By Matt Heinz @MattHeinz_Rant on September 1, 2014
All six Pac-12 North teams were in action during Week 1 and all but one of them came out victorious. The two teams predicted to finish at the top dominated while last year's conference doormat scored a huge road upset. Here is how I graded each team's performance.
Up 31-14 with three minutes to go in the third, Cal showed they still aren’t quite sure how to win but they may have learned on Saturday. The Bears got their first win against an FBS opponent since they beat Washington State in 2012. Getting a win against a quality opponent on the road is huge for getting players and fans to buy into what Sonny Dykes is selling. The defense, Cal’s biggest concern, took a giant step by holding the Wildcat offense to just 24 points.
Ty Montgomery returned a punt for TD and also busted a WR screen 44 yards for a score. Kevin Hogan was efficient as he completed 12 out of 16 passes and even showed off his maneuverability on an impressive TD run. The win gave Stanford their 17th straight home win which is the second longest streak in the entire NCAA. The defense looked as dominating as ever, not letting UC Davis cross midfield until the last play of the game!
Oregon dominated a team they were supposed to dominate on Saturday. Marcus Mariota got a good start to his Heisman campaign by scoring four TDs. The offense looked sharp as the Ducks piled up 673 yards. Running back Byron Marshall racked up 228 rushing and receiving yards combined. Great job getting all the kinds worked out before a huge game against Michigan State looming.
Jeff Lindquist looked out of place and only completed 10 out of 26 passes, filling in for suspended QB Cyler Miles. Washington started out slow, trailing 10-0 but scored their first TD on a Chris Peterson staple, a trick play. John Ross scored on the 20 yard reverse. Hawaii is not a good team, but yet had the ball with three minutes left with a chance to win. Their drive stalled at their own 46.
Oregon State gave up 112 yards on the ground and two TDs rushing from quarterback Kieran McDonagh. That is a bad sign considering Brett Hundley, Marcus Mariota and Taylor Kelly are still on the schedule. Mannion threw 19 incompletions and the Beavers scored only 29 points against Portland State. Storm Woods was one of the few bright spots as he rushed for 126 yards and took a screen pass 23 yards for a score.
The Cougars made the Pac-12’s worst grade because they lost to a team they should have beat. In year three under the Mike Leach regime, more progress was supposed to be made than losing a season opener to a team that lost seven games last year. Halliday was incredible but the defense was poor as they gave up 496 yards.
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