Pac-12 rewind: Goodbyes and gutsy rallies, no-calls, nifty T shirts and intense heat highlight successful Saturday

Recapping the best and worst of Week 2 action across the Pac-12 …

Theme of the week: Sizzling success

The Pac-12 won seven of 10 non-conference games and owns a 20-3 record outside of league play, tops in the Power Five. The Week 2 results included two road wins in Big 12 country (Utah and Oregon) and two home victories over the Big Ten (Colorado and Washington State). Perhaps more importantly, the Pac-12 has avoided taking on bad losses, which can undermine postseason resumes. The three non-conference defeats all came in underdog roles (Arizona, ASU and Cal).

Game of the week: Oregon 38, Texas Tech 30

On a Saturday littered with high-profile matchups, the Ducks’ adventure in West Texas stood as the most entertaining game. It featured three lead changes in the fourth quarter and a 45-yard Pick Six in the final seconds to seal the win. Oregon offset a sloppy performance (14 penalties) with a plus-four turnover margin, and quarterback Bo Nix was masterful. Honorable mention: Arizona-Mississippi State.

Team of the week: Washington State

The day after WSU (and Oregon State) filed a legal complaint against the Pac-12 in an attempt to gain control of the fractured conference, the Cougars took out their realignment frustrations on 19th-ranked Wisconsin and dispatched the Badgers for the second year in a row. “In this moment, it’s everything. We belong in the Power Five,” coach Jake Dickert said on the field following the game.

Coach of the week: Utah’s Kyle Whittingham

Sure, the Utes deserve credit for rallying from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter and scoring two touchdowns in the final minute to beat Baylor. But they did it on the road, in brutal heat and without their starting quarterback (Cam Rising, who’s injured). Much like the comeback in the Pac-12 championship game, this was a culture win that displayed the toughness and resilience at the foundation of Whittingham’s program.

Offensive player of the week: Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders

The junior quarterback threw for 393 yards and two touchdowns in the blowout victory over Nebraska. And before you dismiss the Cornhuskers as an unworthy opponent, know this: Their defense is fairly solid. Yet Sanders picked it apart, completing 74 percent of his passes. Honorable mention/usual suspects: USC quarterback Caleb Williams and Washington quarterback Michael Penix.

Defensive player of the week: WSU’s Ron Stone Jr.

The senior edge rusher was everywhere Saturday as the Cougars overwhelmed Wisconsin’s offense for three of four quarters. Stone produced four tackles and two sacks — plus a slew of hurries — and forced two fumbles as the emotional leader of a relentless front seven.

Indefensible quarter of the week: Arizona’s Jayden de Laura

The hit-and-miss quarterback had plenty of hits in Arizona’s 31-24 overtime loss at Mississippi State, accounting for three touchdowns and 386 total yards. But he also threw four interceptions, with three coming on consecutive possessions in the first quarter. This, from a fourth-year junior who has attempted almost 1,000 passes in his college career.

Travis Hunter snap count of the week: Colorado’s Travis Hunter

Colorado’s iron man played both ways (again) in the 36-14 victory over Nebraska, with three catches as a receiver and four tackles as a cornerback. The Hotline is awaiting word on his official snap count, but the number is likely in the same range as his 129 snaps at TCU.

T shirts of the week: Washington State

In their first home game since the death of Mike Leach, the Cougars honored their former coach in numerous ways, including T shirts featuring pirate swords and the WSU logo. And two of his former players, Ron Stone Jr. and Brennan Jackson, played a huge role in WSU’s victory. In Leach fashion, the Cougars swung their sword.

Debut of the week: Oregon State

The Beavers unveiled a new-look Reser Stadium on Saturday following a $161 million, multi-year renovation project, then demolished UC Davis 55-7 to the delight of the 35,728 in attendance. Tailback Damien Martinez averaged 14.9 yards per carry. Backup quarterback Aiden Chiles threw as many passes (13) as starter DJ Uiagalelei.

Debut of the week II: UCLA’s Dante Moore

The freshman quarterback came off the bench in UCLA’s opener but got the start Saturday at San Diego State and showed off the arm talent that earned him a five-star recognition last year from 247Sports. Moore tossed three touchdowns, but his most impressive throw of the day was an incompletion, as he dropped a perfectly-placed ball over the shoulder and into the arms of a receiver on a deep out route — an NFL throw, for sure. (The receiver stepped out of bounds on the catch.)

Drive of the week: Utah

Down seven with 10 minutes remaining at Baylor, the Utes took possession with redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Johnson in command. Eight minutes and 88 yards later, Johnson charged into the end zone for the tying touchdown. The Utes scored the winner with 17 seconds left, following an interception by star safety Cole Bishop.

Call of the week: Pac-12 officials

Per contractual agreements with the opposition, Pac-12 crews worked the three road games and got the crucial call right in overtime of Arizona’s loss at Mississippi State: Instant replay clearly showed de Laura’s elbow hit the ground before the ball reached the line-to-gain on a desperation fourth-down scramble.

No-call of the week: Pac-12 officials

They were in Waco, as well, and did not call defensive pass interference on Utah during Baylor’s desperation pass into the end zone. We wouldn’t describe the contact as egregious between Utes cornerback Miles Battle and Bears receiver Ketron Jackson, but it was significant. And yellow flags remained in the pockets of the nearest officials. The no-call allowed Utah to survive 20-13.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button