NCF Nation: Trevor Romaine

Pac-12 weekend rewind: Week 3

September, 16, 2013
Taking stock of Week 3 in the Pac-12.

[+] EnlargeBrett Hundley
Bruce Thorson/USA TODAY SportsUCLA QB Brett Hundley and the Bruins overcame an emotional week to knock off Nebraska on the road.
Team of the week: A major tip of the cap to UCLA coach Jim Mora, his staff and his players for their work -- most notably in the second half -- at Nebraska. The emotions of the week were brutal with the death of receiver Nick Pasquale, and we're not going to trivialize that by acting like winning a football game heals anything. But there can be no doubt that the emotions at work for the Bruins could have wrecked them. Instead, they came together and played a spectacular half of football. This team showed a lot of backbone on the road, which is just more evidence of the positive culture change in Westwood under Mora.

Best game: Oregon State's 51-48 overtime win at Utah was a back-and-forth affair that featured more big plays and momentum swings than any other contest. The Beavers' euphoria over potentially saving their season, which began with a horrid loss to Eastern Washington, an FCS team, was painfully contrasted by the stunned look on the faces of Utah coaches, fans and players. The Utes, who have started 0-4 in Pac-12 play their first two seasons in the conference, fell just short of a nice statement win. But keep this in mind, Utes. Your QB, Travis Wilson, is a baller. It's worth noting with his and the offense's slow start that he was dealing with his own emotions as a lifelong friend of Pasquale.

Biggest play: The officiating mess at the end of the Arizona State-Wisconsin game was the biggest misplay, but the biggest positive play -- among many choices -- was Sean Mannion's 6-yard TD pass to Brandin Cooks for Oregon State's overtime win at Utah.

Offensive standout: In the Beavers' thrilling 51-48 victory at Utah, Mannion completed 27 of 44 passes for 443 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. With the Beavers' defense clearly vulnerable and the running game struggling, it's likely Mannion and company are going to need to throw the rock around in order to win games this fall. Through three weeks, he looks up to the task.

Offensive standout, runners up: We've got to give some credit to Mannion's top target, Cooks, who hauled in nine passes for 210 yards and three TDs. That's 23.3 yards per catch. Also, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 23 of 33 passes for a career-high 456 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions in the Ducks' blowout win over Tennessee. He also rushed for 27 yards and a TD.

(I know … I know. I left out YOUR GUY. There were just too many good offensive performances this weekend.)

Defensive standout: UCLA All-American outside linebacker Anthony Barr led the Bruins' second-half domination of Nebraska. He collected a team-high 11 tackles, with 1.5 coming for a loss, in the 41-21 road victory. He also forced three fumbles, which is a good thing to do and a big reason the Cornhuskers didn't score a point in the second half.

Special teams standout: Oregon State kicker Trevor Romaine was 3-for-3 on field goals in the overtime win at Utah. His boots included a career-long 49-yard effort, as well as connections of 36 and 20 yards. He's 5-for-6 on field goals for the season and 36-for-45 for his career. He now ranks ninth at OSU for career points with 184.

Smiley face: The Pac-12 went 8-1 in nonconference games, with only California losing to No. 4 Ohio State. That included wins over ranked teams (No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 23 Nebraska) and wins over three automatic qualifying conferences (3-1 vs. Big Ten, 1-0 vs. SEC and 1-0 vs. ACC). We called it "Measuring Stick Week," and the conference measured up.

Frowny face: The officials soiled the ending of Arizona State's win over Wisconsin. However you see the final play -- and the idea that there was easy clarity (other than after the fact) is ridiculous -- the officials dithered instead of acting decisively, and Wisconsin folks have a right to be apoplectic. And, by the way, they are. They also, by the way, should be infuriated by how the Badgers handled things at the end, too. If quarterback Joel Stave had simply gone to the ground in a standard way, it's unlikely the officials would have become The Three Stooges.

Thought of the week: It's now pretty clear that the preseason perception was accurate: The Pac-12 is as deep and as good at the top as it has been for a long time. Oregon is clearly a national title contender, and Stanford, also a top-five team, is not far behind. UCLA and Washington have surged, while Arizona State is now the fifth conference team in the top 25, with Arizona also getting votes. Only Cal has a losing record, and that's because it played two ranked teams in its first three games. There isn't a team that doesn't appear capable of winning six games and becoming bowl eligible. The issue now becomes whether the top teams can avoid multiple blemishes in such a deep conference. A patsy-less conference with a nine-game conference schedule makes it tough to go unbeaten.

Questions for the week: Who makes a statement in the Arizona State-Stanford game? The Pac-12 features its first matchup of ranked conference teams on Saturday, and it pretty much has the stage all to itself because next weekend's schedule is fairly thin after that, other than the Holy War between Utah and BYU. Has Stanford been sandbagging it through a pair of unspectacular wins? Can the Sun Devils beat a top-five team on the road and make a thunderous statement for coach Todd Graham in his second season? Big, physical Wisconsin should have been good prep for the Cardinal.

Beavers start slow, finish fast

November, 4, 2012

In the battle of teams needing to bounce back, it was the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers who proved to be the springier team with a 36-26 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils.

The new-look OSU backfield of Cody Vaz and Terron Ward helped the Beavers overcome an early 14-3 deficit. Filling in for the injured Storm Woods, Ward rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Vaz, who was named the starter following Sean Mannion’s four-interception performance in the loss to Washington last week, completed 14 of 33 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.

Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks each eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark. Wheaton had four catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks led the Beavers (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) with six catches for 116 yards and a score.

For the Sun Devils (5-4, 3-3), who have now dropped three straight following a 5-1 start, it was the second consecutive week they had jumped out to an early double-digit lead but were unable to hold it. On Oct. 27 they were up 14-0 on UCLA before losing a back-and-forth contest on a last-second field goal.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly was held to just 153 yards passing, completing 22 of 41 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.

ASU jumped ahead in the first minute when Junior Onyeali recovered a Vaz fumble deep in Oregon State territory and returned it 1 yard for the touchdown. A Trevor Romaine field goal cut the lead to 7-3 before a 1-yard Cameron Marshall touchdown put the Sun Devils ahead 14-3.

But that was ASU’s only offensive touchdown until the very end of the game. The rest of its points came on a Keith Kostol blocked punt for a safety and a 31-yard Jon Mora field goal. A 2-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to Marion Grice prevented the second-half shutout.

The Sun Devils are back on the road again next week when they travel to USC in search of that crucial sixth victory.

Oregon State’s win sets up an interesting showdown next week at Stanford.

The Oregon State Beavers overcame an uncharacteristically inefficient first half on offense, but pulled away from Washington State in the second half en route to a 19-6 home win.

Luckily for No. 14 Oregon State (4-0, 3-0), Washington State's offense didn't look much better.

The teams combined for eight turnovers -- including three interceptions by Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, who was eventually replaced by Jeff Tuel. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion also had a three-interception day.

Considering the big numbers both of these teams were capable of, the outcome is a bit of a surprise.

Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer hauled in three interceptions for the Beaver defense, which held Washington State (2-4, 0-3) to 227 total yards of offense and no touchdowns.

The Beavers held a 6-3 advantage at halftime following a pair of Trevor Romaine field goals and one from WSU's Andrew Furney.

But they found the end zone in the third quarter when Mannion (25-of-42, 270 yards) connected with Markus Wheaton on a 12-yard score in the corner of the end zone.

"Wipe that slate clean, we have a brand new second half," Mannion told the Pac-12 Network after the game. "...That's great about our whole offense. We realize we're going to have some good plays and some bad plays. You have to play with a short memory."

Washington State, while struggling offensively, appeared to take another step forward as a defense. safety Deone Bucannon, defensive tackle Ioane Gauta and Casey Locker all had interceptions for the Cougars. Linebacker Travis Long also played well with a sack, three tackles and a pass breakup.

But the Cougars, who rushed for just 20 yards, couldn't get much going offensively. Halliday was 9-of-20 for 81 yards with the three picks before Tuel replaced him. Tuel went 11-of-17 for 126 yards and an interception.

Despite the shaky performance, Mannion was 5-of-7 for 64 yards on OSU's second to last drive of the game, a 12-play march that spanned 86 yards and was capped with a Tyler Anderson 1-yard touchdown run.

PASADENA, Calif. -- With only one game under their belt, the Oregon State Beavers traveled south to face the No. 19 UCLA Bruins. Both had already scored out-of-conference home victories against ranked opponents, so the expectation was that this would be a tight game. It didn’t disappoint. Here’s how it all went down at the Rose Bowl.

It was over when: With a little more than 11 minutes left in the game and Oregon State leading 24-17, quarterback Sean Mannion dumped a 2-yard pass to Brandin Cooks on third-and-4. Cooks spun out of one tackler at his knees, broke another in the open field and went 46 yards to the UCLA 1. Despite a stout goal-line stand from the Bruins, the Beavers' Trevor Romaine hit a chip-shot field goal to put the Beavers ahead by 10. The Bruins cut it to 27-20 with 1:47 left, but failed to recover the onside kick.

Player(s) of the game: Oregon State wide receivers Cooks and Markus Wheaton share the honors. Cooks caught six balls for 175 yards and a score and Wheaton had nine catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.

Player(s) of the game take 2: Oregon State’s defense -- especially in the front seven -- was solid (see stat of the game below). Michael Doctor had a great game.

Stat of the game: Oregon State held UCLA’s offense, which averaged 622 yards through the first three games (second nationally), to 444 yards. The Bruins were just 2-of-15 on third downs. The Beavers held Johnathan Franklin, the national leader in rushing (180.3 yards per game), to 45 yards on the ground.

What it means for Oregon State: Welcome to the top 25, OSU. The Beavers scored their second consecutive win over a ranked opponent for the first time in school history within the regular season. With a rush defense that has shut down two Heisman-hopeful running backs, the Beavers are trending up in the national and conference power rankings.

What it means for UCLA: The Bruins will tumble out of the top 25. Growing pains were expected for a team with a young offensive line and a young quarterback. Brett Hundley looked much more like a redshirt freshman than he had in the previous three games. Franklin’s Heisman campaign takes a serious hit.