Posted: 3:54 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
By Jack Follman
Stanford - Wow. It looked like the Cougars might not have enough healthy bodies to field a team late in the game Saturday against the Cardinal as their big guys brutalized the spread-loving Cougars and their quarterbacks. After dominating Arizona State and Washington State, it looks like the Cardinal truly are a national title contender this season.
Bishop Sankey - Sankey faced off with Ka'Deem Carey and did yeoman's work in a devastating rain storm, breaking a school record with 40 carries which he took for 161 yards and a touchdown. Sankey isn't a highlight reel runner, but he's as solid and consistent of a back as there is in the country and he put the Husky offense on his back, running up against an Arizona defense that was selling out to the run.
Arizona State's offense - Despite all of their troubles this year, the Trojan defense had been utterly stingy on defense until the Sun Devil offensive unit lit them up for more than 600 yards Saturday. The Sun Devils were efficient with the ball, took advantage of turnovers and pulverized the Trojans with a balanced attack.
Marion Grice - Grice doesn't rack up yards, but is better than any other back in the conference at getting into the end zone. He had just under 100 total yards, but he turned them into a whopping four touchdowns.
Oregon without De'Anthony Thomas - The Ducks leaned on Thomas heavily during their non-conference slate as other running backs struggled to provide additional firepower, so it was very concerning for the Ducks when he went down on the opening kickoff. However, the Duck offense used turnovers created by the defense and playmaking running by Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner and Marcus Mariota to score 55 points and run for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
Sean Mannion - Mannion is quietly maybe playing better than other quarterback in the conference right now. He carved up Colorado for more than 400 yards and a record six touchdowns to bring up his season tally to an impressive 21 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
Cal - It's beginning to look like it might be a major rebuilding project for Sonny Dykes, as the Bears continued to look atrocious, especially on defense Saturday. Yes, the Ducks regularly make opponents look putrid, but the Bears mainly did themselves in against the Ducks with turnovers and ineptitude on defense. They also pulled freshman quarterback Jared Goff almost immediately, potentially sparking a quarterback controversy.
Arizona's passing game - Yes, it was a torrential downpour, but the Wildcats looked like throwing even a one-yard pass against Washington was an accomplishment. The Wildcats have an outstanding back in Carey, and an improved defense, but they will have a very hard time winning any games in the Pac-12 this season if they are a complete non-threat through the air.
Colorado - The Buffs didn't quite look like the embarrassment that they were under Jon Embree, but they still looked helpless Saturday against Oregon State. Most concerning, was how little they were able to do on offense against a Beaver defense that had previously been amongst the worst in the country as they could do little to nothing until the end of the game when it was already over.
USC - So the inevitable exit of Lane Kiffin has come and gone, and probably even earlier than I expected, so now all that's left to see if how the Trojans will respond. Despite their early-season struggles, the Trojans are still a talented team and sometimes teams see an instant improvement once an unpopular coach is dismissed but nothing is guaranteed with this confusing squad.
De'Anthony Thomas - Thomas injured his ankle on the opening kickoff of the game and didn't return, but the severity of the ankle doesn't look to be overly serious. Still, it's uncertain when he will return, and sprained ankles tend to be injuries that linger throughout the season. The good news for the Ducks though is that they get an unofficial bye week next week against Colorado, so he will likely rest up before their game at Washington the following Saturday.
Cal quarterback situation - The Bears yanked true freshman Jared Goff very early against Oregon as thinks got ugly quickly and redshirt freshman Zach Kline came in with relatively unimpressive results, but his insertion seems to have opened the door for some questioning about the situation. Goff will remain the starter, but will Kline start getting looks if Goff isn't performing as they face less devastating Pac-12 opponents beginning next week?
Arizona State's defense - The USC offense had been on life support before they headed to Tempe and racked up more than 500 yards of offense and 41 points. Was this just result of the USC offense finally living up to its potential, or should Sun Devil fans start to worry that their defensive unit won't be able to stop anyone?