Jon Wilner takes a look back at the weekend that was in the Pac-12, and takes a look ahead at some intriguing upcoming matchups, including WSU vs. USC.
Theme of the Week I: Gaffes galore.
Not difficult to pinpoint a shared trait among the losers of the five conference games: Mistakes.
Cal out-gained USC by 50 yards but had six turnovers.
Arizona out-gained Utah by 100-plus yards but had five turnovers.
UCLA out-gained Stanford but had four turnovers.
Colorado committed three turnovers — a clean game by comparison — and suffered a breakdown on special teams.
And Oregon? The Ducks only gave the ball away once, but they had 14 penalties.
Theme of the Week II: Statements, Holy Grail style
(If you haven’t seen the movie, my apologies. But it’s such a deeply profound examination of human nature — or just the funniest movie ever made — that the following should be obvious.)
Washington: “Go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”
Arizona State: “I’m not dead.”
USC: “Now stand aside, worthy adversary!”
Stanford: “It’s just a flesh wound.”
UCLA: “You must give us all a good spanking.”
Cal: “I move for no man.”
Theme of the Week III: Ground and pound.
Running games led the way in three important wins.
Stanford plowed through UCLA for 405 yards to end its two-game losing streak.
Washington found its form with 254 yards in its first test of the season. (UW’s prior issues were as much about boredom as anything else.)
And Arizona State — Arizona State! — churned for 142 yards with its season on the brink against Oregon.
Granted, it took the Sun Devils 42 carries to get there. But the commitment and the mentality is nearly as important as the yardage.
Best game: Arizona State 37, Oregon 35.
The only game of the six that produced true drama, with fourth-quarter lead changes and the sense that the trailing team had a chance to win.
(Sorry, Arizona. I never thought you had a chance in the fourth quarter.)
Offensive player of the week: Stanford RB Bryce Love.
Yes, UCLA’s defense is a turnstile, but 263 yards is 263 yards, and it came on just 30 carries (that’s an 8.8 ypc average).
According to the conference, Love is the first player in college football in the past 20 years to have six consecutive games with one run of at least 50 yards.
Defensive player of the week: Utah DB Casey Hughes.
Forced two fumbles, both when Arizona had possession in Utah territory and the second after the Wildcats recovered an onside kick in the final minutes.
Special teams player of the week: Arizona State’s Brandon Ruiz.
Made all three field goals, including a 41-yarder with 2:33 left that proved to be the game winner.
Special teams play of the week: Washington’s Vita Vea.
His blocked punt, recovered at the 12, set up UW’s first touchdown and changed the momentum, for good.
Stat of the week I: Cal.
The Bears held USC without a play of at least 20 yards. The Trojans mustered a run of 19 yards and a pass of 19 yards, and that was it.
Stat of the week II: Oregon.
The Ducks converted 54 percent of their third downs in non-conference games. Against ASU’s less-than-stout defense, they were 1 of 11.
Misleading QB stat of the week I: Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins.
Threw for 248 yards, ran for 90 more … but committed four turnovers.
Misleading QB stat of the week II: UCLA’s Josh Rosen.
Threw for 480 yards and three touchdowns, but much of it came after Stanford had taken charge.
Typical QB stat of the week: Washington State’s Luke Falk.
Threw for 478 yards and five touchdowns, albeit against a Nevada team that is closer to FCS than FBS.
Backup QB of the week: Utah’s Troy Williams.
The former starter replaced injured starter Tyler Huntley, threw for 131 yards, ran for a touchdown and led the Utes to a road win.
Backup QB of the week (rookie division): Stanford’s K.J. Costello.
In his first non-garbage time appearance, Costello threw two touchdown passes, ran for one and led the Cardinal to 35 points in the second half.
Missing TB of the week: USC’s Ronald Jones.
The Trojans were a different offense without Jones’ violent runs.
Moving forward: Colorado.
Waited 10 months for another shot at the Huskies and was beaten decisively. The Buffs have no time to wallow with a trip to ultra-desperate UCLA this week.
Looking ahead: Washington State.
The Cougars are 4-0, their best start in 16 years, but now it gets serious with USC on Friday night and then a trip to Eugene.
Throwing back: Cal.
The Joe Roth jerseys were spectacular.
Bouncing back: Arizona State.
After back-to-back losses and with speculation swirling about the future of coach Todd Graham, the Sun Devils responded with a gritty, resolute performance against Oregon.
Beating back: Stanford.
Trailing 13-6, the Cardinal scored 17 points in the final three minutes of the first half and powered to its 10th consecutive victory over UCLA.
Beaten down: UCLA.
The Bruins have allowed 150 points in three games against teams not named Hawaii.
Name a defensive category, and there’s a good chance they’re ranked in the 120s.