Where to begin with the mess that is USC?
How about here:
Kiffin says he can't worry about the "Fire Kiffin" chants. Says he heard them even before the game started and is "getting used to it."— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) September 8, 2013
That’s not good. Neither is USC.
Washington State beat the Trojans 10-7 on Saturday night, giving head coach Mike Leach his first career win without an offensive touchdown. The Cougars scored on a 70-yard pick-six from Damante Horton. The Trojans switched from quarterback Cody Kessler to Max Wittek at halftime. Combined, they were 11-for-21.
Credit should be given to the Cougars’ defense. It was aggressive and efficient.
The flipside of that was uninspired, poorly coached and timid football for the Trojans.
The only souls left dancing in this storied sports venue were colored crimson, maybe a couple dozen of them jumping and laughing and singing Washington State’s fight song in the end zone seats next to the tunnel as players, coaches and assembled observers exited Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
There they were, dancing by themselves. But their celebratory spirits were kindred with others of similar rooting interest on this night, the first in 13 years that WSU’s football team came into this building and left with something resembling jubilation.
Everyone worried that this USC season would turn bad under the embattled Kiffin, but few could imagine it would turn this bad, this quickly.
This was the same Washington State that had been outscored by USC, 146-22, in the previous three meetings, that had lost eight straight to the Trojans, that had not beaten them in the Coliseum in 13 years.
Yet this was a Cougars team that, under the brainy Mike Leach, thoroughly outcoached and outworked the Trojans in a game that could truly be the beginning of the end of the short and stormy reign of a head coach who is seemingly beloved only by his boss.
Stanford handled a tough San Jose State team 34-13 after struggling against the Spartans in last year’s opener. From the Associated Press:
So much for any rust for Tyler Gaffney in his return to football. So much for any hangover from the defending Rose Bowl and Pac-12 champions.
Unlike a year ago, Stanford sure looked ready in its season opener.
Gaffney ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back after playing baseball in the minors last year, leading the fifth-ranked Cardinal past gritty San Jose State 34-13 late Saturday night.
“Like riding a bike,” Gaffney said.
Utah beat Weber State 70-7, Yes, 70. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
And with that, Utah’s so-called preseason is over.
The Utes (2-0), who routed Weber State 70-7 Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium, ended the day enjoying one of their most lopsided wins in recent history, but also knowing the real season is about to begin for them.
Sure, avenging last year’s loss to Utah State was big and getting some valuable experience for the younger players against the Wildcats (1-1) was huge, but now it’s game on for the Utes.
After opening with a putrid opponent in FCS member Nicholls State, Oregon went on the road to Virginia. This game was billed as a possible test. If that’s the case, it was open-book. Oregon demolished the Cavaliers 59-10. From The Oregonian:
It won’t take long for those around the nation to digest what Oregon did here Saturday. Just another display of speed, depth and dominance in an expected rout of Virginia.
But what might give a certain outfit from Tennessee indigestion, and the rest of the Pac-12 a case of the butterflies is how poorly Oregon played, yet still dominated in every sense of the imagination.
Things weren’t so easy for Cal, which hung on for a 37-30 win against Portland State. The Vikings led early in the fourth quarter before Cal was able to pull it out. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 485 yards. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
As victories go, this one didn’t have that familiar taste. It was more like a really bitter cough syrup, barely worth the discomfort. Cal football coach Sonny Dykes left Memorial Stadium on Saturday with his first victory in Berkeley and a mountain of work ahead.
Better for Oregon State, but still far from great. Hawai’i, one of the worst teams in FBS, hung around in Corvallis until halftime. The Beavers outscored the Rainbows 19-0 in the second half. From the Corvallis Gazette-Times:
When the Beavers went into the locker room with a halftime tie with the Rainbow Warriors, there were some raised voices.
“Everyone was saying everything,” OSU defensive end Scott Crichton said. “Everyone knew we had to pick it up. We had a fast start and we slowed down a little bit before halftime, so everyone was just getting on everyone just to pick it up.”
The Beavers came out and scored two quick touchdowns and did not allow Hawaii any breathing room in a 33-14 win before a Reser Stadium crowd of 38,179.
Colorado moved to 2-0 with a 38-24 win against Central Arkansas. Wide receiver Paul Richardson continues to make his argument as the best in the conference. He made 11 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 55-yarder. From the Boulder Daily Camera:
Richardson produced his second consecutive 200-yard receiving game with 11 catches for 209 yards and two scores. He is the first player in CU history to put together two such games and is now less than 50 yards shy of surpassing the leading receiver on last year’s team in terms of yardage for the season.
Arizona blasted UNLV 58-13. TheWildcats were up 45-6 at the half. Washington opens Pac-12 play with Arizona on Sept. 28. Once again, it was the Ka’Deem Carey show for Arizona. From the Arizona Daily Star:
Maybe it was Carey’s one-game suspension or some pregame bulletin board material from an UNLV defender. Maybe it was just Ka’Deem being Ka’Deem, but the junior’s running Saturday against the Rebels would best be classified as furiously efficient.
Carey took his first carry of the 2013 season 58 yards for a touchdown and finished the game with 171 yards on 16 carries as the UA routed UNLV 58-13 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
“I told the O-line, ‘We’re going to score on this first one’ and that’s what happened,” Carey said. “They hit the holes and it was there.”