Trojans’ late rally tops entertaining opening week of Pac-12 football

by Kevin Nesgoda

The long wait for Pac-12 football season did not disappoint, unless you happened to be a fan of either of the four teams who had games canceled due to COVID-19. But even those fans had to appreciate a wildly entertaining first weekend of conference games, with one thrilling comeback in Los Angeles, a high-scoring affair in Boulder, business as usual in Eugene, and an upset in Corvallis.

I was more than happy with the product on display Saturday, despite not getting a chance to see my Huskies in action (thanks, City of Berkeley). But, thanks to my fellow Pac-12 colleagues, we had the entire weekend covered for you. Let’s look back at a great opening weekend.

USC 28, Arizona State 27

The Trojans gave up an alarming 258 yards on the ground, turned the ball over four times and trailed 27-14 with three minutes to play … and still won. I’m not sure if this says more about the Trojans’ resolve or the inability of the Sun Devils to close out a big game. Either way, it was one heck of a way to start the conference schedule. Kedon Slovis (381 yards, 2 TD) hit two big scoring plays in the final minutes to give USC the come-from-behind win, but poor tackling and ball security were an issue the Trojans will need to address if they want to avoid another scare. Cliff Gibson


Oregon 35, Stanford 14

Oregon beat Stanford 35-14 Saturday afternoon in Eugene behind new Ducks quarterback Tyler Shough, who threw for 227 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. CJ Verdell had a game-high 105 rushing yards and 1 TD on 20 carries, while Shough added 85 yards and a score of his own on the ground. Oregon’s presumed fourth-string tight end—DJ Johnson—led the offense with five catches and a TD. Mykael Wright, Noah Sewell, and Deommodore Lenoir impressed on defense; holding Stanford backup Jack West to 154 yards. The Cardinal jumped out to a 7-0 lead before conceding 28 straight points while senior Jet Toner missed four field goals. Charlie Folkestad


Colorado 48, UCLA 42

In what may have been the most entertaining game of the weekend, a couple of Colorado debuts were the key to the Buffs’ thrilling win over Chip Kelly and the Bruins. Jarek Broussard ran for 187 yards and three scores in his first career start and QB Sam Noyer looked great in his first start for the Buffs, passing for 257 and rushing for 64 more with two total scores. Colorado ran up 525 yards of offense on the night. The Bruins, meanwhile, erased a 35-7 deficit after some incredibly sloppy play but could never overcome a minus-4 in the turnover column, despite 412 yards and 5 total TDs from QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. – Cliff Gibson

Washington State 38, Oregon State 28

There were things to be encouraged about for both sides, the first being that Wazzu has found a quarterback in true freshman Jayden de Laura. The new Cougar offense seemed to have many of the same characteristics that we’ve become familiar with and the Cougs established a solid run game despite the absence of Max Borghi. The Beavers continue to have reason to be optimistic about their offensive development. Jermar Jefferson had some special flashes in his performance, going for 170 total yards and 3 TDs on the day. QB Tristan Gebbia looked capable as well and spread the ball around well to a lot of solid options at receiver. The offensive line play wasn’t great for Oregon State, but they still managed to stay in this game until the end. Reid Tingley

CANCELED – California vs Washington, Utah vs Arizona


Rankings

Oregon moved up a spot in this week’s AP Top 25 to #11, while USC held firm at #20. Arizona State, California, Utah, and Washington all received votes.


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