The Daily Evergreen

Week One Pac-12 North power rankings

The division struggled, but escaped unscathed from opening weekend

Then-redshirt+senior+running+back+Jamal+Morrow+breaks+through+UW%E2%80%99s+then-senior+outside+linebacker+Connor+O%E2%80%99Brien+tackle+during+the+2017+Apple+Cup+on+Nov.+25+in+Husky+Stadium.
Then-redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow breaks through UW’s then-senior outside linebacker Connor O’Brien tackle during the 2017 Apple Cup on Nov. 25 in Husky Stadium.

Then-redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow breaks through UW’s then-senior outside linebacker Connor O’Brien tackle during the 2017 Apple Cup on Nov. 25 in Husky Stadium.

ABBY LINNENKOHL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

ABBY LINNENKOHL | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Then-redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow breaks through UW’s then-senior outside linebacker Connor O’Brien tackle during the 2017 Apple Cup on Nov. 25 in Husky Stadium.

SHAWN P. O'CONNOR, Evergreen columnist

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Every week this season, I will be assessing the play of each of the six teams in the Pac-12 North division and ranking them.

Here is how the teams stack up after week one.

 

  1. No. 10 Stanford University

 

Despite looking sluggish in the first half against San Diego State University, the Cardinal found their footing seconds before halftime, scoring a touchdown on a 38-yard pass from sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello.

Stanford would end the game on a 31-3 scoring run, burying San Diego 31-10. San Diego State is a strong Group of Five team, finishing last season 10-3. Stanford looked comfortable, putting up 382 yards of total offense despite star senior running back Bryce Love only contributing 47 yards. If Stanford can move the ball with ease even when Love can’t contribute, the North is theirs to take.

 

  1. No. 9 University of Washington

 

UW entered the season as the highest ranked Pac-12 school in the AP Poll, but were defeated Saturday afternoon by the then-No. 9 ranked University of Auburn 21-16.

Despite the score line, both teams produced on offense, with the Huskies tallying 398-yards of total offense but allowing Auburn to accumulate 420. UW quarterback senior Jake Browning was efficient in the loss, throwing for 296-yards with a touchdown pass. Browning did throw an ugly interception in the first quarter, and was strip sacked deep in Auburn’s red zone.

Kicking was also an issue, as redshirt freshman Peyton Henry went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts, with a bad miss on a 40-yard attempt and a make off the upright from 30 yards. Despite their issues, the Huskies have the skillset to run the table in the PAC-12 and make a run at the PAC-12 title game.

 

  1. Washington State University

 

Graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew II put WSU fans at ease as he ran Mike Leach’s Air Raid system like a seasoned pro as the Cougars cruised to a 41-19 win over the University of Wyoming.

The Cougars came out on fire, scoring on their first two possessions. The team fell flat in the second quarter, as Wyoming scored 16 of the next 19 points to lead 16-13 at halftime. After a field goal by the Cowboys to open the second, WSU caught fire again, ending the game on a 28-0 run and propelling themselves to the third spot in this list.

 

  1. No. 23 University of Oregon

 

The Ducks’ offense was explosive as Oregon outran Bowling Green State University 58-24 in Eugene.

Junior quarterback Justin Herbert was explosive, passing for 281 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for another. The Ducks turned the ball over three times while forcing Bowling Green to three of its own. Oregon ran the ball well, gaining 212 yards on the ground. However, allowing the Falcons, a two-win squad out of the Mid-American Conference, to gain 389-yards of total offense and score 24 points does not bode well for them down the road.

 

  1. University of California, Berkeley

 

Despite an anemic passing game, Cal defeated the University of North Carolina 24-17. Cal used three quarterbacks, with none of them passing for more than 56 yards or completing more than eight passes. The Golden Bears’ defense shined in the victory, limiting UNC’s junior quarterback Nathan Elliott to 137 passing yards while picking him off four times. Cal’s defense will likely not hold up to the high-powered offenses in the Pac-12, placing it firmly in the fifth spot in the North.

 

  1. Oregon State University

 

Oregon State’s defense wilted in the face of defending Big-10 champs the Ohio State University as the Buckeyes routed the Beavers 77-31. Oregon State’s defense allowed 375 rushing yards and 346 passing yards while only forcing two turnovers. The offense showed the potential to be explosive, scoring a 49-yard passing touchdown and an 80-yard rushing touchdown, but couldn’t keep up with the high-flying Buckeyes. Oregon State is clearly the worst team in the North, and a win might be hard to find for this team.

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Week One Pac-12 North power rankings