Colorado, Oregon, USC all 2-0 after second week of Pac-12 action

by Kevin Nesgoda


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For the second straight week, two games were canceled due to Covid-19, but this time around, teams were able to plan ahead and save a pair of teams from having to stay home again. UCLA and Cal, scheduled to face Utah and Arizona State, respectively, instead faced off with each other Sunday. It was another entertaining weekend of games, with three of the five coming down to the final possession.

Here’s a rundown of the last weekend’s game from the Pac-12:

USC 34, Arizona 30

USC survived yet another early season scare from an Arizona school, narrowly escaping against the Wildcats, 34-30 on the road. A week ago, USC nearly fell to Arizona State in the first conference test of the season. Amon-Ra St. Brown’s late catch inside the 10-yard line set up the game-winning 8-yard touchdown run by Vavae Malapeai to give the Trojans the lead with 25 seconds left in the game. Arizona’s Grant Gunnel went 24/36 for 286 yards, three TDs, and a pick; while Kedon Slovis threw 30/43 for 325 yards and one score. – Charlie Folkestad

UCLA 34, Cal 10

UCLA overcame a slow start to pull away big from the Golden Bears. Dorrian Thompson-Robinson looked great for the Bruins, while his opposition in Justin Wilcox’ defensive unit was underwhelming. The Cal offense led by Chase Garbers wasn’t much better. Of course, there were many strange circumstances with this matchup with it being played on Sunday and not even announced until mid-week. We’ll learn a lot more about whether this result was an outlier or an accurate representation of both programs as conference play moves forward. Cal particularly will have to rebound quickly if they want to restore their preseason status as a dark horse in the Pac-12 North race. Meanwhile, UCLA gets to see if they are for real next week when they travel to Eugene to meet the defending conference champs.  – Reid Tingley

Colorado 35, Stanford 32

For a second straight week Colorado was able to hold off a late rally and are now 2-0 and tied for the South Division lead. QB Sam Noyer (291 total yards, 4 TD) and RB Jarek Broussard (121 yards) proved their debuts were no fluke, putting up points with ease against a ragged Stanford defense. The Cardinal dropped to 0-2, largely in part to a porous defense, sluggish run game (70 yards on 21 carries) and an inability to threaten downfield. Davis Mills passed for 327 yards but needed 56 attempts and 31 completions to do so. Stanford also struggled on third down, converting just 5/16 attempts. – Cliff Gibson

Oregon 43, Washington State 29

This was one of those games that offered encouraging signs for both teams. The Cougs hung with the conference’s best for 3 quarters and moved the ball on a talented Oregon defense. On the other side, Oregon exorcised some of their own demons from the past 5 years of this matchup. The Ducks turned the ball over 3 times early but showed the ability to turn it around and pull away late. Oregon is going to need to show some defensive improvement, particularly in their tackling, if they want to reach their ceiling as a playoff contender. However, many other teams around the country have shown defensive struggles early this year as a result of the abnormal offseason. Also, don’t look now, but Rolo has Wazzu looking like a top 3 team in the North in just his first season. – Reid Tingley

Washington 27, Oregon State 21

The Jimmy Lake era started with a win, but it wasn’t pretty. The Huskies fell behind on the first series when a high snap on a punt led to a scoop-and-score by the Beavers. A strong running game enabled Washington to get in front before the end of the opening period, and never trail again. Oregon State managed just 252 total yards and lost two turnovers. The Huskies ran for 267 yards, converted 8/16 third downs and did not turn the ball over. Redshirt freshman Dylan Morris got the start for UW, completing 14/24 for 141 yards. Sean McGrew ran for 91 yards and a score. — Cliff Gibson

Rankings

Oregon remained at #11 and USC stayed at #20 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll. Utah, Washington and Arizona State received votes.

Next Week (All games on Saturday)

UCLA at Oregon, TBD

Cal at Oregon State, 12:30 pm

Arizona at Washington, 5 pm

USC at Utah, 7:30 pm

Washington State at Stanford, 8 pm

Arizona State at Colorado — Canceled (Covid-19)

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