Week 6 Action in the Pac-12


View Small TextView Normal TextView Large TextView Extra Large TextPrinter-Friendly Article

By Gerald Nicdao, Staff Writer
Posted Oct 12, 2015
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2015 BearInsider.com

News Image
The results of Week 6 in Pac-12 play may have College  Football Playoff and Rose Bowl implications. The races in both the North and  South tightened, though Utah—with its close win  over California on Saturday night— has a strangle hold as the lone  undefeated team left in the conference.

But then Sunday happened at USC.

Trojans Athletic Director Pat Haden announced Sunday  afternoon that head coach Steve Sarkisian will take a leave an indefinite leave  of absence. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over as interim  head coach.

Sarkisian was not at practice Sunday. When word got to Haden  that Sarkisian was absent, he immediately called his head coach.

"I called Steve and talked to him," Haden told  the Los Angeles Times. "It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I  asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence."

This will no doubt be the lead story casting a shadow over  the conference this week. And it comes on the heels of one of the more  surprising weekends of football.

It began with Washington  upsetting USC on Thursday night. It continued with Washington  State following its in-state rival and  beating Oregon.

The Pac-12 North is now wide open with three one-loss teams  (Cal, Washington and Washington   State) after two amazing  upsets on the weekend.

Idle Stanford—still undefeated in conference play—is now in  first place in the North. And if things fall the right way for Bay Area fans  the rest of the season, the Big Game may just decide who plays for a right to  go to the Rose Bowl.

But the big story is USC, where the troubles began brewing  earlier in the week.

  Washington upsets No. 17 USC
Washington  was supposed to be in rebuilding mode. USC was supposed to be contenders for  the College Football Playoff.


And while there may be no chance for the Huskies to be  playing for a national championship in January, they made sure that the  Trojans—and USC's former coach—would not be.

Washington  went into the Coliseum on Thursday night and left with a gritty 17-12 victory  over USC, its first at the Coliseum since 2010.

"This," Huskies senior linebacker Travis Feeney told  The Seattle Times. "... This is something I've always wanted. This was a big  win. A big win for Seattle.  A big win for the Husky fans. Man, I cried. I cried tears of joy, man."

The game Thursday was a gritty, defensive affair, a game that played into Washington's  hands.

The Huskies halted what has been a prolific USC offense.  Quarterback Cody Kessler struggled, passing for just 156 yards as Washington harassed him  all night. Kessler was intercepted twice—the first one coming on the opening  drive of the game—and was sacked five times.

The Trojans had just 346 yards of total offense, almost 150  yards less than their average this season.

"This one hurts," Kessler told  the Los Angeles Daily News. "It doesn't feel good, but at the same time,  guys are going to look to me, guys are going to look to Su'a (Cravens), guys  are going to look to Tuerk, even though he's out. Guys are going to look to guys  like that who have that leadership."

The Huskies did not play spectacularly on the offensive side  of the ball either. Washington  had just 299 yards of total offense.

A trick play gave the Huskies the go-ahead score in the  quarter. A double-pass—that went from Josh Browning to Marvin Hall and the  finally Josh Perkins—was the 27-yard dagger that gave Washington a 10-6 lead.

It was just enough as the Huskies defense held off the  Trojans.

  Falk fuels Washington  State to win over Oregon
Streaks have to end sometime.


That sometime came Saturday afternoon in Eugene  for Washington State  as the Cougars upset Oregon,  45-38, in a double over time thriller. The win snaps Wazzu's eight-game losing  streak to the Ducks.

Redshirt Sophomore Luke Falk led the way, throwing for 505  yards and five touchdowns.

That included an eight-yard fade to Dom Williams that tied  the game at 31-31 to force overtime after leading the Cougars on a two-minute  drill executed to near perfection.

Falk threw his fifth touchdown pass to Robert Lewis in the  first half of the second overtime. The game ended when Washington State's  defense came up big—again, as Shalom Luani intercepted Jeff Lockie on 4th-and-9  in the second overtime.

The Cougars were down 31-21 early in the fourth quarter before  their defense stepped up and Falk led his offense to two scoring drive in the  last four minutes of regulation.

"We know what type of team we are," Washington  State receiver Gabe Marks told the Seattle Times. "This validates what we've been preaching all  season. We're a different team, and we can do something different."

The Ducks got plenty of offense from Royce Freeman, who had  a career-high 246 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns (two on the ground  and one receiving). But somehow, it wasn't enough.

Jeff Lockie got the call over Taylor Alie at quarterback  with Vernon Adams still sidelined with a hand injury. Lockie had just 123  passing yards but did toss two touchdowns.

"You can pick on one thing if you want, but that game should  have been over well before (overtime)," offensive coordinator Scott Frost told  The Oregonian. "We had a chance to end the game with a first down, and we  had them where we wanted them with five minutes left in the game, but we didn't  finish."

This is not the Oregon  team of old with that same killer instinct. The Ducks, midway through the  season, are staring at a 3-3 record, no hope of a return to the College  Football Playoff, and are about to face what could be a brutal stretch  beginning with a trip to Seattle to play Washington next week.

  Arizona State blows  past Colorado
It seems that Arizona   State has shaken off the  early season cobwebs.


The Sun Devils made easy work of Colorado on Saturday,  earning an easy 48-23 victory, to set up  what most would have thought to  be  unfathomable - after their early loses to Texas A&M and USC - a shot at first place  in the Pac-12 South.

ASU makes the trip to Utah  next week on an upswing, winning back-to-back conference games and finally  finding the offense that made it dangerous last season.

The Sun Devils totaled 491 yards of total offense, converted  10-of-17 third down attempts and basically took control of the game after one  quarter.

Quarterback Mike Bercovici seems to have found his rhythm  running the read option. The senior threw five touchdown passes (tying a career  high), had 260 yards passing and had 40 yards rushing.

It was a far cry from the type of play that plagued Arizona State in early September.

"The challenges you go through make you stronger, and I  think we got a really strong team," Sun Devils coach Todd Graham told  AZCentral.com.

The Buffaloes, on the other hand, struggled mightily.  Quarterback Sefo Liufau was constantly under duress. He was sacked eight times  by the ASU defense. Colorado  also turned the ball over twice, leading to Sun Devils scores.

The closest the Buffs got to Arizona State  was when the score was 14-7 in favor of ASU, midway through the first quarter.  After that, Colorado  had no answers for the Sun Devils, leading to its 13th consecutive  loss in Pac-12 play.

"I think we had a pretty good start to the season and I  don't want to go back to last year, or even the year before that, because that's  really frustrating and really upsetting because I know how talented this team  in all phases," Liufau told  The Daily Camera. "We're just missing something and I think we just have to  believe in ourselves and push ourselves to fight because we can compete with  these teams."

  Arizona routs Oregon State  as Solomon returns
What a difference a quarterback makes.


Anu Solomon returned to the Arizona lineup after missing the last six  quarters with a concussion. The Wildcats lost their last two games. So what  does Solomon do in his return? He managed to lead Arizona  to a 44-7 win over Oregon   State and  seemed to  stave off calling the season a disaster for the Wildcats.

Solomon did not account for any touchdowns, but he was  effective and efficient, going 17-for-30 on pass attempts and throwing for 276  yards. Solomon did have two long completions that eventually ended in  touchdowns for Arizona—a  50-yard hook-up with David Richards and a 70-yard bomb to Johnny Jackson.  Solomon  sat in the fourth quarter.

The running game accounted for all of the Wildcats' scoring.  Orlando Bradford had three rushing touchdowns. Nick Wilson chipped in two as  Jared Baker led the team with 123 yards on the ground.

"I thought he was pretty sharp," Arizona  coach Rich Rodriguez told  the Arizona Daily Star. "This probably wasn't his sharpest game, but he  makes big plays because he sees some big plays developing. He was rusty at  times, but I thought he saw the field well."

There was nothing good about Saturday's loss for the Beavers  to take back to Corvallis.  Oregon   State managed to gain 249  yards and allowed the Wildcats to gain 644 yards themselves.

Starting quarterback Seth Collins—who was 8-for-24 with just  56 passing yards—managed to score on a 17-yard run at the onset of the second  quarter, cutting the Beavers deficit to 13-7. But that would be the only  glimmer of good fortune for Oregon   State all game.

The game was over by halftime, as the Beavers entered their  locker room trailing 34-7.

"It's not fun to be a part of a game like that, let me just  tell you," Oregon   State coach Gary Andersen told  the Gazette-Times. "For any of us. It's very tough to sit there and for  everybody involved, everybody in the university, it's unacceptable."

New to The Bear Insider?