A 9-3 effort over the extended two week opening of the 2017 college football season is a decent start but it is fair to note the Pac-12 non-conference schedule has offered few compelling match-ups. That changes in week two with a pair of intriguing non-conference showdowns in Pullman and Eugene, and the first Pac-12 contest of the season in Los Angeles. But first a quick recap of the opening slate of games.
Saturday, Aug 26
Colorado State 58 – Oregon State 27 (pick: CSU 34-31)
A devastating second half plunges the season into question for the Beavers. It’s a tough road to December – a face plant on the first step is hard for Beaver Nation to absorb.
Stanford 62 – Rice 7 (pick: Stanford 38-13)
On the other hand there’s Rice who flew 8, 521 to get plastered by Stanford in their first outing. Not to make light of the tragedy that was/is Hurricane Harvey, being out of town was the Owls only good fortune.
Thursday, August 31
Utah 37 – North Dakota 16 (pick: Utah 34-13)
The Utes out-scored the Fighting Hawks 20-7 in the second half to break open what had been an even tussle through the first half. Ex-Duck Darren Carrington made a splash in his first action, catching 10 passes for 127 yards and a score. Utah held North Dakota to 55 yards on the ground while rolling up 272 of their own with Zach Moss and Tyler Huntley combining for 40 carries and three TD’s.
Arizona State 37 – New Mexico State 31 (pick: ASU 35-10)
An 18-point fourth quarter near did in the Sun Devils as the Aggies rallied from a 37-13 deficit to make the final score respectable. ASU quarterback Manny Williams was solid, completing 22 of 27 attempts and two scores. Running back Kalen Ballage added two more touchdowns with 79 yards on 18 carries, but for the most part the Sun Devils struggled running the ball, netting a paltry 79 yards rushing on 40 carries, less than 2 yards per play.
Friday, September 01
Washington 30 – Rutgers 14 (pick: Washington 48-17)
Leading 10-7 at the break, word has it Washington head coach Chris Petersen let his displeasure be known during the halftime break. The Huskies responded with 20 second half points to down the Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, N.J. Dante Pettis returned a punt 61 yards late in the first half, setting the table for Jake Browning’s two second half touchdown tosses.
Colorado* 17 – Colorado State 3 (pick: CSU 33-28)
The shine came off the Rams really quickly. After an impressive opener against the Beavers to open the season, Colorado’s defense shut down the Rams on all fronts to pick up a relatively easy win in the cross state rivalry. Buffs’ quarterback Steven Montez completed 21 of 29 pass attempts but was picked off twice. Despite yielding 300 yards passing, the Colorado defense allowed only Wyatt Bryan’s second quarter 31-yard field goal.
Saturday, September 02
California 35 – North Carolina 30 (pick: North Carolina 36-17)
A nice start to the Justin Wilcox era with the in Chapel Hill. Ross Bowers threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns in the win but was intercepted by the Tar Heels twice. His 20-yard completion to Jordan Duncan pushed the Golden Bears into the lead for good at 28-24 early in the fourth quarter, giving the Pac-12 a somewhat unanticipated non-conference win.
Oregon State 35 – Portland State 32 (pick: OSU 33-18)
And then the Beavers just about gave one away to the FCS Portland State Vikings. Trailing 32-28, Oregon State quarterback Jake Lutton engineered an eight play, one minute and thirty-five second drive covering 77 yards, the last 17 of which came on the Isaiah Hodgins TD catch to five the Benny’s the lead. And still it came down to a missed field goal attempt from the 46-yard line.
USC 49 – Western Michigan 31 (pick: USC 55-10)
A closer outcome than anticipated and it is less than encouraging for the Trojans to give up 31 points and find themselves tied with the Broncos at 28 midway through the fourth quarter. Ronald Jones II broke a 37-yards run for a score to take the lead and after yielding a 43-yard field goal to the Broncos, SC’s Stephen Carr took quarterback Sam Darnold’s hand-off 52-yards for a score to ice the game for the Trojans.
Washington State 31 – Montana State 0 (pick: WSU 55-14)
Nothing to see here… move along. It was pretty much the expected outcome with the Cougs holding the Bobcats t0 seven first downs, 143 total yards while rolling up 511 yards offense to cruise to the shutout victory. WSU quarterback Luke Falk was sharp, completing 33 of 39 attempts for 311 yards and three touchdowns.
Arizona 62 – Northern Arizona 24 (pick: Arizona 38-28)
The Wildcats were never really threatened, opening a 34-14 halftime lead and never looked back. Dual-threat quarterback Brandon Dawkins ran for 92 yards and a pair of scores and threw for 89 yards and another TD to lead Arizona to the easy win in Tucson.
Sunday, September 02
Texas A&M @ UCLA (pick: Texas A&M 37-33)
A furious fourth quarter comeback may have pulled the UCLA season back from the brink. Leading 44-17 the Aggies coughed up 28 points over the final 15 minutes with UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen throwing touchdown passes of 9, 42, 16 and 10 yards to salvage what had been an abysmal performance to that point by the Bruins. Rosen ended up completing 35 of 59 attempts for 491 yards but the Bruin offense could muster only 63 yards on the ground and turned the ball over three times.
Saturday, September 9
Texas State @ Colorado
Buffs by a bunch… something on the order of 38-10 or so.
Nebraska @ Oregon
A game the Ducks should have won in Nebraska last season should fall Oregon’s way at Autzen. The Huskers were less than impressive in their 43-36 opening win over Arkansas State last Saturday in Lincoln. Each team featured a reasonably balanced offense in their first outing but Justin Herbert’s eyes must have caught the fact the Huskers allowed 418 yards passing to the Red Wolves
Hawaii’ @ UCLA
After last week’s fourth quarter Houdini act against Texas A&M, the Bruins shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Rainbow Warriors. The Bruins are favored by 24 but the final margin should be closer to 30, 43-13.
Weber State @ California
Not many would have had the Bears at 2-0 but that’s where they will be after a 35-10 win over the Big Sky Wildcats.
Montana @ Washington
Much the same as above for the Huskies. After shaking off the rust on the road against Rutgers, Washington should steamroll the Grizzlies – 55-14
Stanford @ USC
A rivalry match-up that has often seen the Cardinal land an early TKO to the Trojans season ambitions and this year’s Stanford team is talented enough to do so once again. After a spotty opener against Western Michigan the Trojans do have the home field advantage and that is just enough for a 31-28 win in the Coliseum.
Minnesota @ Oregon State
Going on what they’ve shown so far, the Beavers are in dire danger of putting a torpedo to their 2017 season with a poor showing against the Gophers. Minnesota is dangerous with a decent running game but is breaking in a pair of quarterbacks with Conor Rhoda and Demry Croft sharing snaps in the Gophers 12-7 win over Buffalo in their opener. The pair combined to complete 19 passes for 239 yards. Croft is more inclined to tuck the ball and run, picking up 69 yards on 18 carries against the Bulls. But sooner or later the Beavers have to play up to their talent and if that happens in game three they come away with a 28-21 win in Reser.
Utah @ BYU
Utah is favored by a point and a half in Provo, but despite a less than stellar outing in their opening 20-6 win over Portland State and a lackluster 27-0 loss to LSU last Saturday, much like the Beavers, if not now, when for BYU. In the upset, BYU 27-24
Boise State @ Washington State
Methodical in their opening win over Montana State, the Cougars will have more of a tussle on their hands with the Broncos. WSU’s underrated defense will give Luke Falk plenty of opportunity to put points on the board and that they will do. WSU 44-21
Houston @ Arizona
One can only imagine the disruption to the Houston practice routine that was brought on by Hurricane Harvey. Despite the distractions, the Cougars land in Tucson as a one-point favorite over Arizona. The Wildcats do have the home field and a game under their belts, while this will be the opener for Houston and that should be enough to give Rich Rod his second win of the season, 37-28
San Diego State @ Arizona State
The Sun Devils allowed 549 yards of total offense in their closer-than-it-should-have-been win over New Mexico. They won’t be so fortunate against the Aztecs, in a minor upset the hot seat under ASU head coach Todd Graham picks up a few degrees after a 31-25 loss in Tempe.