Best Offensive Performances from Pac-12 Football Week 7

Best Offensive Performances from Pac-12 Football Week 7

Pac-12 Football Lit up the Scoreboards in Week 7

Pac-12 Conference states

Pac-12 Football had big offensive performances, with three teams (Oregon, Washington, Utah) scoring over 45 points. Multiple receivers and running backs found the pay-dirt multiple times. These top-athletes displayed powerful running, big-play ability, and creativity to make the Pac-12 Football’s Best Offensive Performances list.

While many Pac-12 football players had big games, Unafraidshow only has room for one at each position.

Best Offensive Performances from Pac-12 Football Week 7: Quarterback

Jayden Daniels – Arizona State

Though he’s a freshman, Jayden Daniels is ballin. He led the Sun Devils to a big win against the Cougars. He threw for three touchdowns, zero interceptions and showed off his mobility.

On Arizona State’s final drive, Daniels was poised as a senior. He executed play after play. Then, in a moment of brilliance and creativity, Daniels kept the ball and ran it in himself. It’s not every day Pac-12 football fans get to witness a freshman do this. Especially a freshman from the west coast. From San Bernardino to glory, it’s good to watch Jayden Daniels rise.

Running Back

Zack Moss – Utah

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On just five carries, Zack Moss ran for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. Yes, only five carries. Moss continues to be an underutilized, efficient runner. His five carries yielded yards of:

  • 16 yards
  • 9 yards
  • -1 yards
  • 91 yard touchdown
  • 6 yard touchdown

Moss didn’t even play in the second half. Why? Because the Utes didn’t need him any more. Although in a limited role, Zack Moss showed why he is in the conversation with Eno Benjamin for Pac-12 football’s best back. Moss is powerful and can take any carry to the house.

Wide Receiver

Brandon Aiyuk – Arizona State

There’s fast. And then there’s Brandon Aiyuk fast. As pointed out by Dane Brugler of The Athletic, Aiyuk’s route speed makes him an “underrated NFL prospect” in the 2020 class. With his acceleration and long-speed, Aiyuk torched the Cougars secondary. After a performance like this, Aiyuk’s rank among Pac-12 football receivers surges.

Against WSU, Aiyuk made the most of each target from Jayden Daniels. With 8 targets, he secured 7 receptions for 196 yards and 3 touchdowns. On those, he sped past the Cougars for touchdowns of 40, 86 and 36 yards. It was impressive!

Tight End

Jacob Breeland – Oregon

It is nigh-impossible to remove Jacob Breeland from any best Pac-12 football list. He is just too good at football. Breeland is reliable and can turn any reception into a big play. On the season, Breeland leads NCAA tight ends in receptions-per-game and touchdowns-per-game.

He’s a large target with speed and route-running skills. Like many first and second-round tight ends before him, he’s a matchup nightmare. It’s why Breeland is on scout’s lists as a potential second-round NFL pick in the 2020 draft.

However, after catching a 22-yards reception, Breeland suffered an injury that forced him from the rest of the contest. Mario Cristobal said that his leg injury is serious and will cause him to miss the rest of the season. If healthy, Breeland will get drafted on Day 1 or Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Disagree with the Unafraidshow’s Best Pac-12 football players?

If you disagree with this list, send in your own recommendations. Each week, Unafraidshow will rank the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end performances from Pac-12 football. Be sure to comment, tweet Unafraidshow, or email us immad@unafraidshow.com with your favorite moments of each Pac-12 football week.

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UW Huskies Get Big Win Over Wildcats, but Stay in Ducks’ Shadow

Washington Huskies

Huskies Get Another Bounce-Back Win

University of Washington Block W logo RGB brand colors

After a tight loss against Cal in Week 2 of college football, the Huskies bounced back in a big way against Hawaii. They ousted the Rainbow Warriors 52-20. Similarly, UW’s football team had another dominant performance against Arizona after an upset loss to Stanford. Even though the Wildcats were on a four-game win-streak, the Huskies beat them 51-27.

For Washington fans, the pendulum swung back into favor and joy. But, unfortunately for UW football, the Ducks had a more impressive win against the Colorado Buffaloes. With Oregon coming to town this week, does Washington have a shot?

Post-Game Notes from the Huskies Victory

Defense and Special Teams Carried the Huskies

Yes, the UW offense scored five touchdowns and three field goals. But in the first half, against an Arizona team on a four-game win-streak, the offense didn’t show up. Instead, the Dawgs made numerous big plays on defense and special teams. In the first half, the defense and special teams had:

  • 2 Sacks
  • 4 Tackles for a Loss
  • One blocked punt
  • Two forced fumbles and recoveries
  • One touchdown

At the end of the half, the Wildcats still led the Huskies. Despite incredible defensive play, the Huskies were still down 13-17 at half.

The Huskies Offense isn’t Perfect, even with 51 Points

Again, Washington decided to go for field goals. Early in the game, they played it safe. In the first quarter, they opted for two field goals instead of going for it. Fourth and five at the Arizona 10. Kick. Fourth and three at the Arizona 3. Kick. It’s unbelievable how often Chris Peterson and the Huskies exchange field goals for touchdowns. Think about it, if the Huskies converted just 50-percent of those fourth downs, they’d be better off. Yes, they tried to convert a fourth down on their first drive. They failed. But, math and analytics still show that it is optimal to go for it on the opposing half. After all, seven points is more than six.

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Additionally, the Huskies offense was sedentary, out-of-sync, and inconsistent in the first half. In fact, the Husky defense outscored the offense 7-6 in the first half. Their six drives yielded results of:

  • Turnover on Downs (4 plays, 9 yards AFTER STARTING AT THE ARIZONA 36)
  • Field Goal (8 plays, 62 yards)
  • Punt (3 plays, 5 yards)
  • Field Goal (4 plays, 0 yards AFTER STARTING AT THE ARIZONA 8)
  • Punt (6 plays, 43 yards)
  • Punt (3 plays, 4 yards)

Granted, the Huskies offense got rolling in the second half. They scored five touchdowns and a field goal in the second half. Eason and company got rolling. Sean McGrew and Salvon Ahmed showed consistency. Ahmed scored three rushing touchdowns and McGrew showed his efficient and explosive skill-set.

Arizona couldn’t stop them. However, the 2019 UW offense continues to be risk-averse and inconsistent. They need to find rhythm quicker and be willing to go for it on fourth down.

Huskies Finally Involve Puka Nacua

It is about time. In 2019, the Huskies continued to pepper their senior receivers with targets. With Aaron Fuller and Hunter Bryant making plays, that’s understandable. However, with a quality option like Puka Nacua on the bench, it didn’t make sense to keep putting Andre Baccellia on the field.

After getting his chance, Nacua let his name be known. The 6-1, 204-pound freshman caught three passes for 97 yards. Considering Jacob Eason only threw for 243 yards against Arizona, Nacua accounted for 40-percent of the team’s receiving yards. Excellent. It was a breakout performance for the freshman.

Huskies vs Ducks

Next up, the Huskies face off against the Oregon Ducks. Currently, the Ducks rank 12th in AP polls and 7th in Unafraidshow’s Power Rankings. They are impressive. So impressive, in fact, that they are 3.5 favorites in Seattle.

Against Oregon, the Huskies will be tested. The Ducks defense is elite. They’ve held opponents to 52 points in 6 games. But, more impressively, the Ducks haven’t let anyone score more than 7 points in their last five games. Because the Huskies offense has been hit-or-miss this season, Eason and company have to be on point.

Additionally, Justin Herbert and the Ducks offense continues to play well. Herbert has a touchdown in his last 34 games and Oregon has a top-5 offensive line in the nation. In Week 7, two Ducks offensive lineman were featured on PFF College’s Week 7 national team. So, it’s not going to be as easy for the defense to make big plays as they did against Arizona.

Last, it’s important to remember that Oregon’s only loss is against Auburn. In a close game. Since week 1, they’ve won each game handily. The Huskies, on the other hand, have swung back and forth between impressive and unimpressive. In order to win or even compete against the Ducks, the Huskies need to:

  • Create open looks for Jacob Eason
  • Give snaps to young talent like Puka Nacua
  • Make clean tackles and capitalize on turnover-opportunities
  • Attempt fourth down conversions early and often

If the Pac-12 is anything, it’s a conference of cannibals. So, an upset win is certainly possible for the Huskies.

Washington Huskies Lose to Stanford, Now What Versus Arizona, Oregon?

Pac-12 Power Rankings

UW Football Woes

University of Washington Block W logo RGB brand colors

The Dawgs lose to the Cardinals

The UW football team just lost to a second-string quarterback who didn’t even complete the game. Davis Mills left during the third quarter and Jack West played the rest of the game… without throwing a single pass.

Against Stanford, the UW football team was lackluster and disastrous. They were outgained 482-294 yards and beat 13-23 even though they were 17-point favorites. With another unexpected loss, the Huskies lost their chance for college football playoffs and likely any chance at a Pac-12 title. 

1-2 in Conference Games

In Pac-12 football games, the UW football team is not meeting expectations. Against Cal, at least they lost to a team that beat North Texas and Mississippi in the following weeks. There was also a lightning weather-delay. If the Huskies kept winning, the ranking system could brush the Cal loss away.

But come on. A loss to Stanford. Really? This was a Stanford team that had a losing record, lost its starting quarterback and was playing three freshmen on the offensive line. It was an inexcusable loss. Their conference game record is a reflection of a defense that lacks turnovers and an offense without creativity.

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Jacob Eason in three non-conference games:

  • 77.5-percent completion percentage
  • 901 passing yards
  • 10 touchdowns
  • 1 interception

Jacob Eason in three conference games

  • 54.3-percent completion percentage
  • 548 passing yards
  • 1 touchdown
  • 2 interceptions

Is UW football’s conference record all Jacob Eason’s fault. No. Yes, he certainly has made mistakes and lacks consistency. However, his receivers, offensive system and personnel groupings aren’t doing him any favors. Against Stanford, Eason targeted Aaron Fuller 17 times for 9 receptions and 171 yards. On his other 19 targets, his receivers totaled just 7 receptions for 35 yards. With the pressure the Husky offensive line let through, Eason needed playmakers. But his receivers either couldn’t get open or dropped big-time throws.

On the year, Fuller and Hunter Bryant are the most consistent receiving threats for Washington. In 2019, the Huskies just four receivers with 10 or more receptions. The targets are heavily consolidated. But worse, Andre Baccellia totals just 6 receptions for 41 yards and zero touchdowns. He’s the wideout opposite of Fuller and lacks Pac-12 production. Yet, the coaches are still putting him out there as a starter. Either he isn’t getting open, drops passes, or he doesn’t have chemistry with Eason. Bottom line, he needs to step up or step off the field. 

If the UW football team wants to have more offensive success, they need to start experimenting with different receivers and play calls that will give Eason open looks.

Washington Huskies vs Arizona

Arizona Wildcats logo

Now, the Dawgs face off against an Arizona football team on a four-game win streak. After their loss to Hawaii, they beat Northern Arizona, Texas Tech, UCLA and Colorado. Yes, the Huskies are 9.5 favorites to win the game, but they were 17 point favorites against Stanford. Everyone saw where that got them. Arizona is a good team on a streak. They put up 35 points against Colorado last week. In comparison, UW’s highest point-total against Pac-12 competition this season in 28 points (against USC). This game is going to be tougher than expected and UW football fans might witness a three-game losing streak.

Chris Peterson and the UW football program need to figure out a better system, offensively and defensively. Whatever it is they’re doing right now is not working.

Best Offensive Performances from Pac-12 Football Week 6

What a Week for Pac-12 Football!

Pac-12 Conference states

It was another week of chaos for Pac-12 football. No other conference does it better. Unlike the rest, the Pac-12 conference rankings rotate like a Game of Thrones season. Every week brings unexpected wins, losses, winners, and losers.

Pac-12 Football’s Best Offensive Performances

With week 6 set and in the periphery, the best offensive performances clearly stand out.

Best Quarterback Performance

Khalil Tate – Arizona

If any Pac-12 football fans doubted Tate’s arm-strength prior to this game, his 75-yard touchdown shred those doubts. Tate, against a competitive Colorado team, was exceptional. He went 31 for 41 with three touchdowns and just one interception. In addition to that 75-yard bomb, Tate showed strength, touch, and precision. Unlike UW’s consolidated target share, Tate completed passes to 11 different receivers. Of those, five receivers had at least three receptions. Khalil Tate was a top-notch quarterback against Colorado.

Additionally, he displayed his dual-threat capability. On third and six, with just 57 seconds left, Tate ended the game with his legs. He rushed for 7 yards, a first down, and the win. Well done Khalil Tate.

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Best Running Back Performance

Cameron Scarlett – Stanford

Against the 15th-ranked Washington football team, Cameron Scarlett was productive and consistent. He carried the ball 33 times for 151 yards and one touchdown and upset the ranked, Pac-12 football opponent. Additionally, he caught two receptions for 32 yards. It was a good night for the senior back.

But most importantly, Scarlett was a closer. In the fourth quarter, without quarterback Davis Mills, Stanford elected to run the ball. Repeatedly. Other than when Ryan Bowman sacked Jack West, Scarlett rushed every offensive play of Stanford’s final two drives. 12 rushes on 13 plays. Those two drives took up nearly eight minutes of possession. Additionally, they resulted in a field goal (10-point lead) and a punt, placed at the Washington 17 with 54 seconds left. Scarlett closed that game for Stanford.

Best Wide Receiver Performance

Tony Brown – Colorado

Even though Colorado lost, Tony Brown can’t be blamed. He was, yet again, Colorado’s best player. He secured all 10 targets for 141 yards. 10 targets and 10 receptions. If only the Huskies had those hands.

On top of that, Tony Brown took an end-around for a 15-yard touchdown. He followed blocks, eluded defenders, stiff-armed a would-be-tackler, and earned that touchdown. His talent is becoming more and more apparent. He’s one of the best Pac-12 football receivers out there and is displaying versatility and reliability.

Best Tight End Performance

Jacob Breeland – Oregon

Against Cal, Jacob Breeland was Justin Herbert’s favorite target. 5 receptions for 87 yards. Most don’t expect to see a tight end lead his team in receptions and yards. Especially not with 17.4 yards-per-reception. But Breeland is a different type of beast for the Pac-12 football conference.

On the season, Jacob Breeland leads Oregon in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and is tied with Johnny Johnson III for most receptions. He is able to secure first downs easily. But, he also can take it to the house on a seam-route. Jacob Breeland is incredible.

Disagree with the Best Pac-12 football players list?

If you disagree with this list, send in your own recommendations. Each week, Unafraidshow will rank the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end performances from Pac-12 football. Be sure to comment, tweet Unafraidshow, or email us immad@unafraidshow.com with your favorite moments of each Pac-12 football week.

What we learned about the Huskies after UW football’s win against USC

Salvon Ahmed Washington USC Football 2019

UW Football Can Win the Pac-12 North

University of Washington Block W logo RGB brand colors

To think, just a few weeks ago UW football was down and out. But, with another big win, Washington launched itself two spots to No.15 in the nation. Ahead of them, Oregon sits a No.13, eyeing a chance to claim the Pac-12. Did UW football prove enough with their win against USC?

Washington’s Defense Can Shut Down the Air Raid Offense

Against Utah, USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. caught 10 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. That aided the Trojans to an upset win. But, against Washington, all he could accumulate was 4 receptions for 64 yards and 1 touchdown. 

More importantly, UW’s defense only allowed 163 passing yards from Matt Fink. They also picked him off three times in their win. If they want to compete against Oregon, Washington needs to slow down Justin Herbert’s offense. Against USC, they at least showed that’s possible.

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The UW Football Team Can Grind Out Wins

No, they don’t always make it pretty. But, Washington is getting the W’s. that’s the first, key take-away. Yes, they allowed 212 yards rushing to the Trojans, but they only gave up 14 points. They actually had less offensive yards than the Trojans. However, the UW football team capitalized on turnovers. 

With short fields, they put up points. Jacob Eason still shows a split-personality of elite-mediocre, but he didn’t throw any interceptions. He leaned on his playmakers and allowed Salvon Ahmed, Richard Newton, Aaron Fuller, Hunter Bryant and Andre Baccellia to take the load.

UW Football is Special

Though five games, Peyton Henry is 9-of-9 in field goals and 22-of-22 in extra points. The sophomore kicker is having a stellar season. Additionally, Joel Whitford is launching and placing his punts well. 

With close games in their future, they’ll need Henry and Whitford to stay clutch and cold. 

It’s Down to Oregon and Washington in the Pac-12 North

After Chase Garbers went down, Cal lost their hope of a 2019 playoff run. This further solidified Washington and Oregon’s race for first in the Pac-12 North. With their dominant win against USC, UW football is back in the top-15 in the nation. But, Oregon is performing equally as well on offense, with a stout defense.

In their next week, Oregon faces a free-falling Cal and Washington faces an equally undermined Stanford. Each should win handily next week. The real test is on October 19th when they face each other. Expect to see the Pac-12 North champion emerge.

The Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 3 Top Performers

Saints vs Seahawks 2019

Unafraidshow’s Best Pac-12 Players: Week 3

Another great NFL week is over. Week 3 is in the books and there are plenty of excellent Pac-12 NFL performances. Here are the best, broken down by college.

Arizona

Reggie Gilbert – Tennessee Titans

Finally! We can take Will Parks off this list. Granted, it’s still a stretch to name Reggie Gilbert a top performer. He only got eight defensive snaps in Week 3. But, the Arizona list of Pac-12 NFL players is quite small.

It’s important to put his eight snaps in context. This was Gilbert’s first active game for the Titans. Also, in just 8 snaps, Gilbert managed to make two solo tackles. Not a bad debut.

Arizona State

Lawrence Guy – New England Patriots

Everyone saw it coming, but the New England Patriots still put in a solid performance against the New York Jets. Part of that win was Lawrence Guy. Guy continued to block the gaps, make tackles and take on double teams. He made Le’Veon Bell bounce the ball outside and didn’t let the offensive line get any push.

Cal

Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers

Against the Houston Texans, Keenan Allen had himself a game! 

  • 17 Targets
  • 13 Receptions
  • 183 Receiving Yards
  • 2 Touchdowns

Allen did everything possible to secure a win for his team. And even though the LA Chargers los the game, Allen had the best performance of his career. 183 yards was also a career best. The Cal product shed his injury-tag last season and continue to be one of the best Pac-12 NFL players.

Colorado

Ahkello Witherspoon – San Francisco 49ers

Yet again, Ahkello Witherspoon kept doing his thing. He made it quite difficult for Mason Crosby.

Unfortunately for fans of the 49ers or defense, Ahkello Witherspoon is likely to miss a month. That’s a massive hit for the 49ers. Through three games, Witherspoon only allowed 13 targets, 5 receptions and 57 yards. His Passer Rating Allowed is only 32.9 (No. 5). Most of all, his plus-114.2 Coverage Rating is the league-best.

Witherspoon is the most important piece of the 49ers defense (or team) right now. Missing him is a big deal.

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Oregon

DeForest Buckner – San Francisco 49ers

While his teammate and fellow Oregon-alum Arik Armstead was a top Pac-12 NFL player last week, DeForest Buckner got the glory in Week 4. He made defensive play after defensive play in a tight win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Buckner led his team with 8 tackles and also added a quarterback hit, a forced fumble and a clutch fumble recovery. 

Oregon State

Jordan Poyer – Buffalo Bills

As good as Steven Nelson played in Week 3, Jordan Poyer gets to sit above him on the best Pac-12 NFL players list once more. He’s just too dominant to leave out.

Against the Cincinnati Bengals, he racked up 11 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. It was an unbelievable game for him. Poyer is a big reason why the Bills continue to win.

Stanford

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers

  • 24 Carries
  • 153 Rushing Yards
  • 1 Rushing Touchdown
  • 4 Targets
  • 3 Receptions
  • 35 Receiving Yards

Stanford fans! Look away from the college games and pay attention to Christian McCaffrey instead. His elite, NFL career continues to shine a bright spotlight on the Stanford name. Ignore the Stanford program freefall and watch the rise of Christian McCaffrey. He’s one of the greatest Pac-12 NFL players to step onto the field.

UCLA

Kenny Clark – Green Bay Packers

Let’s keep Kenny Clark on the list. He’s one of the better Pac-12 NFL players and the best nose-tackle to come out of the Pac-12 in years. Against NFL centers, he continues to be a mismatch.

Clark is too strong and continues to overpower offensive linemen. Interior pressure is a huge advantage in NFL games. Clark brings that.

USC

Tyron Smith – Dallas Cowboys

This will be obvious. But, the Dallas Cowboys obliterated the Miami Dolphins. The tanking Dolphins were no match for the Cowboys. Nonetheless, Tyron Smith showed well and displayed why he’s an NFL great. 

Against Miami, the Cowboys racked up 235 rushing yards on 34 carries. It was a piece of cake for the stellar offensive line. Leading the way, as usual, was Tyron Smith. It’s been another good year for him. On 206 snaps this season, he’s allowed zero sacks and only has one penalty.

Utah

Marcus Williams – New Orleans Saints

Not only is Marcus Williams getting his second spot on Unafraidshow’s Best Pac-12 NFL Players list, but he was the Saints best defender in Week 3. On 83 defensive snaps. Wow. Marcus Williams glued himself to the field and helped the New Orleans Saints beat the Seattle Seahawks. Even though they had Teddy Bridgewater as their quarterback, the Saints made too many plays.

In the secondary, Williams continues to cover well and make tackles. It’s turning out to be a career year for Williams and he’s making a name for himself. 

Washington

Vita Vea – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Although the Giants ultimately won the game, due to Daniel Jones’ heroics, Vita Vea played well. On just 65% of defensive snaps, he consistently gave the Giants offensive line trouble. In addition to accidentally stepping on Daniel Jones’ helmet, he totaled two quarterback hits.

After getting hit twice from the 350-pound Vea, Jones must be feeling it.

Washington State University

Gardner Minshew – Jacksonville Jaguars

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Gardner Minshew, better start now. Minshew must be in all Pac-12 hearts.

Against Tennessee in Week 3, Minshew put in a stellar game for his first NFL win. Buy in now to the Minshew hype because he’s going to be one of the great Pac-12 NFL players from WSU. 

Missed the Best Pac-12 NFL Players List from Week 1?

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Best Offensive Performances from Pac-12 Football: Week 4

Max Borghi Washington State

Pac-12 Football is Hot as Ever

Pac-12 Conference states

Week 3 was great, but Week 4 of Pac-12 football was unbelievable. There were a plethora of upsets, heartbreaks and big-time players. Which offensive players made the biggest differences this week?

Best Quarterback Performance

Anthony Gordon – Washington State

Anthony Gordon melted faces in Washington State’s loss to UCLA. That earned him a repeat on this best of Pac-12 football list.

Somehow, even though Gordon threw nine, yes nine, touch down passes, Washington State lost. It’s incredible how good Anthony Gordon continues to be, but he’s anchored by WSU’s dreadful defense.

Yes, Washington State blew a 49-17 lead. But, was that Gordon’s fault? Here are the results of each Washington State drive in the second half:

  • Anthony Gordon touchdown pass
  • Anthony Gordon touchdown pass
  • Anthony Gordon completes pass to Rodrick Fisher, then Fisher loses fumble
  • Punt
  • Anthony Gordon completes pass to Dezmon Patmon, then Patmon loses fumble
  • Anthony Gordon touchdown pass
  • Punt
  • Anthony Gordon touchdown pass
  • Anthony Gordon completes pass to Eason Winston Jr., then Winston Jr. loses fumble
  • Anthony Gordon sacked and loses fumble

Honestly, Gordon’s second half was still ridiculous. He still threw four touchdowns, but he was hampered by three of his players. Fisher, Patmon and Winston Jr. lost the ball and stopped the drives. Looking back at this game, people will inevitably remember Gordon as a loser. But, Anthony Gordon just gave Pac-12 football a performance of a lifetime.

Best Running Back Performance

Max Borghi – Washington State

Electric. Mex Borghi continues to impress with his versatility. As a runner, he’s capable of breaking 50-plus runs at any time. But, Borghi also adds a large threat as a receiver, evidenced by his 65-yard touchdown against UCLA.

https://twitter.com/FarabaughFB/status/1175652039583502337

This season, Borghi has 325 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns, 13 receptions, 169 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. He’s the type of pass-catching running back the NFL craves.

Best Wide Receiver Performance

Tony Brown – Colorado

In Colorado’s victory (yet another Pac-12 football upset), Tony Brown accounted for three of their four touchdowns. He caught touchdown passes of 29-yards, 31-yards and 20-yards. His touchdowns were each unique and displayed a well-rounded skill-set:

  • Scramble-Drill and YAC
  • Diving Catch in End Zone
  • Contested Catch in End Zone
https://youtu.be/t5SD4SNATeY

Best of all, this game was out of nowhere for Tony Brown. Currently, his career high in receiving yards is 333 yards in one season. Against Arizona State, he had 150 yards. Prior to this game, he totaled three receiving touchdowns. In his career! During this game, he had three. It was unbelievable. Laviska Shenault Jr. was out and Tony Brown had the best game of his career. What a story for Pac-12 football fans!

Best Tight End Performance

Jake Tonges – Cal

As easy as it would be to give this award to Jacob Breeland again, it goes to Jake Tonges. Yes, Breeland is certainly deserving with his two-touchdown performance. But, it was against freefalling Stanford. Tonges, on the other hand, made the difference against Ole Miss. With this performance, he helped Pac-12 football earn more respect.

Against Ole Miss, Tonges made all his money in the second half. His receptions were more than just the box-score shows. Here are the results of his three receptions:

  • On 3rd & 14, Tongues makes a 15-yard catch for a first downTwo plays later, Cal scores a touchdown
  • Tongues catches a 60-yard touchdown pass
  • Tongues catches a 13 yard pass, resulting in a first down

Who are the Best Pac-12 football players?

If you disagree with this list, send in your own recommendations. Each week, Unafraidshow will rank the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end performances from Pac-12 football. Be sure to comment or tweet at unafraidshow with your favorite moments of each Pac-12 football week.

Pac-12 Football Seasons: 2019 Colorado Buffaloes Week 4

Air Force Falcons Colorado Buffaloes 2019

The Colorado Buffaloes were riding high after their epic victory over Nebraska. It was time for the Mel Tucker era to take shape. The 2019 Colorado Buffaloes Week 4 looked like it would be one with the team entering Pac-12 play undefeated.

However, what was a big step forward was countered by the Air Force Falcons, who defeated the Buffaloes 30-23 in overtime. It was a tough loss for Colorado, but one they can — and must — recover from.

Situated just 86.2 miles from each other, the 2019 Air Force vs. Colorado matchup was the first between the two Colorado schools since 1974. And with the Buffaloes having already dispatched in-state Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, Saturday’s game against Air Force was a chance to secure state supremacy. But instead of locking Colorado down and moving to a 3-0 start, Colorado looked impressive in bursts but wasn’t consistent enough to hold off the upset. 

For Colorado, the game started in positive fashion. On the first drive of the game, Colorado took the ball for an 11-play, 75 yard drive that ended with quarterback Steven Montez connecting with Laviska Shenault to give the Buffs a quick 7-0 lead. Then, on Air Force’s third offensive play, Colorado safety Aaron Maddox forced Air Force running back Taven Birdow to fumble and linebacker Davion Taylor recovered. The Buffs’ defense, under coordinator Tyson Summers, found their calling card for the third straight week and forced yet another timely turnover.

But after the Buffs cashed the turnover in for three points, it was Air Force laying claim as the best team in the state of Colorado. Three straight touchdown drives gave the Falcons a 20-10 lead as Air Force was winning the battle in the trenches and confusing the Buffaloes with their triple option offense.

Colorado’s offense, meanwhile, cooled-off after its opening scores. The offensive line had trouble protecting Steven Montez and the Buffaloes couldn’t get things going on the ground. The two together led to another wildly inconsistent game from the redshirt senior.

The stadium was silent. The Buffs were having trouble supplying the fans with the energy necessary to cheer on their team and things looked grim. Fortunately, Colorado safety Mikial Onu created a spark with an interception off a deflection in the end zone in the final moments of the first half. Instead of Colorado facing a 17-point deficit for the second week in a row, the Buffaloes were down by 10.

The interception brought the fans who made it out to the early kickoff, that or the clock passing noon. Whatever the case, the early 11 a.m. start for the Buffaloes was not ideal for players and fans alike, especially in a game where Colorado was the clear favorite. Football is about momentum, and while Colorado supporters showed up and were loud, the quick response by Air Force in the first half hushed the crowd. The caffeine had worn off. This isn’t an indictment against earlier kickoffs or Colorado supporters, because Buffaloes fans showed up.

Early kickoffs are a necessary evil that comes with program exposure and television deals. However, credit goes to the fans who stayed for the whole game and those that arrived late. Folsom Field filled up and was full until the final whistle. To the credit of Air Force fans, some were theirs. The service academy traveled well for a chance to watch this rare in-state rivalry, and they made themselves heard.

Colorado fans, meanwhile, began the second half with nervous notes countered by the confidence knowing the Buffaloes had come back from worse. Unfortunately the half did not start well, with Aaron Maddox leaving the game with an apparent leg injury after colliding with a misting machine on the Air Force sideline. This was a blow to the defense, but the unit regrouped and forced Air Force to finally punt for the first time in nine possessions. 

The Buffaloes couldn’t take advantage on offense. In their first two possessions of the second half they were forced to punt and Colorado relied on their defense to stifle Air Force while the offense figured it out. 

Holding the Falcons to three points in the second half, the Colorado’s defense gave the offense just enough time to mount a comeback. Down 23-10 in the 4th, the Buffaloes’s offense marched 75 yards to get within seven points with 6:09 remaining in the 4th quarter. However, the Buffs had another mishap as the extra point was blocked. 

Now down 23-16 with time winding down, the offense needed a clutch drive and delivered just that. On their final drive in regulation the Buffaloes converted three 3rd downs and tied the game with 28 seconds left on a play that saw Shenault take a snap from the wildcat formation and run it into the end zone. This time, the extra point converted. 

The rare meeting between Air Force and Colorado would be decided in overtime. It was the second overtime game in as many weeks for the Buffaloes, and Colorado took to defense first.

Unfortunately the momentum from an impressive second-half defensive showing did not carry into overtime. On the first play of OT, Falcons running back Kadin Remsberg took the ball to the house for a 25-yard touchdown that put all the pressure on Colorado’s offense to convert.

Touchdown or bust. 

After the Buffaloes converted their first third down of their first overtime drive on a 4-yard run by Shenault, the Air Force defense came up huge.

Putting pressure on Montez on his next three dropbacks, the Falcons’s defense prevented another Colorado comeback as Montez failed to connect with Shenault on 4th and 12.

Game over. 

2019 Colorado Buffaloes Week 4 Preview

The new era of Colorado Football that some may have thought started after last week’s win looks eerily familiar to the previous one. The Buffaloes have consistently beat teams such as Colorado State, and won both matchups against Nebraska this year and last, but have floundered against inferior teams. Last season the Buffaloes lost in overtime to an in-conference opponent, Oregon State, that they should have beat. This season they have an overtime loss to Air Force, a non-conference opponent many thought they would handle.

But 2019 is a new year and only time will tell if it will be a repeat of 2018. There is a lot of football to play and the Buffaloes have plenty of opportunities to create a new identity. This starts next week against Arizona State. 

The Sun Devils are coming off an enormous victory over Michigan State and are trying to create a new identity themselves. Playing in Tempe will be no easy task for the Buffaloes. But with the way this team has found a way to compete in every game, so long as they show up they’ll have a shot.

Pac-12 Football Week 3 offers up a mixed-bag of results

Arizona State Michigan State 2019

Don’t look now but the Pac-12 has six — yes six! — teams in the latest AP Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll. Utah (10 AP, 11 Coaches), Oregon (16 AP, 17 Coaches), Washington State (19 AP, 19 Coaches), Washington (22 AP, 21 Coaches), Cal (23 AP, 23 Coaches) and Arizona State (24 AP, 24 Coaches) all find themselves in the college football polls after their Pac-12 football week 3 results.

With the addition of California and Arizona State into the week 4 AP Top 25 college football poll, the conference’s six teams are the most it has had in the poll since Week 13 of 2016. This bodes well for the Pac-12 Conference’s perception as it enters the bulk of conference play. What doesn’t bode well, however, are the mounting out-of-conference losses.

The Bad From Pac-12 Football Week 3

The Pac-12 went 8-4 in college football week 3. With no conference games played this week (there were two in week 2), the conference did benefit from eight non-conference wins to just four non-conference losses. And while a couple of the wins were nice, most came against inferior opponents in expected fashion. The losses, however, weren’t so great.

UCLA, Stanford, Colorado, and USC all dropped non-conference tilts in week 3. Of these losses, only one can really be considered acceptable.

Addressing this ‘acceptable’ loss, nobody expected the UCLA Bruins to put up a fight against Oklahoma. The Sooners be in the College Football Playoff picture throughout the year and are one of college football’s most imposing teams. The Bruins, meanwhile, are not.

After an offseason in which Chip Kelly cleaned house, the Bruins are now playing like it. Their offense is miserable, defense inept and all signs point to a massive rebuild in the years to come. Adding salt to the wound of an already embarrassing loss was the terrible attendance despite tickets being given away to the game.

The Rose Bowl deserves better. The Pac-12 deserves better.

Colorado, Stanford and USC don’t have excuses like the Bruins. They’re not going through complete rebuilds, even though the Buffaloes did bring in new head coach Mel Tucker during the offseason.

USC and true freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis looked brilliant at times but lost during most others. The talent is there to compete with the best, but consistency is becoming an issue with the Trojans. Losing to BYU was tough for the Trojans and the Pac-12.

Stanford’s loss to UCF wasn’t as bad. The return of quarterback K.J. Costello did not go well and UCF freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel looked like a stud against Stanford’s porous secondary. Still, for what Stanford could have been — and still could be (a scary thought for the Pac-12) — in 2019, a blowout loss to UCF is difficult to swallow.

Then there was Colorado. After a big win against Nebraska at home, whispers began about the Buffaloes being back. The Air Force Falcons and their triple-option ignored those, disposing of an inconsistent Colorado team in OT. It was a result that once again sparked the debate of why the Pac-12 struggles so much with what should an inferior Mountain West.

The Good From Pac-12 Football Week 3

What did go well in Pac-12 football week 3 was the continued rebound of Arizona, the emergence of Arizona State, and the conference’s headliners holding ground.

Since a shocking week zero loss to Hawaii, Arizona has rattled off two wins. Quarterback Khalil Tate looked the Heisman candidate many want him to be and the defense actually held a decent offense in check. With a bye week followed by games against UCLA and Colorado, the Wildcats could regroup in fine fashion in the coming weeks.

The other team from The Grand Canyon State, the Arizona State Sun Devils, had a more impressive showing. Having held their first two opponents to seven points each, the Sun Devils continued that trend against the Michigan State Spartans in Pac-12 football week 3. While their offense may need work, that defense is good.

The remaining Pac-12 teams came away with expected wins. Utah managed a shutout against Idaho State, Oregon’s defense was equally impressive in their 35-3 win over Montana and Washington trounced Hawai’i. California, meanwhile, sneaked into the polls with a so-so performance against North Texas and Oregon State finally won a game.

All-in-all it wasn’t Pac-12 football week 3 wasn’t so bad for the conference. But it wasn’t so great either. Tough non-conference losses were softened by emerging contenders who now have a lot to prove in conference play. There’s a lot of football left to play and the results from Pac-12 week 3 are setting up a wild ride.

Two Ways to Improve College Football Playoffs and the Pac-12

Pac-12 College Football Playoff

Recently, Larry Scott said it was “painful” that the Pac-12 once again missed College Football Playoffs. It’s a regular lament because it seems like the Pac-12 is always left out. Every college football fan, athlete or staffer knows that the Pac-12 is the odd one out. Washington and Oregon are the only teams from the Pac-12 to make it. Just 2 out of 24. Not good for the Pac-12.

So, the idea of expanding the college playoffs or bringing more parity to the selection process sounds perfect. First off, College Football Playoffs are a huge success. It was a long time coming and fans of all programs and divisions love it. With a four-team playoff, rather than selecting just two teams, college football moved to greater competition. From that, it was easier to conclude with the rightful champion.

Now, in its sixth year of success playoffs, the FBS needs to evolve further. For the sake of fans, collegiate programs and football itself.

Expand College Football Playoffs to Eight Teams

First off, the easiest way to increase the likelihood of crowning the just champion is to increase the sample size. Honestly, the NFL has 32 teams and still lets 12 into the playoffs. On the other hand, the FBS has 130 football programs (64 from Power-Five conferences) and only selects four. From such an abundant source of talent and diversity, the current four-team playoffs is restrictive.

Considering how slow and/or unwilling college football is to change, it’s best to keep an expansion small. Adjusting College Football Playoffs from four teams to six or eight is ideal. With six teams, the first and second-ranked teams are afforded a bye. Essentially, With eight teams, playoffs would be similar to the NCAA basketball tournament seeding. But, drastically smaller.

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With each set up, there would be three rounds of College Football Playoffs. This would work best for multiple reasons. First, as said above, expanding to more teams gives college football a clearer, less controversial champion. Additionally, it would add to revenue. As everyone knows, the NCAA loves money (even though it only pays college athletes more than a 550 dollar gift for bowl participation). So, instead of just three playoff games, there would be five to seven. Fundamentally doubling the amount of big-time matches and viewers.

Does Larry Scott support expansion?

Yes. But also no.

“I completely get that it would really release the pressure of being the one that’s been on the outside looking in the most in the first six years to say that automatically we’ve got our champion [in],” Scott said Thursday. “But we also have agreements through 2026 [the championship game] that I think will be very challenging for us to all agree how we’re going to amend and change.”

Larry Scott

Even though expanding playoffs to six or eight teams increases the odds the Pac-12 makes it in, Larry Scott needs a guarantee. He supports an eight team expansion only if each Power-Five conference champion gets a spot in the tournament. This makes sense for Scott because he wants to end the Pac-12’s embarrassing record of playoff participation.

However, he’s wrong in his idea. For two major reasons. First and foremost, expanding the playoffs automatically helps the Pac-12. It lowers the risk of a Pac-12 snub. Because the Pac-12 has little leverage in the situation, he can’t ask for more. Additionally, he’s misguided because mandating that each Power-Five conference champion gets in lowers college football parity. What if the overall competition of the ACC or Big Ten was significantly lower than Pac-12, SEC or Big 12? That hurts the playoff picture.

Granted, an eight-team playoff model like Ross Dellenger depicted would be extremely exciting. Five auto-bids, two at-large and one group of five sounds excellent. Nonetheless, greater freedom in selection creates a chance for greater competition.

Larry Scott refuses to give up the Rose Bowl

Also, of note, Larry Scott and the Pac-12 would be protective of the Rose Bowl. Yes, history is on his side. The Rose Bowl and the Pac-12 have over a century of history together. Nonetheless, Scott needs to be willing to change, to adapt and to give in order to gain. Yes, the Rose Bowl means a great deal for Pac-12 fans. It’s a monumental bowl game. With that being said, the audience would grow substantially if the Rose Bowl had greater competition. If the FBS combined the Rose Bowl, college football’s oldest bowl game, with playoffs each year, ratings and excitement would follow.

Yes, Scott and the Pac-12 have every right to be protective of the Rose Bowl. It’s ours. However, in order to increase the chance of a Pac-12 champion, the Pac-12 must be willing to sacrifice it’s most historic safety blanket. Keep in mind, there could also be a happy medium. If a Pac-12 team gets into the playoffs, they could get automatic entry into the Rose Bowl game. And if they missed the six or eight team playoff selection, they would sacrifice the Rose Bowl. It’s a risk, but one the Pac-12 needs to take.

Play at Least 10 Power-Five Opponents

In addition to Scott, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby also added his own idea. Bowlsby suggested a new requirement for College Football Playoff selection.

  • Each Power-Five team has to play at least ten Power-Five opponents

Excluding conference championship games, only Clemson and Oklahoma played nine, regular season, Power-Five opponents. Ohio State chose to play Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati, and the Miami Redhawks. Likewise, LSU scheduled Georgia Southern, Northwestern State, and Utah State. If they played one more Power-Five team, it’s completely possible they would have an additional loss.

In order to make College Football Playoffs, each team selected needs to have at least ten (excluding conference championships) games against Power-Five opponents. If 2018 Notre Dame can do it, any program should be able to.