PAC-12: Week 8 Recap

If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought that Arizona State was the top scoring defense and 2nd in the nation in total defense the way they played against the team who holds those stats.  The Sun Devils were up to the challenge of going toe-to-toe with Cardinal.  The teams held the other scoreless in the first quarter.

Arizona State’s quarterback Mike Bercovici, who threw for 245 yards and a touchdown; began to get the ball to his playmakers and get the ball down the field.  D.J. Foster, who didn’t have a career game on the ground, was a key contributor in the run game along with Deantre Lewis; he also contributed some big catches with the Sun Devils leading receiver Jaelen Strong.

Foster had a 1 yard touchdown run; and after a muffed punt by Stanford’s receiver Ty Montgomery; Bercovici threw a 3 yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong with just under 2 minutes to go in the first half and give the Sun Devils a 14-0 lead at halftime.

The Cardinal was held to under 80 yards rushing as a team.  Receiver Ty Montgomery wasn’t as effective on special teams or in the run game and he had one turnover that led to a touchdown for Arizona State.

The Sun Devils could only manage to get 4 field goals in the second half but it was more than enough, because the Stanford offense could only muster up 10 second half points; losing once again because they couldn’t get the offense down the field.

Guess who has got their mojo back?  The Oregon Ducks show the nation that they shouldn’t count them out.  Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota showed why he is a Heisman candidate and leader of the Oregon football team.  Mariota threw for 336 for 2 touchdowns spreading the ball around to eight different receivers.

628x471 (1) You can’t trade touchdowns for field goals; you will lose every time by a large margin and by an even bigger margin if you can’t get in the red zone.  Washington would not get any closer than the Oregon 23 yard line in the first half settling for two field goals in the first 2 possessions, while the Ducks answered those field goals by Washington with touchdowns runs by running back Royce Freeman.  By the time Washington eventually got in the end zone the game was pretty much out of reach for them.

Oregon showed how balanced they can be when healthy.  With their offensive line pretty much back at full strength not only were they able to give Mariota the time in the pocket but opened up holes for their freshman running back to have a monster game the ground.   Royce Freeman had 29 carries for 169 yards and 4 touchdowns, 3 of which were Oregon’s first three scores.

Washington really didn’t have a running gem to counter act what Oregon was doing them on the other side, and when running back Dwayne Washington went out with a rib injury; the Huskies tried to establish some type of running game but Oregon’s defense was clued in on not allowing that to happen giving up less than 4 yards a carry for the Huskies.

There was a battle of 4-, 1-1 in the PAC-12 in Corvallis, Oregon between No. 20 Utah an Oregon State.  The two teams played the field position game and swapped field goals in the first half.  The credit has to go to the defenses of each team.  Utah was 0-5 on 3rd down conversations and Oregon State sacked Utah quarterback Kendall Thompson twice on 3rd down.

Oregon State QB Sean Mannion didn’t come out the gate any better.  On the Beavers’ initial possession, Mannion threw an interception on their first play from scrimmage; giving Utah an easy opportunity in the redzone.  But solid defense by the Beavers only allowed a field goal.

The defense of the Utes play pretty strong also sacking Mannion 3 times and intercepting him once and forcing the Beavers to go 2-5 on 3rd down going to the halftime tied at 6 apiece.

Kyle Whittingham looked for a change when the Utes came out the half by going to his other quarterback Travis Wilson.  But he wasn’t any more effective than Kendall Thompson.  Combined they went 9-18 for 62 yards and an interception.  If it wasn’t for running back Devonae Booker the game won’t have been close.  Booker rushed the ball 32 times for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Sean Mannion did what he needed to do to get the Beavers the opportunity to win the 4th quarter; finding receiver Jordan Villamin for a 72 yard touchdown pass and driving his offense down to give kicker Trevor Romaine a chance to tie the game before end of regulation.  Mannion finished the game with 272 yards in the air and 2 touchdowns, which included a 2-yard touchdown, pass to Jordan Villamin to even the score in the first overtime.

In the second OT, the Beavers weren’t able to move the ball much and had to settle for a 37 yard field goal that Trevor Romaine missed to the right, which gave Utah the chance to win with a score.  Running back Devontae Booker took full advantage opportunity. It made perfect sense that the he was the one to close it out with a 19 yard touchdown run to win the game 29-23.

Commentator Mark Jones for ESPN mentioned that Arizona State doesn’t look like the team that gave up 62 points against UCLA a few weeks ago, well at the same time UCLA has performed the same has the team that put up 62 points against that Arizona State team.  UCLA has been stifled and pretty much one dimensional in their last two games relying on their run and the defense being suspect.

The game in Berkley between UCLA and Cal, if you look at the box score you’ll think it was a good game.  UCLA had the momentum and Cal fought their way back, and Cal had another typical back and forth; trading scores last team with possession will win.  But if you watch the game first hand it was anything but.

UCLA had three turnovers that put Cal on the short field and they were able to capitalize on the opportunities; scoring 3 touchdowns instead of having to settle for field goals.  Without those conversions the score would have been more lopsided.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley seem to be back in rare form, but he was going up against a slower not very talent secondary for California.  images (3) Hundley passed for 330 yards and 2 touchdowns with a costly interception that lead to a touchdown pass for Cal quarterback Jared Goff to give Cal a one point lead.  And you could say to yourself, “Here we go again for the Bruins.”

Hundley put the team on his shoulders with his legs and his arm with the help of Jordan James to put the Bruins in field goal range.  And unlike a few weeks ago against Utah Ka’imi Fairbairn was able to convert the 26 yard field goal attempt into a make to give UCLA a 36-34 lead.

Cal QB Jared Goff had a chance to get his team in field goal range. He was able to get in UCLA territory; at the 36 yard line, but a costly mistake by Goff going for the big play touchdown overthrew his receiver and but not the defender Marcus Rios who intercepted the pass; evc_20141018_UCLA_vs_California_195635 closing the door for Cal to have a chance at a game winning field goal attempt.


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