Monday, October 18, 2010
Pac-10 rewind and look ahead
By Ted Miller
A look back on the week that was.
Team of the week: While Washington deserves recognition for its double-overtime win against Oregon State, it's hard to ignore what USC did to California. A week ago, many were questioning USC's fire, focus and motivation after consecutive last-second defeats in which the defense failed to stop game-winning drives. But the 48-14 win against Cal showed plenty of fire, focus and motivation. It might be premature to announce the Trojans are back, but that conclusion is more valid than at any time this season.
Washington's Jake Locker threw five touchdown passes against Oregon State.
Best game: The Huskies 35-34 double-overtime win against the Beavers was exciting. And strange. Washington jumped ahead 21-0. The rout is on! Oregon State ties the game at 21-21. The Beavers are going to roll! Then neither team could score -- only one second-half TD -- as the defenses stepped up. Then both teams scored two TDs in OT. Huskies quarterback Jake Locker and Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers turned in star performances. Great finish, though a bit happier for the home fans.
Biggest play: No game is about one play, but a dropped 2-point conversion undid the Beavers when they made an aggressive move for the win in the second overtime. While H-back Joe Halahuni was covered tightly by Huskies linebacker Cort Dennison, the Ryan Katz pass was on the money and it would have won the game.
Offensive standout: There were three Pac-10 games this weekend, and two featured quarterbacks throwing five TD passes in Locker and USC's Matt Barkley. But Barkley gets the nod for completing 25 of 37 for 352 yards against what was supposed to be a good Cal defense.
Defensive standout: USC. You can review the numbers here -- no one player stands out -- but the Trojans held Cal to just 245 yards and 10 first downs. That's worthy of note, particularly for a unit that has struggled all season.
Special teams standout: Kiel Rasp averaged 48 yards on four punts vs. Oregon State. You might recall that Rasp, a junior, only became the Huskies punter when Will Mahan was lost for the year to a knee injury. Rasp is presently 7th in the nation with a 45.91 yards per punt average.
Smiley face: USC bounced back from consecutive last-second losses to announce that it will not be folding up its tent in Pac-10 play. And Washington, in desperate need for a win to keep its bowl hopes alive, outlasted Oregon State in Husky Stadium a week after a lackluster effort at home against Arizona State.
Frowny face: There is no excuse, Cal. Even if USC's blowout win was about the Trojans playing great, the Bears shouldn't have rolled over that easily. 42-zip at halftime? That's just embarrassing.
Thought of the week: With Arizona quarterback Nick Foles going down with a knee injury, the battle for first-team All-Pac-10 at quarterback looks like it will be between Barkley and Stanford's Andrew Luck. Or might Locker make a late run? Or might a darkhorse candidate -- Oregon's Darron Thomas -- still stake a claim?
Questions for the week: The Pac-10 again has a muddled middle. Who will emerge from the gaggle of Arizona State, California, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington?