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Around The Conference Table: Week 8
This season we go around our writers for their takes on the other conference games that went on in prior gameweek.
Arizona State @ 5 Washington (Washington wins 15-7)
TD_24 - Washington is so going to be glad their Arizona State voodoo is gone in the Big 10.
Bk97 - ASU was gashing UW on the ground, and I think every run in the second half went for positive yardage. So what does ASU do a pair of critical 4th downs inside the UW 30 in the 4th quarter? Throw an incompletion and then the game-winning pick six.
Christopher_h - This is what happens when you have a complete team: even though UW's high-powered offense failed to score a touchdown, and Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr turned the ball over 3 times out of the 4 UW turnovers, the UW defense suffocated ASU, and special teams kicked 3 FGs and blocked one of ASU's FGs (in addition to another miss by former Cal K Dario Longhetto). If I'm UW, though, I worry that the blueprint to stop the offense is out there now, though: pressure to disrupt Penix while the secondary limits big plays.
Washington State @ 9 Oregon (Oregon wins 38-24)
TD_24 - Ducks sleep walk but eventually take it to the Cougs. Those Jake Dickert rumors......it's got my eyebrow raised.
Bk97 - Piling up over 450 yards, Cam Ward snapped out of his funk. Although there's not much he could do when the defense is getting gouged for 10 yards per play.
Christopher_h - The Oregon defense stepped up in the second half to contain QB Cam Ward and play better in coverage, while the Oregon offensive line and run game gradually wore down Wazzu (turning FGs in the first half into TDs in the second). Wazzu definitely has some holes on defense, and talented as Cam Ward may be, he can't do everything himself.
14 Utah @ 18 USC (Utah wins 34-32)
TD_24 - When will we learn to not count out a Kyle Whittingham lead team.
Bk97 - For the second year in a row Utah has secured a highly improbable regular-season comeback to defeat USC. I'm going to miss watching Utah consistently wreck USC's seasons when they move to separate conferences.
Christopher_h - What a fantastic comeback victory by Utah. Another very impressive game from RB/S Sione Vaki, as Vaki had 68 yards rushing, 149 yards receiving, and 2 TDs, as the USC defense often failed to account for the wheel routes or routes into the flat. QB Caleb Williams played well, but he doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of help from teammates, and was forced to scramble himself in critical situations to keep the game close. USC’s bad defense made the Utah offense look good, and QB Bryson Barnes played with a lot of grit to make some clutch plays, taking big hits on runs but converting in critical situations. Utah once again grinds out a close game, and it's clear that Utah outcoached USC this game.
25 UCLA @ Stanford (Stanford loses 7-42)
Bk97 - That Garbers magic against LSJU is still alive and well
Christopher_h - UCLA completely dominated on defense and took away pretty much everything Stanford wanted to do on offense. UCLA shut down the run, continually pressured QB Ashton Daniels, and the secondary did a great job of blowing up the short screens and swing passes, etc. Stanford had a bit of success challenging UCLA down the field, but not enough to keep the UCLA defense honest. UCLA QB Ethan Garbers had a great game and made a lot of nice throws despite the pressure Stanford was bringing.
Any other thoughts?
TD_24 - USC loses so America wins
Christopher_h - Nothing would make me happier than Cal upsetting USC and UCLA and beating Stanford in the final year of the Pac-12, short of actually relocating USC and UCLA to the midwest.