Photo Credit: The AP – NY Daily News
The former Heisman hopeful quarterback had an awful night on the Palouse as (then ranked) No. 5 USC fell to (then ranked) No. 16 Washington State. Sam Darnold looked bad, but what was even worse news for the quarterback was the loss of two starting offensive linemen during the game.
Southern California entered the game without its starting left tackle, allegedly due to a staph infection, then the right tackle would go down by half time and then the third offensive lineman would go down during the third quarter. The Cougars were able to collapse the pocket more consistently with the Trojans’ backups on the line and that caused all sorts of problems for Darnold. If the injuries to the offensive linemen are going to keep them out of multiple games, than USC (and therefore its quarterback) are going to be in a lot of trouble.
As for Darnold’s performance, he seemed off all night with his passes not being paced well even when he had time and his wideouts didn’t help him because they struggled to make space in the secondary. The sophomore quarterback finished the night with a completion percentage of 51.7% of his passes for only 164 yards one touchdown and two turnovers…it was easily the worst game of his career to date.
1) Washington State Cougars (+2): Despite the fact that two former walk ons saw significant playing time at linebacker, the Cougar defense was able to contain Stephen Carr and Ronald Jones II for most of the night (outside of Jones 86-yard touchdown run). It was an impressive performance for Alex Grinch’s squad, and it’s likely he’ll have a head coaching gig in ’18.
2) Washington Huskies (-1): It took the Huskies offense a while to get going in Corvallis, but eventually the Dawgs were able to bury Oregon State 42-7. Jake Browning struggled in the first half to adapt to the loss of Chico McClatcher opposite Dante Pettis, but he eventually put it together as he’d finish the night with three touchdown passes.
3) USC Trojans (-1): For the tenth time in program history, the Trojans lost to Washington State and their media isn’t handling it that well. The big concern for Southern California going forward has to be the depth of its offensive line, there were a bunch of freshmen playing on Friday night…and that’s not a good thing for a program that still has its eyes on the playoffs.
4) Utah Utes (-): The bye week gives quarterback Tyler Huntley more chance to heal heading into a big matchup against Stanford.
5) Stanford Cardinal (+1): Bryce Love looks like the front runner for the Heisman Trophy as he’s already rolled up 1,088 yards for the season. While the final score was only 10 points, Stanford was in control of the game from the opening snap thanks to Love’s dominating offensive performance.
6) Oregon Ducks (+1): While the Ducks cruised to an easy victory over Cal, they lost their starting and second string quarterback as well as their starting running back. It’s going to be a long week in Eugene, Ore. as they get ready for No. 11 Washington State.
7) Colorado Buffaloes (-2): Despite completely stuffing UCLA’s run game, the Buffaloes weren’t able to figure out how to shut down Josh Rosen. Fortunately for Colorado, Steven Montez figured out his turnover issues from last week and he was excellent against a solid Bruins front seven.
8) UCLA Bruins (+3): Josh Rosen was practically perfect in the Bruins surprising victory over Colorado. But the big question mark for UCLA is its inability to generate a rushing attack against a defense that has struggled to stop rushing attacks throughout the season; if the Bruins can’t get a running game going…it’s going to be a long season for Rosen against competent secondaries.
9) California Golden Bears (-1): The Golden Bears played uninspired football at Autzen Stadium and it led to a blowout loss. It was inevitable that Cal was going have a letdown game after their surprising, and energetic, start to the season.
10) Arizona State Sun Devils (-1): Todd Graham’s defense had no answer for Love, as a result the Sun Devils’ defense was gassed at the end of the game when they needed a stop the most. The good news for ASU is that Manny Wilkins is a solid quarterback and a gifted athlete, he’ll be able to keep them in some games against defenses that struggle with running quarterbacks.
11) Arizona Wildcats (-1): The bye week came at the opportune time for Rich Rodriguez’s squad as they get to heal up for a game against Colorado.
12) Oregon State Beavers (-): Oregon State hung around for a half, before Washington absolutely destroyed the Beavers. The offense is going to be even more of an issue without Jake Luton at the helm as they don’t have anyone to stretch the field and keep defenses from keying in on Ryan Nall.
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Categories: NCAA Football, Pac-12 Power Rankings