We take a look at the best performances from an exciting week 2 in Pac-12 play.
Photo: Oregon Athletics
Article by Christopher Caravello
Week 2 in the Pac-12 ended with plenty of excitement and controversy befitting this strange season. With 2 games canceled, the league surprised its critics by arranging for UCLA and Cal to play on Sunday morning at 9 AM PT, a game the Bruins went on to win over the favored Bears. Division front runners USC and Oregon both overcame deficits to win on the road, and Washington finally took the field and unveiled their new offense and starting QB. Surprising Colorado went on the road to win at Stanford and remain unbeaten, while Utah has yet to play a single snap so far as their game was canceled for the 2nd straight week.
Team of the Week: Colorado
After being abandoned by Mel Tucker, who left CU for Michigan State after only 1 year on the job, and picked to finish near the bottom of the Pac 12 South, Colorado is now 2-0 and looks more than capable of competing in this pandemic shortened season. New starting QB Sam Noyer accounted for 4 TDs in the win at Stanford while leading an offense that had to replace do-everything WR Laviska Shenault this offseason. The Buffs have been incredibly efficient in the redzone while Noyer has led a balanced offensive attack that is currently leading the conference in scoring. With this weekend’s game against Arizona State officially canceled due to the Sun Devils virus woes, and the league saying they are no longer opposed to non-conference games, the Buffaloes are hoping for a last minute opponent to keep the momentum rolling in Boulder. In a fortuitous twist, their rivals from Fort Collins also had their game this week canceled, leaving many in the state hoping for a Rocky Mountain Showdown with the Rams.
Play of the week: Shough’s 57 Yard Pass to Redd
With the defending conference champs on the ropes against Wazzu yet again, Shough launched a pass downfield to Jaylon Redd in the waning seconds of the first half. Redd hauled it in, and with 2 seconds before halftime, CJ Verdell scored to close the deficit to 5 points. The Ducks went on to explode for 29 points in the 2nd half and put away the Cougars while improving to 2-0. Oregon turned the ball over 3 times in the 1st half and seemed to be in trouble before Redd’s huge play right before halftime.
Offensive Player of the Week: Tyler Shough (Oregon)
Shough has been impressive in replacing Justin Herbert and put together a spectacular game against the Cougs on Saturday. The Duck QB passed for 312 yards and 4 Touchdowns while adding 81 yards on the ground in leading Oregon to 43 points and a victory.
Defensive Player of the Week: Zion Tupuola-Fetui (UW)
ZTF was dominant for the Huskies on Saturday while causing 2 fumbles on sacks. The UW edge rusher finished with an outstanding PFF grade of 91.6.
Game of the Week: UCLA vs Cal
What’s better than seeing the hashtag #Pac12AfterBreakfast pop up on Twitter Sunday morning for an extra helping of college football? In an unprecedented showing of flexibility from the Pac-12 and the commitment to arrange games for teams needing opponents, the Bruins and Golden Bears found themselves facing off at the Rose Bowl on short notice after their games against Utah and ASU were canceled due to the virus. While this was the first game of the season for Cal, it was still shocking to see a team many believed could compete in the North getting beaten by a team that has rarely looked coherent under 3rd year head coach Chip Kelly. UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson had one of his finest game in powder blue, accounting for 4 first half TDs as the defense shut out Cal in the 2nd half on their way to a 34-10 victory.
Position Unit of the Week: UW OL
In a game that featured a new OC, a freshman QB making his first start, and less than ideal weather, it was time for the Huskies reloaded offensive line to make an impact. UW ran the ball for a staggering 51 of their 75 offensive plays for 267 yards. The Huskies used multiple TE’s and even a 6th offensive lineman in order to control the line of scrimmage against Oregon State and talented All-American linebacker Hamilcar Rashed. The O line also made life easier for new QB Dylan Morris, who was not sacked in his debut performance.
Coach of the Week: Karl Dorrell (Colorado)
Dorrell has the Buffs ahead of schedule and undefeated in the Pac-12, a record not many would have predicted given the state of the program over the past few years. With CU’s game against Arizona State canceled, it will be interesting to see if the conference can quickly arrange for an opponent for the Buffaloes to play for a chance at improving to 3-0. Either way, Coach Dorrell has built some positive momentum in Boulder for a program that desperately needed it.