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Pac-12 roundup: ASU pulls out another close win, setting up huge game at Utah next week

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Order was seemingly restored in the Pac-12 this week as a huge Saturday looms ahead

Washington State v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Coming into this week, the story of the Pac-12 season was the continued losses of ranked Pac-12 teams to seemingly innocuous opponents. This week, order was restored a bit, as ranked teams beat unranked teams in all non-UA Pac-12 matchups.

Thanks to this calm week, we know now that Oregon is a potential nightmare in their final six games, we know that the winner of Utah-ASU could end up near the AP top ten, and we know that USC isn’t who they probably needed to be to save Clay Helton’s job.

Here’s the Week 7 Pac-12 roundup. Remember to check our football section for coverage of Arizona’s loss to Washington.

No. 13 Oregon 45, Colorado 3

Going into this game, Oregon had looked a bit worse than we expected in their first five games, while Colorado was a pleasantly-surprising 3-2. Now, we know that Oregon is the superweapon the rest of the Pac-12 feared they might be.

Foreshadowing his likely future NFL career, Ducks QB Justin Herbert keeps putting up performances that would fit right in on Sunday. This time, Herbert finished 18-for-32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns before coming out of the game in the fourth quarter. Herbert could’ve thrown five picks on five throws and the Ducks would’ve been fine thanks to CJ Verdell, who had a monster night with 171 yards on only 14 carries.

Speaking of picks, an underrated Oregon defense feasted on experienced Buffs QB Steven Montez. Montez threw for just 131 yards and four interceptions on 19-for-34 passing. The fact that he had star Laviska Shenault Jr. on the field and still put up this performance has to be a red flag for the Buffaloes.

At the halfway mark of the season, Colorado sits at 3-3 (1-2). They head to Pullman on Saturday. Oregon is 5-1 (3-0) with the only loss the heartbreaker to Auburn. They head to Seattle for their rivalry matchup with Washington.

No. 18 Arizona State 38, Washington State 34

Another week, another close finish for ASU, and yet again the Sun Devils come out on top, this time beating Wazzu.

A coach’s record in close games is one of the better indicators of how they affect their team’s performance. By that measure, Herm Edwards has to be one of the best coaches in the nation. This season alone, the Devils are 3-1 in one-possession games, and they’ve done it multiple different ways. One constant has been freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels looking like an upperclassman. Daniels went 26-for-36 for 363 yards and three scores, and ran in the winning touchdown with under a minute left. Running back Eno Benjamin also pitched in with 137 yards and a score.

For Washington State, this season is quickly becoming a nightmare. After a promising 3-0 start and a massive 31-point lead against UCLA, Wazzu has now fallen to 0-3 in conference play and is all the way down to .500. It’s been hard to blame senior quarterback Anthony Gordon. Gordon threw 64 times today in the Tempe heat, completing 44 passes for 464 yards and three scores. Nevertheless, ASU pulled out the close game, and Wazzu’s defense still needs work after a reshuffling of the coordinators this past week.

Arizona State is now 5-1 (2-1) and will head to Utah in what could be a de facto Pac-12 South title game. Washington State is 3-3 (0-3) and will look for their first Pac-12 victory against Colorado at home next week.

No. 9 Notre Dame 30, USC 27

With all of the headlines surrounding USC and coach Clay Helton going into the season, this felt like a must-win. Unfortunately, the Irish were too tough at home, and Notre Dame survived.

Losing starting quarterback JT Daniels for the season in the opening game seemed to be a death knell for this season. Instead, true freshman Kedon Slovis has looked at least passable and has powered the Trojans through a brutal opening schedule. He didn’t look great in South Bend, but he managed the game alright, going 24-for-35 for 255 yards and two scores. Amon-Ra St. Brown was a huge help, catching eight passes for 112 yards and a score.

Notre Dame really only looked good for one quarter, but they used that killer second quarter to power a victory. Ian Book was actually shut down pretty well, but running back Tony Jones Jr. simply eviscerated the Trojan defense, and that cost them the game. Notre Dame is still in the playoff hunt, while USC will have some hard decisions to face.

USC is now 3-3 (2-1). Their opening schedule featured a lot of solid teams thus far, but that might not be enough for Helton. USC hosts Arizona next Saturday.

No. 15 Utah 52, Oregon State 7

After two encouraging performances against two California schools last weekend, Oregon State thought they had a chance to pull off the homecoming upset. Needless to say, Utah proved a point and destroyed the Beavers.

After Utah’s loss to USC, it seems like most of the nation forgot about them. This win, along with some losses ahead of them in the AP Poll, could bring some of those spotlights back. As usual, Tyler Huntley wasn’t asked to do too much, but he was downright surgical when he did throw. Huntley finished 14-for-17 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Zack Moss only got five carries...and still got 121 yards and two touchdowns. Thanks to those performances, this game was over by halftime.

Oregon State’s offense had been more encouraging than the defense, and that didn’t continue either. To be fair, Utah’s defense was suffocating, but the Beavers couldn’t put together anything when they had the ball. Underrated quarterback Jake Luton came into the game without an interception, and that streak ended as he went 17-for-34 for only 131 yards and a pick. Artavis Pierce was utterly shut down on the ground as well, with only 20 yards on 10 touches. This team is still showing glimpses of a solid future under Johnathan Smith, but this is a reminder that they aren’t there yet.

Utah is now 5-1 (2-1) at the halfway mark, and will host a huge game next weekend against ASU. Oregon State is now at 2-4 (1-2) and will head to Berkeley.