Monday, September 19, 2011
Weekend rewind: Pac-12
By Ted Miller
Taking stock of the third week of games and looking ahead to Week 4.
Utah linebacker Chaz Walker, left, upends BYU receiver Ross Apo during the Utes' 54-10 rout of the Cougars.
Team of the week: Is there anything better than stomping your bitter rival in their own building? Answer: No (Well, touring the Mediterranean in your own yacht might be better, but it's close). The Utes' 54-10 crushing of BYU surely was great fun for the visiting team, particularly after the tough loss at USC. And it was meaningful because it was the first meeting between the two after Utah got invited to join the Pac-12 and BYU didn't (insert your own raspberry there, Utes fans, if you wish).
Best game: A limited choice here in a weekend of blowouts, both in Pac-12 wins and losses. We're going to go with Arizona State's 17-14 loss at Illinois. Sure, the Sun Devils lost, and they didn't play particularly well. But it was the only game that was undecided deep into the fourth quarter.
Biggest play: With 1:39 left before halftime in a tie game, Washington punted to Nebraska. Tim Marlowe called for a fair catch but muffed the catch, and the Huskies recovered. But the officials called the Huskies for interference. It one of those so clearly incorrect calls that it inspires fan suspicions -- "Hmm... Big Ten crew." Nebraska drove for a late field goal, the first three of 27 consecutive points.
[Edit note: The original post said incorrectly that the Huskies scored a TD on the muffed punt. As some have pointed out, you can't advance a muffed punt].
Offensive standout: USC quarterback Matt Barkley completed 26 of 39 passes for 324 yards for five touchdowns with no interceptions in USC's 38-17 win against Syracuse.
Defensive standout: Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly had five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles in the Utes' blowout victory against BYU. He also recovered a fumble and broke up a pass.
Special teams standout: Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson was 3-for-3 on field goals at Arizona with a long of 45 yards, and he was 4 for 4 on PATs. Sure, Arizona coach Mike Stoops looked longingly at the redshirt freshman, seeing his kicker was 1 of 3 on field goals. Williamson is 6-for-6 for the season, including 2 for 2 from 40-49 yards. Honorable mention to Colorado freshman punter Darragh O'Neill who averaged 49.2 yards on six punts against Colorado State with a long of 56 and two killed inside the Colorado State 20-yard line.
Smiley face: Utah and Colorado, the conference's two newest members, took care of their nonconference business. The Utes' 54-10 road-game vivisecting of BYU was particularly impressive.
Frowny face: Arizona State is a better team that Illinois and it should have beaten Illinois. But it didn't, and there goes the national ranking. Honorable mention to the Washington defense, which was supposed to be much improved this fall, but so far hasn't been.
Thought of the week: It seemed to become clearer over the weekend that the Pac-12 North game of the year will be Oregon at Stanford, and the Pac-12 South game of the year will be Arizona State at Utah. It mostly looked that way in the preseason, but it now appears that no surprise challenger will step up in either division.
Questions for the week: Who is going to be a road warrior? Excluding Stanford, which is 2-0 on the road, the Pac-12 is 2-9 on the road so far this season. California, which is at Washington on Saturday, won at Colorado and Utah won at BYU (but lost at USC). Colorado is at Ohio State. Oregon is at Arizona. UCLA is at Oregon State. USC is at Arizona State. Good teams win on the road. Who steps up? And who falters?