So this is what they're thinking in Boulder and Salt Lake City this morning: This Pac-12 football, what a rush. The first time the conference...
So this is what they’re thinking in Boulder and Salt Lake City this morning: This Pac-12 football, what a rush.
The first time the conference newbies got together with their fresh colleagues, each game went down to the last play. California outlasted Colorado in overtime, 36-33, and Utah had a tying field goal blocked by USC and run in for a touchdown.
What we learned
Arizona State didn’t make a statement, it almost made a mess. For their Friday night game with Missouri, the Sun Devils were about a touchdown favorite. They showed bursts of brilliance, especially quarterback Brock Osweiler throwing to Pullman High product Aaron Pflugrad (eight catches, 180 yards, two TDs).
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But ASU led by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, coughed up that lead, and if Missouri had managed itself better at the wire, likely would have lost. The Tigers seemed satisfied with reaching the ASU 30 inside the final minute, then called two timeouts before its kicker, Grant Ressel, missed a 48-yard field goal.
Some breathless media accounts said ASU “made a statement.” The declaration is, ASU can be very good but is often its own worst enemy. It muffed a punt when it appeared ready to put the game away, and had 12 penalties for 110 yards.
Mike Riley may have lost Ryan Katz. By now, it’s apparent Oregon State is settling on redshirt freshman Sean Mannion to take the Beavers through this phase of their development.
After Katz was pulled at halftime of the Sacramento State loss, he started in the 35-0 loss at Wisconsin, was yanked after three snaps in favor of Mannion, and saw only three more plays, while Mannion went 25 of 38 passing for 244 yards.
According to reports, Katz left the OSU locker room afterward via a back door and didn’t talk to media.
Andrew Luck is mortal after all. He threw an interception for a long Duke touchdown. Aside from that, Stanford has been all over two overmatched opponents in 2011.
Zach Maynard may be the answer at Cal. The transfer quarterback from Buffalo helped pull the Bears out of a first-and-30 predicament in overtime with a 32-yard pass to half-brother Keenan Allen before the two hooked up for the winning score.
Before that, two big stops by Redmond High product Trevor Guyton on the Buffs’ Rodney Stewart near the goal line forced Colorado into a field goal.
Matt Kalil is an all-purpose left tackle. The Trojans’ offensive lineman, projected to go to the NFL among its first few picks, used his 6-foot-7 frame to block the Utah field-goal try, his second block in two weeks.
Oregon hasn’t forgotten how to score. The Ducks put up 69 on Nevada and welcomed back suspended players Cliff Harris and Kiko Alonso. “I ain’t got no thoughts on being back,” Harris told the Eugene Register-Guard. “Just, I’m back.”
FCS Missouri State is next to get in front of the Oregon train this week.
Arizona has to solve some key issues. The Wildcats didn’t show much of a pulse in the thrashing at Oklahoma State, failing to get a pass rush. They’ve run for only 116 yards in two games, and coach Mike Stoops said, “We’ve got to commit to that. Until we run the ball better, it’s going to be hard to move forward the way we want to.”
Stanford is at Arizona in the only conference game, but there’s ample nonleague intrigue. Washington figures to get Nebraska’s best shot in Lincoln, Arizona State goes east to Illinois, UCLA hosts Texas, and Utah goes to Brigham Young for its annual grudge match. Cal, for some reason, hosts Presbyterian.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com