Pac-10 Weekend Recap

The Pac-10 opened the 2007 campaign in impressive fashion going 6-2 in non-conference games. The out of conference losses belonged to Arizona and Washington State while the biggest win for the conference came in the nation's most hyped game of the weekend. As expected, most teams looked better than they did last year which is going to make the already competitive Pac-10 even tougher this season.







This game was a lot closer then the final score would indicate.  Tied 7-7 at halftime, the Utes' received bad news in the locker room when they were told that their starting QB, Brian Johnson, would not return after suffering a separated shoulder.  Utah could muster little offense in the second half without him and watched as Oregon State's defense got more and more aggressive as the game wore on.  Offensively, the Beavers' ground attack was excellent while their passing game fell short of expectations.  While two sophomore QBs took reps in what appears to be an extension of their QB competition in fall camp, Yvenson Bernard picked up where he left off last year in rushing for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Reser Stadium – 46,000

Field Turf 






Washington looked great against a clearly inferior opponent.  Some thought the Huskies would struggle, considering the fact that they had to travel clear across the country to play Syracuse.  Others thought they might struggle adjusting to playing in a dome.  The Huskies looked un-phased though while controlling every facet of the game.  They were 7 for 11 on third down conversions and rushed for 302 yards.  New starting QB Jake Locker stole the show, displaying incredible speed and athleticism.  Tailback Louis Rankin proved to be no slouch either in rushing for 147 yards and three scores.  The schedule gets a little tougher this week as Washington will welcome in ranked Boise State.

The Carrier Dome – 50,000

Field Turf 






UCLA defied the odds in breaking a series trend that saw the home team win eight of the last nine games between these two teams.  The Bruins, who at times struggled on offense in 2006, had no problems in putting points on the board against the Cardinal.  New offensive coordinator Jay Norvell deserves a pat on the back as UCLA gained 624 yards on Saturday.  Despite their struggles on defense, it wasn't all bad news for the home team.  Stanford was able to move the ball up and down the field against a good Bruins defense.  Senior QB T.C. Ostrander threw for 331 yards and two scores.  Unfortunately, he got little support from a running game that only totaled 52 yards, making the Cardinal very one dimensional.

Stanford Stadium – 50,000

  Natural Grass






ASU has now won nine straight home openers by 20 or more points in head coach Dennis Erickson's Sun Devils debut.  The efficient and well-balanced ASU offense ran for 250 yards and threw for 270.  QB Rudy Carpenter completed 14 of 20 passes for two scores.  RB Ryan Torain rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns.  Defensively, the Sun Devils were dominant in holding San Jose State to a game total 115 yards of offense.  The Spartans could only muster seven first downs to 33 for an ASU team that converted 13 of 17 third down attempts.

Sun Devil Stadium – 71,706

Natural Grass 






Cal's Nate Longshore and Desean Jackson officially kicked off their Heisman Trophy campaigns in rousing fashion.  Longshore carved up the Tennessee defense for 241 yards passing and two touchdowns.  Jackson needed only six touches to showcase his skills.  His most shining moment came during an incredible 77-yard punt return for a score in the second quarter that helped Cal take a 31-21 advantage into the locker room.  The Bears easily look like the best team in the Pac-10 right now.  They'll need to stay focused this week to avoid the dreaded "let down game" performance as they travel to Fort Collins to play what should be a cranky Colorado State team who is coming off an overtime loss to in-state rival Colorado 31-28.

Memorial Stadium – 72,516

Sportexe Turf 






With the score tied 20-20 in the third quarter, Houston QB Case Keenum's pass into the end zone was intercepted and the rest was history.  Oregon would outscore the Cougars 28-7 the rest of the way, led by the legs of mobile QB Juan Dixon (141 rushing yards).  Dixon also threw for 132 yards and two scores on just 15 pass attempts.  Oregon looks to have the same problems that plagued them in 2006 and most of those problems are on defense.  Houston amassed 538 yards of total offense, throwing for 228 yards while rushing for 310 yards.  Where the Cougars failed was in turning the ball over 4 times.  The Ducks had zero turnovers and there in lies the difference in the game.

Autzen Stadium – 54,000

Field Turf 



USC 38



USC looked so-so against Idaho.  Highly touted QB John David Booty threw for three scores, but the offense never really looked in sync.  Despite the recent transfer of Emanuelle Moody and some nagging injuries to other tailbacks, it's obvious that the Trojans are still loaded at tailback.  C.J. Gable, Stafon Johnson and Desmond Reed all ran the ball well and proved to be extremely difficult to tackle.  USC played without star receiver Patrick Turner and one other player from 2006.  Mario Danelo, USC's two year starter at kicker, died mysteriously during the off season.  The Trojans honored him and his family Saturday night by only sending 10 guys onto the field for an extra point attempt, following their first score of the game.  They were flagged for a delay of game penalty, but that was the last thing on anyone's mind who was either watching the game at home, or was on attendance.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – 92,000

Natural Grass 



BYU 20



Headlines read "Air Zona" in local newspapers prior to the game.  The only air on Saturday was the air being knocked out of the ‘Cats by a BYU team that was hungry to avenge last year's season opening loss at the hands of Arizona.  Willie Tuitama did complete 26 of 36 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown, but most of the completions were underneath BYU coverage and oftentimes well short of the first down markers.  Arizona seemed to lack the playmaking ability that could turn the tide in a game.  BYU had no such problems.  Sophomore QB Max Hall was fantastic in his debut as a starter.  He threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns.  He would battle freshman RB Harvey Unga for player of the game honors.  Unga torched Arizona's defense for 194 total yards of offense.  While many fans consider the loss for Arizona a setback, they need to take into consideration that this is a very good BYU team that has now won 11 games in a row dating back to last season.

LaVell Edwards Stadium – 65,000

Field Turf 






Wisconsin won their 10th straight home opener in beating Washington State.  The pesky Cougars hung tough with the much more talented Badgers.  Tyler Donovan threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns.  WSU led 14-7 late in the first quarter before a 1-yard rush by P.J. Hill jumpstarted 21 unanswered points by the Badgers.  WSU's wideout Brandon Gibson had six catches for 82 yards and a score, proving that he will certainly be a prime target for QB Alex Brink during the remainder of the season.  Brink, frustrated by the loss, commented that his team did not feel like they were inferior to Wisconsin.  That seems to be true as the Cougars were able to match the speed and intensity of a Wisconsin team many consider to be a dark horse to win the national title.  Unfortunately, all that really matters when it comes to wins and losses is the final score.  Still, Wazzu may prove to be a much more difficult Pac-10 team than originally expected.

Camp Randall Stadium – 76,129

Field Turf 


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