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Pac-12 Football: Week two in review

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The highs and lows, best and worst performances, and the player of the week below after week two of Pac-12 football.

BYU v Utah
Utah defeated BYU, 20-19, to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

GAME OF THE WEEK

Utah 20, BYU 19

The Utes and Cougars competed in what was the messiest, lowest scoring, sloppy, but ultimately most exciting game of the week. Both teams coughed up a combined total of nine turnovers and the two quarterbacks had three interceptions each. This was a dirty and disastrous Holy War rivalry game that turned out to be the fourth year in a row it was decided by a touchdown or less.

Senior quarterback Taysom Hill of BYU couldn’t get the job done through the air so he turned to his feet. Him and senior running back Jamaal Williams combined for 145 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. It wasn’t enough though to halt a Utah rush that racked up 169 yards with five different ball carriers.

With the entire stadium on its feet, Hill threw a pick on his team’s first drive of the game to linebacker Sunia Tauteoli. The junior returned the ball all the way to the end zone, setting the tone for what was inevitably a defensive slugfest. Two BYU field goals and a touchdown from either side later the Utes found themselves up by one at the half, 14-13. In the third and fourth quarters fourth year starting kicker Andy Phillips nailed one from 47 yards out and then a clutch 29 yard field goal with only 2:47 to put the Utes up by a touchdown.

But the Cougars were not done yet. Hill willfully marched down the field in a 13 play, 75-yard drive that ended in a seven yard touchdown run by the quarterback. Instead of attempting to kick an extra point to send the game to overtime, the Cougars went for two and the win, ultimately failing as Hill was tackled at the 3-yardline.

BEST PERFORMANCE OF PURE DOMINANCE

USC 45, Utah State 7

The Trojans looked great and did everything they needed to in order to forget about their humiliating loss a week ago against Alabama. Though sophomore offensive linemen Chuma Edoga was ejected after pushing an official on the opening drive, SC got past it and scored 31 unanswered points.

The USC defensive line was simply unbeatable. Aside from sacking the quarterback twice and tallying six tackles for loss, the Trojans held Utah State to just 49 yards rushing, about eight times less than what the Aggies ran for last week against Weber State. Also, the Trojans got their second interception of the year when senior defensive back Leon McQuay III got a pick near the end of the second quarter.

Junior Max Browne and freshman Sam Darnold threw for four combined touchdowns, and senior wide receiver Darreus Rogers led the team with seven catches for 82 yards. Now at 1-1, USC is ready to travel to Palo Alto for a big game against the Cardinal.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Southern California
Defensive back #22 Leon McQuay III celebrates an interception with defensive back #4 Chris Hawkins against Utah State Aggies
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

MOST DISAPPOINTING LOSS

Boise State 31, Washington State 28

To start the season at 0-2 is not fun for anyone, but it looks worse for Washington State right now than any other team in the Pac-12. Why is that? It seems that the Cougars offense might just have been figured out. A system that Mike Leach engrained at WSU and flourished last year could now be ineffective in 2016. The worst part is that the Cougars have lost two games and both have been to non-power five opponents.

Luke Falk still had an excellent throwing performance, tossing the ball down the field with ease to the tune of 480 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Tavares Martin Jr. caught the ball 12 times for 158 yards and a touchdown. The offense had 100 more total yards than the Broncos, and the defense caught three interceptions, but still came up short.

The difference in this game was more than than just a missed field goal from Washington State in the second quarter. It was that Boise State had a more well rounded offense and a defense that held off a late scare at the end of the game by the Cougars. Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien didn’t have his best game throwing three interceptions, but that didn’t stop Boise State from getting the win.

They turned to the run that had 121 yards compared to the Cougar’s 40, and junior Jeremy McNichols punched in two key touchdowns. They are expected to have success against Idaho (1-1) next week, but still have a long way to go to be prepared for a power five opponent.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Boise State
Running back #13 Jeremy McNichols of Boise State leaps into the end zone against Washington State
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

MOST ENTERTAINING CONTEST

ASU 68, Texas Tech 55

1,624 total yards, 123 points, 62 first downs, 17 touchdowns, and still just one team got the victory in this colossal point-scoring contest. Who doesn’t want to watch a game like this? The scoring did get a little repetitive, but both teams made a case that there was NFL-caliber talent on the field.

Junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 540 yards and five touchdowns, but his two interceptions allowed the Sun Devils to stay on top. The Red Raider quarterback was also the team leading rusher with 44 yards and a touchdown. Though Tech did not come out on top, Sun Devil Stadium got a nice preview of what Mahomes will do professionally.

The maroon and gold ran a more balanced offense with 351 yards in the air and 301 yards on the ground. ASU accumulated nine touchdowns and eight of them were scored by junior running back Kalen Ballage who tied an FBS record for the most touchdowns in a game. What was best about the Devils’ offense, is that they played almost perfectly allowing for zero turnovers.

These two teams know they need some work defensively, but they put on a show Saturday night in Tempe.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona State
Running back #7 Kalen Ballage leaves the field after a historic night against Texas Tech.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage

There’s no question that Ballage had the game of his life. He tied a 26-year-old record for the most touchdowns in a game (8), and it may be another 26 years until it happens again. He racked up 137 yards on the run and 48 yards receiving along with a 22 yard kick return. The most impressive part of Ballage’s night is that he only touched the ball 13 times on the run and scored over half the times he ran.

Howard Griffith, who had eight touchdowns for Illinois in 1990, had 21 carries for 208 yards. Of course both feats were impressive, but Ballage came in extra clutch for the Sun Devils when they needed him. Arizona State has found their red zone weapon and will definitely utilize Ballage near the end zone all season.

Pac-12 Standings

NORTH

#24 Oregon 2-0

#8 Washington 2-0

#7 Stanford 1-0

California 1-1

Oregon State 0-1

Washington State 0-2

SOUTH

Arizona State 2-0

Colorado 2-0

Utah 2-0

Arizona 1-1

UCLA 1-1

USC 1-1