Everybody is back in action in the Pac-12 this week, and the action starts Friday night.
Washington (6-3, 3-3) visits #13 UCLA (7-2, 4-2) in another unusual 6 PM Friday night game, and it's ESPN2's Friday Night featured game. It's also a "Black-out" for the Bruins, who will wear all-black uniforms, and are asking their fans to do so as well.
The Huskies hammered Colorado 59-7, as Bishop Sankey ran wild, for 143 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Keith Price completed 22 of 29 passes, for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he did it all in the first half. Up 31-7 at the break after a Price to Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown toss 2 seconds before halftime, Washington didn't throw the ball in the second half.
The Huskies still rolled up 628 yards, and scored the fifth most points they have in any game since 1945.
Safe to say the Huskies ran the Buffs right into Lake Washington.
The Bruins overcame an ever growing list of injuries to hold off Arizona for a 31-26 win in Tucson.
Already without Jordan James, when Damien Thigpen got hurt, UCLA turned to freshman LB Myles Jack. Jack had 8 tackles, including 1 for a loss, 2 pass breakups, and a fumble recovery in the Bruin end zone as the UCLA defense staged a goal line stand, which would have been worthy of a Pac-12 Player of the Week honor on defense, but instead, the conference picked Jack as the Offensive Player of the Week after he ran for 120 yards, including the 66 yard 4th quarter touchdown that proved to be the game winner.
Meanwhile, Brett Hundley was completing 18 of 25 passes for 227 yards, and 2 touchdowns, and running 14 times for 56 more yards.
Of note, Washington hasn't won in the Rose Bowl since 1995. A road breakthrough would be huge for the Huskies.
Saturday starts off at Noon in Tucson (11 AM PST), when Washington St. (4-5, 2-4) visits Arizona (6-3, 3-3), for an equally rare mid-day game in the desert, something possible only late in the season. The Pac-12 Channel picked the start time to start off their triple header.
The Cougars had the week off to recover after being torched 55-21 by the Sun Devils on their own field Halloween night.
The Washington St. defense gave up 557 yards, as Taylor Kelly accounted for 7 touchdowns, throwing for 5 and running for 2 more.
Connor Halliday threw for 300 yards, but that only gave them 302 total yards for the game.
The WIldcats came up short against UCLA despite Ka'Deem Carey carrying 28 times, for 149 yards, his 12th 100 yard rushing game in a row, and B.J. Denker scrambling for 82 yards more, as well as throwing for a pair of touchdowns, both to Nate Phillips, who had 97 yards receiving.
But Denker threw his second interception of the game with 1:46 left, ending the 'Cats nearly game long comeback efforts.
Hundley hit Shaquelle Evans for a 66 yard touchdown on the next play after Jake Smith's field goal had given Arizona their only lead of the game in the first 4 minutes of the game, and UCLA never trailed again, even though the 'Cats pulled within 5 points or less 3 different times after having been down by double digit margins both times.
Utah (4-5, 1-5) visits #6 Oregon (8-1, 5-1) for an unheard of (any more) 1 PM game, and Fox Sports 1 has the coverage. It's the first meeting between the Utes and the Ducks since Utah joined the Pac-12.
The Utes carried a 19-7 lead into the 4th quarter against Arizona St., but gave up 2 touchdowns to Taylor Kelly, 1 running and 1 on a pass to Richard Smith for the game winning score with 2:37 to go.
Travis Wilson still had trouble with his injured hand, completing just 6 of 21 passes, for only 121 yards. And 2 of the 6 went for touchdowns, 2 of the other 15 were intercepted.
The Ducks saw all but the remotest of hopes for a trip to the BCS National Championship Game, and even most of their chances for a trip to the Pax-12 Championship Game, get trampled by Stanford last Thursday night.
Marcus Mariota did throw for 250 yards, and 2 4th quarter touchdowns as Oregon rallied late, only to come up seconds short of another possession, and therefore unable to try to come all the way back from being down 26-0, falling instead 26-20.
But Mariota was no threat to run, and was off all night with his passes, missing numerous opportunities to keep drives alive, and even put points on the board. A sprained MCL was a factor, and one that got worse as the Stanford pounding wore on.
The good news for Duck everywhere is Mariota says he will play, and well, against the Utes.
Better news would be if Byron Marshall, De'Anthony Thomas, and Thomas Tyner could combine for more than the 78 rushing yards the Cardinal defense held them to. Utah's defense's charge is to approximate what Stanford did.
California (1-9, 0-7) visits Colorado (3-6, 0-6) at 3:30 PM MST (2:30 PM PST) for potentially the "Last-Place Bowl", and the Pac-12 Channel will be there to see which team gets their first (and possibly only) conference win of the season.
The Bears got blown out again, losing to visiting USC 62-28 in their final home game of the year, after trailing 55-14 by the middle of the 3rd quarter.
Special teams breakdowns had a lot to do with it, as the Trojans got 2 punt returns for touchdowns, and added a 3rd touchdown on a blocked punt.
Interestingly, both passing and rushing yards were comparable between California and USC, and the Bears actually had fewer penalties and penalty yards. California didn't commit any turnovers either.
But a 6 of 17 3rd down conversion rate resulted in the Bears being ineffective offensively except for a pair of early second quarter touchdowns that briefly pulled them back within 21-14. But the Trojans answered with 34 consecutive points in 15 minutes to put an early end to things.
The Buffs' Sefo Liufau found Paul Richardson for a 53 yard first quarter touchdown that pulled them within 10-7, and Christian Powell did run for 73 yards, but the Washington defense was otherwise overwhelming.
Fortunately for Colorado, California won't be nearly as daunting defensively. However, Richardson is questionable due to an ankle problem, which would severely hamper Liufau and the Buffs offense.
It's an interesting contest in that Colorado hired former San Jose St. coach Mike MacIntyre after California passed over him, over the objections of many of their fans and their local media, opting instead for Sonny Dykes. Losing this one could not only lead California to a 1-11 season (their only remaining game will be at Stanford), it could cost Athletic Director Sandy Barbour her job.
The Cardinal once again rode Tyler Gaffney for most of their offense. Gaffney ran for 157 yards, on an unbelievable 45 carries. The 10 day break had to have felt good, and is also crucial in getting ready for another physical opponent in the Trojans in the Coliseum.
The Stanford defense was the other star of the game, holding the Oregon rushing game that was averaging 331.5 yards rushing per game to only 62 yards on the ground. Shayne Skov led that defense, with a team high 9 tackles, 2 of which were for losses, 2 forced fumbles (even if one that probably saved a touchdown might have been a questionable officiating decision), a fumble recovery in the Cardinal end zone that was part of another goal line stane, 2 hurries of Mariota, and a pass deflection.
That resulted in Skov being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.
The Trojans' Nelson Agholar took Cal's first punt of the game back 75 yards for a touchdown not 2 minutes into the game, and USC never looked back.
Another 93 yard punt return shortly before halftime made it 41-14 USC at the break, and sewed up the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week honor.
Sophomore Javorius Allen continued his rapid ascent, running for 135 yards, his career best to date, and 2 touchdowns, Cody Kessler had an accurate day at the Bear's expense, completing 14 of 17 passes, to 9 different receivers, for 2 touchdowns, with no interceptions.
Ty Isaac added another 87 yards, and 2 more scores.
Since Oct. 26 against Utah, 'SC suddenly looks a lot like 'SC. And this is a must win game for Stanford, or all they accomplished against Oregon will be for naught. The Cardinal's "magic number" to clinch the Pac-12 North is 2, whereas Oregon's is 4. But Stanford can only assure 2, since the Cardinal's last game is a non-conference contest when Notre Dame visits. Lose either at USC or (less likely) at home against Cal in the still moderately important game, and the Ducks, who can deliver 3 of the 4 they need, would then be back in control of their own path to the conference championship game.
The Beavers had last week off, after losing to USC 31-14 to open the month. It was also the second game in a row when Sean Mannion, who leads the nation in passing yards, and had led in touchdown passes, threw for only 1 touchdown. And Brandin Cooks has only caught 1 touchdown pass in each of those games, which has dropped him to second in the nation in TD passes.
Oregon St. downed Arizona St. 36-26 last year, and has won 4 of the last 5 meetings, but only once, in 2009, since 1969 in Tempe.
The Beavers will probably need the Mannion to Cooks connection to reconnect more often tonight to take another win out of the desert.
The Sun Devils' come back win over the Utes' was their 10th win in a row over Arizona St. Kelly was substantially contained, with minus total rushing yards, though he did run for the 2 touchdowns besides the 1 he threw for.
Marion Grice had another solid game in support of Kelly though, rushing for 136 yards on his 20 carries, and also added 4 catches for 20 more yards. Grice hasn't scored a point in the Sun Devils' last 2 wins, but still leads the country in rushing points per game.
It could come down to whether it's Cooks or Grice that breaks out of their scoring "slumps".
Here's the full national Saturday schedule, still with Eastern Bias Time Zone times:
|TIME||ROAD TEAM||HOME TEAM||NETWORK|
|Noon ET||No. 17 UCF, 7-1||Temple, 1-8|
|Noon ET||No. 3 Ohio State, 9-0||Illinois, 3-6|
|Noon ET||Indiana, 4-5||No. 22 Wisconsin, 7-2|
|Noon ET||Iowa State, 1-8||No. 18 Oklahoma, 7-2|
|Noon ET||West Virginia, 4-6||Kansas, 2-7|
|Noon ET||Troy, 5-5||Ole Miss, 6-3|
|Noon ET||Purdue, 1-8||Penn State, 5-4|
|Noon ET||Cincinnati, 7-2||Rutgers, 5-3|
|Noon ET||Central Michigan, 3-6||Western Michigan, 1-9|
|12:21 p.m. ET||Kentucky, 2-7||Vanderbilt, 5-4|
|12:30 p.m. ET||NC State, 3-6||Boston College, 5-4|
|12:30 p.m. ET||North Carolina, 4-5||Pittsburgh, 5-4|
|12:30 p.m. ET||FAU, 3-6||Southern Miss, 0-9|
|12:30 p.m. ET||Maryland, 5-4||Virginia Tech, 7-3|
|1 p.m. ET||Akron, 3-7||UMass, 1-8|
|1 p.m. ET||Columbia||Cornell|
|1 p.m. ET||Yale||Princeton|
|2 p.m. ET||Washington State, 4-5||Arizona, 6-3|
|2 p.m. ET||UAB, 2-7||East Carolina, 7-2||ULive ($)|
|2 p.m. ET||UL Lafayette, 7-2||Georgia State, 0-9|
|2 p.m. ET||North Dakota State||Youngstown State|
|2 p.m. ET||Northern Iowa||Missouri State|
|2 p.m. ET||Weber State||Montana||Max Media|
|2 p.m. ET||South Dakota State||South Dakota||Midco|
|3 p.m. ET||Idaho State, 3-7||BYU, 6-3||BYUtv|
|3 p.m. ET||UConn, 0-8||SMU, 3-5|
|3 p.m. ET||Chattanooga||Samford|
|3 p.m. ET||Illinois State||Southern Illinois|
|3 p.m. ET||Howard||Texas Southern||Local channel (KHOU)|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 12 Oklahoma State, 8-1||No. 24 Texas, 7-2|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 16 Michigan State, 8-1||Nebraska, 7-2|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 23 Miami, 7-2||Duke, 7-2|
|3:30 p.m. ET||No. 25 Georgia, 6-3||No. 7 Auburn, 9-1|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Syracuse, 5-4||No. 2 Florida State, 9-0|
|3:30 p.m. ET||TCU, 4-6||Kansas State, 5-4|
|3:30 p.m. ET||South Alabama, 3-5||Navy, 5-4|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Michigan, 6-3||Northwestern, 4-5|
|3:30 p.m. ET||Eastern Washington||Cal Poly|
|4 p.m. ET||Utah, 4-5||No. 6 Oregon, 8-1|
|4 p.m. ET||Sam Houston State||Southeast Louisiana|
|5:30 p.m. ET||California, 1-9||Colorado, 3-6|
|6 p.m. ET||Northern Colorado||Northern Arizona|
|7 p.m. ET||Florida, 4-5||No. 10 South Carolina, 7-2|
|7 p.m. ET||Houston, 7-2||No. 20 Louisville, 8-1|
|7 p.m. ET||Texas Tech, 7-3||No. 5 Baylor, 8-0|
|7 p.m. ET||Colorado State, 5-5||New Mexico, 3-6|
|7 p.m. ET||Louisiana Tech, 4-5||Rice, 6-3|
|7 p.m. ET||Memphis, 2-6||USF, 2-6|
|7:30 p.m. ET||Texas State, 6-3||Arkansas State, 5-4|
|7:45 p.m. ET||No. 1 Alabama, 9-0||Mississippi State, 4-5|
|8 p.m. ET||No. 4 Stanford, 8-1||USC, 7-3|
|8 p.m. ET||FIU, 1-8||UTEP, 1-8||UTEPAthletics.com|
|8 p.m. ET||Northwestern State||McNeese State|
|9:30 p.m. ET||Oregon State, 6-3||No. 19 Arizona State, 7-2|
|10:15 p.m. ET||Wyoming, 4-5||Boise State, 6-3|
|10:30 p.m. ET||San Diego State, 5-4||Hawaii, 0-9|
|10:30 p.m. ET||San Jose State, 5-4||Nevada, 3-7|