First: #17 USC (8-2 / 6-1 PAC-12) outgunned #22 Arizona (6-3 / 4-2 PAC-12) 49-35 in the Coliseum on Saturday, again thanks to the law offices of Darnold & Jones II. Trojan QB Sam Darnold (20 for 26 passing / 311 yards / 2 TD’s / 1 INT / 83.0 QBR) and RB Ronald Jones II (27 rushes / 194 rushing yards / 7.2 YPC / 3 receptions / 39 yards / 3 TDs) have found a dynamic balance between the run and pass game offensively, and with this win USC takes control of their destiny in the PAC-12 South race.
Second: Arizona’s offense simply forgot to show up in the first half, but they looked like the dominant unit of weeks past throughout nearly the entire second half, fighting back from a blowout early to somehow make it a game late.
Third: #12 Washington destroyed a depleted Oregon team 38-3 in Seattle, and the Huskies looked mad about being left so far out of the College Football Playoff rankings. Quarterback Jake Browning (11 for 19 passing / 204 yards / 2 TDs / 1 INT / 71.4 QBR) was in control throughout, and the UDub running back committee put up 247 total rushing yards and two scores on the day. If the Huskies should win out and still miss the final four, they will have a legitimate complaint against the newly established CFP system.
Fourth: Washington junior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (11 tackles / 1 FF / 1 QBH) and sophomore DB Taylor Rapp (6 tackles / 2 TFL / 2 PD’s / 1 sack) were everywhere on the defensive end for the Dawgs versus Oregon. As a team, UDub is only giving up 10.4 points per game in ’17, ranking them seconds in the nation behind only ‘Bama in that measure.
Fifth: #25 Washington State (8-2 / 5-2 PAC-12) broke the heart of #18 Stanford (6-3 / 5-2 PAC-12) with a long touchdown drive late in the 4th quarter, sealing it 24-21 in front of their home crowd on a snowy day in Eastern Washington. This sets up a legendary Apple Cup vs. the Huskies in two weeks, which will likely determine the PAC-12 North Champion.
Sixth: With the win over Stanford this weekend, WSU senior QB Luke Falk continues to shatter many of the significant PAC-12 career passing records, and needs only three more touchdowns to hold that conference mark as well. Someone enlighten me: Why exactly does he not translate well to the NFL, again?
Seventh: The ASU Sun Devils (5-4 / 4-2 PAC-12) ‘forked’ the Colorado Buffalo 41-30 in Tempe this past weekend, putting up 24 points in the 4th quarter alone, and keeping their distant hopes in the PAC-12 South alive. Even the word ‘distant’ is likely too kind however, as ASU would clearly have to win their remaining three games, and both #17 USC and Arizona would have to lose out for there to be a chance.
Eighth: The Utes (5-4 / 2-4 PAC-12) broke a four-game losing streak, caging the Bruins (4-5 / 2-4 PAC-12) 48-17 in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Utah Sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley (15 for 22 passing / 234 yards / 4 TDs / 83.1 QBR) got his season back on track in the win, and senior linebacker Sunia Tauteoli (12 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 QBH / 1 PD) was an absolute monster on the defensive side of the ball for the Utes.
Ninth: Though I am likely his biggest critic, I must admit that UCLA is only a shell of its mediocre self without junior QB Josh Rosen. The media poster boy for ‘NFL readiness,’ Rosen is likely to return for the Bruins this week against ASU in The Rose Bowl.
Tenth: The Cal Bears (5-5 / 2-5 PAC-12) were the latest to kick the Beavers while they’re down, beating Oregon State (1-8 / 0-6 PAC-12) 37-23 in Berkeley. Cal junior running back Patrick Laird went off (33 rushes / 6 receptions / 6.5 YPC / 233 all-purpose yards / 1 TD), and though OSU never seems to quit, they just cannot get a win in PAC-12 conference play.
Eleventh: The two most significant games in the PAC-12 this week are #9 Washington at Stanford on Friday night, and #19 WSU at Utah on Saturday afternoon. While the Huskies look to keep things rolling on The Farm tonight, WSU needs a win tomorrow to keep pace with their in-state-rival, and to allow for the historic Apple Cup which would finish the regular season.
Twelfth: The beautiful five week ride that became known as ‘The Sculpin Train’ here at The Twelver, has finally come to an end with the Cardinal loss at Washington State. However, thanks to both the everlasting glory of Ballast Point’s beer selection and their kindness to us here at The PAC Twelver, we are going to keep the roots of this article intact going forward. In that manner, I will be rolling over to Ballast Point’s Manta Ray Double IPA this evening as Stanford hosts #9 Washington on The Farm. This is an extremely deliberate decision, as UDub is a tough bunch of dudes, and the ‘Double’ in Double IPA will surely be necessary on some level. In closing as always, please drop a line here on your favorite beers and cocktails to enjoy with family and friends on PAC-12 game days. Cheers y’all.