Pac Mentality Week 13: UCLA Bruins still control their own destiny in the South

Nov 23, 2014, 5:49 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm
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Would the real contenders for the Pac-12 South please step forward?

Not so fast, USC and Utah.

Five of the six teams in the Pac-12 South entered the weekend with a chance to play Oregon in the conference championship game in Santa Clara on Dec. 5. Three remain as possibilities.

Only one controls its own destiny.

With an impressive 38-20 whitewashing of cross-town rival USC, the UCLA Bruins are one win away from returning to the Pac-12 Championship Game for the third time in four years. Brett Hundley completed 22-of-31 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for another in the Bruins’ third straight win in the rivalry.

UCLA broke open a 14-14 game when Ka’imi Fairbairn hit a 32-yard field goal with 5:54 left in the second quarter. Then right before halftime, Hundley found Eldridge Massington on a 13-yard touchdown pass. Right after halftime, the Bruins marched down the field on an 84-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a Paul Perkins 10-yard touchdown run, and at that point, the rout was on.

USC’s passing combo of Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor was held in check all night. Agholor, who came into the game with back-to-back 200-yard performances to his credit, caught just three passes for 24 yards. Two of those catches came on USC’s first possession of the night. The junior also dropped a punt in the first quarter that led to UCLA’s first touchdown.

The victory means UCLA just needs to beat Stanford next Friday to clinch the South.

“That was a good win, and it just sets us up to keep chasing our dream. So, we have got to get off this one and we have to get on Stanford,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. said. “Stanford is a team that has beaten us three times in a row. We can’t sit here and gloat. We’ve got to move on, and that’s what we will do.”

What Else Transpired

Arizona State 52, Washington State 31 – The Sun Devils stayed alive in the South with an uneven win over the Cougars. In fact, ASU trailed 21-7 at one point and couldn’t block anybody wearing crimson and silver. The Cougs had four first-quarter sacks and the Sun Devils had -23 yards of offense through their first four drives. But Arizona State dominated the second half, outscoring Wazzu 31-7 after the break. Taylor Kelly threw four touchdown passes and D.J. Foster ran for three more. ASU’s defense forced five Washington State turnovers — all of which led to touchdowns.

Arizona 42, Utah 10 – The Wildcats are also still alive in the South after dismantling Utah. The Utes, who have been stout on defense all season, couldn’t do anything against freshman running back Nick Wilson, who rumbled for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns on just 20 carries. Wilson had two touchdowns in a 70-second span of the fourth quarter. In fact, Arizona had three touchdowns in less than two minutes, capped by a 39-yard interception return for a score by Tra’Mayne Bondurant. It wasn’t all good for the ‘Cats, however. Starting quarterback Anu Solomon left the game with an ankle injury and was wearing a walking boot on the sideline. Senior Jesse Scroggins took over and finished up for Solomon.

“Anu’s happy right now we won. He’ll get treatments and I don’t know if he’ll be ready next week or not. We’ll wait and see,” UA coach Rich Rodriguez said to Tucson.com. “The medical staff said he couldn’t go, and in 20-something years, I don’t ever question it or ask. If they can’t go, they can’t go. The next guy in goes.”

Oregon 44, Colorado 10 – I probably could have written this before the game started, but it was the “Marcus Mariota Show” at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. The Heisman candidate threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 73 more and a score in the Ducks’ sixth straight win. Royce Freeman ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns and became the first true freshman to eclipse the 1000-yard mark in Oregon history. The Ducks’ defense was dominant, too: Colorado managed only 226 yards, its season-low in that category. The Buffaloes’ previous low was 353 yards in a loss to Arizona two weeks ago.

Stanford 38, California 17 – Remound Wright help resuscitate a dormant Stanford running game with 92 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinal won its fifth-straight Big Game. Stanford’s defense also had its fingerprints on this win, forcing five Cal turnovers. The Cardinal did lose receiver Ty Montgomery to a shoulder injury, although X-rays were negative and he could play in the regular season finale against UCLA on Friday.

Washington 37, Oregon State 13 – After wreaking havoc on Arizona State’s Pac-12 and national title hopes in an upset win last week, the Beavers came crashing down to Earth this week. And hard. The Huskies jumped on OSU early with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Cyler Miles to Jayden Mickens on the first possession of the game. Later in the first quarter, Dwayne Washington uncorked a 68-yard touchdown run, and UW never looked back. In the game, the Huskies had four scoring plays of 36 yards or more.

Marotta’s Players of the Week

Offense: Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona – With Solomon going down, Arizona had to rely on the ground game, and Wilson delivered big time. His 75-yard jaunt early in the fourth quarter was a key play in the Wildcats’ impressive road win.

Honorable Mention: Utah RB Devontae Booker, Washington State QB Luke Falk, Arizona State RB D.J. Foster, Oregon RB Royce Freeman, UCLA QB Brett Hundley, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Washington State WR Vince Mayle, Washington WR Jaydon Mickens, Arizona State WR Cameron Smith, Stanford RB Remound Wright

Defense: Blake Martinez, LB, Stanford – The Tucson native had himself a huge day in the Cardinal’s win over Cal in the Big Game. Martinez had 11 tackles, forced a fumble and intercepted two passes.

Honorable Mention: Arizona LB Tra’Mayne Bondurant, Washington LB Travis Feeney, Arizona State DE Marcus Hardison, Washington DL Andrew Hudson, UCLA LB Eric Kendricks, Utah LB Jared Norris, Arizona DL Dan Pettinato, Arizona State S Damarious Randall

Special Teams: Jordan Williamson, K, Stanford – Williamson had a field goal and all seven of his kickoffs went for touchbacks in the Cardinal’s win over Cal.

Honorable Mention: Arizona State K Alex Garoutte, Arizona State P Matt Haack, Utah P Tom Hackett, Arizona P Drew Riggleman, Arizona K Casey Skowron, Washington K Cameron Van Winkle

Quotes

“I’m not changing quarterbacks with the wind, sorry. I’ll be hired and fired on my decisions, and I’m always going to make the decisions myself. I hope that people respect that.” – Arizona State head coach Todd Graham on the ongoing discussion about the Taylor Kelly-Mike Bercovici QB “controversy”

“You can’t turn the ball over five times and win.” – Washington State head coach Mike Leach

“Maybe the guys will be able to tell you more about that. I know that in the first half it was like we over-prepared, but in the second half when it started raining pretty hard, it was like we had the sprinklers on. I got as wet today as I did on sprinkler day.” – Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez on having his players practice at 6 a.m. in the sprinklers in preparation for a rainy, wet day in Salt Lake City

“In the running game, we were soft on defense; they’ve got a good scheme. We got reached on the edge three or four times. Didn’t play that very well. They’re a good offense, but we didn’t play very well on defense either.” – Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham

“They got a lot of pressure on us. They did a good job up front, and I tried to buy some time and make some things happen. But at the end of the day, they had a great pass rush, and you can’t take that away from them.” – USC quarterback Cody Kessler

“It just confirms what I have believed in all along: that we are building something special here. It’s not done yet. It’s not close to finished. But we are moving in the right direction.” – UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr.

“If this was my last game at Autzen, it was truly special. It will be one of those things I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.” – Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota

“I think they’re the best football team [in the country]. I don’t care what anybody says, because he’s the best quarterback in the nation. When you have the best quarterback with the talent they’ve got and the defense, they’ve got a chance to be really, really, really good. I hope they go win it all.” – Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre on Oregon and star QB Mariota

“Our defense just played really well. We’ve been talking all year about trying to get turnovers, and to get a bunch today was huge.” – Stanford head coach David Shaw

“When you face a good defense, you have a really small margin for error. Five turnovers are pretty significant errors.” – Cal head coach Sonny Dykes

“He was really efficient; he was very dialed in to where he was going with the ball. He was seeing well and throwing accurately as well. I thought he was as comfortable as he has been all season.” – Washington coach Chris Petersen on UW quarterback Cyler Miles

“Offensively, Washington has been coming on. They had a good offensive game against Arizona a week ago, and they executed a lot of good things tonight. I thought we played a lot of good defense, but it’s obvious that we gave up too many big plays.” – Oregon State head coach Mike Riley

A Look Ahead to Week 14

Full Pac-12 TV Schedule

Date Game Time Site Network
Fri. Nov. 28 Arizona State at Arizona 1:30 p.m. Arizona Stadium FOX
Fri. Nov. 28 Stanford at UCLA 1:30 p.m. Rose Bowl ABC
Sat. Nov 29 Utah at Colorado 11:00 a.m. Folsom Field Pac-12 Networks
Sat. Nov 29 Notre Dame at USC 1:30 p.m. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum FOX
Sat. Nov 29 BYU at California 2:30 p.m. Memorial Stadium Pac-12 Networks
Sat. Nov 29 Oregon at Oregon State 6:00 p.m. Reser Stadium ABC
Sat. Nov 29 Washington at Washington State 8:30 p.m. Martin Stadium Fox Sports 1

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