After the first Saturday of the season when all 12 teams played conference games, the Pac-12 was not quite the same.
The league now claims only only Top 25 team, instead of three, and the South division race is now genuinely a four-team competition.
A closer look at Saturday’s games and their impact:
Arizona 39, USC 36
Even after USC receiver Marqise Lee produced some unworldly numbers, the Trojans are out of the Top 10 and out of the national championship picture with two conference losses. Their upcoming showdown with Oregon also lost a lot of luster. USC now is fighting just to win the South title, which presumably would mean a rematch with Oregon in the conference championship game and a potential Rose Bowl bid.
The Trojans racked up 618 total yards as Lee caught 16 passes for 345 yards, but the Trojans lost five turnovers. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott passed for 369 yards and ran for 100 yards, and the Wildcats held on for a breakthrough victory under coach Rich Rodriguez.
Even with three conference losses, Arizona remains in the South race.
Washington 20, Oregon State 17
The Beavers also fell out of the Top 10 after their first defeat, and now they have a quarterback controversy. Sean Mannion returned after missing two games with a knee injury, but threw four interceptions (two in the fourth quarter) before Cody Vaz replaced him and led a tying touchdown drive. Washington answered with a winning field goal with 1:20 remaining. That’s the second upset for the Huskies, following a September win over Stanford.
UCLA 45, Arizona State 43
Thanks to USC’s loss, both teams remain in contention in the South, but UCLA obviously is in better shape than ASU. The Bruins won via Ka’Imin Fairbairn’s 33-yard field goal as time expired, after ASU had taken the lead on Taylor Kelly’s touchdown pass with 1:20 left. UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin rushed for 164 yards, while ASU posted 535 total yards in the loss. The weekend’s developments set up two very interesting games next Saturday: Arizona at UCLA and ASU at Oregon State.
USC and UCLA are tied for the South lead at 4-2, followed by ASU (3-2) and Arizona (2-3).
Oregon 70, Colorado 14
The Ducks led 56-0 at halftime, scoring touchdowns on all seven possessions, plus a punt return for a score. Thanks to a fumbled kickoff, it was 14-0 before the Buffaloes even ran a play. Oregon rushed for 425 yards.
Utah 49, Cal 27
Utah’s offense finally came to life, although it can claim responsibility for only 28 of those points. Reggie Dunn returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and the Ute defense scored via a fumble return. Utah running back John White topped the 100-yard mark for the first time since the season opener, after gaining 1,519 yards last season. The Utes converted 8 of 13 third-down plays and recorded 344 yards, while moving up slightly to No. 113 in the country in total offense.
Stanford 24, Washington State 17
The Cougars provided more resistance than expected, and actually dominated the statistics. Jeff Tuel passed for 401 yards, but 10 sacks resulted in minus-16 net rushing yards for WSU. Stanford posted only 256 total yards and 13 first downs (to WSU’s 25), but managed to turn that modest production into 24 points.
– Kurt Kragthorpe</
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