Boulder, CU – The Colorado offense continued to struggle on Saturday. Even with a promising third quarter, the Buffaloes ended their Pac-12 conference opener with a 35-13 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils.
This was the first time the Buffs dropped their conference opener since 2017.
Colorado was coming into the game with only 63 total yards of offense and fresh off a 0-30 loss to Minnesota. The Buffaloes started their game against ASU making Pac-12 history, but not in a good way.
CU reached 24 consecutive possessions without scoring, which was the longest streak in conference history. Fortunately for the Buffs, Cole Becker had a successful field goal attempt and got three points on the board before the second quarter was over.
By halftime ASU had a 14-3 lead, but the Colorado offense stepped up early in the third quarter. Alex Fontenot rushed for 1 yard and Becker’s kick attempt was good. With the score at 14-10, it seemed like things were turning around for the Buffs, until ASU replied with a touchdown before this period was over.
“We talked about that all week, that was kind of the message this week. I didn’t want us to play cautious. I wanted us to play free and not tight and not worried about making a penalty or making a mistake.” said ASU coach Herm Edwards.
The fourth quarter saw a Sun Devil touchdown less than a minute in, and another one with 8:30 left on the clock. Colorado struggled getting past the opponent’s defense and only managed another field goal before the game was over.
“I felt we did some really positive things in the first half, but those things were negated with the penalties and they ended up getting points,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “Those guys played hard and did some good things in the first half. The second half was a little bit of a challenge.”
By the end of the night, the ASU offense recorded a total of 439 yards, while the Buffs put up 250 yards. CU freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis threw for just 67 yards on 17 attempts. This was his third straight game with less than 100 yards.
The Buffs will try to improve their 1-3 overall record, and snap their three-game losing streak, next weekend as they host the USC Trojans on Oct. 2.
PALO ATLO, California – In what proved to be an exciting matchup between two Pac-12 teams looking to build momentum, the No. 24th ranked UCLA Bruins beat the Stanford Cardinal 35-24. For the Cardinal, today’s loss was a letdown after they beat the then No. 14th ranked USC Trojans and the SEC’s Vanderbilt in recent weeks, to begin the season 2-1, and in first place in the Pac-12 North.
Meanwhile, for the Bruins, today’s victory was a great way to get back on track after the exhilarating win over LSU a few weeks ago, followed by a letdown in a loss to Fresno State last week. Led by QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (19-30, 212 yds, 2 TD, and two rushing TDs), Zach Charbonnet and WR Kylie Phillips (5 rec, 111 yds, 2 TD) UCLA came through a seesaw game in which Stanford – led by Coach David Shaw – kept fighting until a missed field goal with 4 seconds left to play sealed the win.
UCLA got off to a great start, when Phillips made his presence known with a great punt return, to set up first and goal on the 13 yard line. DTR scored on a one-yard touchdown several plays later, to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead. Charbonnet – who finished with 25 carries for 209 yards, 1 TD — also got in on the action, with an 81-yard rush to set up another Bruins score. Despite keeping things interesting early, it seemed like UCLA might blowout Stanford.
Midway through the second quarter, however, it appeared that Stanford was finally starting to find its footing on offense. QB Tanner McKee connected with WR Bryce Farrell on a 30-yard pass play. Two plays later McKee threw a screen pass to WR Bryce Tremayne to get to the 21 yard line. Even though the Bruins’ defense seemed set to take back momentum with a sack, McKee had a nifty run for seven yards, and then connected with Tremayne on a 19-yard touchdown pass just before halftime, to cut the Bruins lead to 14-7. But the Cardinal left the Bruins with just enough time for DTR to execute the two-minute offense and get into the end zone on a two-yard run, to make the score 21-7 to end the half.
“Oh, man that was great. Dorian literally put the team on his back,” said UCLA player Qwuantrezz Knight.
In the second half Stanford mounted a comeback. The Cardinal made it 21-14 late in the third quarter, when McKee hit WR Elijah Higgins on a 56-yard touchdown pass. Several drives later, McKee evaded a corner blitz and hit Farrell for a 46-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21-21 early in the fourth quarter. The momentum had fully shifted to the Cardinals, much to the delight of the record-setting home crowd. But on UCLA’s very next drive, DTR hit a wide-open Phillips for a 75-yard touchdown, to retake the lead, 28-21.
After Stanford made it 28-24, UCLA appeared to be driving towards a game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter, when DTR got tackled hard near the 7-yard line. Backup, redshirt Freshman QB Ethan Garbers came in for one play, before DTR came back to throw a dart to Phillips in the end zone, to pull the Bruins further ahead of the Cardinal, 35-24, with 2:30 remaining in the game. From there, the Bruins’ defense held serve. The game essentially ended when the Cardinals – down by 11 and needing two scores – missed a field goal with 4 seconds left to play.
After years of falling to Stanford, today’s win for UCLA had to be feel a little sweeter, while also serving as a satisfying way to open to Pac-12 Conference play.
Next week, the Coach Chip Kelly and the Bruins head back home to the Rose Bowl to take on the preseason Pac-12 South favorite Arizona State Sun Devils. The Stanford Cardinal have another home game next week against No. 3 ranked, Pac-12 North foe Oregon Ducks.
Penn State’s struggles in the running game continue during the Nittany Lions’ final non conference matchup with in-state FCS Villanova. The Lions were able to come away with a 38-17 victory at home. Penn State’s defense made several key plays. Ji’Ayir Brown intercepted a Daniel Smith pass on Villanova’s first possession of the second half.
Thus giving the Nittany Lions a turnover in 10 straight games, the second longest active streak in the FBS, and pushes the Lions’ turnover margin on the season to +7. Even after the fact, those in attendance felt there was still much more to improve upon. The area suspect to inconsistency is the Lions’ offensive line.
Penn State quickly used big plays in the passing game and on defense to build a commanding 31-3 lead after three quarters of play in Happy Valley. However, it was quite glaring how ineffective the running game was due in large part to an inexperienced and young line corp. When this happens you see a negative correlation on the running backs for the Lions’.
What was interesting was that at halftime, James Franklin mentioned that the running backs play better than the stats show. Running back John Lovett was noted as one of Penn State’s most impactful players on offense, however he finished the day with just 45 yards on 11 touches. This could’ve been a game where the run game slowly began to build momentum, but with a struggling offensive line today was not the day.
Seattle, WA – In the 100th meeting between the Washington Huskies (2-2) and the California Golden Bears (1-3) on Saturday, September 25, 2021, the Huskies pulled out an overtime victory, 31-24, to open their Pac-12 season in the win column.
California joins Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State as the only teams to face the Huskies 100 times. The Huskies improved their record in the series to 55-41-4 with the win.
Despite Washington’s offensive struggles through the first two weeks, quarterback Dylan Morris has quietly produced consistently this season, coming into the week as the Pac-12 leader in completions per game, passing yards, and passing yards per game.
Morris did much of the same against Cal. He finished 19 for 32 through the air with 234 yards and two touchdowns.
After tallying his first two touchdowns against Arkansas State last week, Huskies sixth-year running back Sean McGrew took over as the starter this week and contributed mightily again. Operating both as a true tailback and taking snaps in Wildcat formations, McGrew tallied 54 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the night, including the go-ahead score on Washington’s first and only possession in overtime.
Huskies receiver McMillan kept his coming-out party – started last week with ten catches, 175 yards, and a touchdown against Arkansas State – going with a more modest five receptions for 28 yards and his second career touchdown this week.
Morris also leaned heavily on tight end Devin Culp, who was playing for the injured Cade Otton. Culp made the most of his starting opportunity, bringing in 6 receptions for 81 yards, including a game-high 27-yarder.
Washington’s offense still has plenty of questions to answer.
Despite early success and a 21-10 lead at halftime, the Huskies added just a field goal in the second half of regulation, allowing the Bears to rally 14 points and push the game to extra time.
The Huskies had opportunities to push the lead, but a fumble and missed field goal opened the door for the Golden Bears late.
California’s rushing attack proved proficient through the first three weeks of 2021, coming into the week ranked 10th in the nation with 6.1 yards-per-carry. But the Huskies defense defied expectations, shutting down Cal’s traditional run game to the tune of 3.7 yards-per-carry on the night and 138 rush yards overall.
Damien Moore was the primary running back for the Golden Bears and managed just 67 yards on 18 attempts.
Leading the way for Cal in their attempted comeback was veteran quarterback Chase Garbers. He threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns on 30-of-42 attempts and led the team’s rushing attack with 71 yards on the ground and a touchdown up the middle to help his team even the score in the fourth quarter.
His scrambles seemed to come on every play – whether in planned rushes or sack avoidance. That style of play put him in a position to take big hits on several occasions, as has been the case for Garbers his whole career, but ultimately, he kept Cal close in a game that often felt more lopsided than the score might have shown.
Mistakes came consistently for both teams.
Garbers gave up two interceptions, both to Huskies cornerback Kyler Gordon. And Washington’s Kamari Pleasant handed back possession on a fumble early in the fourth quarter.
But the Golden Bears’ errors came in worse moments, giving Washington the edge despite California’s more robust offensive performance, which gained more yards both through the air and on the ground, finishing with 457 total yards to the Huskies’ 326.
California returns to Berkeley next week to take on Washington State (1-3), while the Huskies will hope to extend their winning streak when they travel to Corvallis next week for a match-up with the Oregon State Beavers (3-1).
West Lafayette, IN – Purdue kept playing for four quarters and never gave up even when the momentum swayed towards Illinois. The only touchdown of the game was scored in fourth quarter by TJ Sheffield with 14 yard catch for lead, Purdue 13 – Illinois 9.
Both teams defense came ready to play bending but not breaking. They scored five field goals in the battle back and forth. I know Illinois will not be taking moral victories but their defense put pressure on the Boilermakers throughout most of the game.
Marvin Grant was all over the field recording six solo tackles and countless pressure all game. Purdue defense recorded nine tackles for loss in the game with two critical sacks.
Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters threw for only 100 yards on the day never getting the opportunity to get comfortable in the pocket.
Meanwhile the duo of Aidan O’Connell and Jack Plummer were able to throw for a combined 277 yards with the final touchdown. Receiver Milton Wright led all receivers with seven catches for 88 yards total.
“We just felt like because we became one-dimensional, we think Aidan is our most accurate thrower and that’s not a knock on Jack,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “He stands in there. he’s poised, he played to the end and he helped us find a way to win.”
Illinois had some success on the ground led by Joshua McCray with carried the ball 24 times for 156 yards rushing with a long of 38 yards.
When you look at game time adjustments coach Brohm quarterback switch in the 3rd quarter payed off big in the end.
Illinois now has to push through to try to get a victory again after losing four in a row after opening victory over the cornhuskers.
This week Purdue will have to see who will lead them out the tunnel next week as the starting quarterback when they host Minnesota on Oct 2, at high noon.
The day was simple. Pitt was the better team and it showed. New Hampshire simply gave up and allowed the Panthers to score over 70 points on them.
Kenny Pickett threw for 403 yards and 5 TD’s and one for a run. Jordan Addison hauled in six passes for 179 yards and three scores and then freshman running back Rodney Hammond ran for 100 yards and reached the end zone three times in what was an extraordinary “turn around” from last week.
Pitt piled up a school record 707 yards and had little trouble against the overmatched Wildcats who were 3-1. The Panther’s 77 points were the most by the Panthers since an 88-0 win over Westminster College in 1927. The team simply liked all the cylinders were running and the teams confidence level was at small time high so to say.
“That’s what it’s supposed to look like,” Pat Narduzzi said, before being asked what the team gained from such a lopsided win. “Nothing. Nothing gained, nothing lost. It’s what you expect to do. That’s the most impressive thing. I think it’s hard to score 77 on air. Our guys went out and executed, but we need to be consistent. It’s got to be that way every Saturday.”
Confidence hadn’t been an issue all season for the offense. Kenny Pickett already has 15 TD passes through the first four games. Something he didn’t last fall too many times. Picket’s 1-yard touchdown dive on the Panthers’ opening drive gave him 17 rushing TD’s for his career, which is the most by a Pitt quarterback ever. Kenny Pickett completed 24/28 passes and led Pitt to scores on their eight possessions with him in the game yesterday before Narduzzi went to the bench to give Pickett quarter off with the game so in control.
N. Hampshire, who Is ranked 22nd in the FCS, saw any hopes of the school’s first win over a Power Five program in 15 years dwindle after falling behind by 4 TD’s in the first 14 minutes. N. Hampshire allowed a “safety” on their opening drive and pretty much set the tone for the next 3 quarters. The Wildcat’s second play was the Panthers DB Damarri Mathis to step in front of a pass by Bret Edwards and run it back for a 35 yard pick-6 that made it 14-0 before five minute has ticked off the game clock. Pitt’s defense would end up giving up 160 yards of offense a week after surrendering 516 to Western Michigan which one was of the more embarrassing games Narduzzi and his staff had under their belts.
The defense was ready to keep the Wildcats in check all afternoon. The two performances; a week apart were not similar in one single way. It truly looked like two different teams with no one resembling anyone from the week before contest.
The San Pedro Pirates (4-0) led the entire game against the Heritage Patriots (1-4) and even though Heritage tried to claw their way back, San Pedro was able to lock them up down the stretch in a 21-16 victory in San Pedro on Friday night.
Senior Receiver Robert Sarmiento bolted for a 25-yard TD out of a Wildcat play to put San Pedro up 21-9, with 3:56 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“Rob [Robert Sarmiento] brings it to the table every single week,” said San Pedro Head Coach Corey Miller. “Every time his feet touch the grass he’s ready to go, and pound for pound is probably the toughest player in the L.A. City Section.”
Within 20 seconds, Heritage answered right back.
Heritage Senior Running back Jason Chupany drove for a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-16 with 3:36 minutes remaining in the game.
On third down with 13 yards to go, San Pedro threw an interception to Senior Linebacker Joseph Nunez to give Heritage one final drive for the lead.
It was now, or never.
On fourth down with 9 yards to gain on their own 39-yard line, Heritage went for a run, but came up short and turned it over on downs at the 1:20 minute mark.
That was all she wrote.
Coach Miller credits the halftime adjustments to his team’s win.
“Well, I think we came in at halftime and made some good halftime adjustments and that’s a quality program over there. They played some great competition, and by far the best team that we’ve played this season. So, this is exactly what we need to get us ready for the league opener.”
San Pedro Pirates take on the Banning Pilots at home next Friday, October 1, at 7 pm in their league opener.
SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 today announced its 2021 football season’s third weekly performance awards, presented by Nextiva. See below for Week Three’s recognitions across the Conference and keep track of the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year watchlist here:
3rd player to win both Offense & Freshman in award in same week since the Freshman award began in 2019. Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels won it in November 2019 and USC QB Kedon Slovis won it in September 2019 in his first career start.
When starting QB Kedon Slovis was knocked out of the game on the opening series, true freshman backup Jaxson Dart came in and had a historic first-time performance under adverse circumstances. After seeing USC fall behind late in the first half, 14-0, in the rain and playing under an interim head coach, Dart rallied the Trojans to a 45-14 win.
Threw for 391 yards–the most ever by a Trojan in his debut–on 30-of-46 passing (65.2%) with 4 TDs. Its the 3rd most by a Pac-12 QB in their debut since at least 1997.
Also led USC in rushing with 32 yards on 6 carries, the first Trojan quarterback to do so since Matt Barkley in 2010 versus Stanford.
His first TD toss was a 38-yarder on fourth-and-9 with 32 seconds left in the second quarter to get USC finally on the board, and he did so while hobbling on a knee he bruised while rushing.
Also nominated for freshman: Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington; Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon; Andrew Edson, Edge, Washington State; Jimmy Wyrick, Safety, Stanford; Omarr Norman-Lott, DL, Arizona State; Easton Mascarenas, ILB, Oregon State
DEFENSE: Verone McKinley III, So., Safety, Oregon (Carrollton, TX)
Led the Oregon defense in a 48-7 win over Stony Brook, recording a pair of interceptions and three tackles (two solo).
Notched his second career multi-interception game and brought his season INT total to 3 through 3 games. 3 INT leads the Pac-12 and is tied for the most in FBS this season. Now has 8 career interceptions, 4 away from cracking the UO all-time top 10. Picked off passes in consecutive games for the second time in his career.
Earned a solid 80.1 overall grade by Pro Football Focus, including a stellar 88.5 grade in pass coverage.
Oregon’s defense held its opponent to single-digit points for the first time since Nov. 16, 2019. The Ducks held Stony Brook scoreless in the second half while allowing just 80 total yards.
2nd time McKinley has won this award with first time coming in October 2019. He’s the first Duck to win the award since Jamal Hill won it after the 2020 Pac-12 Championship Game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Britain Covey, Jr., PR/WR, Utah (Provo, UT)
Tallied 132 punt return yards, a career-high, in the game at San Diego State. Highlighted the day with an 80-yard return for a touchdown, the longest single return in the Pac-12 this season and 4th longest in FBS.
132 total PR yards for the night rank sixth all-time at Utah for a single game. It’s also the most in FBS this season and top performance in the Pac-12 since 2013. Shaky Smithson was the last Ute to return for as many yards, doing so during the 2010 season.
1st Ute to win the award since kicker Jadon Redding won it twice last season. First Utah returner to win the award since Cory Butler-Byrd in September 2015.
OFFENSIVE LINE: T.J. Bass, Jr., OG, Oregon (Deming, WA)
Tied for the team high with four knockdowns in No. 4 Oregon’s 48-7 win over Stony Brook.
Earned a terrific 86.4 grade by Pro Football Focus, including a stellar 93.5 run-blocking grade. 93.5 run-block grade ranked second nationally among all offensive linemen and first among guards in Week Three, and his 86.4 overall grade was tops in the nation among guards and 11th overall.
Helped pave the way for an Oregon rushing attack that went for 173 yards on 39 carries. Oregon’s offense scored 40-plus points for the first time this season.
2nd time Bass has won this award, having previously been honored in November 2020. Ducks win the award in back-to-back weeks after Alex Forsyth won it after Oregon’s win over Ohio State. Oregon also won the award in consecutive weeks last season with Ryan Walk and T.J. Bass winning the first 2 weeks of the 2020 season. Since this award began in 2019, Oregon has won it 12 of the 24 weeks.
Also nominated: Will Craig, LT, California; Luke Wattenberg, C, Washington; Jake Levengood, OL, Oregon State; Henry Hattis, RG, Arizona State
Outside linebacker who plays on the defensive line as a rush end, had a blindside strip sack of Washington State quarterback Victor Gabalis in the end zone and USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu recovered for a touchdown. At the time, the Trojans were leading just 21-14 late in the third quarter. Jackson ended up with 4 tackles in the game.
2nd time Jackson has won this award, having won in December of last season.
Also nominated: Devin Kaufusi, DT, Utah; Simon Sandberg, DL, Oregon State; D.J. Davidson, DL, Arizona State
Pasadena, CA – And the Bruins had to lose on blown coverage.
UCLA mustered a back and forth comeback of the ages. Fresno State gave up a nine point lead on two fumbles that led to back-to-back UCLA touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs answer back with Washington transfer Jake Haener using up five minutes of the clock that ended up with a 20 yard touchdown connection to Erik Brooks. UCLA had to rely on Dorian Thompson Robison and covering 75 yards in under two minutes, his favorite target and Kyle Phillips was open on the left side of the field swinging the lead right back to the Bruins. That left 54 seconds for Fresno State. That left 54 seconds for Haener, who already was over 350 yards passing and seemingly couldn’t miss anyone, needing to cover 75 yards to pull off a miraculous comeback.
Haener found three different receivers and let his men run down the sidelines controlling the clock. It only took 30 seconds for the Bulldogs to reach the Bruins 23 yard line. After an incompletion, Haener rolls over to the right and saw Bruins corner Mo Olsing III collapse in man coverage. That left Jalen Cropper wide open five yards from the goal line. With the connection, Cropper turns around and found five yards of wide open space, sending the Fresno State faithful to a frenzy.
If anyone were to look at this game as a potential upset, it was far from it. Fresno State came into the Rose Bowl with a 2018 feeling finishing that year 11-2. Haener is entering his second year and in each game he has learned so much to play as a veteran quarterback. In his first three games, Haener has managed eight total touchdowns and led the NCAA in passing yards, being also the only man under center to throw over 1000 yards entering Saturday. Fresno State’s two wins were nothing short of being dominant, shutting out Connecticut and putting away FCS Cal Poly away very early. In their loss to Oregon, Fresno state held a fourth quarter lead before giving up 10 unanswered points and walking away from Auzten Stadium empty handed. Saturday night they had that chance at redemption against another Pac-12 school, and in every way possible Haener and company had to make that happen.
While this is a hard game for the Bruins to swallow, it is very hard to see this as a letdown. The question will now lie on what they have learned getting ready for Pac-12 play next week against Stanford. Playing against a man like Haener who has proven his worth trying to earn solid paychecks next year could be the best thing to happen for UCLA. Currently the Bruins only have two opponents who are ranked in the top 25 the rest of the season, with Arizona State losing to BYU late Saturday night. These three games are a far different outcome compared to what the Bruins finished with under the first three years under Chip Kelly. If the Bruins can take this game as a learning experience, the Bruins can make the Pac-12 South potentially a one team race.
Seattle, WA – The Washington Huskies (1-2) finally found their offensive groove in a 52-3 blowout of the Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-2) on Saturday, September 18, 2021.
Entering the game, the Huskies and second-year head coach Jimmy Lake needed to answer the swirling questions surrounding the program after a disappointing 0-2 start, which had not occurred for Washington since the dismal 0-12 season of 2008.
The top concern for the team entering Saturday’s matchup was the offense. The Huskies tallied just 17 total points through the first two weeks with a single touchdown per game.
Following an initial three-and-out drive to start the game against the Red Wolves, the Huskies finally showed the scoring potential fans had hoped to see.
Quarterback Dylan Morris opened the scoring onslaught for Washington with a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cade Otton, who entered the game ranked 6th all-time for the Huskies in career receptions by a tight end.
Morris would later find receivers Jalen McMillan and Terrell Bynum for two additional touchdown strikes of 33 and 42 yards, respectively – giving him three scores on the day to go along with 367 yards through the air on 23-of-39 attempts and a single interception.
McMillan finished the game with 175 yards and ten receptions to go along with the touchdown.
The Huskies struggled to run the ball against both Montana and Michigan but established complete control of the trenches in this one with help from a committee of running backs.
Richard Newton, the starting throughout the season thus far, led the way with 55 yards on ten attempts and a touchdown. But it was senior Sean McGrew, seeing the field for the first time in 2021, who left the biggest impression for the Huskies rushers, earning two touchdowns and 31 yards on just six carries. Kamari Pleasant and Cameron Davis also added to the Huskies’ 208 total rush yards on the day, gaining 48 and 27 yards on 8 and 7 carries each.
In all, the Huskies tallied 598 yards of total offense with more than seven yards per play and nearly tripled their scoring output from the first two weeks.
The stout Washington defense may not have commanded the same level of attention as their offensive counterparts, but they gave the talented Arkansas State offense no room to work all day long.
After pitching a near three-quarter shutout, broken only by a Blake Grupe field goal with less than three minutes remaining in the third, the Huskies would add two fourth-quarter turnovers to their body of work, including a 72-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception returned for 34 yards in the final minutes of play.
The Arkansas State Red Wolves have given up more than 50 points in back-to-back weeks and will look to rally in their visit to Tulsa (0-3) next week.
The Huskies, meanwhile, hope to carry their momentum into their Pac-12 season opener next week at home against the California Golden Bears (1-2).