We are a quarter of a way through the season with the most challenging non-conference schedule behind us. Some teams came out losers (Oregon State & Washington) some teams came out winners (Arizona & UCLA) and the jury is still out on a few teams (Cal, ASU, USC).
Players of the Week
Starting with the Leader of the Pac MVP this week, Johnathan Franklin finally made the UCLA offense worthy of being called the pistol. Franklin carried the ball 19 times for 118 yards and a touchdown against the former #1 ranked rush defense in the country. He did a great job of using his blockers, finding the gaps, breaking tackles, and extending plays with his tough running style. The special teams and Bruin secondary will be good enough to keep them in most games, but back-to-back wins against ranked teams is a great sign for a young team still searching for its identity. Kevin Prince had a a beautiful 38 yard touchdown run and he passed for another. A UCLA cheerleader deserves to be here on the blog today, but I’ll take the last opportunity to post a Texas girl this season.
The other big performance from a running back came from Stanley Havili of USC. Full backs don’t usually have the type of impact that this guy does, but his 59 yard rushing touchdown looked like something I do in Madden. He also caught the ball four times for 88 yards and a 58 yard touchdown. From a day when Matt Barkley was inconsistent Havili gave them the spark they needed on offense. From the defensive side of the ball Nickell Robey looks like a future Pac-12 star. He picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown.
One of my favorite players of the conference is back with Jordan Wynn returning from injury. Utah is one of the most exciting teams in the country with this guy slinging the ball around and his hand doesn’t look to be bothering him as he completed 14 of 18 passes and two touchdowns.
The Cal versus Arizona game looked more like the BigTen than the exciting brand we love in the Pac-12. To play that style of game you need to minimize mistakes , play strong defense, and capitalize on special teams play. Cal was in control of the game for 57 minutes and as they were driving down field up 9-3 they got into the field goal range. The Italian imported kicker, Georgio Tavecchio lined up on his money spot – the right hash. The kick went up and sailed wide right with two minutes and some change to play. On the next play Nick Foles connected with Juron Criner for a 51 yard pass the put them in a position for the go-ahead score.
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