Another top 10 team, another big loss.
The Wildcats, with an all-new starting offensive line and an inexperienced defensive line, just can't hold up right now to elite teams on either side of the ball, and sixth-ranked Stanford took advantage of both areas Saturday night at Arizona Stadium in a 37-10 victory.
Arizona allowed the Cardinal to rush for 242 yards and roll up 567 total yards. Meanwhile, the Cats rushed for just 51 yards and yielded five sacks of Nick Foles.
"Our immaturity shows up against good football teams. I don't know what else to tell you," said coach Mike Stoops, whose team lost 37-14 at then-No. 9 Oklahoma State a week earlier. "That's part of the growing pains you go through. Our lack of maturity on the line of scrimmage in both areas really shows in games like this."
And the news gets worse: Arizona has to play 10th-ranked Oregon this week.
There is little the Wildcats (1-2 overall, 0-1 Pac-12) can do, except ride out the storm and hope to be in one piece, emotionally and physically, by the time the schedule begins to ease after an Oct. 1 game at USC.
"It's easy to point fingers through this," quarterback Nick Foles said, "which is something we're not going to do."
But there is plenty of blame to go around. The defense can't stop the run or the pass. The offense is still trying to discover a running game and goes through lulls, like a scoreless second half against Stanford. The place-kicking is a mess again, as Jaime Salazar dropped to 1 of 4 on field goal attempts with misses from 45 and 36 yards against Stanford.
"You can't freak out about this," Foles said. "It's early in the season, and we have to stick together. This is when the team shows what we're all about."
--It was a discouraging sign that only 49,636 attended the Stanford game, which was about 2,000 less than attended the opener against NAU. You wouldn't think the attendance would decline when playing a top 10 team that features the likely No. 1 pick in the draft -- QB Andrew Luck. If the Wildcats continue to struggle, what will the attendance look like for Louisiana in the final game of the year?
--Arizona's defense yielded scoring drives of 91, 81, 80, 72, 65, 64, and 57 yards, and Stanford controlled the ball for 35:48. The Wildcats seemed particularly gassed at the end of the game, as the Cardinal's physical style and jumbo sets took their toll.
--Before losing to Stanford 37-10, Arizona had gone 27 home games without losing by more than a touchdown. The loss was the team's worst at Arizona Stadium since a 38-0 defeat to Cal on Oct. 23, 2004, which was coach Mike Stoops' first season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: PK Jaime Salazar -- The junior college transfer wasn't brilliant in fall camp, but he beat out incumbent Alex Zendejas anyway. But Salazar missed wide left from 45 yards on the final play of the first half against Stanford, and then missed right on a 36-yard attempt on UA's first possession of the second half. Those were deflating misses that could have tied the game. Coach Mike Stoops said after the game it's too early to know what he will do at the position for this week's game against Oregon, but suggested Zendejas -- who struggled late last season and lost the coaches' confidence -- would get a chance to win back his job.
LOOKING GOOD: CB Trevin Wade -- The senior is bouncing back from a subpar junior season, when he said he lost focus and confidence. Wade played tight coverage against Stanford and broke up three passes from Andrew Luck. Cornerback play was a relative bright spot vs. the Cardinal, which routinely beat linebackers and safeties with passes to the tight ends.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Arizona is 116th nationally in rushing, averaging 55.67 yards per game. The Wildcats have rushed 64 times for 167 yards -- 2.61 per carry. Coach Mike Stoops says he likes his 1-2 punch of Keola Antolin and Ka'Deem Carey at tailback, but the young offensive line just isn't opening many holes right now.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Don't let the score tonight or score of the Oklahoma State game fool you, Arizona is a good team." -- Stanford coach David Shaw, after beating Arizona 37-10. The Cowboys beat the Cats 37-14 a week earlier.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
QB Nick Foles -- He has attempted 126 passes this season without throwing an interception, and 143 in a row dating to the third quarter of last season's Alamo Bowl. The school in-season record is 128 consecutive passes without an interception, held by Bruce Hill (1975) and Keith Smith (1996). Arizona, at least as of Sunday, did not list a record for consecutive passes without an INT that spanned seasons. Foles, on Saturday against Stanford, completed his first 17 throws, believed to be a school record, although no formal record exists for that, either.
WR Juron Criner -- The senior returned from a Sept. 5 appendectomy and played well under those circumstances and considering he had basically missed practice for two weeks. Criner caught six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown against Stanford.
S Marquis Flowers -- The sophomore had a career- and team-high 16 tackles vs. Stanford. The bad news is that even he admitted that many of those tackles came after he allowed the Cardinal to complete a pass.
--RG Trace Biskin, a junior who missed the first two games because of a right knee injury, made his first career start Saturday. He had worked as the first-stringer through spring and fall camps, but junior Shane Zink started while Biskin was injured.
--RB Daniel Jenkins (ankle) did not play in the first two games, but made a brief appearance against Stanford. He had one carry for 4 yards. Jenkins was second-string before his injury, but could be losing his place to true freshman RB Ka'Deem Carey.
--Starting S Adam Hall, who suffered a torn ACL in the spring, could be back by early October, coach Mike Stoops said. Hall, a junior, has a redshirt year available.
--Starting LB Jake Fischer, who suffered a torn ACL in the spring, could be back by early October, coach Mike Stoops said. Fischer, a junior, has a redshirt year available.
--Starting CB Jonathan McKnight suffered a torn ACL in practice on Aug. 24 and is out for the season.
The overtime victory against Missouri turned out to be just a temporary reprieve from the close-game woes that have plagued Arizona State.
The 22nd-ranked Sun Devils -- often their worst enemy in terms of penalties, lack of discipline and other mistakes -- fell at Illinois 17-14 after reaching the Top 25 for the first time in three seasons. ASU lost despite allowing only 240 yards.
"This is gut-wrenching, to be honest with you," said receiver Gerell Robinson. "Everyone is sitting in disbelief that it happened the way it did."
But it was familiar. ASU is 3-11 in games decided by seven points or less over the past three-plus seasons.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler was sacked twice, he lost a fumble -- leading to the go-ahead touchdown -- and he was intercepted twice. The Sun Devils were 1-of-3 in the red zone, including a missed 32-yard field goal. The Devils had two possessions to tie or take the lead after Illinois went up 17-14, but Osweiler failed to lead the team to any points.
Osweiler, a junior in his first season as the full-time starter, looked like the inexperienced quarterback he really is, although his fine play in the first two games masked most of it. Illinois' pressure rattled him, though, and the from-everywhere pressure forced him to squander a red-zone chance when he threw a pass off the back of offensive tackle Dan Knapp and into the arms of defensive tackle Glenn Foster.
"You know, just missed opportunities," Osweiler said of the game.
"I can't tell you how many times we were in scoring position and didn't come away with points. Whether that was a mistake I made, a wrong route being ran, a penalty, something like that. Mostly just the scoring opportunities where we didn't come away with points and we needed to."
ASU drops to 2-1 overall, having completed the non-conference part of its schedule. Osweiler will have to regain his form in a hurry with USC and its dangerous defensive front visiting Tempe this Saturday.
--Arizona State ranks 72nd nationally in rushing with 142.3 yards per game -- and the Devils are averaging just over 4 yards per carry -- but it apparently isn't enough to scare opponents. At least, it didn't frighten Illinois, which was much more concerned about ASU passing out of its spread attack.
"I said all along that they were not coming from Arizona to run the football," said Illinois coach Ron Zook. "Even though they got some yards running, I kept telling (defensive coordinator Vic Koenning), don't worry about it, they aren't going to beat us running the football. They came here to throw the football."
ASU rushed 34 times for 106 yards.
--Arizona State held Illinois to 38 yards in the second half, which includes a 27-yard loss on the final play as the Illini ran off the final four seconds. Even if you don't factor that big loss in, ASU gave up just 65 yards after halftime, and the Devils tackled better than they did a week earlier against Missouri.
--Arizona State dropped to 3-10 on the road against Big Ten teams.
KEEP AN EYE ON: The penalties -- Arizona State is back in a familiar place -- tied for 105th nationally in penalties with eight per game for an average of 80.3 yards. The Devils were 114th in penalties in 2010, and they ranked last in 2009. They were 112th nationally in 2008. ASU had eight penalties for 91 yards against Illinois.
LOOKING GOOD: Arizona State did better against the quarterback run game vs. Illinois than it did against Missouri, as it contained Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase for 67 yards on 18 attempts. Now that it is into Pac-12 play, the Sun Devils won't see a steady dose of the quarterback run, outside of Oregon, but their defense can take some confidence from its play in Champaign.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The offensive line, touted as a strength this season after a few years of rebuilding, allowed six sacks to Illinois after yielding just one through the first two games. The line seemed to really miss injured RT Aderious Simmons in this game. The task will be difficult this week against USC, which features physical specimens such as DE Nick Perry and DE Devon Kennard, as well as a fine collection of talent and experience at tackle. USC averages three sacks per game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Very disappointing. Two steps forward, one step back." -- Coach Dennis Erickson, after the loss at Illinois.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
WR Gerell Robinson -- The senior has been pegged as a breakout player this season ... and everyone is mostly still waiting. But he did catch a career-high eight passes for 88 yards and one touchdown at Illinois. If he can keep that up, he and WR Aaron Pflugrad will provide two reliable targets for Brock Osweiler.
PK Alex Garoutte -- The redshirt freshman missed a 42-yard field goal and had a PAT blocked against Missouri on Sept. 9. His shaky start to his career continued at Illinois, where he missed a 32-yard field goal.
LB Vontaze Burfict -- ASU's star defender had nine tackles against Illinois, but he also was assessed a personal foul penalty, and everyone is watching him to see if he is on better behavior this season.
--DE Junior Onyeali, last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, suffered a knee injury early in the game and was in street clothes in the second half. Initial reports were that it was not an ACL injury, but a scheduled MRI on Monday will reveal more. At the least, he appears out for Saturday's game against USC.
--RT Aderious Simmons suffered a left ankle sprain against UC-Davis in the opener and has not played in the past two games. Dan Knapp has started in Simmons' place.
--OG Adam Tello (back) has missed the first three games of the season.
--S Ezekiel Bishop, a second-stringer, suffered an ACL tear against UC-Davis on Sept. 1 and is out for the season.
--LB Brandon Magee, one of ASU's best defenders, suffered an Achilles' injury in camp and is out for the season.
--CB Devan Spann, who suffered from shoulder problems through camp, is out for the season.
--WR J.J. Holliday (collarbone) has missed the first two games. He could be back before the end of the month.
--RB Deantre Lewis' status is up in the air. He is recovering from a hamstring/buttocks injury suffered in a random shooting in February. He has yet to return to practice.
--All-Pac-10 CB Omar Bolden is out for the season because of a spring ACL injury.
Cal technically did not have a bye the week before opening Pac-12 play Sept. 24 at Washington, but aside from the impressive debut of freshman Brendan Bigelow, Cal's 63-12 victory over Presbyterian on Saturday did not amount to much more than a high-profile practice session.
QB Zach Maynard did not demonstrate the consistency the Bears were hoping for against an overmatched Football Championship Subdivision team, and Cal was sloppy in the first half, committing a lot of penalties and having a punt blocked for a touchdown.
The Cal defense regained its dominance after a poor performance against Colorado, although dominance against the Blue Hose does not mean Cal has solved its defensive issues. And although the crowd of 33,952 was a decent size for a game that was not an alluring matchup, the Bears may have hoped for more for its first home game at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The one aspect of the game that provided optimism for Cal was the play of Bigelow. A week earlier, it was assumed he would redshirt this season as he continues to recover from anterior-cruciate ligament surgery each of the past two years.
However, he practiced in the days leading up to the Presbyterian game, suited up, and got opportunities to show his talent early in the game when the score was not yet out of hand.
Bigelow demonstrated his blazing speed on his first touch as a collegian on an 11-yard pass reception, and he returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Those were just two of his several impressive plays.
Whether he can show the same big-play potential in conference games or will even see significant action against Washington remains to be seen. The potential is obviously there, however.
Washington yielded 309 rushing yards in a 51-38 loss to Nebraska, but that was against the No. 11-ranked team on the Cornhuskers' home field. The Huskies will be a tougher foe in Seattle, and Cal has yet to demonstrate that it can play effectively on the road.
And the schedule gets tougher after that, with games against USC and Oregon to follow a bye after the game against Washington.
--Jeff Tedford set the record for victories by a Cal head coach with his 75th win, passing the 74 of Andy Smith, who coached Cal from 1916 to 1925. He was doused with Gatorade by his players, which doesn't happen often after a 51-point win over a FCS team.
--Cal may have developed a balanced three-player rotation at tailback. Starter Isi Sofele, who had 105 yards rushing for his first 100-yard game of his career, provides some shiftiness, while No. 2 tailback C.J. Anderson gives the Golden Bears the between-the-tackle power Sofele lacks. The addition of Bigelow would give Cal the speed back who could produce big plays, a la Jahvid Best.
--QB Zach Maynard started out completing 8 of his first 11 passes, mostly on short, safe passes, but he finished just 14-for-24 and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
KEEP AN EYE ON: LB D.J. Holt -- Fellow ILB Mychal Kendricks gets most of the publicity, but Holt leads the team in tackles. He had just 4.5 tackles against Presbyterian, but because the first-team defense played so little in the game, that was enough to lead the team. Holt has 18.5 tackles for the season.
LOOKING GOOD: The Cal defense did not allow Presbyterian to score, as the Blue Hose's scores came on a blocked punt and an interception returned for a touchdown. In the first half, Cal yielded just one first down and 8 total yards of offense. For the game, Colorado had just 48 yards of total offense. Granted, Presbyterian did not offer much of a challenge, but it had to make Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast feel better after the poor showing the previous week against Colorado. The Golden Bears had no sacks against Colorado, but had five against Presbyterian. A pass rush will be critical in the Golden Bears' Pac-12 opener at Washington.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Despite dominating the game, Cal was not fundamentally sharp. The Golden Bears committed a slew of penalties in the first half, and having a punt blocked for a touchdown is a sign of a basic breakdown. The Bears also need to develop more of a home-field advantage. The Bears figure to have bigger crowd when they face more attractive opponents, but the crowd with was liberally announced as 33,952 for the home opener was not entirely satisfying. However, the Bay Area is known for drawing crowds only for big events. A game involving a Cal team picked to finish fifth in its division against an overmatched foe is not a great drawing card.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Very, very sloppy." -- Cal coach Jeff Tedford, on Cal's first-half performance against Presbyterian even though the Golden Bears led 42-12 at that point.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--S Sean Cattouse had two first-half interceptions, giving him seven for his career, the most of any active Cal player.
--No. 2 Cal QB Allan Bridgford made his collegiate debut. A redshirt sophomore, Bridgford entered the game on Cal's first offensive possession of the second half. He started 1-for-4, and finished 4-for-10.
--TB Isi Sofele had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career with 105.
--WR Marvin Jones had seven catches for 123 receiving yards -- his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and the sixth of his career.
--Freshman Brendan Bigelow played in a game for the first time since his junior season of high school, having had major knee surgery as a junior and again as a senior and had an 88-yard kickoff return to start the second half. He had five official touches in his first college game -- two rushes for 15 yards -- and another sizable run that was negated by a penalty -- one reception for 11 yards and two kickoff returns for 111 yards, including the 88-yarder.
--QB Zach Maynard completed 14 of 24 passes in his one half of action to enable him to push his season completion percentage over 50 percent at 51.1, but that is still a poor percentage in today's game. He also threw his third interception of the season.
--FB Will Kapp, who missed last week's game with a concussion, was back in the starting lineup against Presbyterian and rushed for 16 yards on Cal's first offensive play.
--DL Aaron Tipoti was not in uniform against Presbyterian as a result of a leg injury.
--WR Quinn Tedford, son of coach Jeff Tedford, made his first career reception in the game against Presbyterian.
--ILB Mychal Kendricks was not in the starting lineup and did not play the first defensive series because he broke an unspecified team rule.
--Backup DB Michael Coley sprained his foot in the game, and it's unclear whether he will play in the Oct. 24 game at Washington.
--Redshirt freshman WR Kaelin Clay is still out because of academic issues.
It took a couple weeks longer than he wanted, but Jon Embree got his first win as Colorado coach.
After opening the season with losses to Hawaii and California, Colorado improved to 1-2 with a 28-14 win over Colorado State in Denver on Saturday.
"I thought that my first win would be on the island and that I would have some flying time back home to enjoy it," Embree said in reference to Colorado's 34-17 season-opening loss at Hawaii. "I just think of all of the people who sacrificed for me to be here. It means a lot. I know a lot of people did a lot. I'm glad that I can thank them."
Embree thought after the game of Bill McCartney, who was his coach when he played at Colorado.
"I'm happy, I'll be happier," Embree said. "Coach Mac always said, 'You have to enjoy the wins because there is not enough of them.'"
Beating the in-state rival for his first coaching victory was coincidental for Embree, whose first win as a player for the Buffs came against Colorado State. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy presented Embree with the game ball after the win.
"It means a lot, we love coach Embree," quarterback Tyler Hansen said. "It was really important for us to get that first win."
Embree joined Dal Ward (1948), Eddie Crowder (1963) and Bill Mallory (1974) as CU coaches to get their first win in their third game.
--Colorado took two-thirds of the time in the fourth quarter during a game-clinching drive that lasted 16 plays and 10 minutes, 3 seconds. It was the second-longest drive in school history behind a 21-play, 99-yard drive that took 10:07 against Miami in 1961. Colorado had the ball for 11:49 in the fourth quarter, just shy of the school record for most time of possession in one quarter of 13:14 against Indiana in 1980.
--Colorado has run 238 plays this season with only one turnover, an interception against Hawaii. That is tied for the fewest of any team in the country. The Buffaloes have been turnover-free in five of their last nine games dating back to last season.
--Colorado had four sacks against Colorado State and now has a sack in 34 of its last 35 games. Linebacker Josh Hartigan had two sacks, the third multiple sack game of his career and the Buffs are unbeaten when he has done that. He now has 10 career sacks while linebacker Jon Major got his first career sack one week after he had his first career interception.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Toney Clemons -- The senior has become a deep threat for the Buffs. He had three catches for 65 yards against Colorado State, an average of 21.7 yards per grab. He also had a 44-yard touchdown catch. It was his fourth career touchdown and the others covered 73, 26, and 23 yards to give him an average of 41.5 yards per score.
LOOKING GOOD: Tailback Rodney Stewart had another solid all-around game with 98 rushing yards, 93 receiving yards and nine return yards for 200 all-purpose yards. He moved into fourth place on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,967 yards. He is second in school history with 3,642 yards from scrimmage and third in all-purpose yards at 3,651. He has more receiving yards (277) than rushing yards (223) on the season.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Colorado was called for 10 penalties that cost the Buffaloes 114 yards. In three games, Colorado has committed 25 penalties for a total of 270 yards.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just have to use it as momentum. We did get the win, but now the game is over. We need to go back to the film and get ready for Ohio State." -- Colorado receiver Paul Richardson.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--Senior wide receiver Kyle Cefalo had his first career touchdown against Colorado State on his 10th career catch. Cefalo began his college career playing baseball at Oregon State before switching sports and schools. It was his first touchdown since he ran for a score during his senior year of high school and the first receiving touchdown of his career including high school.
--Alexander Lewis became the second true freshman in school history to start at offensive tackle and the first to start at left tackle. Senior Ryan Miller, who started along with Lewis on the line, was the first true freshman to start at tackle in 2007 when he made six starts.
--Tony Jones became only the second running back to get a carry for the Buffs this season. Rodney Stewart was the only back to run the ball in the first two games of the year and had 44 carries this season before Jones ended that streak. Jones finished with 23 yards on six carries.
--Center Daniel Munyer is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury.
--Linebacker David Goldberg is also day-to-day after suffering an injury to his lower leg.
--Offensive tackle David Bakhtiari is expected to return from a knee injury this week.
--Cornerback Travis Sandersfeld is expected to miss the Ohio State game with a lower leg injury.
The NCAA is officially investigating Oregon's football program.
Oregon's recruiting practices have raised questions since it was revealed earlier this year that the Ducks paid $25,000 to a recruiting service run by Willie Lyles, who has been a mentor to a couple of Oregon players. Much of the information Lyles sent Oregon was outdated and Lyles has said in interviews that Oregon was paying him for "access and influence."
Last week, the NCAA contacted Oregon president Richard Lariviere to inform the school that it is reviewing the football program's use of scouting services. The NCAA gave Oregon a "Notice of Inquiry," which means that it is in the process of determining whether any violations were committed.
"This notice has been anticipated and is simply the next stage of the process," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. "The University of Oregon football program, from Head Coach Chip Kelly through the entire organization, has tremendous respect for the NCAA's important role in monitoring collegiate athletics and, to this end, continues to fully cooperate with the NCAA's ongoing examination. The Athletic Department, Coach Kelly and the entire staff remain committed to operating the athletics program consistent with the highest standards and ensuring our program follows best practices."
Oregon has hired an outside legal counsel to provide an independent assessment of the Ducks' use of scouting services and has pledged to make that report public when it is completed.
"As with any NCAA inquiry, our full cooperation with the NCAA prohibits us from publicly discussing any specifics on this matter," Mullens added.
Kelly said that the controversy has not been a distraction to his team.
"I didn't address it at all with our football team," he said. "We've been aware the NCAA is examining and reviewing us for a while now."
As for the possibility of sanctions hitting his football team, Kelly said he will wait to see the NCAA's report.
"I can't speculate on that, to be honest," Kelly said. "All I know is we fully cooperated with the NCAA and I look forward to their findings."
--Oregon's 56-7 win over Missouri State was the Ducks' second straight blowout victory and that allowed the team to give playing time to a lot of reserves. Six different players ran the ball, nine different receivers caught a ball, and backup QB Bryan Bennett played most of the second half. Twenty-nine Ducks were credited with a tackle.
--Oregon was originally scheduled to play Utah on Saturday, but that game was removed from the schedule when the Utes joined the Pac-10. Oregon had to find a late replacement and Missouri State was one of the few teams with that date still available. The Bears were paid $440,000 for visiting Autzen Stadium.
--Oregon begins Pac-12 play Saturday when it travels to Arizona.
KEEP AN EYE ON: TE Colt Lyerla -- The true freshman had two catches for 33 yards and scored on both in the win over Missouri State. Lyerla now has three catches this season and all have been touchdowns.
LOOKING GOOD: Oregon ran for 416 yards on 43 carries, an average of nearly 10 yards per rush. LaMichael James ran the ball only 12 times, but gained 204 yards and scored three times, including runs of 90 and 50 yards. Freshman Tra Carson ran nine times for 85 yards and De'Anthony Thomas, also a freshman, ran 10 times for 67 yards. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett and running back Anthony Blake also had a run of at least 10 yards.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Oregon's defense did not look like it was taking Missouri State seriously on the first drive when the Bears drove 84 yards on nine plays to score a touchdown and take a 7-0 lead. "They came out with a mindset that they could upset us, after that first touchdown that really woke us up as a unit," Oregon defensive lineman Terrell Turner said. The Ducks shut out Missouri State the rest of the way.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think our guys focused on the task at hand and these are situations that I think sometimes can be difficult and that's what the problem with some teams is, that they overlook opponents. I thought our guys had a great week of preparation, they understood what the deal was. We only had one game this week, and it was Missouri State and they got our full attention." -- Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--RB LaMichael James tied Derek Loville for the most touchdowns in school history after scoring three times against Missouri State. James, a junior, has 45 touchdowns in 28 games. He has 40 rushing touchdowns, four receptions, and one punt return.
--LB Kiko Alonso started at linebacker, one week after he was reinstated from a one-game suspension due to offseason legal troubles. He ranked second on the team with seven tackles.
--CB Cliff Harris was also reinstated from a one-game suspension last week, but he did not enter the game until the second quarter.
--True freshman De'Anthony Thomas had a 35-yard kickoff return, a 48-yard punt return, and a 13-yard rush all in the first quarter.
--Oregon LB Michael Clay missed the Missouri State game with an ankle injury. He had a boot on his left foot all week and his status is unknown.
--RB Kenjon Barner, WR Josh Huff, and K Rob Beard all missed a second straight game due to injury, but are expected back against Arizona.
Well, here is Oregon State again, trying to dig out of another early deficit on the win-loss record. Does any team get off to as slow a start as the Beavers?
"It's another one we have to overcome," OSU coach Mike Riley said in reference to slow starts for his team. "From a coach's viewpoint, you've got to be energized. You've got to find ways to help them. That is probably the key ingredient for our staff."
While it's been since 2003 that the Beavers have entered October with a winning record, the 0-2 start to this season has an even more ominous feeling about it. It's not only the opening loss to Sacramento State, but the 35-0 defeat at Wisconsin means the Beavers have been shut out twice in their last four games going back to last season.
"We have no identity offensively," Riley said. "We've got to establish what we can do and do well."
Part of the problem is of the Beavers own making, with the decision to rotate junior Ryan Katz at quarterback with redshirt freshman Sean Mannion. It's as if the offense isn't sure who's in charge with the different styles of the quarterbacks.
"We've just got to get that camaraderie down," receiver Jordan Bishop said. "That's coach's decision (which quarterback plays), but whoever it is, we're going to buy into it.
"At the same time, it would be nice to stay with one so we get that chemistry down."
The bye falls at a good time for the Beavers, as an opportunity to regroup both physically and mentally. The obvious thought is that if the Beavers can't beat the Bruins at home in the Pac-12 opener, it's difficult to see where OSU wins a game this season.
"We're not going to draw any lines in the sand with this group," Riley said. "I've got a lot of young players, and I just want to keep 'em growing.
"No matter what, we're going to keep playing after that. No matter what happens, we've just got to keep going."
--The Beavers had their normal conditioning and stretching workout Sunday, with the usual review of the video of the game the previous day. After a day off on Monday, also the norm, the Beavers practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the players got a weekend off while the coaches went recruiting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
--Despite the 5-7 season in 2010 and the 0-2 start to this season, recruiting seems on track for Oregon State. The Beavers have 11 known verbal commitments, more than usual at this stage for a team that usually wants to see players as seniors. Those commitments include three players from within the state of Oregon, always a priority for the Beavers.
--OSU has allowed seven touchdown passes in two games, so rushing the quarterback and defending against the pass are areas of emphasis during the bye week. In 12 games last season, OSU had 23 touchdown passes thrown against it, a number that looks likely to be topped considering the host of top quarterbacks left to defend on the OSU schedule.
BYE WEEK MISSION: Beyond a long list of areas that need improvement, the Beavers are also hoping the bye week aids in the recovery of three potential starters: WR James Rodgers, TE Joe Halahuni and RB Malcolm Agnew. On the practice front, there will be an evaluation of the use of two quarterbacks, and a lot of work on defense and offensive blocking.
LOOKING AHEAD: The 0-2 start to the season has made home game against UCLA on Sept. 24 all but make-or-break for this season. The Beavers stumbled at UCLA last season, dropping a 17-14 decision that doomed OSU to a losing record and no bowl game. The physical play of the Bruins up front showed in that game, and has to be a troubling thought to the Beavers this time around. One edge for OSU: The Beavers come off a bye, while the Bruins played Texas seven days before playing in Corvallis.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have no identity offensively really. We've got to establish what we can do and do well." -- OSU coach Mike Riley, on Beavers being shut out by Wisconsin.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The rotation of QBs Ryan Katz and Sean Mannion hasn't looked like the solution to the offensive woes, and OSU coach Mike Riley said the situation will be evaluated again during the bye week, with perhaps a decision made to simply go with Mannion, the redshirt freshman. He'll be helped if the OSU offensive line can improve its play, both in protecting the quarterback and blocking for the run. The problems of last season showed up again against Wisconsin, when OSU rushed 24 times for a net of 23 yards. Granted, freshman Malcolm Agnew missed the game with a hamstring injury, but even he needs some openings.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: OSU showed it had a run defense for a while against Wisconsin, but only by selling out with the safeties up near the line of scrimmage, which left the cornerbacks to be picked on for third-down completions. The Beavers need to find a way to play run defense without putting eight or nine players up near the line of scrimmage, or quarterbacks are simply going to pick apart that secondary.
--Starting LG Josh Andrews will be out at least four weeks with a strained knee ligament and deep contusion to the knee, suffered at Wisconsin. The sophomore is the most physical of the offensive linemen, so his loss will likely be felt in the running game.
--OSU is expecting TE Joe Halahuni back for the UCLA game on Sept. 24 after he missed the first two games recovering from shoulder surgery. There is also the chance that senior WR James Rodgers will be given the go-ahead to play after also missing the opener while recovering from two knee surgeries. To be determined is whether freshman RB Malcolm Agnew, who debuted with 223 yards against Sacramento State, is sufficiently recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Wisconsin game.
--It might be time for OSU to settle on a couple of kickoff returners, and perhaps go to WR Markus Wheaton or CB Jordan Poyer for that duty. The Beavers have tried to limit their roles to avoid overworking them, but there hasn't been much of a sign of big plays by the other kickoff returners. With the offense struggling, better field position to start drives would help.
The fact that the Cardinal easily won what figures to be its toughest game of the first half of its season says something about Stanford, but it also says something about the Cardinal's 2011 schedule.
The Wildcats are by no means a powerhouse, and even on Arizona's home field, Stanford figured to be able to handle the Wildcats if they could put any pressure at all on Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. The Cardinal did that with five sacks and a number of other hits that seemed to take their toll. He completed his first 17 pass attempts, but his efficiency declined as the game wore on.
It enabled Stanford to turn a tenuous six-point halftime lead into a rout.
And with the Wildcats brushed aside, things should only get easier for the Cardinal for a while. Stanford now has a bye before facing two of the weakest teams in the Pac-12 -- UCLA and Colorado -- both at Stanford on Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, respectively. Those games are followed by an Oct. 15 road game against Washington State.
It may be impossible to determine just how good Stanford and quarterback Andrew Luck are this year until late October when the Cardinal plays Washington, USC, Oregon State and Oregon in succession.
As has been the case in their first two games, the Cardinal was mediocre on offense in one half, but dominated things in the other.
And although the Cardinal's offensive line still is not blowing opponents off the line as it did last season, it did come up with an impressive 12-play, 91-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that lasted 6:55 and ended all hopes for the Wildcats.
There has nothing wrong with the Cardinal defense, even though Stanford's first-team defense yielded its first touchdown of the season. But things might not be as easy for the defense if Skov is lost for the season.
Skov is Stanford's best defensive player, and although there was no official word on his prognosis, he was carted into the dressing room with what appeared to be a serious knee injury, so it seems very possible Skov may be lost for the season.
--Two penalties were among the biggest contributors to Stanford's 37-10 victory over Arizona, even though one of the penalties was against Stanford. The one against Stanford came in the closing seconds of the first half when Arizona WR Juron Criner had Stanford CB Johnson Bademosi beaten for an apparent touchdown. But without looking back for the ball, Bademosi, knowing he was beaten, simply lunged to grab Criner's arms before the ball arrived, preventing Criner from being able to cradle the ball, which would have given Arizona a halftime lead. It was obvious pass interference, but just a 15-yard penalty in college ball. Arizona missed a field goal attempt on the final play of the first half.
The other important penalty came in the third quarter, with Stanford holding a 23-10 lead. The Cardinal was in punt formation on fourth down in its own territory, but an offsides by Arizona gave Stanford a first down. Stanford turned that possession into a touchdown that made the score 30-10.
--No team makes better use of its tight ends than Stanford, and that was evident in Saturday's victory over Arizona. Stanford started the game with a three-tight-end offense, and even after No. 1 TE Coby Fleener was knocked out of the game in the first quarter, the Cardinal continued to use its tight ends.
TE Zach Ertz and TE Levine Toilolo were the recipients of Andrew Luck's two touchdown passes, and tight ends have accounted for nine of the team's 11 touchdown receptions this season.
--Stanford has won 11 straight, the longest active winning streak in the country.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DE Ben Gardner -- The defensive line was expected to be a major concern, but Gardner has been surprisingly effective in his first season as a starter. He had a sack and two other tackles for losses against Arizona, giving him 5.5 tackles for losses for the season. And defensive ends in Stanford's three-man front are not expected to make that many big plays.
LOOKING GOOD: The Cardinal's pass rush was a major part of the team's defensive improvement last season, and the Cardinal continues to do a good job of harassing the opposing quarterback. Stanford sacked Arizona QB Nick Foles five times, and the Cardinal hit him several other times. It seemed to take its toll.
He completed his first 17 passes, but then completed only 1 of his next 8 attempts. Stanford has 13 sacks for the season, for a loss of 114 yards. That's a major reason the Cardinal has yielded just 108 rushing yards for the season, an average of 1.2 yards per rushing attempt.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The offense continues to have trouble in one half. In the opener it was the second half that was problematic for the Cardinal, and for the second straight game, the Cardinal was not overpowering offensively in the first half against Arizona. The offensive line has been able to wear opponents down in the victories over Duke and Arizona, but it was unable to dominate the line of scrimmage in the first half of either game.
QB Andrew Luck has been sacked only twice this season, but he has been hit and harried a lot more often than he was a year ago.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That doesn't matter to us. The only thing that matters is that we're 1-0 in the conference." -- Stanford coach David Shaw, on the fact that Stanford's 11-game winning streak is the longest in the country.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--QB Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes against Arizona on Sept. 17, giving him eight for the season and 53 for his career, putting him one ahead of Jim Plunkett and into third place on Stanford's career list for touchdown passes. Luck appeared to throw his second interception of the season in the first quarter, but the apparent pick by Arizona CB Trevin Wade was overturned by the replay official. Luck also ran three times for 36 yards, and every carry seemed to be critical.
--TB Stepfan Taylor had a career-high 156 yards on the ground against Arizona, raising his per-game average to 96.3 yards.
--Redshirt freshman K Jordan Williamson kicked three more field goals against Arizona -- 20, 33 and 45 yards -- all in the first half, making him 6-for-6 for the season. He was the difference in the first half, as Arizona's kicker missed 2 of his 3 first-half field-goal attempts. Stanford led 16-10 at halftime.
--Junior ILB Shayne Skov injured his knee in the second quarter, and though there was no immediate prognosis, it appears to be the kind of injury that will sideline Skov for a prolonged period.
--Senior TE Coby Fleener was knocked woozy after making a catch in the first half and did not play the rest of the game. He was on the sidelines thereafter and appeared to be OK, but with the precautions teams take with head injuries these days, it's unclear when he will be able to play again. The fact that Stanford does not play until Oct. 1 helps.
--WR Chris Owusu had a ton of trouble with injuries last season, and things did not look good when he had to leave the game with a shoulder injury after returning a kickoff in the first half. But after sitting out a few series, he returned to the game.
A year later, the Bruins are hurting in the worst way, and those good feelings from the day in Austin are way in the rear-view memory. UCLA dropped to 1-2 with a 49-20 loss to the Horns in the Rose Bowl, further increasing the heat on fourth-year coach Rick Neuheisel.
As has become the norm, UCLA's quarterback play was substandard (to put it kindly). Kevin Prince, a junior returning from injuries suffered in the opener at Houston, was intercepted on his first pass attempt, setting up a Texas touchdown.
Prince was intercepted twice more before the first quarter was over, and the Longhorns turned those picks into touchdowns, too.
Meanwhile, Texas' first-time starting quarterback Case McCoy and running back-up David Ash -- a pair of newbies on the road -- combined to go 15 of 18 with no interceptions.
After Prince's third interception, Neuheisel had no choice but to yank his starting quarterback and go back to junior Richard Brehaut, who had started the Sept. 17 victory over San Jose State.
"I've been around too long to be stunned," Neuheisel said of Prince's performance.
"I'm disappointed. I'm his coach. I saw him prepare. For whatever reason, we missed that first throw. I don't think there was a reason to miss it. The second ball, there was pressure, but I think he had somebody and the ball got tipped. The third ball was just a poor throw."
The quarterback position is sure to be a major topic this week as UCLA prepares for its Pac-12 opener -- at Oregon State.
--The announced attendance at the Rose Bowl for the game against Texas was only 54,583 -- and there was a lot of burnt orange mixed in there. Addressing the attendance, coach Rick Neuheisel said, "It's been my experience that when you win and get going, the crowd will come. I know there are folks out there that are disappointed in our lack of success. A number of people are on that wait-and-see deal. I don't necessarily blame those people. I just want to thank those who come on a regular basis."
--Senior LB Glenn Love, who suffered a dislocated shoulder against Houston, did not play against San Jose State, but he made his first career starter against Texas.
--OG Sean Sheller, a sixth-year senior, suffered a broken forearm against Texas and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: P/PK Jeff Locke -- UCLA made a change at place-kicker after the early struggles of redshirt freshman Kip Smith, going with junior punter Jeff Locke against Texas. No problem at all. He made his first field goal attempt -- a 51-yarder -- bringing back happy memories of All-American Kai Forbath. It marked the first time in school history that a UCLA kicker made a field goal of 50-plus yards in his first attempt. Locke later was good from 49 yards.
LOOKING GOOD: WR Nelson Rosario -- The 6-5 senior isn't likely to catch a lot of passes in UCLA's Pistol offense -- nobody is -- but he has the size and skills to be a big-play threat. He is averaging nearly 21 yards on 11 receptions through three games, making him the Bruins' leading receiver.
STILL NEEDS WORK: UCLA ranks 100th nationally in total defense, allowing 424.67 yards per game, and 103rd in scoring defense, yielding 34.7 points per game. The Bruins' defensive front was supposed to be a strength, led by DE Datone Jones, but the line has been pushed around and is failing to come up with big plays. Given the high number of quality quarterbacks and offenses in the Pac-12, the Bruins could be in for many more long days for first-year defensive coordinator Joe Tresey.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We believe we still have the makings of a good team. We have enough character in the program to be a good team. There's enough gumption among the coaches to provide the framework to get that done." -- Coach Rick Neuheisel.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
RB Derrick Coleman -- He rushed seven times for 47 yards and two touchdowns against Texas, scoring on a pair of 1-yard runs. It was the senior's second career game with multiple touchdowns. He is a fine complement to starting RB Johnathan Franklin, having averaged 7.1 yards per carry through three games (28 rushes for 199 yards).
LB Patrick Larimore -- He had a team-high nine tackles against Texas, but it's not as if anyone on the defense really played well. "We'll keep fighting," he said in the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "If we just made a sack or a tackle at the right time, we could have turned the game around. We just didn't do it."
--OT Jeff Baca was back in the starting lineup against Texas for the first time since the 2009 season. He was academically ineligible last season and then has been working his way back from a broken ankle suffered in the spring. He started at weakside tackle.
--CB Andrew Abbott suffered a concussion when he was hit by Texas WR Marquise Goodwin, who was penalized for an illegal hit above the shoulder pads. Abbott underwent a CT scan at a hospital and was released.
--C Kai Maiava, who was suspended for the San Jose State game, was back in the starting lineup against Texas.
--DT Brandon Willis, who left UCLA in the spring for North Carolina, has re-joined the Bruins. As of last week, UCLA was waiting to hear about a waiver that would allow him to play this season. If that doesn't come through, he would have three years of eligibility left, starting in 2012.
--CB Anthony Jefferson (bulging disc) could miss about half the season. A broken foot cost him nine games of his true freshman season, and he was able to attain a redshirt. He was being counted on for depth this season behind starters Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price.
--CB Jamie Graham, who joined the team this fall as a graduate student transfer from Vanderbilt, is expected to be out until mid-September because of a knee injury. UCLA is still counting on Graham to provide needed depth in the secondary.
The Trojans put together two solid halves of football en route to 501 yards of offense and a 3-0 record.
"It's about time," said quarterback Matt Barkley. "It felt like Trojan football again."
USC required defensive stands to hold on to beat Minnesota and Utah in the first two weeks, but everyone could breathe easier this time around, and the Trojans were able to use a season-high 54 players against the Orange.
"We finally got a complete game," fullback Rhett Ellison said in the L.A. Times. "The defense, the offense -- everyone played four quarters."
Everyone, naturally, includes junior quarterback Matt Barkley, who completed 26 of 39 passes for 324 yards, with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The five touchdown passes tied a school record -- and they went to five different receivers, which is a good sign as USC has been looking for complements to wideout Robert Woods.
"He knows if (Woods) or another receiver is not open, he can come to me," true freshman Marquis Lee said in the Daily Trojan. "We have that trust there."
USC seems to be building as it gets ready to play possibly its toughest game so far -- at Arizona State on Saturday. USC is 1-0 in the conference because of that win over Utah, and a victory over Arizona State would help establish dominance in the Pac-12 South, even if USC is ineligible to win the title.
--USC's 38-17 victory marked the first time in seven games that the Trojans scored more than 28 points. The previous time came in a 34-33 victory over ASU last season.
--A third consecutive home game -- this one against a team from all the way across the country (Syracuse) -- did not excite the local football fans. USC drew 65,873 for Saturday's game, which was the lowest attendance at the L.A. Coliseum since Oct. 19, 2002 when 52,961 showed up for a game vs. Washington.
--USC moved back into the AP rankings this week at No. 23. The Trojans are not eligible to be in the USA Today's coaches poll because of NCAA sanctions.
KEEP AN EYE ON: FB Rhett Ellison -- The Trojans like to feature their fullback -- see Stanley Havili in recent seasons -- but are working to develop another threat at the position this season. Ellison was a starter at tight end last season, so there is a learning curve for him at the position, but he was involved Saturday against Syracuse, catching five passes for 31 yards, including a 5-yard score.
LOOKING GOOD: USC's deep passing game -- This is the developing part of coach Lane Kiffin's play-calling and quarterback Matt Barkley's game. The Trojans had no trouble with the frequency or the success of the deep ball against Syracuse, as Barkley's long passes included a 44-yard scoring pass to tight end Randall Telfer and a 43-yard TD pass to freshman wideout Marqise Lee. "You're going to have to take shots," Kiffin said.
STILL NEEDS WORK: There was some controversy at end of the game against Syracuse. USC was up 38-17, when Matt Barkley dropped back to pass on first-and-goal from the 5. Was coach Lane Kiffin trying to give Barkley a chance at the school record of six touchdown passes? Kiffin told reporters that an assistant sent in the wrong play, although Barkley was quotes in the L.A. Daily News as saying "it was the right call." Barkley was sacked on the play, which seemed to be an unnecessary risk in the final minute. Kiffin on Sunday said of the play call: "I'm accountable for everything. That's not what I wante
d to happen but it did." QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought he was a great player coming into the game, and I think he's a great player after the game." -- Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, on USC QB Matt Barkley.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LB Dion Bailey -- He had a team-high nine tackles against Syracuse, including a sack. He also forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. The redshirt freshman has 16 tackles through three games and is part of a promising group of youngsters at the position for USC.
RB Marc Tyler -- The senior was back in the starting lineup against Syracuse, and although he didn't have a big game on the ground (15 carries, 41 yards), although coach Lane Kiffin was pleased with his blocking. USC showed a different look by using Tyler in the Wildcat formation.
WR Robert Woods -- The sophomore is going to draw extra defensive attention, which makes it important that USC develops other threats around him. Woods still managed team-highs with eight catches for 82 yards -- including one touchdown -- against Syracuse, giving him 33 receptions for 361 yards through three games.
--LG Martin Coleman, a senior, made his first career start in week 2 vs. Utah, suffered a shoulder injury early in that game and did not play Saturday vs. Syracuse. Freshman Marcus Martin started in Coleman's place.
--OG Abe Markowitz has not played in the first three games because of a foot injury.
--DT Armond Armstead, who has been out because of an undisclosed medical condition, had not yet been cleared. Coach Lane Kiffin said he should have an update on Armstead's condition on Tuesday.
The Utes (2-1) had faced questions about its offense under new coordinator Norm Chow and a less-than-stellar Jordan Wynn at quarterback. But the offense responded with a season-high 481 yards offense and took advantage of seven BYU turnovers to put distance between the Utes and Cougars (1-2). It was only the second game in the past seven years between the schools that the game was decided by more than one possession -- Utah also won a 48-24 decision in 2008 to serve as the other non-competitive game.
"If you go back in the history of this game, it's never like this," Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn told the Salt Lake Tribune. "To get a win like this, it's huge for us and throughout the program and the fans and everything. All around, it's a big win."
Running back John White rushed for a career-high 174 yards and three touchdowns for the Utes -- all but nine yards coming in the second half. That enabled Wynn to get the offense going through the air. He was 16-for-30 for 239 yards with two TDs and one interception.
"We were able to run the ball," Wynn told the Tribune. "We struggled a little bit in the first half -- running the ball and controlling the line of scrimmage. But in the second half, I don't know what it was. We just dug deep and the (offensive) line got it done and John was finding some creases."
Utah's defense, meanwhile, forced seven turnovers, which led to 31 Utes points. Utah's defense accounted for two touchdowns itself, opening the game with Derrick Shelby's fumble recovery in the end zone for a 7-0 Utes lead just 1:02 into the game and closing it with V.J. Fehoko's 57-yard fumble return with 3:38 left in the game.
"Through three games, our defense has been very opportunistic," coach Kyle Whittingham said in his postgame news conference. "Creating takeaways is a great quality to have. I've always said that turnover margin is the most important statistic in the game, aside from the final score."
So far this season, Utah is plus-9 in turnover margin. The new opportunities sparked an offense that was averaging just 305.5 yards per game in its first two contests. It might be the spark the team needs as it jumps back into conference play next week against Washington.
--The Utes' 44-point margin of victory may be the Utah's largest since a 49-0 win in 1922. BYU disputes the final score of that game, insisting that the final score was 49-13 for the Utes.
--Utah athletic director Chris Hill admitted to the Deseret News that the early date of the rivalry game with BYU did have an impact. "The rivalry is intense," he said. "To say that it's not different, I would be less than honest." Hill said the teams will wait and see how the rivalry games play out in the next couple of years before they discuss whether to try to move the game back to the end of the season.
--Adding insult to injury, a couple of Utah players who had designs on attending BYU coming out of high school came up big for the Utes. TE Jake Murphy, who signed a letter of intent with BYU before transferring to Utah, caught a 30-yard TD pass with 32 seconds left in the first half to give Utah a 14-10 halftime lead. DE Trevor Reilly, whose top choice was BYU coming out of high school, force a pair of fumbles.
KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Jordan Wynn keeps saying he feels a little more comfortable each time he plays a game in offensive coordinator Norm Chow's system. Wynn was 16-of-30 for 239 yards with two TDs and one interception. Wynn threw for just 101 yards in the season opener against Montana State, and came back with 238 passing yards last week against USC. The mantra now for Wynn is to improve his completion percentage. He is just 39 of 76 in his last two games and has a completing percentage of just 54 percent. The shoulder seems to bother Wynn less every day, and he is starting gain confidence in Norm Chow's offensive system.
LOOKING GOOD: RB John White entered fall camp in a dogfight with Harvey Langi and Thretton Palamo for the starting job for the season opener. Since White won the job fairly early in camp, he has not looked back. The junior college transfer is averaging 126.7 yards per game and has only 61 carries on the season. He showed how dangerous he can be when the offense starts to click as it did in the second half against BYU. White had 165 of his 174 yards after halftime on just 13 carries, and he scored on runs of 62 and 35 yards to help the Utes put the game away.
STILL NEEDS WORK: It's hard to be picky on a unit that has 12 takeaways in only three games, but the Utes are giving up a few more yards than they would like to surrender. The Utes defense is allowing 342.7 yards per game; it has been opportunistic in recording turnovers, but the Utes need it to step up its impact as the program heads into Pac-12 play with games over the next two weeks. Opponents are averaging 262.3 passing yards against the Utes, which they need to cut down as they get into pass-happy Pac-12 play.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This was a nice win for our program. It was a team effort from start to finish, which is a team mantra of ours. No matter what happens in the game, we want to keep playing hard and do what we're supposed to do, and we did that tonight. One of our points of emphasis this week was that the game doesn't always have to be close. I guess our guys took it to heart." -- Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, on the 44-point victory over in-state rival BYU.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Dres Anderson came up big for the Utes on Saturday. He had a team-high 81 receiving yards on three catches, and he scored once on a 59-yard pass from QB Jordan Wynn to start the third quarter and give Utah the momentum coming out of the locker room at halftime.
--DL Derrick Shelby, Mo Lee and Trevor Reilly each picked up a fumble against BYU on Saturday and helped create 17 points for the Utes. If Shelby's recovery in the end zone on the first series of the game created momentum for the Utes, Lee's kickoff recovery at the BYU 3 established control for the Utes. Reilly's fumble recovery in the fourth quarter just helped make the Utah margin of victory grow longer.
--Reilly, a backup LB, also had the best game of his career. He had three tackles for loss and two sacks, which was instrumental in forcing BYU QB Jake Heaps to throw the ball sooner than he wanted to for most of the game. For the game, Reilly was credited with three forced fumbles against BYU.
--Starting RT Tony Bergstrom tore a ligament in his right knee against BYU on Saturday. The senior captain, however, told the Deseret News he expects to return in a couple of weeks.
--RB John White's 174 rushing yards Saturday were the most by a Ute since Brandon Warfield ran for 181 yards against Texas A&M in 2004.
--Brothers Dave and Joe Kruger started for the first time together on the DL. Younger brother Joe had been the Utes' regular starter at DE. Dave replaced James Aiono at DT.
UW was beaten 51-38 by the Cornhuskers, and afterward Husky coach Steve Sarkisian pointed to a weird beginning to the second half as the beginning of the end.
"We had a complete meltdown in the third quarter," he said, referring to a 2:58 stretch in which Nebraska scored 17 points to pull away. UW was the victim of a couple of controversial penalties during Nebraska's run, as well as fumbling a kickoff away at its own 1-yard line, which led to one of the Cornhuskers' touchdowns.
"A lot of self-inflicted wounds," Sarkisian said.
There were also, however, simply a lot of getting run over by Nebraska, which has had concerns about its offensive line -- it started three walk-ons Saturday -- but was able to run for 309 yards against the Huskies.
"They wore us down," said Sarkisian of Nebraska scoring 31 points in the second half. That included an 86-yard drive in which all but three yards came on the ground.
The Huskies were behind 44-17 early in the fourth quarter before using some big passing plays to make the score close -- including a 52-yard pass from Keith Price to James Johnson for the final score with 4:27 left. Price threw four touchdowns and now has 11 on the season, and the Huskies have shown they can score so far, averaging 36 points per game.
UW had thought its run defense was pretty stout after shutting down Eastern Washington and Hawaii. But Nebraska showed the gaudy numbers were a function of the schedule as much as anything else, and raised new concerns about Washington's defense, which had been torched by the passing attacks of Hawaii and Eastern Washington.
Sarkisian said he thought the team lost its composure during the third quarter and couldn't pinpoint exactly what the issues were with the run defense.
UW, however, is allowing 36.7 points a game and is showing that the apparent late-season improvement of last year hasn't yet translated to this season.
UW ended its non-conference schedule at 2-1 and prepared for a visit by Cal on Saturday to open Pac-12 play.
--UW saw its six-game winning streak snapped. It was UW's longest winning streak since 2001 and was tied for the fourth-longest in the nation.
--The game was the third against Nebraska in less than a year. Nebraska won two of the three, outscoring UW 114-78.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR James Johnson caught just one pass last season after catching 39 as a freshman in 2009. Giving more proof that he's back, Johnson led UW with six catches for 108 yards against Nebraska, including a 52-yard touchdown late in the game. He now has 12 catches for the season.
LOOKING GOOD: The Huskies continue to show they can pass the ball with Keith Price at the helm. He threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns against Nebraska, completing 21 of 37 passes. He now has 11 touchdown passes on the season. Three different receivers caught five or more passes as the Huskies were able to show some varied looks at Nebraska to get guys open.
STILL NEEDS WORK: -- The defense has now been blistered by two good passing teams and one good running team, and is allowing 452 yards per game, shades of the early-to-mid-season struggles of last season. UW is young at linebacker, but otherwise has most of the key pieces from last season back, so it had hoped for a step up this season, when the Huskies allowed 384 yards per game. The foreboding sign is that the schedule doesn't get any easier going forward.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we could have easily cashed it in there when the game started to get out of hand. I thought our kids competed and competed for four quarters and I'm proud of them for that. The reality of it is we had a complete meltdown there in the third quarter where I think we lost our composure a bit. We got rattled." -- UW coach Steve Sarkisian.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--RB Chris Polk continues to get it done. He rushed for 130 yards on 22 carries, his fifth straight 100-yard game dating to last season. The only negative is that he continues to do a lot of it on his own, breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage to plow for yards.
--The special teams were a bit of a disaster against Nebraska as there were four key penalties on special teams plays that helped turn the tide, a lost fumble at the 1-yard line, and allowing a 66-yard kickoff return to set up another score.
--The offensive line has been a bit of a mixed bag. RB Chris Polk continues to rush for more than 100 yards every game. But the Huskies are averaging just 149.5 yards per game on the ground overall. UW averaged 172.2 last season.
--FS Nate Fellner didn't play due to a hamstring injury sustained against Hawaii. He was replaced by junior Justin Glenn. Fellner could be back for this week's game against Cal. Glenn made a career-high 15 tackles against Nebraska.
--Backup S Taz Stevenson, a sophomore, did not suit up after re-injuring his knee during the week.
--LB Princeton Fuimaono sustained a shin injury of unknown severity.
--MLB Cort Dennison sustained a shoulder injury but it was not deemed serious.
That hope ended in the third game of the season Saturday as the Cougars fell apart in the second half and lost at San Diego State, 42-24.
WSU had blown out Idaho State and UNLV to open the season, averaging 61.5 points in the process.
But on the road against an Aztecs team that won nine games last season, the Cougars found the sledding tougher, and a few key mistakes late cost them a shot at the win.
"They made plays and we didn't," said defensive coordinator Chris Ball. "We didn't make the plays we needed to make."
The most specific errors were a roughing the punter call that kept alive a San Diego State drive that turned into a touchdown, and then later a fumble by quarterback Marshall Lobbestael that killed a promising drive and led to another SDSU score. Lobbestael had two interceptions and two lost fumbles.
"It's something I have to work on, something I have to fix during practice," Lobbestael said of the fumbles.
The Cougars also had trouble corralling running back Ronnie Hillman, who gained 191 yards on 32 carries, including a 59-yard TD late that helped turn the tide.
After the two easy wins to open the season, the Cougars were stepping up in class, and it showed. WSU allowed 500 yards, including 227 on the ground, while getting just 51 rushing of its own.
WSU now has a week off before playing at Colorado on Oct. 1 to open Pac-12 play and then a game at UCLA, contests many hopeful fans have considered winnable.
WSU enters the bye week at 2-1 in what is a crucial year for fourth-year head coach Paul Wulff, whose fate may rest in the Cougars having a winning season.
--QB Marshall Lobbestael went over the 300-yard mark passing for the second straight game with 368 yards. He had 361 last week against UNLV.
--K Andrew Furney is now 3-3 on the year. That spot had been a position of some worry heading into the season. He made a 48-yarder Saturday.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Senior WR Isiah Barton had one of his better games with six catches for 70 yards and one touchdown and six kickoff returns for 159 yards.
LOOKING GOOD: When QB Marshall Lobbestael wasn't fumbling the ball away or throwing an interception, the passing game looked pretty good. He was 20-42 for 368 yards and three touchdowns, and WSU's receivers again showed the ability to make big plays.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The running game remains a major concern as WSU couldn't get much done against the first good defense it faced this year, gaining just 50 yards on 28 attempts. Take out sacks and WSU's backs had 83 yards on 19 attempts, which looks better but wasn't enough to avoid WSU's offense falling stagnant after a hot start.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you turn the ball over too much it catches up with you in the second half of a close game." -- WSU quarterback Marshall Lobbestael on WSU's four turnovers.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--RB Rickey Galvin and RB Carl Winston were the only backs to get carries as WSU thinned its running back rotation.
--K Andrew Furney is 3-3 on the year on field goal attempts and made a 48-yarder. P Dan Wagner averaged 40.8 yards per punt, downing one inside the 20.
--The offensive line is the major concern with the running game as the Cougars also allowed six sacks in addition to not getting much push for a running game. The sack totals might be lower if Jeff Tuel were healthy and playing quarterback instead of the less mobile Marshall Lobbestael.
--The defense also faltered in its first game against a good opponent, allowing 500 yards, and being pretty equally lit up with the Aztecs getting 227 on the ground and 273 through the air.
--Starting C Andrew Roxas did not play due to a sprained right ankle suffered the week before. He was replaced by Taylor Meighen. It was the first start for Meighen.
--DE Adam Coerper sprained his knee, the only apparent new injury for the Cougars.