around-the-pac-12-week-4

Around the Pac-12: Week 4

Story posted September 28, 2022 in

One month into the college football season, the Pac-12 has shown itself to be one of the more improved conferences compared to last season. The conference championship race (new for this year, the top two teams compete, regardless of division) is starting to take shape as conference play begins.

On the other hand, with one head coach being fired so far, some coaches’ seats will only get hotter as the season progresses. Here are some storylines from the conference through four weeks:

Oregon, USC Survive Close Calls on the Road

After trailing Washington State for most of the game, Oregon exploded late, scoring 22 points in a three minute span against the Cougars and hanging on for a 44-41 win. Quarterback Bo Nix threw for 428 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns, and a late pick six by Mase Funa all but clinched a Ducks victory.

Meanwhile, USC earned a hard-fought 17-14 win against Oregon State. After the Beavers took the lead with less than five minutes to go, the Trojans retook the lead when Caleb Williams found reigning Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison for the winning score. Addison’s sixth receiving touchdown of the season helped move USC to No. 6 in the AP poll, the highest ranking for a Pac-12 school.

Utah, Washington Climb in the Polls Following Wins

Utah was expected by some to be the Pac-12’s best shot at the College Football Playoff, but lost its opener to Florida. The Utes have not looked back since, winning three straight games, most recently against Arizona State. Two receiving touchdowns by tight end Dalton Kincaid and two Gabe Reid sacks helped Utah move up to No. 12.

Washington continued its impressive undefeated start to the season under first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer with a 40-22 win against Stanford. Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 309 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns and running back Wayne Taulapapa ran for 120 yards and a touchdown. Washington moved up another three spots to No. 15 following its win.

California Bounces Back, UCLA Remains Unbeaten

Following a loss on the final play to Notre Dame, California responded with a 49-31 victory over Arizona. Freshman running back Jalen Ott took over the game with 274 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Jack Plummer, a transfer from Purdue, complemented Ott’s performance with three touchdowns through the air as well. The Golden Bears improved to 3-1 with the win.

Having needed a comeback to beat the Sun Belt’s South Alabama, UCLA wasted little time in its victory over Colorado. The Bruins led 14-0 after the first quarter and never trailed after that, riding 290 total yards from Dorian Thompson-Robinson and three Zach Charbonnet rushing touchdowns in their 45-17 win. UCLA is one of three undefeated teams left in the Pac-12.

Game of the Week: 15 Washington (4-0) at UCLA (4-0)

Washington arguably faces its toughest test of the season so far this week when they face UCLA in Pasadena, California. With two offensive-minded head coaches in the Huskies’ DeBoer and the Bruins’ Chip Kelly, this one could come down to whoever has the ball last.

Will Duerksen is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email wdd5066@psu.edu.