It’s only Week 5 of the college football season, and the Pac-12 is without an undefeated team. The Pac-12 has earned its reputation as the “conference of cannibals” for quite a few years now, but this season appears to have set the mark for most self-destructive year. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a hell of a lot of fun in the west this year, including this weekend. Here’s our roundup of the Pac-12 for Week 5.
Arizona State 24, No. 15 California 17
Amazingly, the California Golden Bears entered this weekend as the Pac-12’s last undefeated team. In true Pac-12 fashion, that vanished on a late Friday night, as ASU battled out Cal and took a win back to Tempe.
This game was all one could hope for in a Pac-12 Friday night matchup: it was close, there was plenty of narrative interest, and both teams looked pretty solid. ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels has been one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country despite being a true freshman. He wasn’t as surgical as usual, but he did lead the Devils to victory, going 14-for-24 for 174 yards. Eno Benjamin didn’t look spectacular either, but he did hit 100 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown.
The big news for Cal was the loss of starting quarterback Chase Garbers late in the first half. He went down hard on his shoulder on a scramble, and Cal looked different without him. Garbers had just hit his stride as a passer, and backup Devon Modster couldn’t get the same rhythm going. Despite going back and forth the whole game, Cal just didn’t have the firepower to reach 5-0. Neither team’s offense looked great, but both defenses looked solid and both teams have a great 4-1 record at this point in the season.
Cal will likely need Garbers next week against Oregon in Autzen, but it’s unclear what his status will be. ASU has a bye before hosting WSU in Tempe.
No. 17 Washington 28, No. 21 USC 14
The only ranked matchup of the week in the conference of champions ended with a fairly dominant win for the Huskies, as Washington cruised over USC.
Perhaps no other team in the country was under a bigger microscope than the Trojans entering that season. That pressure certainly hasn’t been helped by the fact that USC has had probably the mot interesting season in the country thus far. Two promising young quarterbacks in JT Daniels and Kedon Slovis have gone down with injuries, and USC has had strong wins and weak losses against a fascinating schedule. The Trojans actually looked good against Washington, but three interceptions by third-string Matt Fink doomed them.
Not to be forgotten is Washington’s performance. Jacob Eason wasn’t incredible by any stretch, but he led the Huskies up and down the field consistently, going for 180 yards on 16-for-26 passing. Salvon Ahmed was the real star of the game, going for 154 yards on just 17 carries. Of course, that stat line was helped by the play of a game: an 89-yard explosion that put Washington up three scores.
USC has a bye before finishing up their brutal opening schedule on the road in South Bend. Washington heads to Palo Alto next week to try and beat a reeling Stanford team.
Stanford 31, Oregon State 28
In a battle of the cellar dwellers in the Pac-12 North, OSU and Stanford played a surprisingly fun game that ended with the Cardinal barely surviving Reser Stadium.
Despite the score, and recent history, Oregon State honestly outplayed Stanford at home. Despite OSU’s record, quarterback Jake Luton has looked spectacular this season, and that continued in Corvallis. Luton went 27-for-39 on the night for 337 yards and a score. Luton also led the Beavers to a late comeback. After going down 21-0, the Beavers finished the game with a 28-10 final 16 minutes. Luton and running back Artavis Pierce, who went for 141 yards on merely 16 carries, led the team back, tying the game at 28 with a minute left.
Unfortunately for them, Stanford went on a final drive that won them the game. Backup quarterback Davis Mills was just as strong as Luton, going 18-for-25 for 245 yards and three scores. Stanford’s fourth touchdown of the game also involved Mills, as he received a pass from Colby Parkinson on a Philly Special play. Mills was fine in the passing game, but the Cardinal’s running game was weak, with Cameron Scarlett going for just under 4 yards/play. Nevertheless, Stanford got its second win of the year, and while this season will probably be its worst in a decade, the Cardinal can celebrate for now.
Stanford will have a big game on the Farm next week when they host Washington. OSU goes to the Rose Bowl for what should be an intriguing game against UCLA next Saturday.
No. 19 Utah 38, Washington State 13
Last week may have been one of the most brutal losses in college football history for the Cougars, as they blew a 32-point lead and lost an all-time thriller 67-63 to UCLA. They never had the chance to lose their lead this week, as Utah cruised.
Washington State quarterback had probably the best performance for any quarterback in the country last week, throwing for nine touchdowns in the loss. Against the Utes, Gordon didn’t have his magic back. He still put up a tolerable 30-for-49 mark for 252 yards, but only one touchdown and two interceptions. Wazzu didn’t look great in the first half, but they kept pace, before the Utes slowly but surely squeezed them out of the game in the second half.
On the other hand, the Utes were coming off their own painful loss at USC. Despite missing star running back Zack Moss, quarterback Tyler Huntley did plenty for the Utes to win. He finished with a typically accurate 21-for-30 mark for 334 yards and two scores. Hutnley also added two scores on the ground. The Utes need Moss in order for them to be their best selves who could win the conference, but they showed they’re still a dangerous team without him.
Utah gets a bye before heading to Corvallis, and Washington State also gets a bye before it heads to Tempe.