 South, and be ranked.
Utah's pass defense may have been torched by Mannion, but the Utes only allowed 48 rushing yards, improving them to 14th in the nation.
The Cougars had the weekend off to continue to celebrate their 40-21 win over Texas, as well as prepare for the Utes.
BYU ran for more yards than anyone ever has against the Longhorns, piling up 550 yards. Quarterback Taysom Hill accounted for 259 of them, and 3 touchdowns, (OMG, ANOTHER mobile quarterback), but Jamaal Williams added 182 more, and Paul Lasike added 87. The Blue Cougs ran the ball 72 times, and ran 99 plays. Contrast that with Oregon St. having run 73 total plays against Utah in a game that went overtime, and Mannion threw 45 passes.
At the very least, the Utes will face a VERY different looking offense this week than they did against the Beavers.
This will be the last game in the Holy War series for a few seasons, with Utah stepping away from the rivalry for a couple of years.
Pac-12 Channel Chasing
Despite 4 games being picked up by the primary national carriers, there is still a Pac-12 channel conflict, and no availability of one game in its entirety in Oregon in Washington for those who do get the Pac-12 channel, but only 1 of them.
New Mexico St. (0-3) visits UCLA (2-0) at 7:30 PM PDT, and the Pac-12 Channel will have the game, except not in Washington and Oregon unless your provider and package includes both your regional channel and the national channel.
The Aggies have been soundly beaten in every game, with a 42-21 loss to UTEP their latest defeat, though they did come closer to the MIners than in their previous outings. New Mexico St. has a quarterback tandem, if not a controversy, using both Andrew McDonald and King Davis III. They are 106th in rushing and 114th in scoring, which is a bad combination with a defense that's 126th and last in the FBS in points allowed.
The Bruins rallied from 18 points down midway in the second quarter in Lincoln with 38 unanswered points to thrash Nebraska 41-21. It was a hugely emotional win for the entire UCLA program, which dedicated the effort and the win to receiver Nick Pasquale, who was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while he was walking in his hometown the Sunday before. It came just a day before the Bruins traveled to San Clemente, Calif., for Pasquale's memorial service.
Brett Hundley completed 16 of 24 passes, for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns, and ran for 61 more yards, and Jordon James ran for 105 yards and a score, exactly half or the yards and touchdowns UCLA ran for.
This game should be a blowout of an exercise for UCLA before the Bruins open conference play next week at Utah.
The other half of the Idaho-Washington Challenge has neighborhood rivals meeting for the first time 6 years, as Idaho (0-3) makes the 10 mile trip to Pullman to take on Washington St. (2-1, 1-0) at 7:30 PM PDT. The Pac-12 Washington and Oregon channels will have the coverage, and there will be a replay at 12:30 AM PDT on Sunday on all the Pac-12 channels.
The Vandals finally were in a game late after having been blown out of their first 2 games on the road. Idaho was tied with unbeaten Northern Illinois in the 4th quarter of their home opener, before the Huskies pulled away for the 45-35 win.
Idaho had a balanced attack, as Chad Chalich threw for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns, and a half dozen Vandals combined for nearly 200 rushing yards. But the Idaho defense, which is 120th in the country in points allowed, gave up over 500 yards to Northern Illinois. In yet another saga of mobile multi-threat quarterbacks, the Huskies' Jordan Lynch threw for [only] 152 yards, but 3 touchdowns, and ran for 159 more yards, as well as 2 more scores, one covering 61 yards.
The Cougars rolled to a 48-10 win over FCS Southern Utah, as Connor Halliday had a big day, completing 32 of 41 passes for 383 yards and 5 touchdowns.
But while the "Air Raid" might have been finally taking off, the notable news might be that the Cougar defense, which was almost single handedly responsible for the win the week before over USC in the Coliseum that put Washington St. in first place in the Pac-12 North, turned in another strong game. The Cougs only gave up 219 yards to the Thunderbirds, including only 74 on the ground. And Southern Utah was trying to run the ball, with 34 carries. The Washington St. defense allowed only 2.1 yards per run.
Further, the Cougs are 23rd in the country in points allowed, 11th in total defense, and #1 in the nation in passing defense. Don't look now, but Mike "We Win With Defense" Leach might just have something going on the Palouse!
Washington St. has won 70 of the 90 meetings, and 3 more games ended in ties, and Idaho hasn't handled the Cougs since a 38-34 win in 2000. If Wazzu can get Halliday going, the Cougs should continue their dominance.
BYE Heavily Scheduled
Four teams are taking the week off.
Arizona (3-0) completed their non-conference campaign with a solid 38-13 win over UT-San Antonio. The 'Cats got 128 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns from Ka'Deem Carey, and 161 total yards, and are preparing for a trip to Washington next weekend.
California (1-2) was down 21-0 to Ohio St. 6 minutes into the game, and never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way, eventually falling 52-34. Jared Goff aired out the ball 53 times for the Bears, completing 31 of them for 371 yards, making him the nation's leading passer, yardage wise.
Colorado (2-0) had their game against Fresno St. postponed due to the effects of flooding in much of their state, and especially on and around campus. A makeup could come either on championship weekend in early December, or even a week later, the weekend of the Army-Navy game.
Another possibility for the Buffs is dropping Fresno St., and picking up Hawaii, who shares an open date on Oct. 12, and is eligible to play 13 games in the season, but only has 12 on their schedule. Reports are Colorado has put out a $600,000 offer to the Rainbows to make it happen.
The Buffs already had a bye scheduled this week before heading to Oregon St. next week.
#2 Oregon (3-0) saw visiting Tennessee score first, and the Vols got the last touchdown of the game as well. In between, the Ducks ran off 59 consecutive points, as Marcus Mariota completed 23 of 33 passes, for 456 yards and 4 touchdowns, and also ran for 1 of the 4 additional rushing scores Oregon tallied. 8 Ducks combined for 216 yards on the ground.
California heads to Oregon next weekend for the conference opener for both teams.
Here's the complete National TV Guide, with the times adjusted for east coast bias.
Week 4 TV Line Up and Game Lines
|North Carolina at Georgia Tech||
||GT -6.5 (59)||12:00 PM|
|San Jose St. at Minnesota||
||MN -4 (51)||12:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech at Kansas||
||KU -10.5 (50.5)||12:00 PM|
|Marshall at Virginia Tech||VT -9.5 (49)||12:00 PM|
|Florida A&M at Ohio St.||
||OSU -49 (55.5)||12:00 PM|
|Western Michigan at Iowa||IA -16.5 (47)||12:00 PM|
|Idaho St. at Washington||UW -50 (--)||3:00 PM|
|Michigan St. at Notre Dame||
||ND -5 (42)||3:30 PM|
|Tennessee at Florida||
||UF -16 (45.5)||3:30 PM|
|Purdue at Wisconsin||
|UW -22.5 (48.5)||3:30 PM|
|Utah St. at USC||
|USC -6.5 (49.5)||3:30 PM|
|Arkansas at Rutgers||RU -2.5 (44)||3:30 PM|
|West Virginia vs. Maryland
(at Baltimore, MD)
|MD -5 (54)||3:30 PM|
|Kent St. at Penn St.||PSU -22 (53)||3:30 PM|
|South Dakota St. at Nebraska||NE -20.5 (--)||3:30 PM|
|Maine at Northwestern||ME -28 (--)||3:30 PM|
|UL-Monroe at Baylor||
||BU -30.5 (75.5)||4:00 PM|
|Arizona St. at Stanford||
||STAN -6.5 (52.5)||7:00 PM|
|Colorado St. at Alabama||AL -38.5 (51)||7:00 PM|
|SMU at Texas A&M||
||A&M -27.5 (78.5)||7:00 PM|
|Texas St. at Texas Tech||
||TTU -27 (58.5)||7:00 PM|
|Auburn at LSU||LSU -17 (54)||7:45 PM|
|Kansas St. at Texas||
|TX -6.5 (59)||8:00 PM|
|Michigan at Connecticut||
|UM -19.5 (51.5)||8:00 PM|
|Utah at BYU||
||BYU -7 (62.5)||10:15 PM|
|Wyoming at Air Force||WYO -4 (66.5)||10:15 PM|
|New Mexico St. at UCLA||
||UCLA -42.5 (67)||10:30 PM|
|Idaho at Washington St.||WSU -31 (58.5)||10:30 PM|
Finally, we are faced once again by unfortunate reality, as Minnesota coach Jerry Kill has had another seizure. The Daily Gopher is doing their best to make it a positive, and do something about it. It's the approach a footballer takes. Go Gophers!