Pac-12 Football Roundup: Week 3 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

    Week 3 Pac-12 football scores, rankings and reactions for each game, including Stanford's shocker over USC.

    September 21, 2015

    Pac-12 Week 3 Roundup, Rankings, Breakdowns & Recaps

    Follow and/or Contact @RichCirminiello

    Scroll down for thoughts on each Pac-12 team, recaps and picks.

    Pac-12 Player of the Week

    UCLA RB Paul Perkins ran for a career-high 219 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries in the come-from-behind win over BYU.

    Pac 12 North Rankings After Week 3

    1. Oregon (2-1)
    2. Stanford (2-1)
    3. California (3-0)
    4. Washington (2-1)
    5. Oregon State (2-1)
    6. Washington State (2-1)

    Pac 12 South Rankings After Week 3

    1. UCLA (3-0)
    2. USC (2-1)
    3. Utah (3-0)
    4. Arizona (3-0)
    5. Arizona State (2-1)
    6. Colorado (2-1)

    Sark’s Summer Worsens

    The autumnal equinox begins this Wednesday, Sept. 23. For USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, summer can’t end soon enough.

    It was a rough summer for Sarkisian, marked by a public display of drunkenness at an August Salute to Troy event. But winning always makes for short memories, and the Trojans won their first two games without so much as breaking a sweat. And then the Stanford game happened.

    This was going to be the year that Troy surges back up the Pac-12 hierarchy. Improving depth, vulnerable Ducks and all. And there’s plenty of time and talent to still achieve all of this season’s goals … except the one about running the table.

    USC hosted Stanford in Week 3. The same Stanford that lost to Northwestern in the opener, and arrived in the Coliseum as a double-digit underdog. Yet, when the dust settled and the crowd dispersed, the Trojans had dropped a September game for a fifth year in a row, 41-31.

    What happened to Justin Wilcox’s defense, which was unable to stop QB Kevin Hogan, particularly on third downs? And will another one of Cody Kessler’s weapons on the outside step up and take heat off JuJu Smith-Schuster, the next great Trojan receiver? Too many questions, too early in the season, for a team that was eyeing a long-awaited return to glory this fall.

    Sure, it was just one loss, but it was a critical one for Sarkisian, who needs his team’s on-field performance to overshadow his off-field missteps from a month ago. It didn’t happen versus the Cardinal, which has USC in an early South Division hole, and its head coach squandering a little more of his margin for error.

    Arizona: Getting Randall on the field

    The Wildcats trounced Northern Arizona in record-setting fashion. Good for padding numbers, but irrelevant to the Pac-12 world. However, while Anu Solomon is the clear-cut starting quarterback, Rich Rodriguez might want to craft a sub package or two for his backup, former LSU transfer Jerrard Randall. In mop-up duty, the senior snapped off touchdown runs of 73 and 72 yards.

    Arizona State: Slow starts

    The Sun Devils can sputter out of the gate against the likes of Cal Poly and New Mexico and survive. But now that the non-conference portion of the schedule is over, Arizona State must execute for more than 30 or 45 minutes to remain unbeaten. ASU woke up after halftime versus the Lobos, with a big hand from RB Demario Richard. But with USC and UCLA up next, the Devils are liable to wake up after halftime to a two-touchdown deficit.

    Cal: Backfield options

    The Bears’ myriad offensive options is no longer relegated to just the receivers. True, Jared Goff is surrounded by a bunch of quality pass-catchers, but the backs are loaded as well. Starting RB Daniel Lasco was out versus Texas, which opened the door for powerful Vic Enwere and blazing Khalfani Muhammad to spearhead a 280-yard, three-touchdown ground assault in the 45-44 thriller in Austin.

    Colorado: QB Sefo Liufau

    Just because the Buffs knocked off rival Colorado State in Denver doesn’t mean the program can turn a blind eye to Liufau’s slow start. Nor will it. The junior is only hitting on 57% of his throws, despite facing three Group of Five defenses And his inconsistency is impacting the production of star WR Nelson Spruce. Now that Pac-12 play is starting, Colorado hopes to see the quarterback who threw 28 touchdown passes in 2014.

    Oregon: Building QB depth

    If starting QB Vernon Adams was going to miss a game, this was the time to do it. The Ducks obviously didn’t need the transfer to dispose of Georgia State. And with Adams on the shelf with a finger injury, it allowed Jeff Lockie to get the most reps of his career. And even third-stringer Taylor Alie got in the end zone. You can never have enough seasoned quarterbacks, so Oregon won on multiple fronts in Week 3.

    Oregon State: Offensive imbalance

    If the Beavers don’t have to throw the ball, they’re in decent shape; the defense is coming along, with help from NT Kyle Peko and LB Rommel Mageo, and the ground game has playmakers in QB Seth Collins and RB Storm Woods. It’s when the deficit gets large or opponents sell out to stop Collins and Woods that Oregon State will really struggle to compete this fall.

    Stanford: QB Kevin Hogan

    When the good Hogan shows up, the Cardinal can still beat just about anyone on the schedule, as evidenced by Saturday’s shocker at USC. It’s difficult reading the tea leaves on Hogan, even at this advanced stage of his college career. But he was on the money at the Coliseum, missing just five throws and making no turnovers. And just like that, the team that opened with a hideous loss to Northwestern is once again in the Pac-12 hunt.

    UCLA: Propping up the youngster

    QB Josh Rosen played like a rookie Saturday night, yet the Bruins still defeated a ranked opponent. That’s the sign of a program with the demeanor and the talent pool to back up its championship aspirations. Rosen threw three picks and was a non-factor for much of the night, but Paul Perkins and Nate Starks bailed him out by rushing for 300 yards and a pair of scores. UCLA needs those ground troops, because Rosen is still just a kid with a lot to learn.

    USC: Defensive issues

    Blowing out Arkansas State and Idaho may have given the Trojan D a false sense of security that Stanford destroyed in Week 3. The Cardinal is not a well-oiled offensive machine. Yet, the team had plenty of success against Justin Wilcox’s unit, scoring 41 points, delivering on third downs and holding the ball for two-thirds of the game. This was a humbling loss for Troy, and one that could haunt Steve Sarkisian.

    Utah: Non-offensive touchdowns

    Few schools are better on special teams or at scoring in unconventional ways than the Utes. Witness Saturday night. Utah defeated Fresno State by three touchdowns, which was also the number of non-offensive touchdowns the team produced. Cory Butler-Bird had a 98-yard kickoff return, Britain Covey scored on a 77-yard punt return and DT Stevie Tu’ikolovatu recovered a fumble 37 yards for six. The Ute offense is fair, but the team can produce points in myriad unique ways.

    Washington: They grow up so fast

    The Huskies are a team no one will want to play in November, or in a bowl game, if they get that far. Chris Petersen’s second team in Seattle is still in diapers, but it’s growing up quickly around true freshman QB Jake Browning. Browning threw for 368 yards and three scores in the win over Utah State, and RB Dwayne Washington is becoming a valuable weapon in the passing game.

    Washington State: Mounting pressure

    The Cougars are all about putting pressure on opposing defensive backfields. On Saturday, they beat Wyoming by bringing the heat on Cowboy QB Cameron Coffman. Wazzu turned its best athletes loose, notching 14 tackles for loss and five sacks. LB Peyton Pelluer and hybrid rush ends Ivan McLennan and Kache Palacio were virtually unblockable, throwing an assist to their own DBs.

    Predictions & Picks: How’d We Do?

    Pac-12 Football Picks Through Week 3: Straight Up: 29-5,  ATS: 14-13

    at Arizona State 34, New Mexico 10

    Line: Arizona State -28, o/u: 65.5, Prediction: Arizona State 52, New Mexico 20

    at Oregon 61, Georgia State 28

    Line: Oregon -45.5, o/u: 71.5, Prediction: Oregon 62, Georgia State 13

    at Washington 31, Utah State 17

    Line: Washington -5.5, o/u: 44, Prediction: Washington 24, Utah State 17

    Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 OT (in Denver)

    Line: Colorado -4, o/u: 59.5, Prediction: Colorado 30, Colorado State 24

    California 45, at Texas 44

    Line: California -6.5, o/u: 59.5, Prediction: Cal 31, Texas 21

    Stanford 41, at USC 31

    Line: USC -10, o/u: 51.5, Prediction: USC 30, Stanford 17

    at Oregon State 35, San José State 21

    Line: Oregon State -7.5, o/u: 49, Prediction: Oregon State 28, San Jose State 17

    at Washington State 31, Wyoming 14

    Line: Washington State -23.5, o/u: 77, Prediction: Washington State 47, Wyoming 21

    at UCLA 24, BYU 23

    Line: UCLA -16.5, o/u: 60, Prediction: UCLA 38, BYU 24

    Utah 45, at Fresno State 24

    Line: Utah -14, o/u: 54, Prediction: Utah 38, Fresno State 17

    at Arizona 77, Northern Arizona 13

    Line: No Line, o/u: No Line, Prediction: Arizona 52, Northern Arizona 17

    MORE: Week 3 College Football Rankings, No. 1-128

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