The Pac-12 got all #Pac12AfterDark in Week 3 with some incredible finishes and one huge upset. Here’s a quick rewind to get you caught up.
Offensive player of the week: Typically, as Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan goes, so go the Cardinal. It just so happened this week that Hogan was going full steam ahead on the road at USC. The veteran, who had struggled in his career against the Trojans, completed 18 of 23 passes (78 percent) for 279 yards and two touchdowns in the upset win.
Defensive player of the week: A lot of good options this week. But there’s something neat about a guy doing special things on his birthday. Colorado’s Kenneth Olugbode, on his 20th birthday, recorded a team high 13 tackles and returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown in the Buffs' 27-24 overtime win over in-state rival Colorado State.
Special-teams player of the week: Splitting it up this week to a team award and an individual award. The Utah special teams looked a lot more like the units of the past. Cory Butler-Byrd had a 98-yard kickoff return for a score and Britain Covey added a 77-yard punt return for a score. Andy Phillips hit his lone field goal and all PATs and Tom Hackett’s two punts were both inside the 20. Individually, we tip our cap to Oregon’s Aidan Schneider who was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including one from 26 yards and three from 40 yards out.
Team of the week: With its win over No. 6 USC, Stanford owns the league’s best win, the best road win and the best conference win. Not a bad way to bounce back after a Week 1 loss that had most folks abandoning ship. The win snapped a two-game skid against the Trojans and the 41-31 outcome also broke the streak of the past five games in this series being decided by one possession. If this is the Stanford team that’s going to show up the rest of the season … then look out Pac-12.
Trend of the week: Is the North Division really that far off from the South? Through three weeks, the South is 15-3 overall while the North is 13-5. Each division has a win over a ranked team (UCLA over BYU, Stanford over USC). The Cardinal have the best win in the conference and both divisions are .500 against Power 5 teams (North is 3-3, South is 2-2). The North took some guff in Week 1 with Stanford’s loss to Northwestern and WSU’s loss to Portland State -- the latter being an indefensible black eye. But Stanford’s road win over the No. 6 Trojans showed the gap between the divisions isn’t as wide as we might think.
Best play: Plenty of good options this week. Special-teams returns and defensive touchdowns often populate these kinds of notes. But from a pure pitch-and-catch standpoint, Dom Williams’ one-handed 35-yard touchdown catch was pretty sweet. Luke Falk delivered the perfect ball, making the grab look easier than it probably was (ya know, catching a football at full speed with one hand while a defender drapes your other). You can see the catch here.
Theme of the week: Every week in the Pac-12 is literally "separation weekend." But we only really get to use that once. So we might as well use it the first week of full-blown league play. Teams can rise or fall dramatically pending the outcome of some of this week’s games, including, but not limited to: UCLA at Arizona, USC at Arizona State, Utah at Oregon, Cal at Washington.
Non-football random thought of the week: Better coach: Norman Dale or Jimmy McGinty? Feel like McGinty did more with less.