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.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss (Again. Sorry.)
It’s my piece of advice to the Pac-12 teams who lost this week. You all had chances to win, you all had moments of glory, but now, you wake up Sunday morning and realize that it’s all gone. And now, those teams have a hard road toward another win. For Cal, Colorado and Wazzu, that means missing out on a bowl game after a strong nonconference. For Oregon State that means falling backwards into the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
But there’s still a lot of season left for those four teams. So don’t cry because that first part of the season is over, be happy that — it seems like — significant rebuilding is happening in your programs.
Taylor Kelly is in midseason form, and he let the Cougars know it throughout the first half. It’ll take a thorough assault to defeat this Mike Leach-led team, and an assault is what Kelly gave them — scoring twice on the ground early and tossing four TDs before halftime. Down 42-7, Wazzu scored twice to pull within a manageable 21-point deficit, but D.J. Foster collected his second touchdown dart from Kelly to put the Cougs away. The ASU defense kept WSU on their own half for all but two of the remaining plays, punching the Sun Devils a ticket to bowl season.
USC went out and got a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter, looking much like the Trojans of old as Marqise Lee went yard on a pass from Cody Kessler. Within a minute in the second quarter, the tides started to turn as Ryan Murphy returned a Kessler interception to the house to tie the game at 14. However, the USC defense and run game worked the Beavers after this point and took a 21-14 halftime advantage to a 31-14 final.
It wasn’t as easy as a win over the floundering Bears probably should have been, but after the 8:19 mark in the first quarter, B.J. Denker made sure the Wildcats never trailed. Denker scored four times — thrice on the ground — and outperformed his Cal counterpart through the air to lead Arizona to a bowl-clinching win. Said counterpart found Kenny Lawler three times towards the end, each time to pull within 5, but nation-leading running back Ka’Deem Carey’s 152 rushing yards were enough to keep Arizona just out of reach.
The Cal safety and the 53-yard Arizona field goal helped a bit too.
Colorado led twice, 3-0 and 10-7, making it appear that UCLA’s Stanford-and-Oregon hangover would continue punishing. But Brett Hundley’s three first-half touchdowns meant UCLA would never again trail, and two unanswered third-quarter touchdowns for UCLA put the Buffs away. Devin Fuller’s three touchdowns were excellent, but Hundley led all rushers in addition to only throwing five incompletions and the sophomore QB scored four times. This is a better Colorado team, you can sense it in the fight that they continue to bring every week, but it’s still not good enough to keep a very good UCLA team from clinching a bowl game.