After a horrifying fourth-quarter collapse letting Arizona State keep the Territorial Cup, the Arizona Wildcats season is over. Nevertheless, the rest of the Pac-12 had plenty of fun rivalries to show off, including a de facto divisional title game in the snow in Pullman.
Here’s the Week 13 Pac-12 Roundup.
Oregon 55, Oregon State 15
In this year’s edition of Civil War, the status quo that has held for the last decade remained: Oregon runs the state.
This game wasn’t ever in doubt. OSU managed to keep the deficit at only 21-3 at halftime, but the Ducks kept their pedal to the metal throughout the game. The matchup was probably most notable for two plays. One was a horribly botched triple reverse from Oregon State that ended in an Oregon fumble recovery. The other was an injury suffered by UO star Justin Herbert, which appeared to be on his throwing shoulder. It’ll be intriguing to see if Herbert will be available for the Ducks’ bowl game and if it will affect his NFL Draft stock.
Oregon finishes the regular season 8-4, with a 5-4 record against the Pac-12. The Beavers finish at 2-10 and 1-8, but will be looking to continue their rebuild under Jonathan Smith.
No. 16 Washington 28, No. 8 Washington State 15
This was supposed to be the Apple Cup where everything finally went Wazzu’s way. Unfortunately for them, their brothers to the west continued to dominate the series.
Washington State was having its best season in decades, even after Mike Leach brought the program back to life over the last few years. Gardner Minshew came out of nowhere to be a legitimate Heisman candidate. The stage was set for a fitting finale to their epic regular season. As thick, wet snow fell on Martin Stadium, the game instead turned unto a UW victory tour. In both Jake Browning’s and Myles Gaskin’s final regular season games as Huskies, both performed well, with Browning completing 11-of-14 despite the snow and Gaskin scoring three touchdowns. Thanks to this victory, it is Washington who will face Utah for the Pac-12 Championship this Friday.
Washington closes the regular season at 9-3 and 7-2 in conference play, and will be playing Utah for a Rose Bowl bid. Washington State finishes at 10-2 and 7-2, and still will likely make a New Year’s Six game.
Stanford 49, UCLA 42
In one of the most thrilling games of Saturday, the Cardinal got an important seventh win over a still-struggling UCLA team.
Arguably one of the nation’s most disappointing teams, Stanford came into this matchup just 6-4, a far cry from their usual perch atop the Pac-12 North over the last decade. UCLA entered at 3-8, and while they’d improved since September, it was clear Chip Kelly was facing a massive rebuild. It took all of KJ Costello and Bryce Love’s firepower to outduel the Bruins. Costello threw for a very un-Stanford-like five scores, while Love turned in an average performance of 85 yards and a touchdown. Wilton Speight and Josh Kelley performed valiantly for UCLA, but the lack of offensive production hurt them, as 15 of their points came off special teams or defense.
Stanford’s season is not over, as they head to Berkeley next week for a game delayed by the massive California wildfires. The Cardinal currently sit at 7-4 with a 5-3 record in conference. UCLA finishes Chip Kelly’s debut season 3-9, with all three wins coming against the Pac-12.
California 33, Colorado 21
At the midseason point of 2018, Colorado seemed to be in charge of the Pac-12 South, and Cal looked to be one of the worst teams in the conference. Now, Colorado is out of a bowl game, and Cal is headed to one instead.
With coach Mike MacIntyre already gone, CU knew it needed to play very well in Berkeley to salvage a bowl that seemed guaranteed after a 5-0 start. Unfortunately, interim coach Kurt Roper couldn’t get a worthy performance. Steven Montez, who had once seemed to be an unsung hero in the conference, threw for 170 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Fellow stars of September Travon McMillian and Laviska Shenault also had lackluster performances. For Cal, it all came down to the introduction of Chase Garbers at quarterback. Since then, the Bears are 4-1 with the only loss by 6 in Pullman. Garbers didn’t have to do much, as California took the lead with two very early pick-sixes, and just needed to keep pace with the Buffs from then on.
Cal hosts Stanford next weekend, with a record of 7-4 thus far and a 4-4 record in conference play. Colorado finishes the season a bitterly disappointing 5-7, and 2-7 in the Pac-12.
No. 3 Notre Dame 24, USC 17
In a blue-blood rivalry where the Trojans were heavy underdogs, they couldn’t quite complete the upset of undefeated Notre Dame.
Coming into the game, it was widely assumed that Notre Dame would clinch a berth in the Playoff with a victory. Despite that, they came out flat, with USC keeping the lead for the entire first half. In one of his best performances of a brutal season, JT Daniels went 37-for-51 for 349 yards, and a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Ian Book also heated up in the second half, as the Irish took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish early in the third quarter. Book threw for even more yards, 352 of them, on just 37 attempts. Thanks to his leadership, it appears Notre Dame is officially in the College Football Playoff.
Notre Dame is 12-0, while USC finishes the year a hugely disappointing 5-7, just 405 in Pac-12 play. It is their first losing season since 2000.
No. 17 Utah 35, BYU 27
Another rivalry, another exciting thriller for the Pac-12, as the Utes overcame a massive deficit to beat the Cougars.
Down 21-0 at halftime due to almost constant miscues, Utah seemed to be in serious trouble, especially with Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss both still out of action. The Utes came alive in the second half, starting with a pick-six for Julian Blackmon. After that, it was all backup quarterback Jason Shelley, leading huge drives, two of which ended with touchdown runs from Moss’ backup Armand Shyne. With three minutes to go, Utah finally took its first lead on BYU, and was able to put the game away with a long touchdown from Shelley. Utah now heads into the Pac-12 Championship against Washington, hoping for their first Rose Bowl.
BYU finishes their regular season at 6-6, likely good enough for a bowl, though it’s not a guarantee due to large numbers of bowl eligible teams. Utah’s regular season ends at 9-3, and a Pac-12 South-winning 6-3 record in the conference.