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

WSU honored its former coach in the Cougars’ home opener

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

This week’s theme is “sizzling success.”

The Pac-12 has won seven of its ten non-conference games and has a 20-3 record outside of league play, which is the best in the Power Five. Week 2 results included two Big 12 road wins (Utah and Oregon) and two Big Ten home wins (Colorado and Washington State). Perhaps more importantly, the Pac-12 has avoided bad losses that can hurt postseason resumes. The three non-conference losses came against underdogs (Arizona, ASU, and Cal).

Week’s game: Oregon 38, Texas Tech 30

The Ducks’ adventure in West Texas was the most entertaining game on a Saturday filled with high-profile matchups. There were three lead changes in the fourth quarter, and the game was sealed with a 45-yard Pick Six in the final seconds. Oregon’s sloppy performance (14 penalties) was offset by a plus-four turnover margin, and quarterback Bo Nix was outstanding. Arizona-Mississippi State is an honorable mention.

Washington State is this week’s team of the week.

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

Kyle Whittingham of Utah is this week’s coach of the week.

Sure, the Utes deserve credit for rallying from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat Baylor with two touchdowns in the final minute. But they did it on the road, in oppressive heat, and without their starting quarterback (the injured Cam Rising). This was a culture win that demonstrated the toughness and resilience at the heart of Whittingham’s program, much like the comeback in the Pac-12 championship game.

Shedeur Sanders of Colorado is the offensive player of the week.

In the rout of Nebraska, the junior quarterback threw for 393 yards and two touchdowns. Before you dismiss the Cornhuskers as an unworthy foe, consider this: Their defense is reasonably strong. Sanders, on the other hand, picked it apart, completing 74% of his passes. Honorable mentions/usual suspects: Caleb Williams of USC and Michael Penix of Washington.

WSU’s Ron Stone Jr. was named defensive player of the week.

The senior edge rusher was all over the place Saturday as the Cougars dominated Wisconsin’s offense for three quarters. As the emotional leader of a tenacious front seven, Stone racked up four tackles, two sacks, a slew of hurries, and forced two fumbles.

Jayden de Laura of Arizona had the week’s most indefensible quarter.

The hit-or-miss quarterback accounted for three touchdowns and 386 yards in Arizona’s 31-24 overtime loss to Mississippi State. He did, however, throw four interceptions, three of which came on consecutive possessions in the first quarter. This is coming from a fourth-year junior who has attempted nearly 1,000 passes in his college career.

Travis Hunter’s weekly snap count: Colorado’s Travis Hunter

Colorado’s iron man contributed three catches as a receiver and four tackles as a cornerback in the 36-14 victory over Nebraska. The Hotline is awaiting word on his official snap count, but it is likely to be in the same ballpark as his 129 at TCU.

Washington State is this week’s T-shirt of the Week.

In their first home game since Mike Leach’s death, the Cougars paid tribute to their former coach in a variety of ways, including T-shirts with pirate swords and the WSU logo. And two of his former players, Ron Stone Jr. and Brennen Jackson, were instrumental in WSU’s victory. The Cougars swung their swords in typical Leach fashion.

Oregon State makes its debut this week.

The Beavers unveiled a new-look Reser Stadium on Saturday after a $161 million multi-year renovation project, then defeated UC Davis 55-7 in front of 35,728 fans. Damien Martinez had a 14.9 yard per carry average. Aiden Chiles, the backup quarterback, threw as many passes (13) as starter DJ Uiagalelei.

Dante Moore of UCLA makes his debut this week.

The freshman quarterback came off the bench in UCLA’s opener but started against San Diego State on Saturday and displayed the arm talent that earned him a five-star rating from 247Sports last year. Moore threw three touchdowns, but his most impressive throw of the day was an incompletion, in which he dropped a perfectly-placed ball over the shoulder and into the arms of a receiver on a deep out route — a throw worthy of an NFL quarterback. (On the catch, the receiver stepped out of bounds.)

Utah is this week’s drive.

With 10 minutes remaining at Baylor, the Utes took possession, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Johnson. Johnson charged into the end zone for the game-tying touchdown eight minutes and 88 yards later. Following an interception by star safety Cole Bishop, the Utes scored with 17 seconds remaining.

Pac-12 officials make the call of the week

Pac-12 crews worked the three road games per contractual agreements with the opposition 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 desperate fourth-down scramble.

Pac-12 officials make the week’s no-call.

They were also in Waco and failed to call defensive pass interference on Utah during Baylor’s desperate pass into the end zone. We wouldn’t call the contact between Utes cornerback Miles Battle and Bears receiver Ketron Jackson egregious, but it was significant. Yellow flags were still in the pockets of the closest officials. Utah won 20-13 as a result of the no-call.

The century’s final goodbye: USC 56, Stanford 10.

The most recent scheduled meeting between these two ancient rivals — their first meeting was in 1905 — turned out to be one of the most lopsided in series history. USC scored 49 points and gained 433 yards in the first half before turning off the lights to avoid further humiliating the Cardinal. The Trojans’ halftime lead of 46 points was the third-largest in conference history. Hopefully, the teams will be able to resume their rivalry once USC joins the Big Ten and Stanford joins the ACC.

Arizona State is the first statistic of the week.

According to, the temperature at kickoff Saturday night in Tempe was 104 degrees, making it the third-hottest ASU home game since 2000. The hottest game was a 107-degree affair in 2013 that began at 7 p.m., or 40 minutes before Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State.

Cal Stat of the Week II

In a 14-10 loss, the Bears ran dozens of plays inside Auburn territory but scored only twice. However, they missed three field goals, committed three turnovers, and converted only 4-of-18 third downs. It was like returning to the Bill Musgrave era. To be sure, Jake Spavital, the new offensive coordinator, is working with two transfer quarterbacks. However, some of the play calls and much of the execution fell short.

Next week’s game: Washington vs. Michigan State

The Week 3 marquee matchup is a rematch of UW’s blowout win last year and a significant stumbling block in the Huskies’ playoff path. It will air at 2 p.m. on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. We don’t know if Michigan State coach Mel Tucker will be on the sidelines. Brenda Tracy, a feminist activist, has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Tucker. A formal hearing to determine whether Tucker violated school policy is scheduled for early October, according to USA Today. (Tucker has since been suspended.)

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