Welcome to Week 2. By now, you probably already know what happened in Week 1. But we'll use this space each Monday to give you a quick reference to every game that happened in the Pac-12.
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
Here's a look at what some folks around the nation are saying about the Pac-12 and its teams.
John Taylor of NBC Sports hit on a couple of Pac-12 teams in his Week 1 rewind. USC coach Steve Sarkisian is getting a lot of praise for keeping things together after a tumultuous week leading up to the Trojans' first game.
In the first game of the Steve Sarkisian era Saturday night, the Trojans took out all of their lingering frustrations on an overmatched Fresno State squad by the score of 52-13. Quarterback Cody Kessler passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns ... in the first half alone. The offense ultimately rolled up 704 yards of offense on 104 plays, the latter of which set a Pac-12 record.
Anne Petersen of the Associated Press gets to the heart of what everyone is thinking in Eugene ... we can finally start looking ahead to Week 2 and Oregon vs. Michigan State.
While Oregon is known for their hyper-drive offense, Michigan State's success last season -- the Spartans went undefeated in conference play -- came in large part because of their bruising defense. The Spartans lost standouts Max Bullough and Darqueze Dennard from that defense, but they still have lineman Shilique Calhoun, considered one of the top players in his league, and linebacker Taiwan Jones, who looked promising in the opener with Bullough gone.
UCLA offensive line coach Adrian Klemm is catching a little heat from Pete Roussel for the way his linemen performed in the win over Virginia. The Bruins were without starting center Jake Brendel. And that obviously hurt. But there were bigger line issues at play. Not to mention more than a few wide receiver drops.
The resume of a coach is his tape. And right now, Adrian Klemm has his hands full. He knows it, too. That "super assistant" label from the media doesn’t look so fitting right now.Nationally honored
UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks was named the Walter Camp national defensive player of the week for his performance in UCLA's win over Virginia. Kendricks posted 16 tackles, forced a fumble that led to a UCLA defensive touchdown and also returned an interception for a touchdown. Say what you want about the offense (and there is plenty to say), but Kendricks had a monster game.
- A snapshot of Arizona's wide receiver play.
- Upon further review (of film) Todd Graham was pleased with his team's effort.
- Some next-day reactions to Cal's win at Northwestern.
- The loss to Colorado State put a dent on Colorado's potential bowl plans.
- The early returns are positive on Royce Freeman.
- Some lingering thoughts from Oregon State's performance.
- Easy day for the Cardinal, which looked as prepared as they could be for USC in Week 2.
- Some thoughts on UCLA's lackluster first game.
- Some USC notes ... including the fast start from the Trojans' youngsters.
- Utah is excited about its arsenal of offensive weapons heading into the Fresno State game.
- Danny Shelton stood tall for the Huskies.
- Some WSU notes and quotes from defensive coordinator Mike Breske.
Saw this Saturday night and had to tweet it out, because it's equal parts awesome and adorable.
USC, which had the conference's highest-ranked recruiting class in 2014, played the most freshmen (11) and Oregon State played none. Those 75 players accounted for seven starts (on offense or defense) and eight touchdowns. The total number of players will undoubtedly grow in the next few weeks.
Here's a breakdown of all 75, by school (*-denotes players who started):
- CB Cam Denson
- OL Layth Friekh
- RB Jonathan Haden
- WR Tyrell Johnson
- RB Nick Wilson -- 7 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 6 yards
- TE Trevor Wood
- DT Tashon Smallwood*
- LB D.J. Calhoun* -- 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass breakup
- CB Chad Adams -- 1 tackle
- RB Kalen Ballage -- 12 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 6 yards
- TE Brendan Landman
- CB Armand Perry -- 3 tackles, blocked a punt
- RB Demario Richard -- 6 carries, 24 yards; 1 catch, 22 yards
- LB Christian Sam
- CB DeAndre Scott
- LB Hamilton Anoa’i
- LB Devante Downs -- 2 tackles
- RB Vic Enwere -- 4 carries, 14 yards
- RB Patrick Laird
- WR Matt Rockett
- QB Luke Rubenzer -- Led Cal in both carries (11) and rushing yards (48)
- RB Tre Watson -- 6 carries, 18 yards; 1 catch, 1 yard
- DE Noah Westerfield
- LS Tanner Carew -- 1 tackle
- OL Tyrell Crosby
- RB Royce Freeman -- 10 carries, team-high 2 rushing touchdowns; 1 catch, 11 yards
- LB Justin Hollins
- DL Austin Maloata -- 4 tackles, 1 pass breakup
- DL Henry Mondeaux
- WR Charles Nelson -- 1 catch, 8 yards; returned 1 punt 50 yards for a touchdown
- K Aidan Schneider -- handled kickoffs/PATs; no FG attempts
- CB Arrion Springs -- 2 tackles
- LB Jimmie Swain -- 2 tackles
- CB Terrence Alexander
- RB Christian McCaffrey -- 52-yard touchdown reception; 1 carry, 10 yards; 3 tackles
- FB Daniel Marx
- OL Casey Tucker
- OL Najee Toran*
- DL Matt Dickerson
- WR Mossi Johnson
- DL Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
- DB Jaleel Wadood -- 3 tackles
- LB Zach Whitley -- 1 tackle
- LB Kenny Young -- 4 tackles
- OG Toa Lobendahn*
- OG Damien Mama*
- TE Bryce Dixon -- 1 catch, 22 yards, 1 touchdown
- WR Ajene Harris -- 1 catch, 8 yards
- WR/CB Adoree' Jackson -- 3 catches, 36 yards, 1 touchdown: 1 punt return, 10 yards; 1 tackle
- CB Jonathan Lockett
- LB Uchenna Nwosu -- 2 tackles
- WR/S JuJu Smith -- 4 catches for team-high 123 yards; 1 carry, 1 yard
- DB John Plattenburg
- C Viane Talamaivao
- LB Olajuwon Tucker -- 1 tackle
- Christian Drews
- DE Wallace Gonzalez
- CB Boobie Hobbs -- 1 punt return, 6 yards
- DT Lowell Lotulelei -- 3 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
- Nick Mika
- OG Logan Stott
- CB Monte Seabrook
- CB Tavaris Williams -- 2 tackles
- S Marcus Williams -- 6 tackles
- WR Kenric Young
- DB Budda Baker* -- 7 tackles, 1 pass breakup
- DB Darren Gardenhire
- DB Naijiel Hale
- WR Brayden Lenius
- K Tristan Vizcaino -- Handled kickoffs only, 1 tackle
There is one thing the College Football Playoff didn’t change, and that’s the importance of the regular season. The playoff picture has already been affected. Here’s a look at how the biggest games impacted the postseason in Week 1:
NOBODY LOOKED INVINCIBLE
GAMECOCKS WENT SOUTH
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier had no answers following his team’s 52-28 loss to Texas A&M, one of the most surprising results of the week. The Aggies looked in midseason form against a porous South Carolina defense that allowed a school-record 680 yards. Hill outplayed South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson, and while South Carolina’s playoff stock plummeted, the Aggies’ rose. Consider this: The next four opponents for A&M are Lamar, Rice, SMU and Arkansas. The Aggies should be 5-0 heading into October and a trendy playoff pick – especially if Hill continues to play with that poise and accuracy. It was a rough opening for the entire state of South Carolina, as Clemson lost to Georgia, which looked very capable of winning the SEC East. The Bulldogs, led by Gurley’s school-record 293 all-purpose yards, scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to break away for a 45-21 win.
GOOD NOT GREAT
Ohio State doesn’t look like it’s going to bulldoze its way through the Big Ten with J.T. Barrett at quarterback and a young offensive line paving the way, but it certainly isn’t going to roll over for anyone, either. The loss of Braxton Miller to injury was a game-changer, but the team’s relentless performance against Navy showed that the Buckeyes can’t be counted out just yet. Barrett threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut, and coach Urban Meyer used a conservative game plan to keep his rookie comfortable. Ohio State has three straight home games against unranked opponents (Virginia Tech, Kent State and Cincinnati) before opening league play at Maryland on Oct. 4. The Hokies’ defense should present the biggest challenge, but the Buckeyes can still enter their Big Ten schedule in exactly the same place everyone thought they’d be with Miller -- in the playoff conversation.
The Big Ten was oh-so-close to gaining some respect this weekend until Wisconsin squandered its 10-point halftime lead against LSU. With the exceptions of Wisconsin and Northwestern, the conference won all of its games. League newcomer Rutgers found a way to beat Washington State in Seattle, and Penn State beat UCF in Ireland, but the Badgers missed their opportunity on the biggest stage. They had the best chance at making a statement for the entire conference. Instead, it was an underwhelming debut for quarterback Tanner McEvoy, who completed 8 of 24 passes for 50 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Melvin Gordon had 140 yards -- but only had 16 carries. With Wisconsin’s schedule -- the Badgers don’t play Ohio State, Michigan State or Michigan -- a win over LSU would’ve pushed them into the playoff conversation. Now? The Big Ten better hope the Spartans or Buckeyes can live up to the expectations.
BUH-BYE BOISE (and UCF)
The Broncos had one chance to impress the College Football Playoff selection committee against a Power 5 opponent, and it disappeared with a 35-13 loss to Ole Miss on Thursday night. If an undefeated Boise State couldn’t get into the title game in the old BCS system, a one-loss Broncos team probably isn’t going to sneak into the four-team playoff. The same can be said for UCF, which had high expectations for this season coming off its Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. A tough 26-24 loss to Penn State in Ireland was hardly an embarrassment, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to overcome as a member of the American Athletic Conference.
That’s not to say that Boise State or UCF won’t play on New Year’s Day. The highest-ranked conference champion not from the Group of 5 will earn a spot in one of the New Year’s Six bowls, but that’s a consolation prize to two programs that have already been there, won that.
We have ideas of what teams will look like, and we project based on returning talent, talking with coaches, watching practices and making educated guesses. But we never really know until we see what's on the field.
We're smarter Saturday night than we were Thursday morning -- mostly. The first week of Pac-12 Football 101, which saw the league go 10-2 in nonconference play, was chock-full of intellectual goodies.
Perhaps the team that enlightened us the most was the California Bears, who snapped a 16-game losing streak to FBS teams by going into Ryan Field and notching a 31-24 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats.
"I never got the feeling from one player or one coach of ‘here we go again,'" Dykes told the Pac-12 blog via telephone after the game. "The guys really believed in each other. And the reason they did is because they have worked so hard. They were prepared. And they knew someone would make a play to give us a chance to win the ball game."
As it turned out, someone made two. On Northwestern's final drive, Jalen Jefferson notched a critical sack on second-and-6 for a loss of 11 yards. On the next play, Jefferson snagged an interception that essentially closed out the game.
"It's been a long few months for us, but we're a tighter team than we were last year," Jefferson said. "A lot of those breaks we weren't getting last year, we got them. We can feel things changing for the better."
Added quarterback Jared Goff: "I think we learned about resiliency. We knew they would fight back and we didn't give up ... we learned how to finish a game."
It was educational, for sure.
We learned some things haven't changed -- at least not yet. While the Bears were protecting the fourth quarter from a Big Ten team, the Washington State Cougars were yielding the fourth quarter to another. And UCLA? Well, Brett Hundley is still getting sacked, and his offensive line still looks leaky. If not for three defensive touchdowns, the Bruins would be staring at 0-1.
We didn't learn much from the FCS games -- other than it was good to see Utah's Travis Wilson back on the field and that Oregon State seems to makes those games sketchier than they probably should be. We don't know a ton more about ASU's defense or Oregon's offense. We didn't learn much about Stanford's rushing attack. Ty Montgomery is really good. But we already knew that.
We learned USC still has the ability to hit the mute button on the outside noise. If there's one team that knows a little something about turmoil, it's the Trojans -- for what they went through last year. That's a team with scary potential.
We learned not very good is sometimes good enough. See Washington and UCLA, whose fans are crawling into bed at this moment feeling both relieved and probably a little jolted.
And the rest of the Pac-12 probably learned a little something about the Bears.
"We're capable of being pretty good, I think," Dykes said. "We have to execute better. We're good in spurts. We have to be good consistently and close people out."
Next week Cal gets FCS Sacramento State with a chance to start 2-0 for the first time since 2011. The schedule ramps up with a pair of high-profile games, including Michigan State at Oregon and USC at Stanford.
Looking forward to what we'll know by this time next Saturday.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- UCLA scored three defensive touchdowns before Brett Hundley led them on a critical second-half scoring drive and the No. 7 Bruins escaped Virginia 28-20 in the opener for both teams Saturday.
Hundley, widely regarded as one of the nation's top quarterbacks, was harassed all day by Virginia's pressure defense, and made the biggest play of the day for UCLA with his feet. It came on a 6-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter when he overpowered safety Quin Blanding on a 6-yard TD run.
The Cavaliers, 21-point underdogs, trailed 28-20 and had a first down at the Bruins 19 late in the game, but three consecutive running plays netted just two yards and irritated the fans, and linebacker Myles Jack disrupted Matt Johns' fourth-and-8 pass to Doni Dowling and it fell to the ground.