After we got done writing and blogging following the Husky games, we watched some of the final moments of the USC-Utah game. What a crazy ending with 6-foot-7 offensive lineman Matt Kalil blocking Utah's game-tying field goal attempt in the game's final moments. Torin Harris picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Later the touchdown was disallowed because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on USC for running onto the field.
Two hours later, the officials reviewed the play with Pac 12 officials and gave the Trojans six points. So the game ended 23-14, instead of 17-14 .... kind of difficult when the betting line was anywhere from six to eight points.
Here's the official statement from Pac-12 Officiating Consultant Mike Pereira:
“The new Unsportsmanlike Conduct rule is Rule 9, Section 2, Article 1. It states that Unsportsmanlike Conduct fouls by players are administered as either live ball or dead ball fouls depending on when they occur. The rule does not apply to substitutes. All Unsportsmanlike Conduct fouls by substitutes are enforced as dead ball fouls. Since the game was over, the penalty could not be enforced and the referee stated it was declined by rule. The officials did rule it a touchdown making the final score 23-14.”
The rule is stupid and nitpicky and something like this was bound to happen - that's my analysis of it.
Also from the LA Times
Chris Foster writes that the Pac 12 could be an exciting league in its one year of existence.
From the Utah perspective.
Here's Lya Woodraska's game story from the Salt Lake Tribune. Head coach Kyle Whittingham discusses his decision to kick the field goal in that situation.
“There’s an argument to be made — do you run one more play, do you not?” Whittingham said. “If you run one more and get tackled in bounds, I don’t think you have a chance to clock it and get the clock stopped to get a play off. You take a shot to the end zone, you risk getting sacked, risk a turnover. We felt like that was a very makable field goal — 42 yards.
“In any event,” he added, “we lose the football game.” Here's Kurt Kragthorpe's column on the game.He didn't like to see the way the Utes hurried the field goal unit onto the field at the end.
Overall, the Utes did a lot of things awfully well in their Pac-12 debut. The defense forced three takeaways and shut out the Trojans after the opening drive of the second half. DeVonte Christopher caught 11 passes, as Utah reintroduced the wide receiver into the offensive scheme. And the Utes never crumbled.
"They hung in there and kept going, from start to finish," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham.
They just should have caught their breath, in the end. Choosing to kick a 41-yarder right then and there was not the issue. The problem was how the Utes went about it. "We should have taken a little more time," Whittingham said. "There was no reason to rush."
Whether the breakdown was in the protection or just a poor kick — "about head high," by Whittingham’s account — it was a failure.Here's Gordon Monson's column from the game and another column from today.
Pac 12 North
Cal: The Bears hung on to beat Colorado in overtime. Here's the game notebook from the Mercury News. Columnist Monte Poole has this column. From the SF Chronicle, the game story and Bruce Jenkins column on quarterbacks in the Pac 12.
Oregon: From the Oregonian: Not surprisingly the Ducks won and did so in a dominant fashion. Columnist John Canzano writes that De'Anthony Thomas is the future of the Ducks. The Oregon ground game remains a work in progress. In his Sunday conference call, Chip Kelly says the team can play better still. From the Register Guard: Here's game story. Injuries to Kenjon Barner and others forced the Ducks to do some reshuffling. Here's George Schroeder's game column
Oregon State: From the Oregonian: The game story . Sean Mannion got most of the snaps and Ryan Katz didn't speak with the media. Mike Riley is going to review the situation because shockingly the alternating QBs isn't working. The Beavs run game was non-existent without Malcolm Agnew.
Pac 12 South
Colorado: The game story. The duo of QB Taylor Hansen and receiver Paul Richardson had a monster day. First half penalties hurt the Buffs. Game notebook.