By ANDREW GARDA - PAC-10 INSIDER
The Pac-10’s quest for respect took a hit today as many of their teams were run out of their games on a rail. USC’s drubbing of OSU and Oregon’s comeback win were pretty much the only bright spots for the conference today, but those two teams will likely be all of what remains of the four top 25 ranked Pac 10 teams come poll time.
#1 USC vs. #5 OSU
The Trojans looked human – for two drives – and then took the game over and never looked back, slapping OSU around to the tune of 35-3. USC QB Marc Sanchez threw four TDs and linebacker Rey Maualuga had a pick, which he returned for a 48-yard score, as the Buckeyes looked overmatched in every aspect of the game. Once again, OSU entered the spotlight only to come out blinded and slapped around. The two decisions that will be haunting Buckeye Coach Jim Tressel: Should running back Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells have been playing (and would it have mattered) and should he have handed the reigns more completely to freshman QB Terrelle Pryor, as senior Todd Boeckman looked awful throughout stretches of the game. One thing is for certain – it looks like the team with the best chance of beating USC is USC. If they stay focused, they have every chance of playing for a National Title come January.
#15 ASU vs. UNLV
Arizona State Rudy Carpenter and his ASU Sun Devils thought they had it all under control when they made it a two possession game in the 3rd quarter, but the Rebels surged late and tied it to send the game into OT. UNLV kicked a field goal, and then stunned the crowd by blocking ASU’s FG attempt, heading back to Vegas with an upset under their belt. Carpenter threw a meager 22 times (for him) for 242 yards and two TDs. When folks complain about a team ‘running up the score’, remind them what happens when a team takes their foot off the gas. ASU faces #2 Georgia next week and has to find a way to rebound against a very tough Bulldogs team.
#16 Oregon vs. Purdue
It took two OTs, but Oregon avoided an upset as the Purdue Boilermakers stunned them in the first half, squeaking out a 32-26 win. Things looked grim for the Ducks until Jairus Byrd returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown. After that, Oregon woke up and surged, capping the comeback with LeGarrette Blount’s 3-yard TD.
#18 BYU vs. UCLA
BYU left no doubt they belonged in the top 25 and washed away the bad taste of a debated call by annihilating UCLA 59-0, led by QB Max Hall and his staggering seven TDs. Meanwhile, it is clear that UCLA still has a long way to go to be consistently competitive under Rick Neuheisel. They made fewer mistakes – but were overmatched in every aspect of the game.
#23 Cal vs. Maryland
Cal arrived at their hotel at 1am and it took them into the 4th quarter before the offense fired up. It was too little, too late, as the Terps stunned the Bears 35-27. The Maryland D carried the day, as they kept pressure on Cal QB Kevin Riley all game long and the Bears looked sluggish the whole game. Maryland jumped out to an early lead and the Bears never got out of the hole.
Arizona vs. New Mexico
The Wildcats turned the ball over too many times (five) and were run over by Lobo running back Rodney Ferguson’s 158 yards and two TDs, as New Mexico notched it’s first win and sent the Wildcats back home with their tails between their legs for the second straight year.
Oregon State vs. Hawaii
OSU QB Lyle Moevao threw for 268 yards and three TDs and freshman Jacquizz Rodgers carried the ball 26 times for 110 yards and two TDs, as the Beavers blew the Warriors out of Reser Stadium, 45-7.
Stanford vs. TCU
Three different TCU running backs and their quarterback scored on the ground, but the Horned Frogs really sealed the deal when they stopped the Cardinal on a 4th and 1, then drove down the field and kicked a field goal. Stanford had just 193 total yards and gave up 378, as both their offense and defense stumbled all day long.
#3 Oklahoma vs. Washington
Sooner QB Sam Bradford continues his Heisman Case with 304 yards and five TDs, as Oklahoma continued Washington’s woes 55-14. Not only was Bradford on point, but the Sooner RB tandem of DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown were lights out. The pair rushed for 207 yards as Oklahoma outgained the Huskies in yards 591 to 336.
Washington State vs. Baylor (Friday)
As a quarterback, Baylor’s Robert Griffin makes a darn fine running back. Griffin’s ridiculous 217 yards and two TDs on the ground led Baylor running away from the Cougars. WSU receiver Brandon Gibson put up 128 yards on eight catches, but it just wasn’t enough, as WSU turned the ball over five times.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
By ANDREW GARDA - PAC-10 INSIDER