What we learned in the Pac-12: Week 4

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
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What did we learn from Week 4 of Pac-12 action?

Arizona State is resilient: These aren't the Sun Devils who will wilt or get distracted or throw up on themselves. And it's pretty clear they are focused and unified. With 29 seniors, who have experienced losing in a wide variety of ways, this group has endured numerous injuries and a tough road loss, but it came back with a four-quarters performance against USC that ended a streak of 11 consecutive defeats. What's resilient? Running back Cameron Marshall rushing for 141 yards and three TDs despite playing on a sprained ankle.

[+] EnlargeLaMichael James
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesLaMichael James rushed for a school-record 288 yards in Saturday's win.
LaMichael is still good (and so is Oregon): Some wondered if Oregon running back LaMichael James and the Ducks' fancypants offense were in decline. Short answer: Nope. James rushed for a school-record 288 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns in the Ducks' 56-31 win at Arizona, a performance that should get him back on the Heisman Trophy radar. The Ducks led 35-9 at the half, but after they let Arizona back into the game -- the Wildcats closed to 35-24 -- they again shut the door with offensive fireworks. It was a potent road performance that sent a message that the Ducks are still contenders.

Keith Price is ready for his close-up: The Washington quarterback has moved from being a pleasant surprise to being a potential all-conference player, which is saying something with the QB depth in the Pac-12. Playing on two sprained knees against California, he completed 19 of 25 passes for 292 yards with three touchdowns. Price entered the game leading the nation with 11 touchdown passes and, now with 14, he might hold on to that lead.

Richard Brehaut should remain UCLA's starting QB: Brehaut didn't blow anyone away with his performance at Oregon State, but he didn't make any major mistakes and, most importantly, the Bruins won. Brehaut isn't great running the pistol offense, but he's good enough as a runner, while providing a more consistent passing threat than former starter Kevin Prince.

It's going to be a long season for Oregon State: It was great to see wide receiver James Rodgers back on the field. But losing at home to beleaguered UCLA suggests that the Beavers, now 0-3, will have to improve significantly to escape the Pac-12 North basement.

Ted Miller | email

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