It’s the final season of Pac-12 football as we’ve long known it, and the conference started off the year in fine fashion.
As Week 1 of the college football season comes to an end, the Pac-12 has a perfect 13-0 record.
No. 18 Oregon State, one of two remaining members of the conference ahead of 2024, made sure the Pac-12 closed out the weekend without a loss as it routed San Jose State, 42-17, on the road.
DJ Uiagalelei was excellent in his Oregon State debut. The quarterback transfer from Clemson accounted for five touchdowns — three passing and two rushing — while completing 20-of-25 passes for 239 yards. The Beavers also got a 145-yard effort from running back Damien Martinez, the reigning Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.
On the other side, the Beavers limited San Jose State to just 279 yards of offense, 75 of which came on a garbage-time touchdown drive in the final three minutes of regulation.
It was an excellent way to start the season for Oregon State, which is coming off just its third 10-win season in program history. And with its conference status up in the air, OSU is looking to win the Pac-12 title before the league ceases to exist.
Perhaps a talent like Uiagalelei at quarterback can be the missing piece to propel the Beavers to the top of the conference. Last year, Oregon State had a fantastic running game and defense, but was limited in the passing game. Uiagalelei had his struggles in a stagnant offensive system at Clemson, but looked to be an excellent fit in Jonathan Smith’s offense.
Pac-12 a perfect 13-0 through Week 1
Before Oregon State took care of business in San Jose, there were 12 other victories by Pac-12 teams — including two from USC. USC also beat San Jose State, but did so in Week 0, and then blew out Nevada, 66-14, Saturday night. Through two games, defending Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams has thrown for 597 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 73.5% of his attempts.
Williams wasn’t the only Pac-12 quarterback on display this weekend. Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. threw for 450 yards and five touchdowns as the Huskies destroyed Boise State, 56-19. And then there was Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders, who was one of several stars for the Buffs in Deion Sanders’ head-coaching debut at CU.
The younger Sanders threw for 510 yards and four touchdowns as Colorado upset reigning national runner-up TCU, 45-42, in Fort Worth. Colorado also got an incredible performance from Travis Hunter in the win. Hunter had a huge day as a receiver (11 catches for 119 yards) while also starring at cornerback with a diving interception near the goal line.
What a start for Pac-12 football 👀
One more year to enjoy it pic.twitter.com/VIRy44RaFz
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 3, 2023
And we can’t forget about No. 14 Utah, the two-time defending Pac-12 champion. Even with starting QB Cam Rising sidelined, the Utes knocked off Florida, 24-11, at home Thursday night.
Other conference winners in Week 1 included No. 15 Oregon (81-7 over Portland State), UCLA (27-13 over Coastal Carolina), Washington State (50-24 over Colorado State), Cal (58-21 over North Texas), Stanford (37-24 over Hawaii), Arizona (38-3 over Northern Arizona) and Arizona State (24-21 over Southern Utah).
Will the Pac-12 be able to keep it going in Week 2? There are several tough games on the schedule, including seven non-conference games vs. other Power Five opponents.
Utah and Oregon will head on the road to face Baylor and Texas Tech, respectively. Coach Prime and Colorado are set to host Nebraska. Washington State will host No. 19 Wisconsin and Arizona State has a home game against Oklahoma State. There are also two SEC vs. Pac-12 matchups — Cal will host Auburn and Arizona will head to Mississippi State.