The one-point result capped off a solid weekend of action in the Pac-12 Conference, with the division races in the North and South starting to tighten up.
Here’s a look at results across the Pac-12 in Week 8.
Stanford 20, Arizona State 13
For the fourth time this season, mistakes and missed opportunities caused the Arizona State Sun Devils to lose by a touchdown.
ASU’s defense came up huge in this game, slowing down the Stanford Cardinal and allowing just six points in the first half. Unfortunately, the Sun Devil offense couldn’t get out of its own way. QB Manny Wilkins threw a pick in the second half, N’Keal Harry threw an interception on a trick play in the first. The ASU offense also stalled often in Stanford territory, leading to two short field goals by Brandon Ruiz.
The Stanford offense performed worse than the Sun Devil offense, with KJ Costello’s high completion percentage (22 of 29) the lone bright spot. Nonetheless, thanks to errors by ASU, Stanford was able to do just enough. Stanford (5-2, 3-1) is tied for first in the loss column in the Pac-12 North, while ASU falls to 1-3 in conference and 3-4 overall.
Washington 27, Colorado 13
With both teams suffering hugely disappointing losses last week, it was the Washington Huskies who were able to bounce back.
Both teams put up very similar performances, and matched blows for most of the game. Colorado quarterback Steven Montez went 17 of 28 for 144 yards, while UW quarterback Jake Browning was 15 of 25 for 150 yards. Each threw for one score and one interception. The teams stayed within one score until late in the fourth quarter, when the Huskies (6-2, 4-1) finally took control and scored 10 points to ice an important win.
For Washington, an impact player was Salvon Ahmed. Often overshadowed by Myles Gaskin, Ahmed took the spotlight with Gaskin out, and ran for 73 yards on just nine carries, including a TD. Along with Gaskin, Colorado star Laviska Shenault was out with an injury. His absence was obviously felt by the Colorado Buffaloes (5-2, 2-2).
California 49, Oregon State 7
After finally being given the full-time starting job after a long position battle, Brandon McIlwain played very poorly against Arizona and UCLA. Chase Garbers was given a second shot against the Beavers and looked strong, completing 17 of 26 passes for 234 yards and three TDs. There is an asterisk in that Garbers did that against Oregon State, but he may have the starting job for the rest of 2018 now. Patrick Laird also had his most dominant game thus far, running for 193 yards on 22 carries and two scores.
For Oregon State, the rough news just continues to pile up this season. Both Jake Colletto and Conor Blount saw action behind center, and neither was effective at all, combining for just 146 yards and two interceptions. Stud running back Jermar Jefferson, dealing with a hamstring issue, had just two carries for 34 yards. The rest of the team only averaged 1.5 yards per carry.
Washington State 34, Oregon 20
In one of the biggest nights in program history, the Washington State Cougars (6-1, 3-1) kept their winning ways going and earned a huge victory.
With ESPN’s College Gameday finally visiting the Palouse, the stage was set for a wild game in Pullman. That turned out to be the case, with Wazzu going up 27-0 at the half. Nevertheless, the Oregon Ducks (5-2, 2-2) was able to come back, scoring 20 unanswered in the second half. The Cougars were able to strike one last time late in the fourth, giving WSU a 14-point win and allowing the Cougar faithful to storm the field on a night to remember.
Both quarterbacks were as stellar as always. Gardner Minshew put up the electric numbers he always does, this time going 39 of 51 for 323 yards and four touchdowns. His counterpart Justin Herbert also played great in the loss, completing 25 of 44 passes for 270 yards and one TD. Both teams played fantastic, but the electricity in the crowd gave the Cougars the edge, putting them in control of their Pac-12 destiny and probably ending the Ducks’ hopes of a North Division title.
Utah 41, USC 28
Just after re-establishing themselves as South Division favorites, the USC Trojans (4-3, 3-2) coughed up that title again with a rough loss in Salt Lake City.
The Utah Utes (5-2, 3-2) deserve a lot of credit for the way this game went. Despite an incredibly anemic start, the Ute offense has caught fire in October. Tyler Huntley went 22 of 29, throwing for 341 yards and four scores. Zack Moss carried 25 times for 136 yards. Britain Covey was also his exciting self on the field, racking up 79 receiving yards and returning a kick for 38 yards. The Utes outgained the Trojans 541-205, and looked cool despite going down 14-0 early.
For USC, this game was very troubling. Not only was it completely dominated on both sides of the ball, but quarterback JT Daniels had the worst night of his career. He had just six completions on 16 attempts for a paltry 89 yards, and threw two picks. To make matters worse, he was concussed in the second half, and backup Matt Fink looked better. Despite the talent advantage, USC has a lot to figure out.
USC, Utah, and Colorado all have two losses in conference play. Utah and Colorado play in Boulder in Week 12.