In Saturday’s five Pac-12 football games, two teams rushed for negative yardage and every winning team scored at least 36 points.
The most significant result was Oregon’s 62-51 win over USC, keeping the Ducks in the national championship chase. The most shocking outcome was UCLA’s 66-10 defeat of Arizona – with the “10” being even more impressive than the “66” for the Bruins.
The fallout was Arizona’s dropping out of the AP Top 25, leaving the Pac-12 with five ranked teams: Oregon (No. 2), Oregon State (No. 13), Stanford (No. 16), UCLA (No. 17) and USC (No. 21).
The Pac-12 North remains a three-team race among Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford, meeting one another this month. The South race likely will come down to the USC-UCLA game on Nov. 17, although Arizona and Arizona State are still in the picture.
Utah was eliminated from Pac-12 championship game consideration, even after winning two straight games. The best the Utes can finish is 5-4 in league play, and they would lack any tiebreaking advantages, having lost to USC, UCLA and Arizona State.
A closer look at the weekend’s games:
Oregon 62, USC 51
Nobody ever had done anything like this to the Trojans. Oregon racked up 730 total yards in scoring 62 points, as Kenjon Barner rushed for 321 yards and Marcus Mariota passed for 304 yards. As expected, USC just could not quite keep up, even though Matt Barkley passed for 484 yards and the Trojans posted 615 total yards. It could be said that Oregon’s defense made just enough impact, intercepting Barkley twice.
Oregon State 36, Arizona State 26
OSU quarterback Cody Vaz’s return to the starting lineup did not begin well, but he finished strong. The Beavers trailed 19-10 before scoring 26 straight points. Vaz passed for 267 yards and three touchdowns and the previously unknown Terron Ward rushed for 146 yards. OSU held the Sun Devils to 303 total yards.
Stanford 48, Colorado 0
Thanks to a 76-yard effort, Colorado has replaced Utah as the conference’s worst offense. The Buffaloes used three quarterbacks, with each completing four passes, and Colorado had minus-21 rushing yards. The biggest development in Boulder was Kevin Hogan’s unseating Josh Nunes as Stanford’s quarterback. In relief, Hogan completed 18 of 23 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinal rushed for 206 yards.
Utah 49, Washington State 6
On his weekly radio show, former Utah coach Ron McBride predicted a 43-6 Ute victory, citing as evidence WSU’s close loss to Stanford the previous week. McBride’s logic was that poor teams rarely give full effort in consecutive games, and he was right, judging by Cougar coach Mike Leach’s charge that his offensive linemen’s performance “bordered on cowardice.” WSU finished with minus-4 rushing yards. The Utes broke out offensively with 453 total yards and Reggie Dunn returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown for the third time in two games.
UCLA 66, Arizona 10
Arizona’s defense has been vulnerable and the Wildcats have not won on the road, but this score was still stunning. UCLA registered 611 total yards to Arizona’s 257, with Brett Hundley passing for 288 yards and Johnathan Franklin rushing for 162 yards. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott left the game with an injury; the good news is that Arizona needs only to beat Colorado this week to become bowl-eligible.
Washington 21, California 13
In a Friday game, Washington’s Bishop Sankey rushed for 189 yards and the Huskies rallied in the second half to win, even though their defense allowed 450 yards. Each team lost four turnovers.
– Kurt Kragthorpe</