The PAC-12 North had an up-and-down second week of the season, finishing with a 3-3 record.
No. 15 Oregon, No. 20 Washington State and Cal (surprisingly) took care of business this week. Stanford, Oregon State and No. 23 Washington all faltered.
Here is a quick look at the highs and lows from each team in their Week 2 games.
Last Week: (W) 77-6 Nevada
Oregon absolutely demolished the Wolfpack of Nevada in week 2, avenging their heartbreaking loss to Auburn with a 77-6 destruction. 11 different players scored a touchdown for the Ducks in what was a nearly perfect game of football.
Just about everything. Oregon got a chance to play their first, second and even third stringers in this contest, and virtually everyone found success.
Justin Herbert completed 19 passes for 310 yards and five touchdowns, while backup quarterback Tyler Shough went 8/9 with 92 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
The team ran the ball well, with six different players totaling 39 carries for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
The receivers did even better, with 14(!) different players hauling in at least one reception, for a grand total of 410 yards in the air and seven receiving touchdowns. Wow.
The defense was excellent as well. Brady Breeze recovered a fumble for a touchdown, and the team had two interceptions, five sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
Heck, even the kick and punt return games did well, and the kickers didn’t miss a single extra point. Hard to find anything wrong in this one.
Uh, I guess the fact that Nevada wasn’t a great opponent was a low? The starters didn’t play long enough to get experience playing a full 60-minute game? Haki Woods fumbled the football?
Really, I think my editor gave me this article assignment to see if I could find anything bad about the Oregon game, which I could not. It was an all-around demolition.
Washington State (2-0)
Last Week (W) 59-17 Northern Colorado
WSU’s 42 point margin of victory would normally be the talk of the town in the PAC-12 North, but Oregon takes that cake. Still, the Cougars really took care of business against Northern Colorado.
The air-raid offense marches on even without Gardner Minshew. New QB Anthony Gordon looked great, completing 31-of-39 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns. His lone blemish was an interception, but it was an otherwise excellent performance.
The team had 481 total yards through the air, with both Brandon Arconado and Easop Winston, Jr. hauling in over 100 yards receiving.
Defensively the team recovered four fumbles, and on the special teams kicker, Blake Mazza made his one field goal and went a perfect 8/8 on extra points.
WSU is now 2-0 and could move into the top-15 this week.
WSU’s run defense was pretty suspect. They allowed Northern Colorado to rush for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and that would have been higher had they not brought down second-string quarterback Connor Regan twice for a total of negative 18 yards.
WSU will need to shore up the run defense if they want to make a push for a championship season.
The pass defense was a little better, although the lack of pressure is also a concern. They only had one sack on the evening, and only hurried quarterback Jacob Knipp twice. Another area the team will need to grow this season.
Last Week (W) 20-19 Washington
Cal earned an absolutely huge victory over the No. 23 ranked Huskies of Washington last week, in their first conference matchup of the year. They now sit atop the Pac-12 North. So they got that going for them, which is nice.
It was an incredibly sloppy game. A 2.5 hour thunder and lightning delay really made it so neither team played well, but Cal was still able to find some advantages – namely in the running game.
Cal rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns, often finding ways to extend drives by driving through UW’s maligned defensive front.
Defensively, Cal generated four sacks and seven tackles for loss, often making QB Jacob Eason uncomfortable for the Huskies. Evan Weaver had a monster game for the Golden Bears, recording 18(!) combined tackles.
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If you’d told me Cal would beat UW with their quarterback, Chase Garbers, posting a 29.8 QBR, I’d have told you you were crazy. But Garbers didn’t look great, completing 11 of 18 passes for just 111 yards and no touchdowns.
Again, the crazy weather and the lengthy delay made passing the ball a challenge for both sides, but for this team to have any level of success their QB play will need to improve.
It’s hard to find too many faults when you upset a ranked team, but Cal didn’t do a great job of stopping UW’s running attack, as they allowed the Huskies to rush for 186 yards on the ground. Now granted that was on 46 carries (4.0 ypc) and they did get stops when they needed to, so it’s not a great criticism, but the defense does need to tighten up.
Last Week (L) 45-20 USC
It was a tale of two halves for the Cardinal against USC last week. They went into the second half only down 24-20, but got outscored 21-0 in the final two quarters, leading to the lopsided final score. It was a tough loss for Stanford and the Pac-12 North.
Stanford had a respectable 237 yards through the air, although the efficiency wasn’t there for QB Davis Mills, as he only completed 22 of 36 passes.
Still, the short-yardage passing game had its benefits, and kept Stanford in the game for the first half.
Defensively Stanford was able to force a fumble, and on the special teams they did have a 60 yard kick return from Connor Weddington.
Stanford’s efficiency on offense was nearly non-existent, and they were unable to get anything going on the ground – which allowed USC to play the passing game well.
Stanford only rushed for 98 total yards, for an average of just 3.3 yards per carry.
Defensively, the team allowed USC QB Kedon Slovis to throw wherever he wanted, as he completed 28 of 33 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns. For them to have any success this year, the pass defense will need to tighten up – quite a bit.
Oregon State (0-2)
Last Week (L) 31-28 Hawaii
Oregon State ran the ball really well. Star RB Jermar Jefferson had 31 carries for a whopping 183 yards on the ground, including a touchdown. They totaled 263 yards and three touchdowns in the running game, an excellent, well-rounded attack.
The passing game was less successful, but Isaiah Hodgins still had seven receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown – another solid outing.
The Beavers also had two takeaways, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Oh boy. We all knew Hawaii was going to throw the ball a lot, but Oregon State’s defense still seemed unprepared. Hawaii QB Cole McDonald completed 30 of 52 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns in what was a blitz through the air all game long.
Oregon State did stop the run effectively, but they did not generate nearly enough pressure to prevent Hawaii from making a quick comeback through the air – an issue that will no doubt plague them all season long.
Last Week (L) 20-19 Cal
The weather delay that took the stadium from a full 66,000 rapid fans to somewhere around 15,000 really sucked the air out of Husky Stadium, and the UW football team as a whole. That led to an embarrassing 20-19 loss at the hands of Cal, and likely cost them a shot at a playoff bid this season.
Salvon Ahmed had an excellent day running the football, rushing for 119 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, good for a 5.7 yards per carry average.
The rushing game overall was successful, with a total of 186 yards on the ground. In an environment that made passing the ball nearly impossible, it was good that UW was still able to attack on the ground despite Cal stacking the box.
More or less everything else. Eason was awful, only completing 18 of 30 passes for 162 yards and no touchdowns, along with an interception. He never got comfortable, and took a big step backward from his promising start.
Defensively, UW struggled to contain Cal’s running game, and the defense was not able to force Cal into many mistakes – allowing them to dictate the tempo and keep UW’s offense off the field.
The defense also only had four tackles for loss. In a sloppy game, that number needs to be higher.