After an intriguing week five of football in the Pac-12, we breakdown takeaways, rankings and more.
Washington State Cougars prove they are a Pac-12 championship contender
Washington State (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) shocked the college football world when they upset then-No. 5 USC (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) on Friday night, 30-27. Luke Falk lived up to the hype and Sam Darnold did not. Falk outplayed Darnold and Darnold’s Heisman trophy campaign is in jeopardy after his second game throwing an interception without a passing touchdown. Not to mention Darnold fumbled the ball in crunch time late in the fourth quarter. However, a ton of credit goes to Washington State’s defense, which proved their worth of being in the top 30 in the nation, as they only allowed 327 total yards, held Darnold to only 164 passing yards and won the turnover battle.
Two reasons why the Cougars beat the Trojans was because Luke Falk played well and because the Cougars’ front seven was able to put pressure and get to Darnold throughout the game. This is arguably Washington State’s biggest win in program history and proved they are a contender for a Pac-12 Championship.
ASU failed to win against a one-dimensional Stanford team
Arizona State (2-3, 1-1 Pac-12) came off a win against a then-ranked No. 24 Oregon team and things began to trend upward for the Sun Devils as they headed into Palo Alto against an unranked Stanford team and its third string quarterback in redshirt freshman K.J. Costello. The main aspect of Stanford’s offense that ASU had to focus on the most was running back Bryce Love and the Sun Devils couldn’t even contain him, as ASU fell 34-24. Love rushed for 301 yards, which set a new school record for most rushing yards in a single game which broke Christian McCaffrey’s record of 284 yards. Manny Wilkins had his worst game of the season as he threw his first and second interceptions of the season and ASU didn’t even have a receiver that led the team in receiving. Everything seemed to go wrong for the Sun Devils on both sides of the ball, and Stanford took full advantage of that.
Victory turned nightmare for the Ducks
Although Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) beat California (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12) by a big margin on Saturday, 45-24, the Ducks suffered a few key blows. Starting quarterback Justin Herbert was injured in the first half and then backup quarterback Taylor Alie went down and Oregon had to burn Braxton Burmeister’s redshirt. And to make things worse, running back Royce Freeman suffered an injury in the first quarter. Oregon may have won big, but it probably doesn’t feel like for Ducks fans considering the injuries.
Washington proved they are the “top dog” in the Pac-12
After a slow start against Oregon State (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12), Washington (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) turned on the burners in the second half.
The Huskies were only up 7-0 heading into halftime, but quarterback Jake Browning and the Huskies found their rhythm and made a statement in the second half with a 21-point third quarter, winning 42-7. Washington surpassed USC as the top ranked Pac-12 team in the AP Poll, as the Huskies continue their pursuit to the College Football Playoff.
No. 6 Washington – The Huskies remained at No. 6 in this week’s AP Poll probably because of their previously mentioned slow start against Oregon State. Washington continued its dominant play on defense. The Huskies are also the only team in the Pac-12 to have a top-25 defense.
No. 11 Washington State – The Cougars moved up five spots from last week after their upset of then-ranked No. 5 USC. Washington State is a double-edged sword and is one of the tougher teams in the Pac-12 because they are so dominant on both sides of the ball.
No. 14 USC – The Trojans fell nine spots after they were upset by the Cougars on Friday.
No. 20 Utah – The Utes had a bye this week and remained at No. 20.