The Pac-12 finished 8-2 this weekend in non-conference action, securing wins against Texas Tech, BYU and a handful of patsies. A look at this weekend’s postgame analyses from Scout’s Pac-12 experts show that much of the league is still nervous about its defensive units with tougher Saturdays looming.
Note, Stanford and Oregon State were on byes.
Beat Grambling State 31-21
With Arizona starting quarterback Anu Solomon not dressed for the game, sophomore Brandon Dawkins got the nod under center. It was a rocky first start of his career, but he eventually got things going ... Arizona was also able to run the ball effectively with Nick Wilson. The junior running back carried the ball 24 times for 116 yards and got into the end zone once. -- Full story
Beat Texas Tech, 68-55
We saw a much more expanded playbook than last week and the results were impressive. What we saw Saturday could be an indication the Sun Devil offense will be as potent as it has been the last three years. It's safe to assume quarterback Manny Wilkins and the other first-year starters should only improve with experience. ASU might not score 68 points again for a long time but the offense definitely has the potential to be one of the top units in the conference.
Overall ASU's defense has shown signs it can be solid but it needs better play from the Spur position and to generate more pressure on the quarterback when it rushes four or less. -- Full story (premium)
Lost to San Diego State, 45-40
Cal simply couldn't tackle. There were more arm tackles than I could count. Sonny Dykes was asked if he was concerned about tackling, and he gave the quote of the night: "I'm always concerned about tackling." That says a lot, and with more 1,000-yard rushers are coming up on Cal's schedule, it has to be a major worry ... Defensively this team needs a lot of work.
Wide receiver Chad Hansen has been very good, but quarterback Davis Webb needs to spread the ball around. Defenders were swarming around Hansen, and teams are going to seize on this predictability.
Cal had just 82 net rushing yards over the course of the game. The holes just weren't there. It's a concern that Cal hasn't found an effective balance to their passing game.
Back in the 1970s, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay was asked about his team's execution, he said, "I'm all for it." There was a lot of poor execution for Cal today. -- Full story (premium)
Beat Idaho State, 56-7
As Colorado turns their focus toward the first away game of the season against the 2-0 and #5 ranked Michigan Wolverines, their belief in “could-and-should” has morphed into a trust that they can-and-will. The maturation of this team is palpable, even if not yet fully tested. ... In a game that was 42-0 by the time Sefo Liufau took his final snap, a game that saw Colorado rack up nearly 600 yards of offense and one that showcased a defense yield less than 100 total yards, the Buffs did exactly what everyone not wearing Bengals’ orange hoped to see. -- Full story (premium)
Beat Virginia, 44-26
Oregon seemed to score at will, particularly in the second half and was highlighted by two spectacular plays; the first when Dakota Prukop hit Devon Allen for a 77-yard strike in the third quarter. Prukop had a good night spreading the ball around.
When Oregon was ahead 44-13, head coach Mark Helfrich decided it was time to play lots of reserves on both offense and defense. While the decision will likely pay results down the road, benching Oregon starters allowed Virginia to score two touchdowns, one with only :07 left in the third quarter and one more in the fourth. Full story
Beat UNLV, 42-21
Outside containment was a major issue in this game, as an under talented UNLV team was able to get what it wanted at times on runs and plays to the edge. As against Texas A&M, the Bruins gave up five yards per carry and it was only because UNLV elected to throw the ball more that the Bruins didn't end up giving up 200+ yards on the ground again.
Offensively, UCLA had some issues, but they were again of the variety that we think are mostly fixable -- aside from the offensive line, which is probably close to as good as it's going to be given the personnel deficiencies at that position.
Beat Utah State, 48-7
Is this performance good enough to beat Stanford next week in Palo Alto? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not. But it was far, far better than what the Trojans put on the table last week in Texas. And that's all you can ask for right now. Get better. Play harder. We'd add "play smarter" to the list here but how about starting that week for the folks on The Farm. Because the one thing we needed to see from this now 1-1 USC team was effort -- a team that believed in itself. Never say die. Don't quit. Fight On, if you will. And for the most part, that happened here in this earliest home kickoff since the 1950's. The Trojans could have mailed it in. Could have said they're way better and saved it for next Saturday. We didn't think they would go through the motions, and they didn't. -- Full story (premium)
Beat BYU, 20-19
Quarterback Troy Williams can't play like he did vs. BYU for the rest of the season if the Utes are to accomplish their goals. His poor decisions, particularly the times where he forced throws that weren’t open led to three interceptions that nearly cost the Utes the game.
Another week, another disappointing showing from Joe Williams. The fumbling issues continue, and are exacerbated by Williams' paltry 2.6 yards per carry. If these issues continue, the Utes can't continue to trust him in critical moments.
In contrast, every defensive unit performed brilliantly for the Utes. After a slow start last week against SUU, the defensive line was abusive early this week and it looked to be a long game for BYU’s offensive line. Linebackers, the big question mark on defense entering this season, is proving themselves one game at a time. -- Full story (premium)
Beat Idaho 59-14
Other than holding the ball a little too long on a couple of plays, one of which resulted in a sack and a fumble, it was about as perfect a day for a quarterback as you can have. There's no denying it, the first unit offensive line struggled a bit in the first quarter, unable to get much of a push and allowing free runners to get to QB Jake Browning and rush his throws.
I thought defensive lineman Vita Vea had his best game as a Dawg. He was practically unblockable and he really forced the issue up front as he collapsed the pocket on almost every play.
For the second-straight week, Washington just took care of business. Sure, they struggled offensively in the first quarter, but they regrouped and ran away with it in the second quarter. Does more work need to happen on offense? Absolutely, but is it as bad as some people think it is? Not even close. Once again, the Huskies handled their business and did exactly what the eighth-ranked team in the country should do to a team like Idaho. -- Full story (premium)
Lost to Boise State, 31-28
The horrendous officiating by the Mountain West crew cannot be used as an excuse for the WSU loss. That cannot be stressed enough. This Cougar team, right now, is not good enough to get six wins and go bowling -- let alone meet the expectations the fans, coaches and players themselves held so strongly just eight days ago.
Mike Leach is right … the Cougars are not tough enough right now. When adversity reveals its ugly face, be it in the form of poor officiating or something else, the Cougars have folded up the tents in this season's first two games. They need to instead walk up to Adversity and punch it in the mouth. Bad calls? Life isn’t fair. Suck it up and go win. -- Full story (premium)