Pac-10 starting to sort itself out after another weekend of football
On the Pac-10’s most provocative Saturday of the football season, give the league a solid B grade. California and Washington were blots on the performance, but Arizona stepped up against Iowa, UCLA rebounded nicely and Arizona State acquitted itself well.
What We Learned
• Washington looks to have been oversold. The optimism of fall camp, mostly from coach Steve Sarkisian, has dissipated into a 1-2 start.
Can the Huskies get to 6-6 and play in a bowl game? Absolutely. But, assuming a victory in the Apple Cup, Washington must split with the other four geographic pairs (or the equivalent), and today, that looks like an uphill battle.
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• Arizona has some claws. The Wildcats (3-0), thought to be soft at linebacker, allowed the ninth-ranked Hawkeyes a mere 29 yards rushing and responded to Iowa’s comeback with a winning touchdown drive.
“We’re a different team inside and out this year,” said Mike Stoops, the Arizona coach.
• Cal (2-1) has a limited future with Kevin Riley at quarterback. Most glaring was the Bears’ defensive futility in giving up 52 points and 497 yards to Nevada’s Pistol offense, but Riley also threw an interception for a touchdown and missed an open receiver for a score.
• Arizona State (2-1) might be part of the Pac-10’s vast middle class. The Sun Devils lost a one-pointer in a tough venue against a Big Ten contender in Wisconsin as ASU freshman Deantre Lewis ran for 122 yards. ASU had five runs of 10 yards or more, including efforts of 38, 32 and 23.
• Two Heisman candidacies expired. Jake Locker’s went south in Seattle, and UCLA took care of Houston’s Case Keenum, intercepting him twice and holding him to 83 yards passing before he exited with an injury.
• USC is out of the doghouse. Coach Lane Kiffin gave the Trojans (3-0) permission to sing “Fight On” after the 32-21 victory at Minnesota, and they did it — twice.
• Oregon needs a game. Nobody has yet given the Ducks (3-0) one, and they’re No. 1 nationally in both offense (611.7) and defense (193.3).
The plot begins to thicken in league play, with Cal at Arizona, Oregon at Arizona State and USC at Washington State. Meanwhile, there are three high-level nonleague games — Oregon State at Boise State, UCLA at Texas and Stanford at Notre Dame.
Times Players of the Week
Offense — Stanford QB Andrew Luck threw for four touchdowns and wove 52 yards for a fifth score as the Cardinal swamped Wake Forest 68-24.
Defense — UCLA sophomore LB Pat Larimore led the way with 11 tackles (eight solos, three for losses) plus a forced fumble and two pass breakups.
Special teams — Arizona receiver David Roberts broke through to block an early punt by Iowa’s Ryan Donahue and the ‘Cats capitalized with their first touchdown in a 34-27 victory.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org