The Pac-12 Conference was off and running with four non-conference contests played Thursday evening. Three of the four new head coaches for the league were in action and the results were okay if a bit mixed but as a rule the offensives looked good.
Two of the teams had easy home games against inferior FCS schools while the other two were on the road against FBS clubs. Let's take a quick look at each game and at the end, see if there are any deductions to be made.
The Bears are a former Division 2 school who are still getting their feet wet in the FCS so playing a BCS school on the road (Salt Lake City) is tough and the Utes made it look that way. The Utah offense got off to a slow start but was proficient, with their star running back John White rushing for 119 yards. The Utes' strength heading into 2012 is their defense and it showed. Northern Colorado had only 114 total yards for the game.
UCLA Bruins 49 - Rice Owls 24
The game was in Houston, which offered new head coach Jim Mora an early test - so far, so good. Mora's Bruins offense clicked on all cylinders with Johnathan Franklin running roughshod over the Owls for 214 yards and three scores. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hunley had a great first game, throwing for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 68 yards and another touchdown. The Bruins defense was okay but Rice ran for 174 yards though UCLA did shut out the Owls in the second half.
BYU Cougars 30 - Washington State Cougars 6
New head coach Mike Leach had a tough opening game on the road at Provo and the outcome may have told the story for Leach and the folks from Pullman, Washington: the rebuilding program may take awhile. BYU's offense was efficient and their defense was solid. Washington State, on the other hand, threw the ball well at times but had too many mistakes. That and Wazzu had no running game … none.
Arizona State Sun Devils 63 - Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 6
The Sun Devils new head coach Todd Graham had a nice home game win for his debut in Tempe. Arizona State ran early and often and seemed to toy with the Lumberjacks while building a huge 42-0 halftime lead. The Sun Devils had 554 total yards with new quarterback Taylor Kelly throwing for a very efficient 247 yards on 15 of 19 passing. The defense brutalized Northern Arizona taking out the Lumberjacks quarterback Cary Grossart and running back Zach Bauman for the game.
Overall, the Pac-12 squads looked good, especially on offense … except for one instance. Washington State appears to have quite a bit of work ahead of them. The Wazzu offense didn't look anything like a Mike Leach team but it's just the first game, a lot of football is still to be played. The other three winning Pac-12 teams looked very good on offense and that might be the takeaway here: the leagues offenses may be fun to watch in 2012.
There's one game Friday night and then seven more on Saturday - including #1 USC's home game against Hawaii (see related articles) - to kickoff the 2012 opening week of college football play.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference, Associated Press
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!
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