With the Arizona Wildcats seemingly returning from the dead in a blowout win over Oregon, the Pac-12 race continues to be as chaotic as possible. UA’s victory wasn’t the only major upset this weekend, and the league continues to show off how exciting it is, week in and week out.
Here is a recap of this weekend’s results.
No. 23 Utah 41, UCLA 10
After a rough start to its season and seeming to be all but out of the Pac-12 South race, the Utah Utes (6-2, 4-2) now seems to have a stranglehold on the division entering November.
The big storyline in the Utes’ rough start was the ineffectiveness of Tyler Huntley at quarterback. That partially returned on Friday night, as Huntley went 13 of 21 for just 138 yards and a pick. It didn’t matter, though, as Zack Moss tore apart the UCLA defense for 211 yards. It wasn’t until after halftime that Utah started to pull away from the Bruins, but once they did they looked like easy picks to head to Santa Clara.
For the UCLA Bruins (2-6, 2-3), this is a crushing blow after two straight wins had given them some momentum. Wilton Speight became the starting QB again this week, and completed 20 of 40 passes, throwing two interceptions. Joshua Kelley played well again, running for 90 yards on 16 attempts. Overall, though, it’s clear that Kelly will be spending the next couple of years rebuilding UCLA.
Arizona State 38, USC 35
The USC Trojans’ disappointing season continues, as they dropped to .500 overall and are essentially eliminated from the Pac-12 South race.
Jack Sears made his first start today in place of injured JT Daniels. Despite the loss, he looked promising, completing 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two scores. USC (4-4, 3-3) actually performed rather well, and it and Arizona State seemed almost perfectly matched. That could perhaps be even more concerting that USC lost an evenly matched game, as the Trojans had the talent advantage.
The Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4, 2-3) are still surprising people. Manny Wilkins didn’t have a great game, throwing for just 166 yards, but Eno Benjamin continued to keep the Sun Devils in the game, rushing for 185 yards. After taking a 24-7 lead early, ASU let USC come back and make the second half pretty tight. Thanks to a long punt return TD by N’Keal Harry the Sun Devils won in the Coliseum, setting up a date with Utah that will help decide the division.
Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 (OT)
In the game of the afternoon, the Oregon State Beavers (2-6, 1-4) got their first Pac-12 win of the Jonathan Smith era and the first since 2016 with a stunning road comeback win over the Colorado Buffaloes (5-3, 2-3).
It’s clear that OSU is a different team with QB Jake Luton on the field, as he no doubt led the team to victory today. Down 31-3 in the third quarter, Oregon State scored 25 straight, with 15 of those coming off Luton throws. With 30 seconds left, OSU scored a touchdown to tie the game at 34, but Jordan Choukhair’s extra point was blocked and the game went to OT. Oregon State scored first, and then stopped the Buffs for a hard-earned victory.
For Colorado, this is another disastrous loss. After starting 5-0, the Buffs are now 5-3 and also face a tough road to the Pac-12 championship game in Santa Clara, if there is any at all. It’s clear how much the Buffs miss receiver Laviska Shenault, who didn’t play. Steven Montez is still playing well, but the magic is no longer there, and the Buffs will now need to beat either Arizona or California to earn bowl eligibility, which seemed a formality just last week.
California 12, Washington 10
If there was a result even more shocking than OSU’s victory, it was this one, as one of the easiest outs in the Pac-12 defeated the presumptive favorite.
After spending half the season flipping between quarterbacks, Justin Wilcox finally made a decision by starting Brandon McIlwain for the California Golden Bears against Arizona and UCLA. The results were not great, as McIlwain turned the ball far too often. Re-enter Chase Garbers, who now seems to have a stranglehold on the QB position. He completed 16 of 23 for 153 yards, and while the Cal offense wasn’t great, it was enough.
The reason Cal’s six offensive points were enough was thanks to a pick-six by star defender Evan Weaver. That play ended the third quarter and gave Cal (5-3, 2-3) a 12-7 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
After spending three years as the Washington Huskies’ starter, and playing pretty well through that time, Jake Browning has collapsed this season. He only completed 11 passes on 21 attempts, with one score to each team. Washington (6-3, 3-3) now must play at Stanford before its bye.
Washington State 41, Stanford 38
In arguably the game of the day in terms of excitement—and definitely the game with the highest stakes—the Washington State Cougars (7-1, 4-1) got another crucial win and now controls their Pac-12 North destiny.
The Cougars took the country by storm last weekend, with ESPN College Gameday finally visiitng and Wazzu pulling off a statement over Oregon. That love story continues, as WSU will easily be the highest-ranked Pac-12 team this week, and it plays exciting football. Gardner Minshew has easily taken over for Luke Falk, and James Williams has provided just enough of a running spark for a Mike Leach team. Minshew went a stunning 40 of 50 for 438 in Palo Alto, throwing for three touchdowns with Williams adding two more on the ground.
The game was back and forth all day long, with an early Washington State lead turning into a halftime advantage for the Stanford Cardinal (5-3, 3-2), giving way to another Wazzu lead after a touchdown with five seconds left. It seemed like the Cardinal had forced overtime with a JJ Arcega-Whiteside touchdown, but a quick Washington State drive allowed Blake Mazza to kick a game-winning field goal.
The Cougars are now the only one-loss team in the conference, and one of only two teams with two or fewer losses. Next week they host a surging Cal squad, and win there plus a Washington loss could make the division theirs to lose.