Theme of the week: light schedule, less drama.
It’s hard to imagine the weekend of October ever packing soft punches. There were only four games; All three were decided by several touchdowns. And the only ranking team in the action easily won. What’s more, # Pac12AfterDark failed to deliver a beating finish, as UCLA moved away from Arizona in the fourth quarter.
Season theme: Ground Games.
More than we’ve seen in PAC 12 over the years, more teams are committed to the game. Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon are all in the top 30 nationally at Rushing Yards per game. (Meanwhile, only one team, the USC, is in the top 30 in passing yards per game.) This is a significant turning point in the entire season before the epidemic: no team in the top 30 in the race at PAC 12 Was not 2018 or 2019.
Team of the week: Utah.
Defensive back Aaron Lowe’s death in his first game all the credit for the outstanding performance to Utes. He played with passion and focus – a tough combination to keep up to four quarters. And from a practical standpoint, the performance significantly improved Utah South’s chances of winning.
Game of the week: Washington State 31, Oregon State 24.
If you had told us before the kick-off that the Beavers would be running for 309 yards, and that Max Borgie would cover a total distance of 33 yards from the screed, the hotline would have been a blow to OSU. But the Cougars looked more like an air raid team than a run-and-shoot operation, with Jaden de Laura throwing 399 yards on 46 attempts. WSU also broke the trend and performed at its best after half time, with four touchdowns and a key defensive stop.
Player of the Week: Utah quarterback Cameron Rising.
Let’s face it, USC recipient Drake London will be a worthwhile choice every week. And we took De Laura seriously for her efforts in the Cougars’ victory. But Rising was an expert, completing 22 of 28 passes in three touchdowns and without interruption. And he averaged 9.9 yards per try.
Coach of the Week: Nick Rollovich of Washington State.
As the deadline approached, with full attention to his vaccination status, Rolovich devised a brilliant game plan that exploited the Oregon State secondary and put De Laura in a favorable position. (Also, the WSU’s defense is low.) It was the best coaching performance we’ve seen since Rollovitch since the 2020 season opener, which was also against the OSU.
Week Stall I: Oregon State.
During the sweep of the season, OSU’s play selection has been number one. But we were a little surprised by the last drive in Pullman. The Beavers were delighted to enter the WSU area, retreating from the touchdown and playing whatever they liked. As expected, the drive stopped and damage occurred.
Week II stall: Stanford.
The Cardinals had 10 malls in the ASU area but could only handle two scores (one touchdown, one field goal). He insisted four times in 50s. We would be a little more aggressive. Pints and field goals were not game winners.
Weekly Issue: Penalties.
Overall, it was a remarkably clean weekend, with 45 assessed penalties during four games – an average of just 5.6 per team. Arizona was the highest, accounting for 12 of 45. Credit Arizona State, in particular, with the elimination of errors. Three weeks ago, the Sun Devils imposed 16 assessed fines (20 in total) on damage to BYU. This weekend, they reviewed only five.
Season I status: Arizona.
The two-year losing streak has reached 17 consecutive games. It is a school record and the longest running in the country. Jade Fish faces a major rebuild – this was evident when she accepted the job last winter. We thought maybe some highlights would come out by then. But so far, there is nothing special about the fact that fish can quickly get wild cats out of this mess.