Pac 10 Weekend Recap

The Pac-10 is as deep as it's ever been. Don't believe me. Ask USC. The Pac-10 offers no guaranteed wins. Don't believe me. Ask Arizona. In a week that was played without the likes of Cal and Oregon, the conference still offered its usual drama with two out of the three head-to-head Pac-10 games not being decided until the final minute.

 

OREGON STATE 31

ARIZONA 16

 

The Beavers pounded Arizona on Saturday.  As good as Arizona played defensively in the second half (allowing only 40 total yards of offense), they were equally bad in the first quarter when OSU outscored them 24-3.  Arizona was manhandled upfront on both sides of the ball as the Beavers controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game.  The ‘Cats surrendered eight sacks and were out gained on the ground 187 to 9.  That's right, 9 yards of rushing offense.  Frosh RB Grigsby had 61 yards on 16 carries but Tuitama's eight sacks (-75 yards) completely negated his efforts.  The Beavers did what Arizona should have done in that they were relentless in their blitz package.  They turned their talented LB's loose on Tuitama and forced him into 3 INT's on the rare occasions that he wasn't being slammed to the ground.  Arizona, on the other hand, remained defiant in playing a Big 12 style defense in a conference that has superior offenses and future NFL Quarterbacks.  The fact that Arizona didn't throw eight defenders in the box, shut down the OSU running game and force an inexperienced QB, Canfield, who already has 11 INT's in the season (now 13 after this weekend) to beat them by throwing the ball downfield is something the local media should force this coaching staff to answer. 

 

Through the first six games of the season, Arizona remains consistently inconsistent.  For head coach Stoops unfortunately that phrase is becoming his team's calling card.  Arizona, for as talented as they are, seems afraid of success.  How else do you explain being down three touchdowns after the first quarter in a game that, at least on paper, is winnable.  The truth is no game for Arizona can ever be assumed as being "winnable" ever again.  That is until the ‘Cats actually start winning these types of games.  Looking ahead on the schedule is pointless because no one, including the team itself, seems to have any clue how they are going to play from week to week and that is about the worst situation a football team can find itself in. 

 

Reser Stadium – 46,000

Field Turf 

 

 

STANFORD 24

USC 23

 

USC's 35-game home winning streak began on the first weekend of October, following a 21-16 loss to Stanford on Sep. 29, 2001.  Nearly six years to the day, that streak came to a screeching halt as the Cardinal again showed the nation how to beat the Trojans in the Coliseum.  QB Booty had perhaps his most frustrating game as a Trojan, throwing 4 INT's and being hurried all night.  Stanford head coach Harbaugh made some incredulous remarks about USC during Pac-10 media day and at other times throughout the off season that most outsiders thought the Trojans would use as motivation to get up for the lowly Cardinal.  However, just the opposite occurred as the Cardinal seemed inspired to put their money where their coach's mouth was and hand USC their most stunning loss in the Pete Carroll Era.  More troubling for USC then the loss are the mounting injuries they are suffering and the fact that the same problems that plagued them in an unimpressive win at Washington seemed to again rear their ugly head Saturday night.  The Trojans are now just 5-3 in their last eight Pac-10 games.  While USC continues to dominate non-conference opponents, the other nine conference teams appear to have narrowed the gap.  The good news for USC is they probably could not have picked a better team to lose to "if" they had to drop a Pac-10 game.  I say this because of the teams who should contend for the conference title (Cal, Oregon, ASU and UCLA) all still remain on USC's schedule so if they can right the ship and beat these teams, they can also right themselves a ticket to Pasadena.

 

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – 92,000

Natural Grass 

 

 

ARIZONA STATE  23

WASHINGTON STATE  20

 

WSU gave ASU all they could handle but like all good teams do, the Sun Devils found a way to grit it out and come away with the victory.  On this night, it was place kicker Weber who booted the game-winning FG in the final minute.  Wazzu QB Brink continued to put up big numbers (27/50 for 369 yds) but again, it wasn't enough.  ASU shut down the Cougars' running attack while their own RB Torain rushed for 116 yards on 24 carries.  Torain continues to be a model of consistency for the Sun Devil offense.  QB Carpenter had a so-so game, throwing for 2 TD's and 2 INT's.  Carpenter was efficient though (19/27 for 217 yds) but was forced to settle for the short routes on all but a handful of occasions.  While the victory may not seem overly impressive, it actually is a quality win.  ASU's defense again played well and as anyone knows, down year or not for the Cougars, any victory at Washington State is a good victory in a very tough environment.

 

Martin Stadium – 37,600

Natural Grass 

NOTRE DAME 20

UCLA 6

 

Despite being 3-0 in conference, UCLA just isn't a football team to fear.  They're good.  Don't get me wrong.  But they're not great and once they begin to play teams like Cal, ASU, Oregon and USC, they'll get even more exposed then they did Saturday night.  The 44-6 loss to Utah is one that will haunt the Bruins for the remainder of the season.  In terms of the loss to Notre Dame, well that's one that will probably haunt the Bruins for the rest of their lives.  This game was just flat out bad for UCLA.  They gave a hopeless Notre Dame every reason to be hopeful by turning the ball over seven times.  They also committed 11 penalties.  Amazingly, the Irish only needed 140 yards of total offense to beat the Bruins.  If that doesn't completely explain UCLA's ineptness on Saturday, then I don't know what does.  The good news for UCLA is they now begin their bye week, which could not come at a better time.  They play host to #2 Cal on Oct. 20 and can use the next few days to forget all about the Fighting Irish before switching their attention back to conference play where they are undefeated and very much still in the hunt for a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Rose Bowl – 91,500

  Natural Grass

 


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