The best players of the week, the best coach, the best play and more...
Photo: Karl Maasdam (Beaver Athletics)
Article by Christopher Caravello
Week 3 in the Pac 12 saw the 3 undefeated teams that played all win, although Oregon needed some heroics to get past a heavy underdog. Colorado couldn’t find a replacement for ASU and had to sit idle, setting up a battle this weekend against USC with heavy South division implications. Washington exploded on offense and used another stout defensive performance to blow out Arizona. Utah finally took the field this year but couldn’t shake off the rust and fell to the Trojans in Salt Lake City. Oregon State picked up their first win of the season with a goal-line stand against still winless Cal. Let’s dive into the best of Week 3 in the Pac 12.
Team of the Week: USC
Before heading to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes, USC had needed two miraculous finishes to knock off both Arizona schools. Finally, the Trojans seemed to play to their potential and won comfortably 33-17. Yes, Utah was breaking in a ton of new personnel and hadn’t even played a snap before Saturday nights game, but this was an important win for USC before the first set of rankings are handed out by the college football playoff committee this week. The Trojan defense led by Drake Jackson pitched a 2nd half shutout, and the win sets up an enormous showdown in Los Angeles next week against undefeated Colorado.
Play of the Week: Jordan Happle's Pick Six
For the 2nd straight week, the Ducks appeared to be on the ropes when all the sudden an insane chain of events occurred just before halftime to turn the tide in Oregon’s favor. With time winding down and leading by 4, UCLA appeared to be heading into the locker room with all the momentum in a game that was beginning to catch the attention of the college football world as a possible huge upset brewing. As the 1st half was coming to an end with UCLA possessing the ball, Oregon was called for a defensive delay of game which stopped the clock. Chip Kelly, the former Oregon head coach who took the Ducks to the 2010 national championship game, decided to run one more play. UCLA backup QB turned starter Chase Griffin was hit as he released his Hail Mary attempt, and the ball fluttered through the air before landing in the grasp of Oregon’s Jordan Happle. From there, Happle navigated through traffic until finding the endzone well after time had expired, resulting in an Oregon halftime lead and a huge change in momentum in a game Oregon went on to win by 3 points.
Game of the Week: UCLA vs Oregon
This one had a ton of exciting plays as the heavily favored Ducks saw themselves having to hold on for dear life against their former coach. This is the 2nd straight game that UCLA has outperformed expectations and did so this time with backup QB Chase Griffin after finding out that starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson would be unavailable due to COVID-19 contact tracing. The game didn’t start smoothly for the Bruins, with two turnovers that resulted immediately in 2 Oregon touchdowns. Not to be deterred, UCLA used a punishing run game from Demetric Felton as well as a scoop and score TD from the defense to tie things up at 14. It would continue to go the Bruins way with Griffin hitting TE Greg Dulcich for a 32-yard TD to take a 21-17 lead. With just under a minute to go, UCLA forced Oregon to punt and received the ball at its own 10-yard line. Unfortunately for the Bruins, the good will and shockwaves they were sending throughout college football social media were about to go up in smoke. The aforementioned pick six catapulted Oregon back into the lead and while it wasn’t a foregone conclusion just yet, it certainly seemed that the Ducks had once again found a miracle to the end the half and set up a march towards victory. The Bruins fought valiantly to overcome their first half gaffe and had the ball with a chance to tie things up on a final 4th quarter drive, but a false start penalty with UCLA creeping into FG range seemed to doom the drive. On 4th and 12, Griffin’s pass to Kyle Phillips fell incomplete and Oregon would survive a thriller. With the College Football Playoff Committee set to convene and unveil their initial rankings this week, the undefeated Ducks anxiously wait to see if a playoff spot is within striking distance.
Position Unit of the Week: UW Defensive Backs
The Death Row secondary once again is making its presence felt in the Pac 12. The pride of 1st year head coach Jimmy Lake, who used to coach the position, turned in a dominant performance that had Arizona QB Grant Gunnell looking frustrated and miserable throughout the first 3 quarters. The Huskies defense held the Wildcats to a mind blowing 66 yards of offense through 3 quarters the week after Arizona gave USC a scare on the arm of Gunnell. The air-tight coverage provided by the secondary also allowed the defensive line to flourish, sacking Gunnell 5 times and causing the QB to fumble. As it awaits the news of who this week’s opponent will be, the thought of this position group matching up against BYU and its NFL-hopeful QB Zach Wilson should intrigue college football fans across the nation.
Coach of the Week: John Donovan (UW OC)
While it has only been two games into the tenure of new offensive coordinator Jon Donovan, Husky fans must be feeling encouraged by what they saw against Arizona on Saturday night. After stubbornly deciding to “Run the Damn Ball” throughout the 1st game against Oregon State, the UW offense lit up Arizona in a myriad of ways and heavily incorporated the arm of QB Dylan Morris. It resulted in a career night for stud TE Cade Otton, who finished with 100 yards receiving and a TD reception. The 3 headed monster at RB actually grew, incorporating a 4th RB in Cam Davis while racking up another 200+ yard performance on the ground. It is clear the offense can adapt to its opponent and if it remains this efficient, the much-maligned hire of Coach Donovan could work out in U Dub’s favor.
Offensive Player of the Week: Jermar Jefferson (OSU)
Jermar Jefferson took 18 carries for 196 yards to carry the Beaver offense to a win over the Cal Bears. The Beavers managed just 155 passing yards and without Jefferson's contributions the Beavers wouldn't have pulled off the victory.
Defensive Player of the Week: ZTF (UW)
ZTF was dominant once again and his pressure off the edge helped rattle Grant Gunnell. For the 2nd straight week, ZTF had 2 sacks to lead a Husky defense that shut Arizona out through 3 quarters.
WestCoastCFB Offensive Team of the Week
QB: Tyler Shough (Oregon)
RB: Jermar Jefferson (OSU)
RB: Demetric Felton (UCLA)
WR: Devon Williams (Oregon)
WR: Kekoa Crawford (Cal)
WR: Kyle Phillips (UCLA)
TE: Cade Otton (UW)
OL Unit: Washington
WestCoastCFB Defensive Team of the Week:
DL: Osa Odighizuwa (UCLA)
DL: Marlon Tuipulotu (USC)
Edge: ZTF (UW)
Edge: Cameron Goode (Cal)
LB: Omar Speights (OSU)
LB: Nephi Sewell (Utah)
LB: Devin Lloyd (Utah)
DB: Elijah Molden (UW)
DB: Trent McDuffie (UW)
DB: Jordan Happle (Oregon)
DB Talanoa Hufanga (USC)