Through three games, Pac-12 football teams have started successfully, if a bit haltingly in two cases. The big stuff comes later Saturday — none bigger than Washington’s game with Boise State, but also Northwestern at Cal, WSU at Auburn and UCLA at Nevada.
It was an edgy Thursday night for both Utah and USC, though the Trojans never were in doubt of beating Hawaii, which they did 30-13. But they got panned in Los Angeles for struggling offensively, as neither quarterback, Cody Kessler or Max Wittek, exactly distinguished himself. USC hosts Washington State next week, and it promises to be a week of guessing which way Lane Kiffin might go in his quest to determine a quarterback.
Utah got a victory it direly needed, 30-26 over Utah State. The Utes, coming off a rare losing season, were seen as having to get this one, because their cross-division schedule includes both Stanford and Oregon this year, neither of which it played in its first two seasons in the Pac-12. USU is a program coming off an 11-win, bowl-victorious season, so it’s not a win to be sniffed at.
Friday night, Arizona whitewashed Northern Arizona, 35-0, and that’s not to be minimized, either, because the Wildcats were so bad defensively last year, and this is a veteran NAU team, albeit an FCS one, that returned 18 starters and is 18th-ranked in the smaller-school poll.
Daniel Jenkins rushed for 139 yards on 12 carries in place of running back Ka’Deem Carey, who was suspended for a game for a couple of off-season incidents. It’s worth noting that at one time a few months ago, Jenkins was ticketed to transfer to WSU, but it never came about, and the Wildcats were probably glad he was around.
So far, at least entering Saturday’s afternoon games, no embarrassment for the league, such as Connecticut suffered at the hands of Towson State Thursday night, or defending Big 12 champ Kansas State sustained at the hands of North Dakota State Friday night.