This week had a lot of bowl implications. We are on the precipice of a weird achievement this season. The Pac-12 has been less than stellar this year, but 10 teams are going to a bowl game. Not good bowl games, but a game nonetheless. That’s a record for the conference.
Arizona State 40, Oregon State 24
Oregon State is the weekly “love the effort” team under Cory Hall. The game was not as close as the score indicates. ASU is now officially bowl eligible. Todd Graham keeps his job, much to the chagrin of Sun Devil fans.
Oregon 48, Arizona 28
Jim Leavitt and company shut down Khalil Tate, the first team in the Pac-12 to do so. Justin Herbert delivered a triumphant return at QB for the Ducks, and they finally showed an offense worth keeping. Royce Freeman continues to be the most underrated RB in the conference, and he had another great game. 135 yards, 7 per carry, and 4 touchdowns. He also broke the career Oregon TD record, no small accomplishment. Fans will look back at his stats and say, “Why didn’t I make a bigger deal out of this?”
USC 28, UCLA 23
Boy, UCLA’s defense picked a good game to show up. A little late, but still, impressive effort by a unit that couldn’t stop a wet paper towel earlier in the year. Yes, I say all this knowing CU scored less than USC did against the Bruins. Unfortunately for them, Josh Rosen and Jordan Lasley couldn’t overcome the turnovers. You can’t give USC that many chances to run on you. Ronald Jones will eat you alive if you let him. He was a man among boys tonight, AGAIN, but he had help. Sam Darnold did his job and made some crazy scrambles, Tyler Vaughns continues to improve, and Stephen Carr made a good return from injury. UCLA had a great chance to win this game, but the red zone turnovers and the poor special team play really doomed them. Seriously, USC’s punt return got everybody:
Another look at USC’s trick punt return TD! #FightOn pic.twitter.com/O426YaBgew— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) November 19, 2017
Stanford 17, California 14
Bryce Love had another long touchdown run and Stanford squeaked out another win. This was a boring game (to me) that I’d rather not speak of. Cal and UCLA is now a matchup to determine the 9th bowl-eligible Pac-12 team, which is fun.
Washington 33, Utah 30
And now we make it to the nightcap, which was probably the best game of them all. Both teams played well, and if not well, then at least to their strengths. This Utah team continues to be topsy-turvy, with the strength being the skill position players on offense (the defense still leans on the O-line). Tyler Huntley played a good game, but he showed some youthful transgression. He has some great legs and can really zip it in there if he needs to. Very similar to Steven Montez in that way. Zack Moss continues to carry the rock well, and I was impressed with Raelon Singleton in Darren Carrington’s absence. He can really move for how big he is.
Now, on to Washington. Jake Browning saved the day at the end, but I feel like this tweet sums him up very well:
I don't think Jake Browning knows he is mortal?— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) November 19, 2017
Granted, he said this when Jake Browning threw two dimes to set up Washington for the game-winning field goal, but it works in other contexts. He throws every ball like he has a Howitzer for an arm, and then when his musket pops out a 30 yard floater that gets picked off, it’s almost like he didn’t expect that. He scrambles like Fran Tarketon with his Byron Leftwich feet (alright, that’s an exaggeration). It’s just supreme confidence, and its admirable in its extremity. But enough about him. Washington’s secondary is really good again, and they can run Gaskin until he drops.
Byes: Colorado, WSU
Good Weeks: Oregon, Utah, USC, Stanford, ASU
Okay Weeks: UCLA, Washington
Bad Weeks: Oregon State, Cal, Arizona