Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images – House of Sparky
The Oregon (3-1, 0-1) hype train took a big hit on Saturday night when the Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2, 1-0) held on for a 37-35 home win. ASU took advantage of the Ducks linebacker corps with its rushing attack and medium passing game.
Manny Wilkins’ mobility proved to be Sparky’s biggest weapon on offense as he scored two rushing touchdowns and added another one through the air to give him three total touchdowns. On his first rushing touchdown — it was also the first touchdown scored in the game — Wilkins kept the ball on the read-option and bounced outside of his tackle before scampering into the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown run; his second touchdown was virtually a clone of his first, but it extended ASU’s lead to 10.
While he was effective on the ground, the junior quarterback did most of his damage through the air as he 24 of 39 passes for 347 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. Wilkins routinely found space in Oregon’s secondary to hit his receivers in stride. As a result the Ducks’ defense spent a lot of time on the field and tired out as the game went on.
1) Washington Huskies (-): The Husky defense forced three interceptions in a 27-point victory over Colorado in Boulder, Colo. Because the offense constantly had control of the ball, which allowed Myles Gaskin to take complete control of the game.
2) USC Trojans (-): USC survived a surprisingly defensive battle in Strawberry Canyon with a 30-20 victory over the Golden Bears. Quarterback Sam Darnold didn’t look sharp (he only averaged 5.9 yards per attempt) but he made the big plays that were necessary for the Trojans to beat Cal.
3) Washington State Cougars (-): Washington State took advantage of an awful Nevada squad and are now 4-0 heading into their Friday night matchup against No. 5 USC.
4) Utah Utes (+1): While Utah beat the Wildcats, quarterback Tyler Huntley went down with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. And the Utes’ offense struggled after their starting quarterback went down with the injury. Fortunately for Utah, the Utes have the bye week before traveling to the Farm to take on Stanford.
5) Colorado Buffaloes (-1): Steven Montez made several bad decisions, which led directly to turnovers and his team getting buried in the second half. Colorado is a talented team, but mistakes are costly…even for talented squads.
6) Stanford Cardinal (+1): Sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello took over for Keller Chryst in the middle of the Cardinal’s 58-34 rout of UCLA on Saturday night. The Cardinal didn’t really need to rely on the passing game in the blowout win because Bryce Love took control of the game early with a couple of yuge runs.
7) Oregon Ducks (-1): A road trip to Tempe is never easy, but for a Ducks’ team that was supposedly “back”…they should have found a way to win against a bad Sun Devils squad. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as they go up against the gauntlet that is the Pac-12 North in Willie Taggarts first season.
8) California Golden Bears (–): Cal’s defense hung on against USC until it the fourth quarter, that’s when the Trojans deeper and more talented roster took over. The Golden Bears defense has become very good very quickly, and that bodes well for Justin Wilcox’s program heading into conference play.
9) Arizona State Sun Devils (+2): Todd Graham’s offense was able to outpace an explosive Oregon squad for a 37-35 victory. It’s not a program defining win, but it’ll certainly take some of the heat off of the head coach’s seat for one week.
10) Arizona Wildcats (-): Arizona surprisingly hung in with a talented Utah squad; sure the Utes are hurt and lost their starting quarterback, but they Wildcats were in it right to the end. It’ll be interesting to see if Arizona can pick up enough conference wins to get back to a bowl game.
11) UCLA Bruins (-2): UCLA was unable to stop Love or Cameron Scarlett in their 24-point loss to Stanford on Saturday. The Bruins defense is a dumpster fire and the offense doesn’t have enough weapons for them to keep up with the other offenses that they’re going to go up against in conference play…this is going to be a long season in Westwood.
12) Oregon State Beavers (-): A bye week was perfectly timed for Oregon State as they get a chance to get the backup quarterback ready for No. 6 Washington on September 30th.
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