Washington Rutgers Football

Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis had a big game against Rutgers, including a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown to give the Huskies their first lead.

Mel Evans, The Associated Press

There were some anxious moments at times for the two teams expected to play in the Pac-12 title game in December, but in the end USC and Washington both started the season with wins.

And then there was UCLA.

The Bruins trailed 44-10 in the third quarter but behind Josh Rosen (35 for 59 for 491 yards and four TDs) scored 35 unanswered and stunned Texas A&M 45-44. That made it a perfect weekend for the conference.

The Huskies fell behind Rutgers 7-0 and didn’t grab the lead until Dante Pettis returned a punt for a touchdown in the second quarter. Washington went on for a 30-14 victory.

The Trojans, meanwhile, found themselves in a battle into the fourth quarter at home against Western Michigan. USC scored 21 of the last 24 points to pull out the 49-31 victory.

The Trojans now welcome Stanford, which had a bye after throttling Rice in Australia two weeks ago.

California had a surprising victory as the Golden Bears went across the country and handed North Carolina a 35-30 loss in Chapel Hill. It was quite the debut for first-year coach Justin Wilcox.

Speaking of debuts, Willie Taggart’s at Oregon could not have been much better. The Ducks scored on the opening kickoff and never stopped until the final whistle, hanging 77 points on Southern Utah.

The Ducks should get more of a challenge when Nebraska and former Oregon State coach Mike Riley come to town this week. The Cornhuskers beat the Ducks at home last year.

Colorado also had an impressive opener, earning a 17-3 win over Colorado State in Boulder. There was some controversy over a few calls made by Pac-12 officials. Seems pretty normal to most Pac-12 football fans.

Utah also opened with a win last week, topping North Dakota at home, 37-16.

Washington State got off its best start under coach Mike Leach by winning its opener — 31-0 over Montana State.

Arizona gave Oregon a run for its money by putting up 62 points on Northern Arizona in a lopsided victory.

Arizona State and Oregon State also were victorious but neither team can feel all that good about the outcome other than the win.

The Sun Devils edged New Mexico State 37-31 at home while the Beavers needed a late touchdown drive and a missed field goal to escape an upset loss to Portland State.

Here’s a look at Gameday’s rankings after the opening weekend:

1. USC (57 points, 1-0, last week 1): Trojans used a big fourth quarter to avoid an upset against Western Michigan. Should be a barn-burner against the Cardinal.

2. Washington (56 points, 1-0, last week 2): Huskies found the sledding tough at first but did enough to get out of New Jersey with a relatively comfortable win over Rutgers.

3. Stanford (52 points, 1-0, last week 3): Cardinal had a week off after opening the season in Australia. Stanford can make a huge statement in the Coliseum.

4. Washington State (44 points, 1-0, last week 4): Mike Leach finally won a season opener in Pullman. The defense pitching a shutout is big, even if it was against FCS Montana State.

5. Colorado (35 points, 1-0, last week 7): Buffaloes defense may have had holes to fill but it sure looked good in stifling a Colorado State team that scored 58 on Oregon State.

6t. Oregon (32 points, 1-0, last week 8): Willie Taggart’s tenure in Eugene sure got off to a fast start as the Ducks hung 77 on Southern Utah. Royce Freeman and the Ducks ran wild.

6t. Utah (32 points, 1-0, last week 5): Utes looked good throwing the ball against North Dakota. Now comes a battle against rival BYU with bragging rights on the line as well as a 2-0 start for the Utes.

8. UCLA (30 points, 0-1, last week 6): What a comeback. Rosen showed why he was nicknamed “Chosen Rosen” in high school. Could that be the start of something special this season?

9. California (22 points, 1-0, last week 11t): The Justin Wilcox era got off to a great start when the Golden Bears stunned North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Weber State up next in the first of three straight at home.

10. Arizona (14 points, 1-0, last week 11t): Wildcats hung 62 points on Northern Arizona but will likely get a much tougher test with Houston at home this week.

11. Arizona State (11 points, 1-0, last week 9): Sun Devils survived against New Mexico State but the fans can’t feel all that good. ASU has a late start against San Diego State this week.

12. Oregon State (5 points, 1-1, last week 10): The Beavers may have won on the scoreboard, edging FCS Portland State 35-32. The defense has some major issues to work through moving forward. Beavers are unanimous cellar-dwellers.

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Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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