Around The Pac: Kiffin Out, Top Teams Blow Out

Sep 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils fan holds a sign prior to the game against the USC Trojans at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The first full weekend of solely Pac-12 play has come and gone, and there wasn’t a close game to be found. The Washington Huskies win over the Arizona Wildcats, 31-13, was the closest game of the weekend. The five games were decided by an average of just over four touchdowns (28.7 points).

While Arizona State was on a 34-0 run in the second and third quarters of its 62-41 win over USC, Trojans athletic director Pat Haden was discussing head coach Lane Kiffin’s future. Long story short, That future won’t be at USC. Kiffin was informed that he was fired after the team landed in Los Angeles. He was reportedly not allowed on the team bus back to campus, but contrary to original reports, Kiffin did have a car at Los Angeles International Airport and was not stranded there.

The Trojans were 28-15 under Kiffin, who took over in 2010 after spending one season at Tennessee. However, they had won just four of their last 11 games before Kiffin was let go. Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian is expected to get interest from USC, but there’s a good chance the Trojans want to move away from the Pete Carroll line of coaches.

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The Huskies and Wildcats battled it out in the pouring rain. The weather favored both offenses’ strengths: the running game. Both running backs flourished, with Bishop Sankey setting a school record for most carries in a game with 40, going for 161 yards. Ka’Deem Carey had himself a game, too, rushing for 132 yards. B.J. Denker managed to not even perform up to his increasingly low expectations, barely eclipsing 100 yards passing and throwing two interceptions.

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I expected this game to be a lot closer than it turned out to be. Colorado had looked promising in its first two games, but apparently the early season magic dissipated in the two weeks off between contests. Oregon State’s offense is a force to be reckoned with, but only until Sean Mannion’s arm ultimately falls off – he attempted 52 more passes Saturday.

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Another game that I had hoped to be closer than it turned out to be. Washington State had played well against lesser competition, even upsetting USC on the road, but the Cougars floundered in the rain on the west side of the state. Maybe they’ll finally learn their lesson and stop scheduling games at CenturyLink Field. The top-15 showdown between Stanford and Washington next week looks more and more entertaining.

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Golden Bears head coach Sonny Dykes pulled his freshman quarterback after only six passes, turning to fellow freshman Zach Kline. No matter how big of a blowout, Dykes needs to show confidence in his quarterback and stick with him. Was he expecting to win in Eugene? I’m still waiting for the Ducks to show any sort of weakness. De’Anthony Thomas was on crutches on the sideline, but it seems as though he only suffered an ankle sprain.

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For the Trojans, apparently the offense and defense can’t get on the same page. Saturday, the offense showed promise – specifically the running game. But it came against an ASU defense that was missing talented lineman Jaxon Hood. Without Hood, the Trojans were able to run it up the middle with ease. Still, a couple key interceptions thrown by Cody Kessler turn the game in ASU’s favor. The Sun Devils, despite the 21-point win, didn’t look particularly impressive. Giving up 41 points to USC can’t be encouraging for Sun Devil fans.

Topics: Football, Lane Kiffin, Pac-12, Washington Huskies

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