The Pac 12 kicked off its conference slate in full in Week 4, and every member of the Pac 12 South was in action.
There were gutsy comebacks, dominating bouncebacks, and a couple of setbacks for the division. So what did we learn about the Pac 12 South?
Lesson Learned: Matt Scott may not be ready for primetime
Scott had looked like the perfect fit for Rich Rodriguez‘s spread offense in his first year as the starter in Arizona. In three games, Scott had led the Cats to the fourth best offense in the country and a Top 25 ranking. However, when Scott led the Cats on the road to the bright lights of Autzen Stadium, he wilted. Throwing just 22-for-44 (50 percent) for 220 yards and no touchdowns with three interceptions, Scott’s body language and confidence seemed to melt as the game went south. He wasn’t helped by his receivers, but he’ll need to be much more poised and consistent if the Cats want to show they’re for real the rest of the way.
Lesson Learned: Nothing beats a bit of home cooking
The Sun Devils have looked extremely good at home, and average on the road. Of course, having to travel to SEC country and take on the Missouri Tigers may play a part in that, but they are looking very stout in Tempe. The offense racked up 512 yards of offense with Taylor Kelly throwing for 326 and three touchdowns. They were able to put it into cruise-control for the second half, scoring 31 of their 37 points before halftime. Keeping this offense clicking will go a long way in determining ASU’s chances going forward.
Lesson Learned: Jon Embree will be coaching in Boulder next year
Last week, the Buffaloes were written off as a future 0-12 team after getting drubbed by the Fresno State Bulldogs. Jon Embree did the coaching job of his life getting this team turned around in a single week to show the toughness and resilience they used to rally in Pullman. They may not win a whole lot more this season, but they certainly aren’t going to give up, and that’s enough to give Jon Embree another year in Boulder.
Lesson Learned: This team is still growing
The dynamic duo of Brett Hundley and Jonathan Franklin is going to be a dangerous pair for Jim Mora, but they’re still growing into their roles as leaders. This was the first game they faced with the pressure of being a heavy favorite where the underdog came out and hit them in the mouth. They didn’t respond well enough, though Hundley showed off his arm throwing for 372 yards and a long touchdown, but Franklin disappeared, rushing for less than 50 yards on the day. The team can’t get one-dimensional and lose the ability to run the ball like they did on Saturday if they want to be successful. Bruins fans shouldn’t worry too much, though, brighter days are still ahead for UCLA.
Lesson Learned: This team does not travel well
Two road games, two bad losses for the Utes. This one just got ugly in a hurry down in the desert. The Utes were projected to be one of the top defenses in the Pac 12, if not the nation, but couldn’t stop anybody on Saturday, surrendering more than 500 yards of offense, forcing no turnovers, and allowing 24 first downs. The offense didn’t help matters, going 4-for-14 on third down with John White rushing 14 times for just 18 yards. The Utes will need to get tougher on the road or take a couple steps back in the Pac 12 South.
Lesson Learned: Matt Barkley is a mere mortal
USC bounced back after their first loss of the season, but Matt Barkley looked far from the Heisman Trophy frontrunner that people have expected him to be. Less than 200 yards passing and a pair of interceptions against a mediocre Cal Bears defense means the Barkley aura is likely forever shattered. He’ll have bounce-back performances down the way, but after back-to-back disappointments, he’ll have to hang up his Superman cape for good.