NCAA Football

Pac-12 power rankings: Oregon can’t complete comeback attempt at Michigan St.

Oregon (1-1) and Michigan State (2-0) met-up in an early season clash of top-10 teams. The Ducks trailed by ten heading into the fourth quarter, with the game teetering on the edge of being a blowout,  before scoring two touchdowns to make it a game again. Unfortunate for the conference, Michigan State held on for a resume building victory.

Michigan State earned revenge against the Ducks for last season's blow-out loss. (Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan State’s running attack was unstoppable on Saturday (Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

MSU scored in all four quarters, including 10 points in the third, to build a 10 point lead heading into the fourth and final frame. The Ducks scored two touchdowns in fourth quarter while being unable to keep Michigan State off of the board…and that was the difference in the game.

Vernon Adams had Byron Marshall streaking towards the end zone on second down, and no one in front of him, but the pass was overthrown and hit the turf harmlessly. The Spartans brought the blitz on the next play, which led to a sack of Adams and the end of Oregon’s comeback attempt.

Oregon’s defense was able to contain the Spartans’ passing attack — one week after getting torched by Eastern Washington — but the Ducks couldn’t stop their rushing attack. Madre London and LJ Scott did the bulk of the Spartans damage on the ground, as they averaged 6.2 yards per carry on (a combined) 29 carries. The Ducks defense has struggled mightily in their first two games, and that has to be an area of concern as Oregon gets closer to conference play.

1) USC Trojans: USC took an over-matched Vandals squad and beat the living snot of them. The Trojans scored five touchdowns on the ground and three through air. Quarterback Cody Kessler completed 26 of 31 passes for 410 yards three touchdowns and no picks. It was an absolute beat down at the Coliseum, which gave the Trojans’ freshmen plenty of experience.

2) Oregon Ducks: A trip across the country to face a top-10 tea is never an easy task, even if you’re also in the top 10. Oregon’s offense took a while to get going, and it cost them as Michigan State was able to build up a big enough lead to hold off the high-octane Ducks’ offense.

3) UCLA Bruins: Paul Perkins was unstoppable against UCLA as he carried the ball 18 times for 151 yards (8.4 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. Perkins was the focal point of the Bruins offensive attack on Saturday, which took a lot of defensive pressure off of quarter back Josh Rosen. It also helps that UCLA was playing against the over matched UNLV Rebels.

4) Utah Utes: Despite playing two different quarterbacks — and only attempting 22 passes — the Utes were in complete control of their game against rival Utah State. The Aggies only scored in the second quarter, and were shut out during the rest of the game; while Utah was methodical with its offense as it ran the ball down USU’s throat. It was the exact type of offensive performance we’ve come to expect from Utah since they joined the conference.

5) Arizona Wildcats: Arizona’s offense scored early and often against the Nevada Wolf Pack; while the defense took a nap in the second quarter. Anu Solomon looked good in the victory as he was quick to get the ball out, and avoided making any turnovers against a talented Nevada team.

6) Stanford Cardinal: Stanford started off slowly against UCF before figuring things out in the second quarter, when Kevin Hogan found Michael Rector for 53-yard touchdown. Hogan played out of his mind in the Cardinal’s first win of the season, and they needed him to because of the stinky performance from their running game (3.2 yards per carry on 41 carries). The Cardinal’s offensive line needs to figure out its run blocking issues if the team is going to win many games in Pac-12 play.

7) Arizona State Sun Devils: Arizona State’s lead over Cal Poly was never really comfortable until the end of the game. The Mustangs went punch for punch with the Sun Devils for the first three-quarters while ASU’s offense struggled to hold on to the football. It was a poor showing against a Big Sky team by ASU a week after getting blown out by Texas A&M, which should be concerning for Arizona State fans.

8) California Golden Bears: Cal has put on two impressive performances in its first two games as the Golden Bears beat San Diego State by 28-points. SDSU’s only points came in the first quarter when Maxwell Smith found Daniel Brunskill for a 29-yard touchdown; the next three-quarters belonged to the Golden Bears and quarterback Jared Goff. Goff completed 17 of 24 for 321 yards (13.2 yards per attempt). It was a big win for a program looking to go to its first bowl game since the 2011 Holiday Bowl.

9) Washington Huskies: Washington started off slowly against Sacramento State, before going on to steam roll the Hornets. The Huskies were unstoppable on the ground thanks to Myles Gaskin’s 146 yard, three touchdown, performance. Jake Browning looked solid against the Hornets as he completed 17 of 24 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns.

10) Oregon State Beavers: Oregon State struggled to execute in all three phases of the game against Michigan. The Beavers allowed the Wolverines offense to roll-up 405 yards — 225 of those yards were on the ground — and four touchdowns. On offense, quarterback Seth Collins was the only QB to complete passes for the Beavers; Collins completed nine of 16 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown.

11) Washington State Cougars: One week after the worst loss in program history, the Cougars went out and upended Rutgers. Luke Falk looked sharp as he torched the inexperienced Scarlet Knight secondary, and the wideouts actually caught passes thrown at them. WSU’s special teams was an absolute disaster again as they gave up two returns for touchdowns.

12) Colorado Buffaloes: Colorado destroyed UMass in their first home game of the season. The Buffaloes rushing attack was absolutely unstoppable as two tailbacks ran for over 100 yards. It was an impressive victory for a program that has struggled so much over the last couple of years.

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