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PAC-12 Football: Week 1 in Review

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Player of the week, game of the week and more below after the first week of PAC-12 football.

Kansas State v Stanford
Stanford running back #5 Christian McCaffrey runs in for a touchdown against Kansas State
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

GAME OF THE WEEK

Texas A&M 31, #16 UCLA 24 F/OT

This game was an all out, fun to watch, high intensity quarterback showdown between UCLA’s sophomore Josh Rosen and Texas A&M’s senior Trevor Knight. Rosen lived up to the hype as he threw for 343 yards and a touchdown, but his three costly interceptions kept the Bruins from taking over this game.

The three turnovers let up by UCLA were primarily due to Texas A&M’s fierce defensive line that pressured Rosen combining for five sacks, seven quarterback hits and 10 tackles for loss resulting in 47 lost yards for the Bruins. Rosen did not have much time to throw the ball, but when he did without pressure, all TAMU’s defense could do was just look and admire the sophomore’s athleticism.

Knight, who made his first start since 2014, already threw the ball more in this game than he did in all of last season with Oklahoma. Knight completed 22 of 42 pass attempts for 239 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception.

But it was his ability to take over the game and score two TD’s on the run that proved he is the perfect fit to be the man in command for the Aggies who had their two top quarterbacks transfer out of the program after last season.

UCLA v Texas A&M
Quarterback #8 Trevor Knight of Texas A&M scores a 1 yard touchdown run in overtime against UCLA
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

In a first half of offensive disappointment by either side, UCLA failed to convert for a touchdown in all three trips to the red zone as they settled for field goals making three of four. The Aggies scored the lone touchdown of the half and a field goal as well to take a 10-9 lead at halftime. A&M seemed have left UCLA in the dust after a third quarter of all around dominance scoring 14 unanswered points, but the Bruins were not finished yet. With only 4:19 left in the game UCLA scored two TD’s including a 62-yard TD connection from Rosen to senior wide receiver Kenneth Walker III and a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. In OT, Knight showed his dominance completing both his passes and ran in the go-ahead touchdown to give the Aggies the win after Rosen was unable to convert a touchdown the next set of downs in overtime.

MOST IMPRESSIVE VICTORY

Colorado 44, Colorado State 7

In a contest advertised as an in state rivalry that had been a toss up for the past four seasons and overtime victory for the Buffs in 2015 was blown right open by senior quarterback Sefo Liufau. Liufau, who now owns the all time passing yards record in Colorado football history looked flawless Friday night as he threw for 318 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

His quarterback rating was an outstanding 70.4 as he led an offense that combined for five touchdowns, three field goals and 578 total yards. Junior running back Phillip Lindsay was just five yards shy of an 100-yard rushing game and he was able to punch in two touchdowns adding to the landslide victory over the Rams.

Not only did the Buffalo offense impress the conference at Mile High Stadium, but also the Buff’s defense didn’t allow a single point until three seconds into the fourth quarter. The lockdown defense forced four turnovers including two interceptions along with two forced fumbles and allowed for their offense to get back on the field and continue to be explosive. Colorado looks dangerous after a win like that, and they look to do the same thing next week against an even weaker Idaho State football team before traveling to Ann Arbor to play #7 Michigan in the Big House in week 3.

Colorado v Colorado State
Quarterback Sefo Liufau #13 of Colorado holds the Centennial Trophy after defeating Colorado State
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

BIGGEST UPSET

Eastern Washington 45, Washington State 42

After a 9-4 season in 2015 that had all 31,682 people in Pullman, Washington, jumping up and down for a team that had its best year since 2002 (10-3), the Cougars lost to FCS opponent Eastern Washington Saturday night. This marks the second year in a row that the Cougs have lost to an FCS team, after losing to Portland State 24-17 at home. Junior quarterback Luke Falk still put up impressive numbers completing 41 of his 51 passes with 418 passing yards, four touchdowns and just one interception, but sophomore quarterback Gage Gubrud of EWU seemed to outplay Falk and demolish the Wazzu defense.

Gubrud only played in three games last season throwing for 66 yards against an easy FCS schedule. In his first career start for the Eagles he threw for 474 yards with five touchdowns and only one interception. Just six passes thrown from Gubrub were thrown incomplete as he completed 34 of 40 and picked apart a Wazzu pass defense that now ranks at third to last in the nation just above Rice and Hawai’i. The Cougs defense should be in for a challenge next week as go on the road to face Boise State who just rolled over Louisiana-Lafayette 45-10.

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Washington State
Eastern Washington quarterback #8 Gage Gubrud celebrates a touchdown against Washington State
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

MOST EMBARRASING LOSS

#1 Alabama 52, #20 USC 6

Most of the nation and myself predicted a game between two programs so rich in college football history to at least be exciting. For about a quarter of the game it was until Alabama scored 38 unanswered points in the second and third quarters to take a 38-3 lead and then ultimately end the beating at 52-6. It was one of USC’s most embarrassing losses in program history and to top it off senior linebacker Jabari Ruffin made a fool out of himself on national television stomping on the crotch of Alabama’s sophomore corner Minkah Fitzpatrick and was ejected from the game.

The emotion of the USC players wasn’t the only thing that needed discipline, but a defense that gave up 464 total yards, six touchdowns and let a true freshman Alabama quarterback in Jalen Hurts blow them away needed it as well. Redshirt junior quarterback Max Browne looked anything but special in his first start as a Trojan. Browne threw for 101 yards without a touchdown and one interception and was later pulled out of the game by USC coach Clay Helton with 9:25 left in the fourth quarter.

Freshman quarterback Sam Darnold came into the game for Browne as he completed four of eight passes for 29 yards. Browne should still be the starting quarterback next week against Utah State as USC will have lots of questions to be answered this Saturday against the Aggies.

NCAA Football: Alabama vs Southern California
USC tight end #48 Taylor McNamara takes a seat during the game against the Alabama
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

RB Christian McCaffrey

The junior running back will get all the attention he needs in his Heisman campaign this season if he runs the way he did Saturday. Twenty-two carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns including a clutch 41-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the game that sealed the deal in Palo Alto giving the Cardinal a 26-13 win over the Kansas State Wildcats.

Though it is early, McCaffrey is number two on Bruce Feldman’s (Fox Sports) Top 5 Heisman Watch List (http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/gallery/heisman-trophy-candidates-week-1-nick-chubb-christian-mccaffrey-090416) right behind junior running back Nick Chubb of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Chubb rushed for video game like statistics with 222 yards and two touchdowns and looks like the best back in the league as of now. Stanford has a bye week this week, but that will just give McCaffrey and the rest of the Cardinal an extra week of preparation to explode offensively against a very vulnerable USC team at home.


PAC 12 Standings

NORTH

California 1-0

Oregon 1-0

Stanford 1-0

Washington 1-0

Oregon State 0-1

Washington State 0-1

SOUTH

Arizona State 1-0

Colorado 1-0

Utah 1-0

Arizona 0-1

USC 0-1

UCLA 0-1