USA Today Sports

Around the Pac 12 - Week 4

Here's a look around the league with observations on each of the games that Pac 12 teams played last weekend...

Colorado 41

Oregon 38

-- Huge congrats to Colorado and head coach Mike MacIntyre who is one of the good guys in the sport. They have worked their tails off to get to this point and even though it was nail-biter time toward the end, they definitely are a much better team than people have given them credit for and will be a team to reckon with down the stretch.

-- With Sefo Liufau out, Steven Montez gets the start and goes 23 of 32 for 333 yards with three touchdowns and he also led the Buffaloes with 135 yards rushing and another score as well. He did have the two interceptions, but  overall, he was the difference-maker they needed to beat the Ducks.

-- Dakota Prukop was hemmed in all day. His best attribute is his running and he carried the ball just six times for minus-10 yards. You can see where his weakness lies -- sitting in the pocket and making throws from there.

-- With Royce Freeman out for the game, I thought Tony Brooks-James actually looked pretty good, but he's not the same type of runner. He's more of the scat-back we've been used to and he made a lot of the runs on his own accord as the offensive line for Oregon looks like a shell of what we have seen in previous season. Losing Tyrell Crosby for the season will be huge for them moving forward.

-- Oregon's defense is still pretty bad. They allowed 593 yards to Colorado including 260 on the ground. Brady Hoke had better figure it out or he, along with his boss, might not be there much longer.

-- I can see why Mark Helfrich would say that the game-winning touchdown by Bryce Bobo was questionable, but how do you allow Colorado to go right down the field on you in that situation? You have to get a stop and that just doesn't seem to be in the cards for Oregon's defense right now.

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Utah 31

USC 27

-- If you're USC and you have pinned your opponent inside its own 10 and you lead by three with 5:30 left in the game, you have to feel good about your chances. 

-- The USC defense just could not get off the field on the final drive. They had Utah at 3rd and 10 on the Ute seven and a pass interference, which wasn't needed, gave Utah a first down.  With 5:19 left, Utah likely punts and USC has a chance to, at the very least, burn more clock. Utah also didn't take what would have been a 40 yard field goal to tie it when they faced 4th and 1 at the USC 23 and :45 was left on the clock. Instead, they went for it, got a first down and then one play later, Troy Williams finds Tim Patrick for the 18-yard TD. Just brutal.

-- I thought freshman Sam Darnold, in his first start, looked poised and the stage didn't look too big for him. If Clay Helton is going to save his job, then Darnold has to be the guy they all think he can be.

-- Adoree Jackson is amazing with the ball in his hands. He had yet another 100-yard kickoff return. The moment he gets some daylight...he's gone.

-- Williams showed some running skills. He's not the runner that Travis Wilson was, but he might be quicker. When he decides to put his foot in the ground and go, he really can go.

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Stanford 22

UCLA 13

-- Stanford DT Solomon Thomas is a beast. He runs so well for a guy his size and is very light on his feet. Can you imagine what it was like in Las Vegas at the sports books when he returned that fumble 42 yards for a score at the end of the game? At that point, Stanford led by three and the spread in Vegas was Stanford by three. We all know what happened next -- they win by nine for the back door cover -- and people just had to be going nuts.

-- That was one of the more physical games you are going to see in the Pac 12 this season and Stanford is definitely paying the price today as it appears as if they will be missing a couple of starters when they head to Seattle on Friday.

-- The Stanford players always seem to come up big in big moments. The throw by Ryan Burns and catch by J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was a thing of beauty and it was their first touchdown of the game which came with less than a minute on the clock. Burns couldn't have thrown that pass any better.

-- How was that not a targeting call on UCLA's Tahaan Goodman when he led with his helmet on Francis Owusu? As it is, it sounds like Owusu is out for the game this weekend.

-- UCLA did a great job of not letting Christian McCaffrey hurt them too much. He finished with 138 yards on the ground, but that was on 26 carries and he had just two receptions for 13 yards and a one kick return for 14 yards. I haven't looked it up, but I would bet that has to be one of the lowest productivity games ever for McCaffrey.

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Boise State 38

Oregon State 24

-- How bad have things gotten at QB for Oregon State? They started transfer Darell Garretson and he went 11 of 16 in the first half, but for just 53 yards and the coaches seemed to become frustrated with him, so they benched him in favor of freshman walk-on Conor Blount. Blount went 11 of 18 for 138 yards and seemed to give the Beavers a spark. What happens now?

-- Oregon State was down 31-7 at the half, but they held BSU to just seven points in the second half and got some big plays on special teams -- one kickoff for a touchdown, another long kickoff return that set up another score and they even recovered an onside kick. Head coach Gary Andersen has this team playing hard regardless of the situation.

-- OSU is still struggling to get the run going. 35 carries for 96 yards will not get it done in Pac 12 play.

-- With their win over Oregon State, Boise State has now beaten four-straight Pac 12 programs -- Arizona (2014), Washington (2015) and Washington State (2016). 

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Arizona State 51

California 41

-- Manny Wilkins had a huge game rushing for a team-leading 72 yards and three scores while throwing for 290 yard with a touchdown and a pick. 

-- Heading into the game, the Sun Devils had forced just two turnovers in three games, but they picked off Davis Webb twice in the fourth quarter and also forced a fumble and that helped them preserve the win.

-- Cal's defense is still pretty atrocious, but boy, Arizona State's, a team led by a defensive guy in head coach Todd Graham, isn't any better as they allowed 637 yards -- 478 of it through the air-- and they rarely got significant pressure on Webb, sacking him four times in 60 drop backs, so that is an area of concern for them.

-- Viliami Moeakiola's interception return for a score was huge, but even more important was ASU getting an on-side kick and taking it the distance for the final score of the game and sealing the win. You don't see that very often, but the ball bounced perfectly into the hands of DJ Calhoun and he took it 42 yards for the score.


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