NCF Nation: Chima Nwachukwu
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Wow. What a day.
Washington broke through. USC went splat. California proved it can win on the road. Oregon put the loss at Boise State behind it by ending the nation's longest winning streak. Washington State posted a comeback victory.
Here's a look at the early games. Will come back with a post for the three late games.
Washington 16, USC 13: The Trojans were sloppy and quarterback Aaron Corp didn't play well stepping in for the injured Matt Barkley. Washington played well on both sides of the ball and won the critical turnover battle 3-0. All three of USC's turnovers happened deep in Washington territory. A year after finishing 0-12, the Huskies and new coach Steve Sarkisian are 2-1 and 1-0 in the Pac-10. Up next: USC plays host to Washington State; Washington visits Stanford.
California 35, Minnesota 21: Minnesota challenged Cal, tying the game 21-21 in the third quarter, but the Bears responded and won going away. That broke a four-game road losing streak. Jahvid Best scored five touchdowns and rushed for 131 yards, which should establish him as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. With USC's loss, the Bears now become the Pac-10 front-runner. Of course, they've got another -- tougher -- road test coming up. Up next: California visits Oregon.
Oregon 31, Utah 24: Reports of the Ducks' demise apparently were wrong, as they ended Utah's 16-game winning streak and improved to 2-1. While quarterback Jeremiah Masoli continues to struggle -- and Oregon had four turnovers -- the running game got back on track, with LaMichael James rushing for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown. Safety John Boyett, who stepped in for an injured T.J. Ward, had a pick deep in Ducks territory to keep the Utes from tying the game. Up next: Cal comes calling.
Cincinnati 28, Oregon State 18: The Beavers just couldn't stop Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike, who threw for 332 yards, and receiver Mardy Gilyard. Oregon State continues to struggle to both pressure the quarterback -- just one sack -- and protect its quarterback -- the Bearcats had five sacks. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers, though bothered by a sprained ankle, rushed for 73 yards on 20 carries. Up next: The Beavers open Pac-10 play by hosting to Arizona. Both are coming off nonconference losses.
Iowa 27, Arizona 17: Arizona only managed eight first downs at Iowa, and it's clear the Wildcats are still looking for answers at quarterback. Matt Scott and Nick Foles only combined for 105 yards passing, but Foles outplayed Scott, completing 6 of 11 for 55 yards with a touchdown. Scott was 4 of 14 for 50 yards with an interception. The receivers didn't help -- Delashaun Dean dropped what would have been a big pass play. Arizona was 2 of 12 on third down; Iowa was 10 of 19. The Hawkeyes were able to push around a smaller Wildcats defensive front. Up next: Arizona heads to Oregon State to open Pac-10 play.
Washington State 30, SMU 27 OT: The Cougars showed some guts, fighting back from a 24-7 third-quarter deficit to win over overtime. They grabbed four interceptions, including one by Chima Nwachukwu to stop the Mustangs on their first overtime possession. The Cougars' best offense, in fact, was its defense. Linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis returned one interception 52 yards for a touchdown, while linebacker Myron Beck grabbed one and went 67 yards for a score. While new starting quarterback Marshall Lobbestael wasn't terribly sharp, he led the Cougars on an 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the game with 28 seconds left in regulation. SMU outgained the Cougs 504 yards to 276, but the Cougs found a way to get their first win of the season.