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September 18, 2012
Coming off a morale-boosting win, how are the Huskies looking going into Pac-12 play relative to the rest of the conference? To help answer this question, let's take a glance around the conference in Week Three to see how the Pac-12 fared.
Coming in hot
No. 4 Oregon and their high-powered Ducks offense coasted past a cupcake in Tennessee Tech, winning 63-14.
No. 24 Arizona took out South Carolina State in the same fashion, winning 56-0, and No. 22 UCLA took care of business against Houston 37-6. All three teams enter Pac-12 play ranked and undefeated.
Coming in off a statement
Washington blew out PSU 52-13, trying to make up for a disheartening 38-point loss to LSU a week ago. The Huskies have shown their resiliency, and also look to have finally found some offense too.
Utah entered Week Three fresh off a crushing loss of their own to in-state rival Utah State. The Utes redeemed themselves this week though, winning the Holy War by beating their other in-state rival BYU 24-21. Both teams suffered difficult losses a week ago but will come into the Pac-12 off important rebound wins.
Washington State also made a statement this week. WSU's Connor Halliday threw for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns Friday against UNLV to lead his team to a 35-27 victory. This was a nice win for a Cougar team that isn't really expected to do much this season, and with it they may have proved that they at least aren't the "Colorado" of the Pac-12 this season.
Oregon State didn't have a game this week, but they'll be starting up Pac-12 play fresh from rest and fresh off of a statement win from week 2 over ranked opponent Wisconsin.
Coming in off a tough loss
After staying competitive almost all game, California gave away a wide-open 72-yard touchdown reception to Ohio State's Devin Smith in the last 4 minutes of their game in Columbus.
The Bears hung with the Buckeyes all game long, but what potentially could have been a shocking upset over the 12th ranked team, instead only goes down as a valiant loss.
Arizona State played Missouri tough too, but because of a slow start in which they fell behind 17-0 the Sun Devils never were able to come all the way back.
The toughest loss of Week Three, however, belongs to USC. The Trojans fell 21-14 to Stanford and it was USC's fourth loss in a row to the Cardinal.
The fall of Troy doesn't especially look good for the Pac-12 since it most likely takes one of the conference's top two teams out of the top 5, but on the bright side at least USC kept their loss within the conference. USC, who has the first in-conference loss in the Pac-12, will most likely enter Week Four angry, just like the rest of these teams who suffered heart breakers.
Team on fire
Stanford posts the biggest upset of the week by knocking off No. 2 USC. Though this was an upset, it wasn't a major shocker given Stanford's ranking, the game being in Palo Alto, and the nature of the rivalry. But with all that said, Stanford handled their business, remains undefeated, will be moving up in the rankings, and solidifies their position as one of the Pac-12's most dangerous teams.
Team in trouble
Seriously Colorado? The Buffs got embarrassed. Again. For the third game in a row against yet a third non-power conference opponent. They've tallied bad losses to Colorado State and Sacramento State, and to top it all, they got housed by Fresno State 69-14 (55-7 at halftime). At this rate, with such poor performances and an 0-3 record to show for it, it will be a surprise to see Colorado win a single game this year.
Around the Pac-12
The Pac-12 had a decent week, but not a great week overall. Seven out of eleven teams came out on top (Oregon State had the week off).
For the Huskies
Washington faces Stanford on Thursday, September 27 to kick off their Pac-12 conference schedule. Stanford will be looking to mow over the Dawgs now with their eyes set on bigger prizes after pulling off a win against USC, so the Huskies will need some of their offensive effectiveness against Portland State to carry over somehow against a much, much better opponent.
The Huskies, even though they dominated Portland State, still did not play perfect by any means. They racked up a substantial amount of penalties, and also had some defensive lapses too (one of which resulted in a 70-yard touchdown pass to Nevin Lewis from Kieran McDonagh). Discipline will be key, and so will rest.
Given the Dawgs' injury issues it'll be nice for them to get the extra days between Saturday and Thursday of next week to rest up. Also, as the Huskies need as much help as they can get against the Cardinal, the fact that the game is a high profile Thursday night blackout game could bring some extra fire to the Dawgs at home.
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