Oregon Clinches Pac-12 North Division Title with Win Over Arizona

Arizona vs Oregon PAC-12 football game in Eugene, OR on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Megan Connelly / fi360 News).

EUGENE, OR – The 6th ranked Oregon Ducks defeated the Arizona Wildcats 34-6 late Saturday night, securing the Pac-12 North Division Title in the process.

Question marks have surrounded Oregon’s offense all season, and despite only converting 53% of their third down attempts the Ducks offense showed moments of explosiveness they’ve been looking for. Marcus Arroyo’s offense averaged over 6-yards per play on first down and gained 471 total yards to Arizona’s 240.

Arizona vs Oregon PAC-12 football game in Eugene, OR on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Megan Connelly / fi360 News).

Justin Herbert became the second player in Oregon history to break 10,000 total career yards and 100 total career touchdowns after he completed 20/28 passes for 333 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Herbert now trails only Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who was in attendance, on the all-time Oregon stat list.

Leading the Ducks on the receiving end were Juwan Johnson and Johnny Johnson III, who posted similar nights of 5 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, and 4 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, respectively. Juwan Johnson’s longest catch of the night came off a 53-yard reverse flea flicker from Justin Herbert, who dropped the ball perfectly in stride for a touchdown.

Arizona vs Oregon PAC-12 football game in Eugene, OR on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Megan Connelly / fi360 News).

Head Coach Mario Cristobal was a physical offensive lineman for the University of Miami between 1989-92 himself and understands the importance of winning battles up front. After the game he stated, “We felt to win this game that we were going to have to take control at the line of scrimmage”. Oregon’s defense dominated the front line, recording 9 tackles for loss and 6 sacks on the night.

The Ducks move to 9-1 on the season after the win, and Mario Cristobal knows his team’s goals are still in their control. “The best part about it is, and his feels like a broken record… but our guys still feel like we haven’t played our best football”.

Come December 4th, the Ducks will compete in the Pac-12 Championship game in Santa Clara for the first time since 2014, which will likely be against a highly ranked Utah Ute team. With a win, either team would have a strong argument for having a chance to compete in the College Football Playoff.

Arizona vs Oregon PAC-12 football game in Eugene, OR on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Megan Connelly / fi360 News).

Injuries unfortunately struck Oregon again, the biggest of which hit came after freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman suffered what appears to be a significant arm injury at the end of a play. Pittman struggled with injuries early in the season, and already missed 4 games due to a broken collarbone. The loss of Pittman definitely hurts, but the emergence of Juwan Johnson and Spencer Webb should fill the void if Pittman indeed misses significant time.

Arizona vs Oregon PAC-12 football game in Eugene, OR on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Megan Connelly / fi360 News).

The Ducks will head to Arizona State next week before hosting in-state rival Oregon State for the ‘Civil War’ in their final home game of the season on November 30th.

Penn State rebounds to defeat Indiana

Indiana vs Penn State Big Ten football game on November 16, 2019. (Photo by Patrick Blain)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – It was far from a flashy 34-27 victory for a Penn State football team looking to rebound from a disappointment of a week ago. When the matchup between #24 Indiana (7-3, 4-3) and #9 Penn State (9-1, 6-1) came down to crunch time, it was a fourth down decision in the final quarter that ultimately determined the fate for the Hoosiers.

Indiana vs Penn State Big Ten football game on November 16, 2019. (Photo by Patrick Blain)

With 1:48 remaining and the score at 27-24, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford used his legs to stretch across the goal line on a 4th down and 1 yard play. The Nittany Lions finished 2-2 on fourth down conversions and Clifford finished the day with 55 yards rushing on 10 carries and two touchdowns.

When asked about his late game play calling, Penn State head coach James Franklin said, “It was the right decision… it worked.”

After star wide receiver KJ Hamler left the game in the first quarter with an undisclosed injury, he was oddly seen with a bull horn cheering teammates on from the tunnel at moments during the game. Penn State shifted gears on offense following Hamler’s absence and turned to another young star in-the-making running back Journey Brown.

Indiana vs Penn State Big Ten football game on November 16, 2019. (Photo by Patrick Blain)

“You know how KJ is… KJ be KJ at the end of the day,” said Brown of his teammate Hamler.

Journey Brown finished the day with 100 yards rushing on 21 carries and one touchdown. “Our offensive line played great, giving me holes and time to hit them.”

Indiana vs Penn State Big Ten football game on November 16, 2019. (Photo by Patrick Blain)

Penn State’s passing defense suffered mightily for the second week in a row. Indiana’s top ranked Big Ten passing attack torched Penn State for 371 yards.

Next up for the Nittany Lions is a visit at the Horseshoe on Saturday, Nov. 23 with #2 Ohio State. Game time is set for noon.

Indiana vs Penn State Big Ten football game on November 16, 2019. (Photo by Patrick Blain)

USC Rolls Over Cal 41-17

The USC Trojans defeat the Cal Bears 41-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

Berkeley, CA – The final home game of the 2019 season did not go accordingly to plan for the California Golden Bears (5-5, 2-5), as they fell to the USC Trojans (7-4,6-2) in a 41-17 rout on senior night.

The USC Trojans defeat the Cal Bears 41-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

The opening quarter brought what appeared to be a fairly even matchup with the return of quarterback Chase Garbers (7) for the Bears, who led the offense down the field for an opening-drive touchdown capped off by a 5-yard dash to the endzone by running back DeShawn Collins (26).

The Trojans would also score on their first drive, marking the first of four touchdown passes on the night, all to different receivers, for quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) who found Amon-Ra St. Brown (8) for an 18-yard strike to make it 7-7.

USC would take a 10-7 lead heading into the second quarter with a 41-yard field goal from Chase McGrath (40) before the Bears would tack on 3 points of their own with a 37-yarder from Greg Thomas (39).

The USC Trojans defeat the Cal Bears 41-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

It was in the second quarter, however, that everything started to fall apart for Cal.

First came the loss of Garbers. Again.

The sophomore quarterback would leave the game after going down on a short scramble to his left side, much like the play in which he was injured against Arizona State and forced to miss nearly half the season.

Then it was Evan Tattersall (54), who left the game on a stretcher after receiving medical attention for several minutes following a hard collision in kickoff coverage. Tattersall was ultimately taken to the hospital but it was confirmed that he was alert and demonstrating movement of his extremities following the game.

The final blow for Cal in the second quarter, and what would be the beginning of USC’s march toward a blowout win, was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Slovis to Michael Pittman Jr. (33) with just 43 seconds remaining in the half.

The USC Trojans defeat the Cal Bears 41-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

In the second half, it was all USC with Slovis delivering two more scoring strikes, first to London Drake (15) and then to Josh Falo (83), to go along with a 2-yard rushing score from Stephen Carr (7).

The Trojans effectively ripped apart the Cal secondary, tallying 462 total yards of offseason with 406 through the air on 29-of-35 attempts from Slovis.

Collins provided a late spark for the Bears, shedding tacklers on his way to a 34-yard rushing score to give the Bears their only points of the half, but it was far too late for any hope of a comeback.

The USC Trojans defeat the Cal Bears 41-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, November 16, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

After the game, Cal head coach Justin Wilcox noted just how impressive the Trojan’s offensive weapons had been.

“I’ve never seen a receiving corps like that in this conference, not in 20 years,” he said.

Cal, on the other hand, struggled to produce a passing attack strong enough to go along with a decent rushing performance, led by Collins who contributed 103 yards of the Bears’ 166 total on the ground as well as both of his team’s rushing touchdowns on just 15 carries.

Quarterback Devon Modster (6), after delivering his strongest performance yet for the Bears against Washington State last week after becoming the go-to man under center after the first injury to Garbers, was unable to provide the level consistency his team needed in this one.

He finished 11-of-22 for 95 yards passing with 2 interceptions and added just 19 yards rushing.

The Bears now look to cross-bay rival Stanford, as they will head down to The Farm next week for the 2019 edition of The Big Game before finishing the regular season at UCLA.

“We have to own this. All of us. It’s disappointing that we didn’t perform better,” Wilcox said. “We knew we had to perform well against a team with that type of talent. We have to regroup on Monday. I know that’s exactly what we will do.”

The Trojans will welcome the UCLA Bruins in the final game of their regular season next week.


Utes Give Bruins The Boot, 49-3

Utah Utes running back Devonta'e Henry-Cole (7) runs the ball on September 20, 2019 (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)

SALT LAKE CITY- Number seventh ranked Utah ended UCLA’s three-game winning streak on Saturday night, demolishing the visiting Bruins by a score of 49-3, effectively wrapping up the PAC-12 South title in the process.

Quarterback Tyler Huntley Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Utah improves to (9-1 overall6-1 PAC-12) on the season. The Utes have defeated the UCLA Bruins four straight times. It was a record-setting night; running back Zack Moss moved into second place in Utah history for all-purpose yards with 127 yards and two touchdowns. 

Quarterback Tyler Huntley threw for a season-high 335 yards, going 14 of 18 with two touchdowns. This offensive explosion amounted to 536 yards, the Bruins had absolutely no answers to the efficiency of the Utah machine.

Despite the fact that the game was not competitive, the Bruins kept the game close until the final minutes of the first half. UCLA opened the game with a long drive culminating  with a JJ Molson 43-yard field goal, making it 3-0. It was all downhill from there for the Bruins.  Utah scored a touchdown on four consecutive possessions in the second quarter alone.

After a pair of Utah touchdowns, capped off by a two-yard run by Huntley, the Bruins found themselves deep in Utah territory before the game got out of hand. 

Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson rolled back on a crucial third down when the ball squirted  out of his right hand, Mike Tafua scooped up the loose ball for Utah and returned it 68 yards to the house.

Utah Utes defensive back Javelin K. Guidry #28 and UCLA Bruins defensive back Elisha Guidry #30 on October 26, 2018 (Photo by Jevone Moore)

UCLA falls to (4-6 overall,4-3 PAC-12) on the season. The Utes are the No. 1 defense in the PAC-12 for a reason. Holding the Bruins to 3.7 yards per play, forcing four turnovers while sacking UCLA quarterback DTR five times. Even UCLA running back Josh Kelley was stonewalled at every turn. 

UCLA must win their final two games in 2019 in order to be eligible for a bowl game. It begins with the Crosstown Rivalry, next Saturday against their arch rival, the USC Trojans at the Coliseum. UCLA defeated USC, 34-27 last year at the Rose Bowl, ending a three game skid over the Trojans. Utah plays at Arizona next Saturday.

What’s The RAMS Problem?

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay during the NFL game on October 13, 2019. Jevone Moore

LOS ANGELES – Heading into Sunday nights pivotal showdown against the Chicago Bears, our beloved Los Angeles Rams are in danger of missing the NFL Playoffs after last year’s magical Super Bowl run. With a (5-4) record, their season is derailing due to a struggling offense, lackluster play from their superstars and risky gambles from management determined to win now at all costs. 

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff #16 during the NFL game on October 13, 2019. Jevone Moore

After Sunday’s humiliating loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 17-12, when the Rams anemic offense was incapable of scoring a touchdown in an astounding 15 possessions. Four turnovers and a measly three points was all the Rams could muster. In 2018, the Rams led the NFL in scoring, this season it’s dropped to 10th. What happened? 

First, All-Pro Running Back Todd Gurley is no longer the premier rusher he formerly was. His nagging quad and knee injuries have limited him to 428 yards with only 6 touchdowns. The offense was predicated and built around Gurley’s excellence, enabling quarterback Jared Goff to confuse opposing defenses with the play action. For example, Gurley came alive on Sunday afternoon, with a strong 22-yard run in the 3rd quarter. Oddly, backup Malcolm Brown came in for Gurley for nearly the remainder of the game. Ram’s wunderkind Head Coach Sean McVay has left Gurley on the bench during several crucial moments in 2019.

Another factor is the injury bug is finally catching up with the Rams. Primarily with the offensive line.  Once the steady bedrock of the franchise, Center Brian Allen as well as Guard Joe Noteboom will sadly miss the remainder of the season. The past two seasons, no Offensive Lineman missed a game. 

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) runs the ball on October 29, 2019, Photo by Jordon Kelly.

Always the optimist, McVay is prepared for any new obstacle. “I think it’s a great challenge, let’s use this opportunity to try and see we can put guys in better spots, and ultimately find a way to win the game as a team,” said McVay. 

Just one year ago, the Rams knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs, 54-51 at the Coliseum. The week 11 triumph was one of the most thrilling regular-season games in NFL history. The tenor going into this week, 11 matchup against the Bears is one of urgency. 

The Rams are currently third in the NFC West, trailing both the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, in what is hands down the strongest division in the league. 

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff #16 during a NFL game on October 13, 2019. Jevone Moore

Personally, I believe the lion share of the blame falls on Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Goff has reverted to the issues which plagued him during his Super Bowl LIII 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots. The 2016 NO. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft has thrown 11 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. Making matters worse, Goff has gone five straight games with a completion rate below 60 percent.

To be fair, Goff has been pressured on 40 percent of his drop backs. Opposing defenses have figured the Rams methods and schemes. The Rams reeked of desperation against the Steelers: the fake punt deep inside their own 30 yard line. To running the ball on third and long situations. 

This is not a case of the dreaded, ”Super Bowl hangover”. These problems began to creep up last year. Rather, it is the tale of an innovative coach and general manager possibly making shortsighted decisions in order to hoist the Lombardi trophy this season. 

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay during the NFL game on October 13, 2019. Jevone Moore

Rams general manager Les Snead paid his three most important players – Gurley, Goff and defensive tackle Aaron Donald exorbitant contract extensions. Snead took a dangerous, albeit loyal gamble to keep his stars in the City of Angels. Let’s talk about the Jalen Ramsey trade. Arguably the league’s best cornerback was a disgruntled Jacksonville Jaguar demanding a trade. 

The Rams obliged, perhaps giving up too much in return. The Rams received Ramsey while losing Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Even worse, the Jaguars received first-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 NFL draft. 

Can the city and the Rams afford his vision? Moving to the $5 billion-dollar SoFi stadium in Inglewood in 2020 has to be a part of his decision. Let’s not put the horse before the cart. We’ve got a best Da’ Bears. 

The Bears are facing the same issues we are: an incredible defense, shaky quarterback play and Postseason aspirations. Lest we forget, on a Sunday night game in CHI town at Soldier field last year, the Bears had our number, winning 15-6. The Rams will also be missing wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who has suffered another concussion.  

We need to support our Rams by making it out to the Coliseum on Sunday night. Kickoff is at 5:15 pm. The game will air on NBC. Prediction: Rams 24 Bears 21

USC remains undefeated with 84-66 win over South Dakota

South Dakota vs USC men's basketball at Galen Center in Los Angeles on November 12, 2019. (Photo by Rick Gurrola)

The USC basketball team saw their lead cut down to three points with 9:35 left in the second half. The Trojans put South Dakota away with a 16-4 run, including two three-pointers by senior Jonah Matthews. 

Nick Rakocevic drives to the basket during the South Dakota vs USC men’s basketball at Galen Center in Los Angeles on November 12, 2019. (Photo by Rick Gurrola)

Nick Rakocevic scored 27 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to help USC defeat South Dakota, 84-66, Tuesday night at the Galen Center. USC improved to 3-0 on the season. 

“South Dakota, I thought played very well for most of the game,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. “I thought we wore them down late in the second half with our length. Our guys finished the game strong.”

Rakocevic and Matthews, who finished with 14 points, both got into the 1,000 career points club. Rakocevic tied a career high in points, made a career-high 10 free throws and finished with five steals, also a career high. 

South Dakota vs USC men’s basketball at Galen Center in Los Angeles on November 12, 2019. (Photo by Rick Gurrola)

“To be part of those great players (who have scored 1,000 points) is special.” Rakocevic said. “Being aggressive down low and crashing the offensive glass has always been part of my game. I had mismatches against them and my teammates got me the ball to score.”

USC jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half with the help Max Agbongpolo, who made 3-of-4 three pointers off the bench. USC led 38-31 at halftime despite shooting 35 percent.

True freshman Onyeka Okongwu converted a three-point play and grad transfer Quinton Adlesh drilled two three-pointers to fuel an 11-0 run and a 56-44 lead in the second half. South Dakota stormed back with a 12-3 run to cut the lead, 59-56. 

Jonah Matthews drains a three pointer during the South Dakota vs USC men’s basketball at Galen Center in Los Angeles on November 12, 2019. (Photo by Rick Gurrola)

In the closing minutes, the seniors took over as Mattews hit two three-pointers and two key free throws. Rakocevic nailed three free throws to extend the lead and put the game out of reach. 

“Our guys executed the game plan well,” Enfield said. “Any team we play can beat us. South Dakota State went to the NIT last year, won 25 games, they’re an excellent program. Our players knew they could beat us. It was good for our guys. They did a great job in the last part of the game to get the W.”

South Dakota vs USC men’s basketball at Galen Center in Los Angeles on November 12, 2019. (Photo by Rick Gurrola)

The Trojans hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Nevada on Saturday, Nov.16. 

Pac-12 Football Players of the Week – Week 11

PAC-12 Football Media Day

Pac-12 Football Players of the Week – Week 11


LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 02: USC Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) drops back in the pocket during a college football game between the Oregon Ducks and The USC Trojans on November 02, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly)

OFFENSE: Kedon Slovis, Fr., QB, USC (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
• Was 29-of-39 for a career-best 432 yards with 4 TDs (8, 8, 58, 95 yards). 
• All of his TDs were in the first quarter when he completed 15-of-17 passes (including his first 11) for 297 yards to help USC to a 28-7 lead.
• The 95-yard TD was the longest at USC since a school record 97-yarder in 1996.

Also nominated: Salvon Ahmed, WASH; Laviska Shenault, COLO; Joey Yellen, ASU.

DEFENSE: Edefuan Ulofoshio, R-Fr., LB, Washington (Anchorage, Alaska) 
• Ulofoshio came off the bench to lead the Washington defense to a dominant performance in the Huskies’ 19-7 win at Oregon State.
• OSU entered the game averaging 33.6 points and 431.0 yards per game, but were limited to 7 points (which were actually scored by the OSU defense on a pick-six) and just 119 yards of total offense.
• Ulofoshio, mainly a special teamer prior to last Friday, entered the game with a total of 11 tackles (and no sacks or TFLs) on the season but, after an injury to a starting linebacker, filled the gap and led the Huskies with nine tackles in the game, including one and a half sacks for losses totaling 12 yards.
• In the second half of the game, Ulofoshio and the Dawgs defense limited the Beavers to just eight yards of total offense and no first downs as OSU went three-and-out five times. 

Also nominated: Davion Taylor, COLO.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Evan Price, R-Fr., PK, Colorado (Evergreen, Colo.)
• Scored 10 points, making good on all three field goal attempts and his lone PAT kick. 
• His 23-yard field goal tied the game at 13-13 with 7:34 to go, and then he kicked the game winner from 37 yards as time expired
• It’s CU’s third field goal in history to win a game as time expired, the first since 2007 versus Oklahoma. 
• He is the first freshman in school history to be involved in a game winning score in the final two minutes in school history (Mason Crosby made a 23-yard field goal to send the game into overtime that CU eventually beat Kansas, 50-47, in 2003). 
• He is now 7-of-8 in his career on field goals. 
• He was told Thursday prior to the game that he would be the placekicker, as regular James Stefanou has a hip injury.

Also nominated: Brandon Aiyuk, ASU; Ben Griffiths, USC; Daniel Rodriguez, OSU.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Arlington Hambright, Gr., OL, Colorado (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
• In CU’s 16-13 win over Stanford that snapped a five-game losing streak, Hambright played all 71 snaps at left tackle, grading out to a season-best 88.7 percent. 
• He had eight knockdowns and a touchdown block in helping CU rush for 172 yards (181 without one sack, averaging 4.5 per rush); 40 yards over Stanford’s season average on defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Joe Tryon, So., DE, Washington (Renton, Wash.)
• Led a suffocating Husky pass rush Friday in the Huskies’ 19-7 win at Oregon State, finishing the game with seven total tackles, four-and-a-half tackles for loss (for 26 yards) and two sacks (for 18 yards).
• It marked the second week in a row that Tryon tallied two sacks in a game. He now ranks 3rd in the Pac-12 in sacks, and second in conference games. 
• OSU entered the game averaging 33.6 points and 431.0 yards per game, but were limited to 7 points (which were actually scored by the OSU defense on a pick-six), just 119 yards of total offense and six first downs.
• In the second half of the game, Tryon and the Dawgs defense limited the Beavers to just eight yards of total offense and no first downs as OSU went three-and-out five times.

Also nominated: Christian Rector, USC.

USC Trojans running back Kenan Christon #23 during the Arizona Wildcats vs USC Trojans at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday October 19, 2019 (Photo by Jevone Moore)

FRESHMAN: Kenan Christon, Fr., TB, USC (San Diego, Calif.)
• Christon, a fifth stringer at the start of the year who was playing just his fourth ever game, got his first career start and responded with 144 all-purpose yards. 
• He had 62 yards on 20 carries and 82 yards on 4 catches with 2 TDs (8 and 58 yards, dragging defenders the last 20 yards on his second TD).

Also nominated: Omar Speights, OSU; Joey Yellen, ASU; Evan Price, COLO.

Cal Ends Losing Streak With 33-20 Win Over WSU

Caption: The Cal Golden Bears defeat the Washington State Cougars 33-20 at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 9, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).
Caption: The Cal Golden Bears defeat the Washington State Cougars 33-20 at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 9, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

Berkeley, CA – The California Golden Bears (5-4, 2-4) and Washington State Cougars (4-5, 1-5) entered their Saturday, November 9, match-up at Memorial Stadium with identical schedules both in and out of conference, each coming off a bye week, and both teams desperately needed a win as they fight for bowl eligibility.

It was Cal that would survive to earn its first win, 33-20, since starting quarterback Chase Garbers was lost to injury during a Friday Night home contest against the Arizona State Sun Devils in which they began a four-game losing streak after opening the year at 4-0 and earning a spot in the Top 15 rankings.

The game itself was a fairly evenly matched slugfest with both teams capitalizing on explosive plays and ultimately relying on their bread-and-butter styles. The Bears played stingy defense, especially in the red zone, while the Cougars threw the ball all over the field.

Caption: The Cal Golden Bears defeat the Washington State Cougars 33-20 at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 9, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

Saturday’s action kicked off early. The opening minute of play included an interception followed by a rushing touchdown for the Bears, and a blocked point-after try returned for a two-point score for the Cougars, making it 6-2 with 14:15 remaining in the first quarter.

The back-and-forth scoring would continue through much of the game, but the Cal defense would ultimately make the difference. With a forced fumble to go along with the early interception and key stops in the red zone leading to field goals instead of touchdowns as well as a key turnover on downs forced in the fourth quarter which allowed the Bears to pad their lead late.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox announced Friday that quarterback Devon Modster (6) would start against the Cougars after he was forced out of their game against Oregon State October 19. Modster had started against both Oregon and Oregon State after taking over the offense with Garbers’ injury.

Caption: The Cal Golden Bears defeat the Washington State Cougars 33-20 at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 9, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

Though Modster had failed to produce much success leading into the match-up with the Cougars, the UCLA-transfer was clearly more likely to lead the team to a win than freshman Spencer Brasch (13), who struggled heavily in the Bears’ 35-0 loss at Utah.

Modster provided his strongest performance at Cal by far in this one. Finishing with 230 yards on 16-of-24 attempts for 3 touchdowns, including a huge 52-yard score on a third-down tunnel screen to freshman receiver Makai Polk (17) to go along with 54 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. He led the offense with poise and proved that the unit was capable of giving the team’s dominant defense a chance.

He was quick to point to the team-effort in earning the victory after the game saying “I think it just shows a lot of grit, coming off of a four-game losing streak, our spirits didn’t die. We came out to work every day and I think it showed tonight.”

Caption: The Cal Golden Bears defeat the Washington State Cougars 33-20 at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 9, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

The Bears offense also ran the ball far better than in recent weeks, thanks in part to key returns from injury on the offensive line, along with a porous rushing defense from the Cougars, who had allowed over 193 yards per game and 5 yards per carry coming in.

Christopher Brown Jr. (34) led the way for the Cal rushing attack with 101 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown as well as 13 yards receiving with two catches, while redshirt junior DeShawn Collins (26) added 34 yards on six carries.

For the Cougars, the nation’s leading passing attack, their proficiency through the air simply wasn’t quite enough.

Senior quarterback Anthony Gordon (18), who led or tied for the lead nationwide in total passing yards, passing yards per game, total offensive yards, and passing touchdowns entering the day, finished with 407 in this one, completing 45-of-58 with two touchdowns and the lone interception.

Caption: The Cal Golden Bears defeat the Washington State Cougars 33-20 at California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 9, 2019 (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News).

The Cougars closed the game with just 16 yards rushing,  however.

Though they were able to add a late touchdown following Modster’s scamper in the end zone to put the Bears up 33-14, they were also held out of the end zone for nearly the entire second half.

The Cougars have now dropped five of their last six games and three straight in Berkeley.

Washington State cornerback George Hicks III (18) said that head coach Mike Leach did not mince words with his team after the game, telling his group “We have to be better. There was a lot of talk throughout the week, and at the end, we didn’t execute. That’s it. We have to put things into action come Saturday.”

They will return home to Pullman to take on Stanford as they look to add two more wins in three remaining contests, including a trip to Seattle for the Apple Cup, to give themselves a shot at post-season play.

National Defensive Player of the Year Candidate, linebacker Evan Weaver (89) and his fellow seniors will play in their final game at California Memorial Stadium next week as the Bears welcome the USC Trojans for senior night and their final home stand of 2019.

Mistakes cost ASU in their Comeback bid against USC

USC vs Arizona State PAC-12 Football (Photo by John Hays)
USC vs Arizona State PAC-12 Football (Photo by John Hays)

TEMPE, AZ – Pac-12 play continued for both squads as the USC Trojans (6-4, 5-2) their way to the 31-26 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4, 2-4).

It was the Kedon Slovis show in this one, as the Arizona native returned home to deliver the big win for the Trojans, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns in the first half alone.

Marred mostly by sloppy play and costly mistakes in the first half, the Sun Devils would actually have to rely on another freshman quarterback, Joey Yellen, to replace the injured Jayden Daniels, who was out with an injury.

“I had a full week to prepare,” Yellen said. “I felt we had a good plan going in to this, and we executed for the most part except for a few plays.”

USC vs Arizona State PAC-12 Football (Photo by John Hays)

Starting with the ball first, USC would jump out to the early 7-0 lead, after Slovis and Trojans would drive 75-yards on 11 plays, connecting on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Slovis to Drake London.

After a quick three-and-out by the Devils, the Trojans would get the ball right back, where they would then capitalize on another Slovis touchdown, this one to freshman running back, Kenan Christon from eight-yards out, to make it 14-0.

Head coach Herm Edwards noted that this was again an instance where ASU won the coin toss, but deferred their decision, which ultimately came back to haunt them. “We’ve done this twice now,” Edwards said. “We need to fix that, cause that’s not good. We look up at the clock and it’s seven nothing, then it’s 14 nothing.”

Needing a response, luckily ASU would rebound quickly, getting right back into this one as they were sparked by a 97-yard kick return by receiver Brandon Aiyuk who got it down to the Trojan three-yard line. Three plays later, the Devils would find the endzone, scoring on a Yellen touchdown pass to Kyle Williams from five-yards out to make it 14-7.

USC vs Arizona State PAC-12 Football (Photo by John Hays)

Unfortunately for ASU, the Trojans would continue to score at will, finding the endzone on back-to-back drives of 75 and 98 yards respectively, to eventually make it 28-7 after just the first quarter.

Not backing down, ASU would begin to rally, making some major adjustments. Trailing 28-7, Edwards told his guys, especially his defense to “just play the coverage correctly” he said.

Coming up big in the second quarter, Yellen and the Devils would drive 71 yards on three plays, punctuated by a Frank Darby touchdown from 62-yards out to make it 28-13 with 6:47 to go in the half.

A missed extra point by the Devils would perhaps be the play to come back and bite ASU, though as the team still trailed 28-13 at the half, holding the Trojans to zero points that quarter.

USC vs Arizona State PAC-12 Football (Photo by John Hays)

Putting the first half woes behind them the Sun Devils would respond in the second half, scoring on their first drive to make it 28-20, when Yellen would find Aiyuk from two-yards out.

A few series later, the Trojans would get on the board again, this time connecting on a Chase McGrath field goal from 41-yards out to give the Trojans the 31-20 lead, virtually putting this one away for good.

Showing their resiliency, ASU wouldn’t back down, climbing back in to score a touchdown from Yellen to Darby again, but chasing points from that missed PAT earlier and the Devils would fail on the two-point conversion attempt to bring them within three points.

ASU would use a stifling defense to hold the Trojans from here on out, holding USC to zero points for the rest of the game, even allowing the offense to get one last chance to drive the field with over three minutes left to possibly steal the game.

Edwards would tell his freshman to “just keep smiling, you’re doing great,” he said. Yellen would finish the day with 292 yards passing with four touchdowns to just two interceptions.

“He’s not afraid to throw the vertical ball on the field,” Edwards said. “He might take more chances than Jayden [Daniels].”

However on that last drive ASU would have a chance to win this one as they were driving the field, but a few missed opportunities would prevent the Devils from coming back in this one. A wide open touchdown pass was dropped, that essentially set-up the costly Yellen interception throw to USC’s Christian Rector that iced the game.

USC vs Arizona State PAC-12 Football (Photo by John Hays)

ASU would go on to lose this one by a 31-26 final, falling to 5-4 (2-4) on the season.

“We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” ASU receiver Frank Darby said. “It’s frustrating you know, we worked too hard for two weeks.”

As for the Devils, they will travel to Corvallis next week to take on Oregon State, meanwhile the Trojans will face Cal to stay in the Pac-12 South hunt.

SMU Mustangs Outlast Surprisingly Good ECU Team

Dallas, Tx – To say that SMU was disappointed to end their winning streak last week against Memphis would be an understatement. Saturday, the team took the field at Ford Stadium with redemption on the agenda. After a full four quarters of competition, the Mustangs defeated the Pirates of Eastern Carolina 59 -51. 

The powerful SMU offense arrived early and stayed late, however, Eastern Carolina brought with them a very powerful offense as well. For every SMU score, ECU followed up with a score. The back and forth battle was both entertaining and exhausting for the home crowd, which clearly didn’t expect such a high-powered ECU (3-7, 0-6 AAC) offense.

SMU quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 414 yards. ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers passed for 498 yards, connecting with feature receiver Tyler Snead for 240 of those yards. The incredibly offensive-heavy first half was so smooth that not a single flag was thrown to interrupt play.

The Mustangs started the scoring just minutes into the first quarter when Buechele connected with Kylen Granson in the back of the end zone. ECU would come right back with a 68-yard touchdown pass and then the back and forth ensued.

The second half played out like a scripted evening of NCAA on PS4. The first four possessions for Eastern Carolina resulted in three touchdowns and a field goal.  And then SMU scored three touchdowns and a field goal.

At times both defensives appeared nonexistent. The onslaught of scoring was only interrupted by one particular error on special teams. ECU returner Jsi Hatfield dropped a kickoff that he was simply unable to fall on. Tyler Levine recovered the ball for SMU. The Mustangs would score a few minutes later and No. 25 SMU (9-1, 5-1 AAC) finally gained control and secured the difficult win.

Records were broken on Saturday. Several players had career days. While SMU was projected to defeat ECU by more than 20 points, it is important to note that of the 110 total points scored, SMU never trailed in this game.

“We were able to figure out a way to win the game,” Dykes said. “It’s hard to win every Saturday, it’s hard to win on Saturday. Hard to win nine games.”

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