Five down, three to go.
On the strength of Sam Darnold‘s right arm, USC eventually outlasted a feisty Colorado 20-0 in Boulder. Darnold, who could be the overall No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft if he decides to forego his final season of eligibility, passed for 329 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added a touchdown run for good measure.
Ronald Jones chipped in 132 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground, while the Trojans returned one interception — and nearly a second late — for a score as well.
USC is now 7-1 in conference play with one game, rival UCLS, remaining. Two teams, Arizona and Arizona State, are at 4-2 entering Week 11 although only one could potentially tie USC as the in-state rivals square off in the regular-season finale, leaving one with at least three conference losses. That doesn’t matter, though, as the Trojans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over both teams.
As such, USC is headed to its first Pac-12 championship game since 2015 and its second ever since the game was first played in 2011.
Just who they will face remains very much up in the air as Stanford (6-2), Washington (5-2) and Washington State (5-2) are all still vying for the North’s spot. The Cardinal beat the Huskies Friday night, but lost to the Cougars in Week 10. Stanford will be hoping for a win over Cal next weekend and a Wazzu loss to UW in the Apple Cup two weeks from now to clinch. If the Cougars win out, they will represent the division regardless of what happens with the Cardinal; the Huskies need to win their remaining two games and have the Cardinal trip up against the Bears.
The Pac-12 South is the fifth Power Five division to be decided, joining both the ACC Atlantic (today) and Coastal (also today), the Big Ten West (also today) and the SEC East. That leaves, along with the Pac-12 North, the Big Ten East — Ohio State has essentially wrapped up that division, though — and the SEC West still without an official champion.
UCLA’s concussion protocol seems to be a bit more stringent than the Seattle Seahawks but it doesn’t appear that it will keep the team’s star player out of another game as they return to Los Angeles for a big stretch of November games.
Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen has apparently been cleared to play in Saturday game against Arizona State, according to a report from the LA Times on Friday afternoon. The potential first-rounder missed the team’s trip to Utah last week after suffering from concussion-like symptoms at some point during or after UCLA’s loss to Washington.
Devon Modster fractured his thumb in the loss to the Utes, which would have put redshirt freshman Matt Lynch in line to make his first career start. Instead, with Rosen back in the fold the banged up offense should look a lot more potent against the blitz-happy Sun Devils defense on Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.
Rosen spoke earlier this week about how much he’d like to play in a potential UCLA bowl game and, with the team sitting at 4-5 on the year, the upcoming Pac-12 South contest could go a long ways toward making that happen. Given that USC and fellow in-state rival Cal are left on the slate the rest of the month, it’s still going to be an uphill battle for the Bruins to make it to the postseason but at least with their star quarterback taking snaps, Jim Mora’s crew at least has a fighting chance.
College football’s award season is coming quickly with semifinalists and finalists for various awards coming in the next few weeks. Among the awards is the Broyles Award, which recognizes the top assistant coach in college football. Today, the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation released its list of nominees for this year’s award. All 56 of them, which is sure to keep more SIDs busy this time of year.
No school has more than one assistant nominated for the award and previous winners of the award from the past five seasons are not eligible. Clemson’s Brent Venables won the award last year, for example, so he is not eligible this season. This list of nominees will be trimmed to 15 semifinalists later this season, and that list will be cut down to five finalists for the award.
The Broyles Award was first awarded in 2010 to Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Malzahn is currently the head coach of the Tigers. In total, five Broyles Award winners have gone on to be a head coach, with four of those currently holding head coaching positions. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi (2013, Michigan State defensive coordinator), Texas head coach Tom Herman (2014, Ohio State offensive coordinator), and Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley (2015, Oklahoma offensive coordinator) currently hold head coaching jobs. Bob Diaco, who won the award in 2012 while at Notre Dame, went on to be named the head coach at UConn and currently is an assistant with Nebraska.
2017 Broyles Award Nominees
- Alabama – Brian Daboll, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- Arizona – Rod Smith, Co–Offensive Coordinator
- Arizona State – Phil Bennett, Defensive Coordinator
- Arkansas State – Brian Early, Defensive Line Coach
- Auburn – Kevin Steele, Defensive Coordinator
- Boise State – Andy Avalos, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Bowling Green State – Matt Brock, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- California – Beau Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
- Central Florida – Troy Walters, Offensive Coordinator
- Clemson – Tony Elliot, Co–Offensive Coordinator, Running Backs
- Eastern Michigan – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- FAU – Chris Kiffin, Defensive Coordinator
- FIU – Brent Guy, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Fresno State – Orlondo Steinauer, Defensive Coordinator
- Georgia – Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator
- Georgia State – Nate Fuqua, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
- Iowa State – Jon Heacock, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
- Kansas State – Sean Snyder, Special Teams Coordinator
- LSU – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator
- Memphis – Joe Lorig, Special Teams Coordinator; – Outside Linebackers
- Miami – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
- Michigan – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Michigan State – Harlon Barnett, Co–Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
- Mississippi State – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Missouri – Josh Heupel, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
- NC State – Dwayne Ledford, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator
- North Texas – Graham Harrell, Offensive Coordinator
- Northwestern – Mike Hankwitz, Defensive Coordinator
- Notre Dame – Mike Elko, Defensive Coordinator
- Ohio State – Larry Johnson, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach
- Oklahoma – Bill Bedenbaugh, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Oklahoma State – Mike Yurcich, Offensive Coordinator/QBs
- Ole Miss – Derrick Nix, Running Backs Coach
- Oregon – Jim Leavitt, Defensive Coordinator
- Penn State – Brent Pry, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- San José State – Bojay Filimoeatu, Linebackers Coach
- SMU – Joe Craddock, Offensive Coordinator
- South Carolina – Coleman Hutzler, Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- Southern Miss – Tony Pecoraro, Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
- Stanford – Mike Bloomgren, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- Syracuse – Brian Ward, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
- TCU – Chad Glasgow, Defensive Coordinator
- Temple – Jim Panagos, Defensive Line
- Texas – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Toledo – Brian Wright, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
- Troy – Vic Koenning, Defensive Coordinator
- U.S. Military Academy – Brent Davis, Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
- USC – Tee Martin, Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach
- Utah State – Mark Tommerdahl, Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs
- Virginia Tech – Bud Foster, Defensive Coordinator
- Wake Forest – Warren Ruggiero, Offensive Coordinator
- Washington – Pete Kwiatkowski, Defensive Coordinator
- Washington State – Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator / Secondary
- West Virginia – Tony Gibson, Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
- Western Kentucky – Clayton White, Defensive Coordinator
- Wisconsin – Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator
It’s looking likely that UCLA will have its offensive leader under center as the 4-5 Bruins look to try to salvage a disappointing season — and potentially keep their head coach off the chopping block as well.
A concussion, suffered in the second half of a Week 9 loss to Washington, kept Josh Rosen out of UCLA’s loss to Utah in Week 10. Since that Oct. 28 loss, Rosen has been in concussion protocol; a couple of days before hosting Arizona State this coming Saturday night, all the signs are pointing toward The Artist Formerly Known As The Rosen One returning.
The biggest sign? Rosen returning to practice Tuesday, a significant step toward being cleared.
“It was definitely encouraging,” offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said of the practice return. “He looked good, he looked good. He practiced good. It’s been tough. It’s been really six quarters without him and that’s always difficult.”
For his part, the junior fully expects to be on the field.
“Absolutely. I feel great,” Rosen said via ESPN.com.
Despite missing essentially a game and a half, Rosen is currently 12th nationally with 2,713 passing yards. His 339.1 passing yards per game are sixth in the country.
In the loss to the Utes, Rosen’s backup, freshman Devon Modster, completed 8-of-12 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
The month of October was a bizarre one in the Pac-12 as teams zigged while you thought they were going to zag. Nobody embodied that more than No. 21 USC and Arizona State entering the weekend.
The Trojans’ normally high-powered offense was stuck in neutral. The Sun Devils’ defense was punching way, way above their weight. As a pivotal Pac-12 South battle loomed, would these strange trends continue on Pac-12 After Dark? The answer: no, not at all. Sam Darnold and USC broke out of their slump to bounce back and beat ASU on Saturday night in Tempe, using numerous big plays to capture a 48-17 victory that probably wasn’t even as close as the final score line would indicate.
The one time Heisman favorite had one of his best outings of the season after a disastrous result in South Bend last week, tossing three touchdown passes and racking up 266 yards all told against a defense that had stymied some pretty solid passers the past few weeks. Wideout Tyler Vaughns was the recipient of most of those passes and continued his stellar play by posting career highs of 126 yards and two scores. The tandem was so impressive one almost forgot about Rose Bowl hero Deontay Burnett as he had a quiet night despite 49 yards and a trip to the end zone.
Not be outdone, running back Ronald Jones returned to his early season form and racked up 216 yards on the ground. The junior was a big play machine in the dry desert air too, bursting through the line for a pair of 60+ yard scores on the night.
The Trojans’ 607 yards of offense had spoiled a good month on defense for Todd Graham’s Sun Devils. A terrible third down performance (1/12 in the game) and mediocre run game didn’t help their efforts either. Quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for 259 yards but found the end zone, somewhat incredibly, only once under wild circumstances.
That came right at the end of the first half after the signal-caller launched a bomb toward the end zone. The play was initially ruled a catch at the one yard line but was reviewed and eventually ruled as a touchdown on the longest Hail Mary play in recent college football history. The teams were eventually brought back from the locker room to kick the extra point but in the end, it will go down as a footnote in this one.
The victory by the Trojans keeps them in the lead for the Pac-12 South title and presents quite the interesting game in the Coliseum next Saturday. USC is set to host Arizona in what is looking very much like a fascinating battle between some pretty explosive offenses based on how this weekend has turned out.