What a night of college football in the state of Oregon on Saturday as two marquee matchups took place.
Oregon was in a dogfight with UCLA at the half (14-14), then scored 28 unanswered in the second half to knock off the Bruins, 42-14.
In Corvallis, the Beavers nearly rallied to force overtime but came up short as Stanford hung on for a 20-12 win.
That sets up a Nov. 7 showdown between the Ducks and Cardinal for the Pac-12 North lead.
It was a tough loss for the Beavers, whose defense limited the Cardinal to 130 fewer yards than their average.
USC sent Utah to a second straight loss after the Utes’ upset of Stanford with a 19-3 win; Arizona steamrolled Colorado, 44-20, on the road; and Washington ended a three-game skid with a 41-17 win over California as they honored former coach Don James, who died a week ago from pancreatic cancer.
Four games are on tap this week with Washington State hosting Arizona State on Thursday and USC travelling to Oregon State for a Friday “Orange out” in Reser Stadium. On Saturday, Arizona is at Cal and Colorado is at UCLA.
Not a lot of changes at the top of the power rankings this week.
Oregon (8-0, 5-0): For a half, the Ducks were on upset alert. But they responded as the second-ranked team in the country should with a dominating second-half performance. Ducks have a few extra days to prepare for showdown with Cardinal.
2. Stanford (7-1, 5-1): Cardinal escaped Corvallis thanks to 145 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Tyler Gaffney. Stanford will need to play better offensively to keep up with Ducks.
3. Oregon State (6-2, 4-1): In many ways, the Beavers probably should have knocked off the Cardinal. OSU’s offense struggled against a talented Stanford defense while its defense was stout throughout and has come a long way since the season opener.
4. UCLA (5-2, 2-2): Bruins had three freshmen on the offensive line and still hung tough for a half. UCLA has to put losses to Stanford and Oregon behind and move on.
5. Arizona State (5-2, 3-1): Sun Devils had a bye and could have moved past the Bruins. Let’s see how they do at WSU this week first.
6. Washington (5-3, 2-3): Huskies honored late coach and did what the rest of the conference has done – beat up on Cal. Huskies have a bye until hosting Colorado on Nov. 9.
7. USC (5-3, 2-2): Trojans making the only move up this week, leapfrogging Utah and Arizona – the two teams they have defeated in conference play. Can they keep it up in Corvallis where they have struggled?
8. Arizona (5-2, 2-2): Wildcats have won two straight and should make it three in a row with a trip to Cal up before a tough final four game-stretch.
9. Washington State (4-4, 2-3): Cougars coming off a bye and will host Arizona State on Halloween. WSU two wins away from becoming bowl eligible.
10. Utah (4-4, 1-4): That upset of Stanford looks like a fluke now. Or maybe the Utes just struggle when they aren’t in Utah. After a bye, Utes host Arizona State and travel to Oregon.
11. Colorado (3-4, 0-4): Buffaloes still looking for first Pac-12 win.
12. California (1-7, 0-5): Another game, another blowout loss.