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Pac-12 Roundup: Things could have gone better

UCLA, one of five Pac-12 teams to lose their opener, fell in OT on Saturday.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you are all fully aware of the Arizona Wildcats' disappointing 18-16 loss to BYU in Saturday night's season opener. But what about the rest of the Pac-12? How did the rest of the conference fare on what was described as the greatest kickoff weekend in college football history?

Spoiler alert: Not great.

The conference's teams went a respectable 7-5 in their season openers. Of the five teams starting the season off in the top 25, three of them kicked things off with a win. The 14th-ranked Washington Huskies dismantled Rutgers, 48-13. The high-powered offense of the 24th-ranked Oregon Ducks defeated UC-Davis, 53-28. And the 8th-ranked Stanford Cardinal, led by Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey, beat the Kansas State Wildcats, 26-13.

But it would be the other two ranked teams that would appear in the headlines on Sunday morning, and not for reasons that they wanted to start the season with. Kickoff weekend would prove to be rough for the Pac-12's Southern California duo.

(1) Alabama def. (20) USC, 52-6

The USC Trojans had the unenviable task of starting their season against the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, in front of a packed AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX.

While Alabama was the definite favorite in this one, people were openly wondering if USC's extremely athletic skill position players could cause a problem for Bama? Could Bama's lack of a decisive starting QB be a problem? Would USC be able to pull the upset?


The Trojans did win the first quarter, 3-0, as it took a quarter and a half for Alabama's offense to strike with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Hurts to ArDarius Stewart.

An Alabama field goal late in the second quarter brought the score to 10-3. On the ensuing kickoff, moments after the play ended, USC linebacker, Jabari Ruffin elected to stomp on a grounded Alabama player's unmentionables. Ruffin was immediately ejected from the game. Alabama's response to the stomp was rather simple: Stomp USC.

The Crimson Tide would score 28 more points unanswered, following the stomp and ended up blowing out the Trojans, 52-6. This was the third most lopsided defeat in USC's rich program history and the worst loss in 50 years. This was also the first time USC was held without a touchdown since 1997.

Texas A&M defeated (16) UCLA, 31-24 (OT)

Arizona was not the only Pac-12 team to orchestrate a late, desperate comeback only to fall short. The UCLA Bruins trailed Texas A&M 24-9 with less than five minutes remaining. But two quick scores, including a 62-yard touchdown from Josh Rosen to Kenneth Walker III would draw the game even and force overtime.

In OT, A&M would score on a QB keeper from Trevor Knight. UCLA quarterback, super sophomore Josh Rosen, struggled throughout the day and overtime wasn't any different as the Bruins failed to score in OT, falling to the Aggies, 31-24.

Eastern Washington defeated Washington State, 45-42

It wasn't just the Southern California teams that struggled on kickoff weekend.

The Washington State Cougars enter this season with higher expectations than years past. They responded to those expectations by starting their season with a loss to an FCS team for the second consecutive season.

It was an absolute shootout and not many players in the nation are capable of out-shooting Cougars QB Luke Falk. But Eastern Washington QB Gage Gubrud did just that. He completed 34 of his 40 attempts for 474 yards and five touchdowns. He was also the game's leading rusher with 77 yards on the ground, including a 30-yard TD run to seal the game late in the 4th quarter.

Pac-12 Play of the Weekend

I already touched on the fact that Stanford won their season opener. Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey scored two touchdowns in that game. Below is not one of them. But what this kid is capable of is video game silliness.

In other action, the Colorado Buffaloes impressed in their 44-7 trouncing of in-state rival, Colorado State. The Utah Utes beat Southern Utah, 24-0. And the Oregon State Beavers fell short against Minnesota, 30-23.