BY MICHAEL LEESE
PAC-12 ROLLS TO 22-4 NON-CONFERENCE RECORD…….It was a big weekend for Pac-12 teams as they took three of four from the BiG 10. Arizona State held off Wisconsin 32-30, UCLA rallied after being down by 18 on the road to blast Nebraska 41-21, and Washington was impressive on the road as they defeated Illinois 34-24 in Chicago. The lone Pac-12 loss was Cal, under first-year coach Sonny Dykes, losing to No. 4 Ohio State 52-34. With conference play kicking off this weekend, this bodes well for the Pac-12’s chances to land two BCS berths.
WISCONSIN GETS APOLOGY FROM PAC 12 OFFICIALS………..Wisconsin was able to beat 106 degree heat, but couldn’t beat the clock. Trailing 32-30 late in the fourth quarter, the Badgers moved the ball to the Arizona State 18-yard line with 20 seconds left in the game. The officials allowed the clock to run out after quarterback Joel Stave attempted to take a knee and center the ball, setting up a spike to kill the clock. Arizona State players covered the ball, thinking it was a fumble and time expired before the Badgers could get the ball snapped. The scene on the field was total confusion, and fans of both teams were left wondering what had just happened. Rather than offer any explanation, the officials sprinted to the locker room, leaving silent and confused a crowd of more than 66,000 that had just witnessed their team emerge victorious from a back-and-forth battle against a nationally ranked opponent. On Monday, the Pac-12 issued a statement that cited the officials for their failure to “properly administer the end of game situation and act with appropriate urgency on the game’s final play.” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is going to take additional sanctions against the officials according to the same statement.
For Wisconsin, it was sort of Deja Vu in a couple of ways . Last year when playing at Oregon State, the Badgers recovered an onside kick, that was incorrectly overturned by a booth official in the final minute, and the Beavers held on for a 10-7 win. And in the 2012 Rose Bowl, the clock ran out as the Badgers tried in vain to spike the ball, preserving a Ducks victory.
NEED TO KNOW NAMES . . . . . Here are a few names to get to know as the season moves along. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff has already energized the Cal Bears fan base and leads the FBS in passing with 1,326 yards and seven touchdowns in just three games! Running back Paul James of Rutgers leads all backs with 493 yards, six touchdowns and a 8.1 per carry average, after having only five carries last year. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon is also making a name for himself, as he has rushed for 477 yards and averages a stunning 12.9 yards per carry! Sophomore receiver Mike Evans of Texas A&M will surely be a household name by the end of the season, as the 6’5″ receiver has become Johnny Manziel‘s favorite target. He has 518 yards, three TDs, and is averaging 25.9 yards per catch! Oregon State receiver Brandin Cooks has 29 catches for 498 yards and seven touchdowns!
RANTS……..How about National Champion Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback Tommy Frazier on Twitter during Saturday’s meltdown in Lincoln. “I hate saying this but this crap is getting old” referring to the Huskers defense as it was surrendering an 18-point lead. You know what — He is right! The Nebraska defense is NOT what it used to be! Both East Carolina and Marshall had their BCS Buster hopes go down the drain with losses on Saturday. The Pirates fell to Virginia Tech at home 15-10, and Marshall was beaten on the road by Ohio 34-31
RAVES.……Kudos to Texas Tech, Maryland, Central Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Auburn and Minnesota who all improved to 3-0 with victories last weekend.