Oregon State remains the Pac-12’s biggest story, while the bottom tier of the conference keeps distancing itself from the rest of the league.
The conference’s Week 5 outcomes, beginning with Washington’s 17-13 upset of Stanford, resulted in six teams landing in the latest AP Top 25: Oregon (No. 2), idle USC (No. 13), Oregon State (No. 14), Stanford (No. 18), Washington (No. 23) and UCLA (No. 25).
A review of Saturday’s games, in order of importance:
Oregon State 38, Arizona 35
This game was supposed to tell us more about each team. Well, it did and it didn’t. It proved that Arizona’s offense is legitimate, while Oregon State’s defense is much more vulnerable than was believed. Of course, the Beavers won the game.
What’s clear is that Oregon State is resilient and resourceful. The Beavers had the last say in a second half that produced six lead changes, all via touchdowns. OSU drove 75 yards for the winning score with 1:09 remaining.
This was not quite like West Virginia vs. Baylor, but the teams combined for 1,158 yards and 58 first downs. OSU’s Sean Mannion passed for 433 yards and three touchdowns; Arizona’s Matt Scott posted 403 yards and three scores, but was intercepted twice.
The Beavers’ Rashaad Reynolds stopped Arizona’s last drive with an interception, after his team had allowed 545 total yards. “We’ve got to tighten down a lot of the little bolts defensively,” Reynolds told The Oregonian.
One remarkable, if not entirely meaningful, statistic from this game: OSU held the ball for 36 minutes, 41 seconds to Arizona’s 23:19.
Oregon State plays Washington State next Saturday, so the Beavers should be 4-0 and ranked in the top 15 before taking on BYU in Provo on Oct. 13, and then hosting Utah.
Arizona State 27, Cal 17
This game helped validate ASU, made Utah fans somewhat better and intensified the heat on Cal coach Jeff Tedford.
The Sun Devils, who beat Utah 37-7 the previous week, went on the road and delivered a solid performance. After their lead was cut to 20-17 in the fourth quarter, they responded with a 74-yard touchdown drive.
Taylor Kelly passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns and ASU posted 409 total yards to Cal’s 285 – and 120 of the Bears’ yards came on three plays. Cottonwood High School product Isi Sofele rushed for 105 yards on 15 carries for Cal, but lost a fumble.
Cal’s Zach Maynard became the first original starting quarterback of a Football Bowl Subdivision team to face ASU this season, and he struggled. Maynard completed 9 of 28 passes.
ASU’s Rashad Ross, a junior college teammate of Utah’s Jon Hays, caught seven passes for 84 yards.
Oregon 51, Washington State 26
This late-night contest was close at halftime, before the Ducks “regrouped a little bit,” in the words of coach Chip Kelly.
Oregon quickly extended its 23-19 lead with three touchdowns in the first 11 minutes of the third quarter in Seattle, where WSU plays one game annually. The Ducks’ Kenjon Barner rushed for 195 of his team’s 300 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown.
UCLA 42, Colorado 14
UCLA re-established itself after a loss to Oregon State and, in a different sense, so did Colorado, coming off a win over Washington State.
This was not a rout from start to finish, as the score may suggest. But as all bad teams tend to do, the Buffaloes played themselves out of the game during a critical stretch. They trailed 21-7 in the third quarter before Tony Jones was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 play at midfield, then the Buffs lost two turnovers as UCLA took control.
The Bruins’ offense got back into gear with 492 total yards, including 281 passing yards from Brett Hundley.
– Kurt Kragthorpe</