There might have been a “Black Out” in the crowd for Arizona State, but the Bruins cut the lights out on the Sun Devils in Sun Devil Stadium Thursday night. The big question of course was how would Junior QB Mike Bercovici in his first start replacing the injured Taylor Kelly, play and handle the spotlight against UCLA. Bercovici came out very steady and confident throwing for two touchdowns and giving the Sun Devils an early 17-6 lead. But in the second quarter the Bruins put on the pressure. Getting to Bercovici with blitzes hitting, rushing and getting him to have happy feet, and the Bruins were able to keep a tight leash on D.J. Foster only allowing him to rush for 30 yards on 9 carries and caused the Sun Devils to commit 4 turnovers.
The momentum appeared to be going the Sun Devils way and the crowd in a frenzy until Brett Hundley, who threw for 355 yards and 4 TDs and the Bruin offense seem to come to life. 3rd and short, Brett Hundley found Eldridge Massington on a short “curl “ route that would have converted for a 1st down, but with several missed tackles became a 80 yard touchdown pass. The play that probably affected the confidence of Bercovici was the interception right before the end of the first half by Ishmael Adams. Arizona State was driving to take the lead or at least go into the clubhouse tied. But a miss communication between Bercovici and WR Cameron Smith, that had Bercovici throw the pass under the coverage instead of over the coverage where UCLA’s corner Adams was able to undercut the pass for the interception, and run it back for a touchdown.
Remaining upbeat and confident about their chances in the second half, Tood Graham I’m told his team that, if we get a stop on UCLA’s first possession and get some kind of a score our first possession the crowd will get back in it and we will have a chance to take the game back over. Did not happen. First play out of the halftime for the Bruins; Brett Hundley to Jordan Payton for an 80 yard TD pass. Then the dagger and possibly the play of the game. Ishmael Adams, who already has an interception for a touchdown, does it again. After a field goal by Arizona State, on the ensuing kickoff, Adams takes it back for a spectacular 100 yard touchdown return. The Sun Devils managed to get another touchdown pass from Mike Bercovici. But by then their spirits appeared to be already broken.
Bercovici played pretty well when you look at the state line 42-68 488 yards 3 TDs, but the 1 interception returned for a touchdown and the fact the Foster couldn’t get going. Give all the credit to the Bruins for making their stamp on letting the nation know they may have their mojo back and back with 62-27 drubbing on the road.
Hoping not to show any emotional letdown after last week’s lost to Arizona; Cal needed to come out strong. But the Buffaloes’ defense put those hopes to an immediate halt; intercepting Jared Goff on his first pass of the game, and Sefo Liufau turned that into points; throwing a touchdown pass to Sean Irwin. Quickly down 2 touchdowns, Cal and the offense finally got on the board with a touchdown pass from Goff to FB Lucus Gingold. Trying to get the offence to create some type of momentum now down 21-7, backed up on their own 1 yard line; Goff threw a swing pass to RB Daniel Lasco that went for a touchdown after several missed tackles by Colorado. The Buffaloes would get a 1 yard TD run by George Frazier to take a 2814 into the half.
Down at the half, needing a spark to get back into the game, Jared Goff led Cal down the field throwing a 26 yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler. The offense was rejuvenated scoring a running touchdown by Mohammed and another TD pass from Goff to again Kenny Lawler. Scoring 21 unanswered points to take the lead 35- 28 it appeared Cal would run away with it. But the resiliency of Colorado and Sefo Liufau would not let them lie down and stop fighting tying the game before the 4th quarter. 2 TD passes for both Goff and Liufau, who both played great for their teams; Goff 24 of 42 for 458 yards and 7 TDs and Liufau 46 of 67 for 455 yards and 7 TDs. Similar numbers, it’s understandable why the game was back and forth, and close to the end. What was the difference? A big 4th and goal stop in the second OT by Cal, who played disciplined defense not getting out of position on the play action roll out on Sefo Liufau sacking him at the 4 yard line to end Colorado’s chance to take the lead. Cal took 4 plays and kicked a field goal to win the game 59-56.
Stanford and Washington were defense was the star of the game and the difference maker. Stanford kept Cyler Miles contained and off balanced. He was never comfortable each time he went back to pass the ball. Under fire for most of the game being sacked 4 times, 3 of them by LB Peter Kalambayi, who was just a menace for the Huskies’ offensive line. Washington who averages 370 yards per and 35 points couldn’t get anything going. Stanford only allowed the Huskies 179 yards of total offense, and under 100 yards in the air with one touchdown. If it wasn’t for Shaq Thompson’s force fumble and recovery return for a touchdown the game could have turned out a lot worse.
Marred by penalties 10 for 85 yards most notably a block in the back that nullified a kick return by WR John Ross that could have made a difference in the outcome of the score was one of the many pitfalls that hindered Washington’s chances of upsetting Stanford.
When it rains it pours, and that had to be the feeling for Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach, who saw his team go down 21-0 in less than 5 minutes midway through the first quarter. QB Connor Halliday threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown; a 58 yard punt return by Utah WR Kaelin Clay for a touchdown and a 76 yard touchdown by Utes RB Devontae Booker. But having an air raid attack on offense with a quarterback who can throw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns compounded by a defense who would bend but not break only allowing one offensive touchdown. The Cougars were able to claw all the way back to get the lead 28-27, and the defense was able to make a stop to force the Utes to turn the ball over on downs to seal the win and give Utah their first loss of the season.