Despite Oregon and UCLA being on bye weeks, Week 7 in the Pac-12 produced a bunch of wacky results and great performances. The conference got flipped on its head as shootout broke out in Salt Lake City. Here are the five main takeaways from a crazy weekend in the conference.
Utah’s Unbelievable Resolve
Last week, the Utes saw their slim College Football Playoff hopes disappear with a 42-32 loss to the then-No. 18 UCLA Bruins. With No. 6 USC rolling into Salt Lake City, the potential for another letdown was there. However, the reigning Pac-12 Champions showed their resolve. The Utes shocked the Trojans 43-42 in a thriller.
Utah found itself down 14-0 and 21-7 early in the game. They couldn’t stop Caleb Williams and the USC passing attack. However, they found away to make it a 28-21 game at halftime. Then, they traded touchdowns with one of the Pac-12’s best offenses in the second half; something they couldn’t do last week. The game-clinching 2-point conversion came from Cameron Rising, who had incredible day.
UTAH LEADS!@Utah_Football converts for 2 to take the 1-point lead late! pic.twitter.com/e2R04hx8SI
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 16, 2022
The Utes held on for the remaining 48 seconds to cap off an emotional day for the program. They wore special helmets honoring their former teammates Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe. That additional emotion may have the entire team the needed boost to win this game over a very strong opponent.
While their CFB Playoff hopes have been dashed, the Utes are still contenders to be one of the two teams battling for the Pac-12 Championship.
Have a Day, Cam Rising and Dalton Kincaid!
Staying with the subject of the Utes’ incredible win, quarterback Cameron Rising and tight end Dalton Kincaid had incredible performances individually. In what turned out to be the Pac-12’s Game of the Week, these two stars shined brighter than anyone else.
Rising had to keep pace with USC QB Caleb Williams, who played like the Heisman candidate he is. Luckily for Utes, not only did Rising match Williams play for play, he arguably outplayed him. Rising threw for 415 passing yards (career-high) and two touchdowns. He also ran for 60 more yards and three more TDs.
Meanwhile, Kincaid was Rising’s go-to target. He had 16 receptions for 234 receiving yards and a TD. The Trojans knew Kincaid was Utah’s best pass-catching threat. Yet, the Trojan defense could not cover him.
Stanford Finally Gets an FBS win
The Cardinal came away with a stunning 16-14 road victory over rival Notre Dame. As a result, Stanford’s losing streak to FBS opponents is gone! Their win snapped a 12-game losing streak to FBS opponents.
This win over the Fighting Irish is incredibly unexpected. The Cardinal were 17-point underdogs in South Bend. However, David Shaw’s squad utilized one of his signature gameplans: defense and ball control.
The Cardinal held the Fight Irish to 301 total yards, which was well-below what the Fighting Irish had been averaging this season. Meanwhile, they took the air out of the ball. Stanford only ran for 97 yards as a team, but they held the ball for 36:07; over 12 minutes longer than Notre Dame. They also forced two turnovers, which has been an issue for them all season. Entering into Week 7, the Cardinal were tied for 130th (last) with Notre Dame in turnovers gained.
Things felt pretty bleak in Palo Alto after they lost to Oregon State last week. It is still unlikely they drastically turn things around this season. However, stranger things happen to Stanford. Remember, this program won four games in a row back in 2020, and they couldn’t even practice in their own town.
Is Everything Okay, Cal?
Speaking of Bay Area schools, what on Earth was that Cal? As 15-point road favorites coming off a bye week, the Golden Bears found a way to fall to the Colorado Buffaloes 20-13.
Cal couldn;t get its running game going. Jaydn Ott, who had over 300 rushing yards in game earlier this season, failed to register 50 in this one. In fact, the Golden Bears rushed for 35 yards as a team on 22 carries. Also, Cal turned the ball over twice and missed two field goals as well. It’s a disappointing performance against a program that has been poor all season.
The Buffaloes have been the worst team in college football this season. They had lost all their games by at least 20 points, and they fired Karl Dorrell after their previous game, a 43-20 loss to Arizona. So, it was incredibly stunning to see the Golden Bears fall to a a team with an interim head coach coming off a bye week.
Cougs Humbled in Corvallis
Week 7 also quietly featured a battle between two 4-2 teams down in Corvallis. Washington State and Oregon State both needed wins to keep their slim hopes of a Pac-12 Championship Game berth alive. Well, the Beavers showed they wanted it more than the Cougars with their 24-10 victory.
Oregon State began the game with a TD on the opening possession, and never looked back. They led from start to finish. The Cougs’ offense never found its footing in the game. The Beavers’ front seven swarmed Cougars QB Cameron Ward while their secondary contained WSU’s receivers.
Ever since the offensive outburst against Oregon, WSU’s offense has taken a step back with every week. They did just enough to get by Cal in Week 5, and then they could only keep up with USC for a half in Week 6. This week, their offensive success came in brief flashes.
The Cougs have some stuff to figure out during their bye week as they are 4-3 on the season and 1-3 in conference play. Meanwhile, the Beavers are 5-2 with a 2-2 conference record. They still have an outside shot at making the Pac-12 Title game and achieving the programs first eight-win season since 2012.
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