Here at EDN, we give you a weekly rundown of what happened in the Pac-12 Conference the past weekend, highlighting the big moments that made it another exciting set of games.
“I don’t scratch my head unless it itches and I don’t dance unless I hear some music. I will not be intimidated. That’s just the way it is.” Herman Boone, Remember the Titans
Oregon struggled through one half. Then, they asserted their dominance in a way that set the Pac-12 standings as Oregon…Then The Rest. Again. Oregon made plain: It’s going to take a four-quarter effort for anyone in the nation to beat them. Likewise, USC is not going to go easy into this cold night and Washington is still a force to be reckoned with. And the Arizona rushing game? Still assertive. As Miami and Clemson got tested, Mizzou and Texas Tech lost their perfect season, and the Pac-12 remained competitive.
But they will not be intimidated.
Steady-footed Trojan kicker Andre Heidari didn’t blink and neither did banged-up running back Tre Madden as USC out-gritted Utah in a battle of less-than-100-percent teams. Utah QB Travis Wilson missed the fourth quarter of this one, still struggling from an injury he suffered against Arizona, and as a result the Utes couldn’t muster anything after their first-quarter field goal. Heidari and the Trojans, however, had four field goals in the second and third quarters to put the Utes away.
It doesn’t take too much to topple the floundering Buffs, but if you get 405 yards on the ground alone, you’ve got an advantage. Both B.J. Denker and all-American Ka’Deem Carey piled up at least 100 rushing yards, with Denker nearly reaching 200 rushing yards by himself. The not-exactly-surehanded Denker added 265 yards on 21-of-32 passing, and Carey put up 14 straight points for the Wildcats that ballooned their lead from 27-20 Arizona to a 40-20 stranglehold.
Good god, the second half. UCLA stayed strong on defense throughout the first half and it looked a lot like the Ducks’ disaster against Stanford last year. Jordan Zumwalt was intimidating and Anthony Barr was every bit the “best defender in college” he was made out to be. But UCLA accumulated just 94 total yards in the second half as Nick Aliotti’s bunch completely shut them down throughout the third and fourth quarter.
Washington stopped the skidding slide of three straight losses by beating down on the woeful Bears. The Huskies were led by Keith Price and Bishop Sankey who both accounted for at least 2 touchdowns, putting up silly numbers against the overmatched Cal team. Sankey got back in the conversation of the conference’s best running backs with 241 rushing yards and Price added a ground score to his 20-of-32—376—2 TD air barrage. The Husky defense got gashed by Jared Goff’s return to form, but his 336 yards only turned into one score.
Beavs field general Sean Mannion nearly outgained the Cardinal by himself on Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough as Oregon State’s 1-for-5 performance on fourth down allowed Stanford to close out. It was the epitome of Stanford football, even though David Shaw’s men only held the ball for 21:27, as they simply made less mistakes and rode Tyler Gaffney’s 3 touchdowns to victory. Oregon State’s mistakes caught up to them on the last drives and time ran out on them.