It’s just about reached that time in the college football season when the contenders and pretenders are beginning to separate themselves and the picture of who will be left standing at the end becomes just a bit more clearer. Around the country, another furious slate of games saw #1 Alabama torch #9 Tennessee, #2 Ohio State outlast #8 Wisconsin in overtime, #10 Nebraska and #13 Houston avoid upset-bids from Indiana and Tulsa and in one of the best games of the day, #22 Arkansas upend #12 Ole Miss. The ACC in particular had it’s own weekend of chaos, where upsets (and near upsets) were abound. North Carolina knocked off #16 Miami, Syracuse clipped #17 Virginia Tech and North Carolina State almost pulled off the stunner of the season against #3 Clemson, when a late missed field goal by the Wolfpack brought the game to overtime, which was ultimately won by the Tigers. But enough about those guys, let’s check in on the Pac-12 and see how the week went around the conference.
USC Overpowers Arizona In Tucson, 48-14
The Trojans may not have returned to the USC of old just quite yet but after stumbling out of the gate to a 1-3 start, head coach Clay Helton’s squad has won their last three straight games. Against Arizona, quarterback Sam Darnold was electric, throwing for 235 yards and 5 touchdowns, including connecting with star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for three scores. The Wildcats were unable to slow USC’s offensive attack all day long, as the Trojans took a 34-7 lead into the half and never looked back.
#21 Utah Slips Past Oregon State, 19-14
Fresh off the heels of a stunning overtime win over California, Oregon State took another conference contender to the wire in their match-up against Utah but ultimately fell short in the end. Going forward, the Beavers will have to answer some questions at the quarterback spot as both Darell Garretson and back-up Conor Blount were injured in the five-point loss. Overall, Utah did a solid job of capitalizing on Oregon State’s many mental mistakes in a wind-and-rain soaked game, including some awful special team blunders that sealed the victory for the Utes.
Stanford Outlasts Notre Dame, 17-10
The Cardinal’s new mentality for the season may be “a win is a win” as Stanford needs to simply take the victories however they come. Head coach David Shaw’s team hasn’t scored more than 27 points all season long and through their last three contests, Stanford has averaged an abysmal 10.7 points per game. Not good news for the once perceived challengers to the Pac-12 throne. Fortunately for the Cardinal, they were able to take advantage of Notre Dame’s current all-out free fall, before a home meeting with Colorado awaits them next week.
Washington State Holds Off UCLA, 27-21
The Cougars continue to find ways to win in unique fashion, this time around knocking off a Josh Rosen-less Bruins without throwing for a passing touchdown one single time in the game. It is the first occurrence in 41 games for Washington State that they’ve failed to accomplish such a feat. However, head coach Mike Leach is likely unconcerned with the falling of the record when he commented on his team after the game. “I was proud of our guys for sticking in there,” Leach said. “And playing tough like they did. Because the conditions and our opponent, you have to be tough. We could have finished better but we had a lot of awful good stuff in between to make this happen." For UCLA, the loss drops the Bruins to 3-4 with Rosen’s status still uncertain for next week’s matchup with Utah.
Colorado Dismantles Arizona State, 40-16
It was Phillip Lindsay’s day for Colorado, as the junior tailback rushed for 219 yards and three scores in the Buffs’ thrashing of Arizona State, in a game that definitely proved who is the among the top tier of teams in the Pac-12 South Division. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 4-0 start on the season but have dropped two of their last three (both on the road) which is beginning to signal a bit of a dangerous trend for this team. In this one, Arizona State was haphazard offensively, tallying just 50 rushing yards a team while quarterback Manny Wilkins completed just 13 of his 35 pass attempts for 149 yards.