Oregon State quickly falls from grace.
If not for the embarrassment factor of a Pac-12 school being upset by an FCS opponent, Oregon State's 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington would be celebrated as one of the country's most entertaining games of the opening weekend.
The lead changed hands six times in the second half, all via touchdowns, and the Eagles' winning score came with 18 seconds remaining. OSU even had a chance to force overtime, but a 52-yard field-goal try was wide right.
Eastern Washington is a high-level FCS program, but this result was stunning. The Beavers allowed 625 total yards, after ranking third in the Pac-12 and 30th nationally in total defense with a 354-yard average last season.
EWU quarterback Vernon Adams accounted for 518 yards of passing and running.
"We got totally disrupted," said OSU coach Mike Riley, citing "just kind of simple football mistakes" improper rush lanes, misalignment, poor coverage technique and blown assignments.
Riley said he reminded his staff not to be too critical of the players, because "we loved those guys on Friday."
As of last week, seemingly the Beavers' biggest issue was how quarterback Sean Mannion would perform. He completed 37 of 43 passes for 422 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions and lost.
So nobody's sure what to think of the Beavers, who will visit Utah next week to begin Pac-12 play after hosting Hawaii this week. Riley is determined to keep the season from crumbling, as happened in 2011 when OSU lost to Sacramento State in the opener and finished 3-9.
Utah's Phillips overlooked in Pac-12 awards
For those wondering what more Utah kicker Andy Phillips could have done to earn the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week award, the apparent answer is throw a touchdown pass.
California's Vincenzo D'Amato earned the conference's recognition by kicking three field goals, in addition to his 10-yard TD toss on a fake field goal against Northwestern. Jackson Bouza, the holder, flipped the ball to D'Amato, who rolled right and threw to Bouza.
But the Bears lost 44-30, in contrast to Utah's 30-26 defeat of Utah State. Phillips kicked three field goals in the second half, drilling a 45-yarder on his first career attempt and following with a successful onside kick.
Filling the skies with footballs
Having passed for 302 yards against Utah State, Utah's Travis Wilson ranks only sixth among Pac-12 quarterbacks in yardage. But because Wilson had the fewest attempts (28) of those 300-yard passers, he's third in efficiency.
California freshman Jared Goff passed for 445 yards in a loss to Northwestern, with three interceptions including two returned for touchdowns. Those came via tipped balls, with coach Sonny Dykes absolving Goff. "He did some really good things for his first time out," Dykes said.
QB, school Opponent C-A-I Yds. TD Rating
Sean Mannion, OSU E. Wash. 37-43-0 422 3 191.5
Keith Price, Wash. Boise St. 23-31-1 324 2 176.8
Travis Wilson, Utah Utah St. 17-28-0 302 2 174.9
Connor Wood, Colo. Colo. St. 33-46-0 400 3 166.3
Jared Goff, Cal Northwestern 38-63-3 445 2 120.6
Connor Halliday, WSU Auburn 35-65-3 344 1 94.1
That's not a halftime stat
Arizona's offensive coaches will never have another weekend this easy. The Wildcats played on Friday, giving the staff extra time to grade the offense's light workload of 47 plays during a 35-0 win over Northern Arizona.
"Normally for us, that's not a good sign," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.
The primary explanation is that while failing to score, NAU managed to keep the ball for 75 plays, converting four times on fourth down. The Lumberjacks repeatedly used most of the play clock. Arizona's defense also cost the offense a possession by returning an interception for a touchdown. The Wildcats were productive when they did have the ball, compiling 393 yards on those 47 plays and scoring four touchdowns.
Tribune Pac-12 Power Rankings
1 • Stanford (0-0)
Cardinal open season vs. San Jose State
2 • Oregon (1-0)
Ducks will try to do better than BYU's offense vs. Virginia
3 • Washington (1-0)
True story: Coach commutes to work via boat named "NoahSark"
4 • UCLA (1-0)
Jordan James: 21 carries, 155 yards in rout of Nevada
5 • Arizona State (0-0)
Sun Devils host Sacramento State in opener Thursday
6 • USC (1-0)
Defense creates seven sacks, four turnovers vs. Hawaii
7 • Utah (1-0)
Utah State might be best opponent any Pac-12 team beat last week
8 • Arizona (1-0)
Star running back Ka'Deem Carey was not missed vs. Northern Arizona
9 • Colorado (1-0)
Buffs, Colorado State drew nearly 60,000 fans in Denver
10 • California (0-1)
Freshman QB passed for 445 yards vs. Northwestern, but two pick-sixes were costly
11 • Washington State (0-1)
Cougars played much better at Auburn than in 2012 opener at BYU
12 • Oregon State (0-1)
This is harsh treatment; let's call it one-week probation for FCS loss.