The Arizona Wildcats took care of business on Saturday night, downing the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors, 47-28. It was Arizona's most impressive performance of the season by a long shot but they weren't the only Pac-12 team to impress on Saturday night.
On a Saturday where the college football landscape was transformed by premier matchups, the Pac-12 sent a heavy hitter to Big Ten territory, took center stage in a late-night shootout and watched a Heisman frontrunner steal the show in the first conference game of the season.
California def. (11) Texas, 50-43
The Texas Longhorns have made plenty of noise to start the season, beating Notre Dame in an instant classic two weeks ago, launching themselves up the rankings. That excellent start hit a wall on Saturday night in Berkeley as the California Golden Bears bested Texas, 50-43. Cal's win, however, did not come without controversy.
Cal Quarterback, Davis Webb, had his best game as a Golden Bear, throwing for 396 yards and four touchdowns. The last of which put Cal ahead for good with 3:41 remaining in the game.
A short while later, after a Longhorns three-and-out, Cal sought to put the game away. All they needed was a first down. Running back, Vic Enwere, delivered on that and then some, racing 55 yards down the field for what appeared to be a game-sealing touchdown.
But, on that play, fans saw what we've come to see far too often in football over the last several years as Enwere appeared to drop the ball at the 1-yard line before making his way into the end zone. The referees didn't catch it at first sight, calling it a touchdown, completely disregarding the fact that, not only had the ball been dropped, a Longhorn defender picked the ball up. Possession should rightfully belong to Texas with slightly over a minute remaining and a chance to tie.
WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING— College Town™ (@CollegeT0wn) September 18, 2016
"No immediate recovery" (even though Texas recovered) gives Cal ball back, & they winhttps://t.co/6gddxuNJzM
After review, Cal somehow gets the ball back. Several kneels later, the Golden Bears pulled off a victory over their highest ranked opponent since 2007 in a wild one that both fan bases will remember for a long time to come.
Nebraska def. (22) Oregon, 35-32
The Oregon Ducks stepped into the land of Big Red and saw a very familiar face. Though, they did not end up with a very familiar result.
Mike Riley is in his second season as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. But prior to that, he spent 12 years roaming the sidelines in Corvallis as the head coach of the Oregon State Beavers. While at that job, the Ducks tended to make the Beavers their whipping boys. In fact, before Saturday, Riley dropped seven in a row to Oregon. His luck against the Fightin' Ducks changed in a back-and-forth affair in Memorial Stadium, as Nebraska dropped Oregon, 35-32.
The two teams combined for a rather insane 564 rushing yards on the game. But no run was bigger than Nebraska QB, Tommy Armstrong, Jr., taking a quarterback draw 32 yards to the house to take the lead and, eventually, win the game.
(7) Stanford def. USC, 27-10
The first conference game of this football season featured the two participants of last year's Pac-12 Championship game, the Stanford Cardinal and the USC Trojans. On that December night, Stanford, led by Christian McCaffrey, beat USC by 19, locking up a Rose Bowl bid.
Though a Rose Bowl bid wasn't on the line this time, Saturday didn't end up very different. McCaffrey racked up 260 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns and Stanford was able to grind the Trojans down in typical Stanford fashion, beating them by 17. They've now won seven of their last nine against USC.
Stanford is the highest ranked Pac-12 team in the country and would probably be the consensus pick to win the Pac-12 again. Their biggest threat appears to be the number eight team in the country, the Washington Huskies, who rolled yet again on Saturday, beating Portland State, 41-3.
Elsewhere around the Pac-12, the Colorado Buffaloes fell at the Big House, losing to Michigan, 45-28. The Utah Utes defeated San Jose State, 34-17. The Washington State Cougars got a much needed first victory, beating Idaho, 56-6. Oregon State also put one in the win column, beating Idaho State, 37-7. And the UCLA Bruins were able to escape with a road win over BYU, 17-14.