‘The Bull On’: College Pigskin–Week 4 and 5 Recapcsudhbulletin December 12, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Demetric Felton rushes past Arizona defenders in Bruins win. Photo by Don Liebig, ASUCLA.
By Daniel Tom, Staff Reporter
Week 4 of Pac-12 football is in the books, as is the slate of Week 13 games on the docket. This presented the first weekend of the season where College Football playoff rankings made games look more significant. Some squads are on the brink of losing traction in league standings, history was made and classic rivalry games spotlighted the list of games this weekend. Here’s how everything went down.
UCLA: Bruins bolt past Wildcats
After dropping a heartbreaker in Eugene, UCLA left Autzen Stadium with their heads held high after a tug-of-war type of game with the Oregon Ducks.
The Bruins used this as a driving force as they executed on both sides of the football handily defeating Arizona 27-10 at the Rose Bowl. The offense was led by senior running back Demetric Felton who rushed for his third consecutive 100-yard game, following in the footsteps of his NFL counterpart Joshua Kelley.
Felton rushed for 134 of his career-high 206 yards in the first half alone carrying the ball 32 times gaining an average of 6.4 yards a carry. UCLA finished the night with 281 yards rushing averaging five yards a run.
Chase Griffin got the start for the second consecutive game with Dorian Thompson-Robinson continuing to be sidelined for COVID-19 protocols. Griffin was more consistent this time around completing 60 percent of his passes, for 129 yards, and tossing a touchdown. The best stat of the night? No interceptions after throwing two of them a week prior.
UCLA’s defense had their work cut out for them on the night. Arizona’s Grant Gunnell, who energizes the Wildcat offense, injured his shoulder on the first play from scrimmage and did not return to the game.
Freshman backup Will Plummer, took the keys to the offense and struggled mightily. Plummer completed 17 of his 35 attempted passes for 151 yards, tossing two interceptions all while being sacked twice and being forced to run away from the Bruins blitz all night. The defense limited Arizona to just two field goals after giving up a touchdown on the opening drive in the second half.
The Bruins carry the winning momentum as they head to Tempe to tango with Arizona State.
Jesse Matthews leaps over Colorado defender in loss. Photo by David Zalubowski, Associated Press.
San Diego State: Aztecs offense nonexistent, as SDSU falls to Colorado
After losing previously scheduled games to Fresno State and USC respectively, San Diego State and Colorado met up at Folsom Field in Boulder. On this day, the Aztecs offense was nowhere to be found in a 20-10 defeat to the Buffaloes.
Despite only managing 155 yards of total offense on the day, the Aztecs hung around with Colorado for the majority of the ball game. With the absence of Lucas Johnson, head coach Brady Hoke went back to the drawing board and decided to execute the quarterback by committee approach.
Carson Baker, who started the season’s first four games before being benched against Nevada was given the nod. He lasted all but two drives that both saw the offense go three and out before he was replaced by junior college transfer Jordan Brookshire (listed fourth on the depth chart).
“From that standpoint, we decided that we would play both (Baker and Brookshire) and see who reacted well and who played well,” Hoke said. “We’ve just got to keep honing in at that position.”
While the Aztecs offense sputtered, the defense held strong, limiting quarterback Sam Noyer’s ability to make plays. Noyer completed 17 of his 29 passes on the day for 138 yards and a touchdown, along with running one in.
San Diego State who’s now lost two straight looks to do some ‘home cooking’ for the final time in 2020 as they host Colorado State at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller warms up prior to the team’s game against Missouri on Saturday Nov. 28. Photo by Missouri Athletics.
History was made in Columbia, Missouri as the University of Missouri hosted Vanderbilt in an early morning appetizer to start off the day’s action. While the game was dismal for the Commodores, on the opening kickoff of the second half Sarah Fuller; a senior goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team became the first woman to participate in a power five conference football game.
Her 35-yard squib kick was met with applause by the fans in attendance at Faurot Field. After the game, Fuller expressed her gratitude and excitement on the day’s events.
“I just think it’s incredible that I am able to do this, and all I want to do is be a good influence to the young girls out there because there were times like I struggled in sports,” Fuller said. “But I am so thankful I stuck with it, and it’s given me so many opportunities. I’ve met so many amazing people through sports, and I just want to say like literally you can do anything you set your mind to.”
As a college football aficionado, to watch history like this unfold is just outstanding. Prior to Fuller’s appearance, the last woman to appear in a college football game was 17 years ago when Kate Hnida of the University of New Mexico converted two extra points against Texas State making her the first female to score points in a Football Subdivision (FBS) game.
To see this kind of representation on the field makes us affirm that football isn’t just a man’s sport. What the guys can do, so can the girls. So, even in a losing effort chalk up a win for Vanderbilt for being on the right side of history.
Week 5 Recap
Week 5 of Pac-12 football is in the books, as is the slate of Week 14 games on the docket. Conference championship games are beginning to look clear, while others look to fight another day and polish their resumes for the best bowl destinations. Here’s a look at all the action from the weekend.
Amon-Ra St. Brown makes a spectacular touchdown grab against Washington State. Photo by John McGillen, USC Athletics.
Trojans come alive in romp of Cougars
A week after seeing their showdown against Colorado get wiped due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases, USC was eager to return to the field to stake their claim as the Pac 12 South’s team to reckon with as they put on an offensive clinic in a 38-13 rout of Washington State on Sunday night from the Coliseum.
Washington State returned to the field after losing their last two games over their own COVID-19 issues. It clearly showed from the opening drive.
The Cougars drove the ball down the field and got to the USC 35 yard line, only to be stopped by the Trojan defense on fourth and one after a blatant no-call of offsides by the officials. After this ensued, the wheels fell off.
On this night, St. Brown made history with touchdowns on every one of his four catches in the first quarter. Additionally, he tied Robert Woods’ record for touchdown receptions in a game set back in 2012.
The defense joined the fun as well as players swarmed the ball and Washington State like it was the last cookie in the jar. Talanoa Hufanga led the way with nine tackles, a sack, and an interception against an already depleted Washington State squad.
Off their best performance of the season, USC quickly turns the page and prepares for the “Crosstown Showdown” against UCLA in prime time Saturday evening at the Rose Bowl.
Kyle Philips dodges two ASU defenders in win on Saturday. Photo by Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports.
UCLA: Bruins rally late, get past ASU
Fresh off a win against the Arizona Wildcats, the Bruins strolled into Sun Devil Stadium looking to get above .500 for the first time in Chip Kelly’s tenure as head coach. On the night, UCLA jumped out to an early lead, gave it up and roared back within the final minute to escape with a 25-18 win over the Sun Devils.
This game marked the return of veteran signal caller Dorian Thompson-Robinson after being held out for contact tracing protocols the previous two games. Robinson completed 18 of his 24 passes for 192 yards, tossing a touchdown while also carrying the ball 15 times for 49 yards, and a score on the ground.
DTR spread the ball around the field completing passes to six different receivers on the night. Kyle Philips led the way with six catches for 53 yards and Delon Hurt added four receptions of his own for 62 yards and a score.
The defense proved to be up to the challenge, limiting Arizona State’s offensive production. This comes a week after holding Arizona to a touchdown and a field goal. The Bruins limited opportunities for quarterback Jayden Daniels who completed 21 of 35 passes, tossed a touchdown but was also sacked five times.
Leading the way for the defense was Caleb Johnson who had a career-best 10 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery on the night. While there were moments of vulnerability for the Bruins secondary, they kept it together to knock down Daniels’ desperation heave to LV Bunkley-Shelton in the endzone to seal the win.
The Bruins are now over .500 for the first time in the Chip Kelly era, and wrap up the regular season with the annual crosstown tilt against USC.
Jordan Brookshire rolls out to pass against Colorado State. Photo by Derrick Tuskan, San Diego State Athletics.
San Diego State: Aztecs Special Teams Stymie Rams
San Diego State football has hit a bump in the road recently. After losing a one-possession game to Nevada and dropping a non-conference game to Colorado, a little home cooking is what the doctor ordered.
The Aztecs pulled out their secret weapon… special teams as two long kick returns and three field goals were more than enough as SDSU got by Colorado State 29-17 last Saturday in Carson.
Jordan Brookshire, who entered for struggling Carson Baker against Colorado got the nod as QB1. Brookshire completed 14 of his 24 passes for 130 yards, and a touchdown. Additionally, he used his feet to rush 23 times for a team-high 38 yards.
The offense had a hard time sustaining drives, but head coach Brady Hoke was happy with how the other units stepped up to play more or less a complete game.
“All three phases of the game contributed tonight,” SDSU head coach Brady Hoke said. “Obviously, we didn’t play the best in all three phases, but the return game was very good for us and I’m really excited about that”.
While the Aztecs were knocked out of conference championship contention, SDSU is back in the win column and looks to close the regular season strong when they head up to Provo to take on nationally ranked BYU.
Head Coach Ryan Day hoists Big Ten Championship Trophy after Ohio State defeated Wisconsin in 2019. Photo by Michael Conroy, Associated Press.
With the regular season winding down, many teams are now either jockeying for position in conference title races or are simply playing for pride. The top four in the college football playoff (CFP) rankings remain unchanged.
However, within the past week because of COVID-19 outbreaks among programs teams across the country have been losing games and are desperately trying to find opponents to keep their teams within conference minimum requirements for postseason qualifications.
For example, fourth ranked Ohio State lost three games this year due to COVID-19 issues. This happened twice with teams and their COVID-19 outbreaks, on top of their own issues in Week 6 vs. Illinois which saw that game cancelled.
As part of it’s return to play plan, the Big Ten Conference agreed to stringent protocols to allow the return for play. This included playing in a minimum of six games (for an eight game season).
Ohio State, a name brand for the conference, fell below that threshold this week. This signified they were not eligible to compete for the conference title on December 19 against Northwestern.
That was until the conference came forward, revised their requirement allowing Ohio State to replace a (6-1) Indiana team who met the minimum requirement to play for the right of conference champion.
If you ask me, this signifies favoritism and monetary gain for the conference bending their rules so their perennial contender competes for a national championship.
Don’t get me wrong I love college football just as much as anyone, whether you read this blog or not. But rather than money or greed, shouldn’t this be about the BEST games or teams with the best record?
Reward the teams who have played through the adversity, played by the rules you set. Don’t bend your back on your own guidelines to cater to one school and fanbase for a revenue bump.
Indiana deserved better than to be snubbed of a spot in the conference title game for a team that should single handedly embarrass Northwestern on national television (sorry Cats fans).