This Week in Pac-12 Football – Week One


BRANCH-ING OUT: USC was the lone Pac-12 school to play in Week Zero with Zachariah Branch having a break out performance against San Jose State.  The true freshman from Las Vegas put up 232 all-purpose yards including a 96-yard kickoff return for a score to become the first Trojan since Adoree’ Jackson in 2016 to have a kickoff return and receiving touchdown in the same game.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams threw four passing touchdowns in the win, his sixth time in 15 games with USC he’s thrown four or more scores and the 10th time he’s had four or more total touchdowns in a game with the Trojans.

UNDER CENTER:  Williams is one of six Pac-12 quarterbacks returning after for throwing for over 3,000 yards last season:  Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr., Oregon’s Bo Nix, Arizona’s Jayden de Laura, Utah’s Cameron Rising and Washington State’s Cameron Ward.

The other six schools will all have new starting quarterbacks for the 2023 season.

  • Arizona State:  Jaden Rashada, the #44 overall recruit and #6 QB recruit in the Class of 2023 according to 247Sports, will become just the second true freshman to start a season opener for the Sun Devils, joining Jayden Daniels in 2019.
  • California:  Sam Jackson V comes to Berkeley after two seasons as a back-up for TCU.  A 4-star recruit (247Sports Composite) out of high school despite having his senior season postponed by COVID, Jackson has completed all six of his career passes and ran for a score last year at Colorado.
  • Colorado:  Shedeur Sanders follows his father, head coach Deion Sanders, to Boulder after going 23-3 as a starter at Jackson State.  In 2 seasons, Sanders threw for nearly 7,000 yards with 70 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions.
  • Oregon State:  After starting 28 games (22-6) at Clemson over 3 seasons, DJ Uiagalelei takes over the reigns in Corvallis.  The former 5-star recruit ranks in the Top 10 in Clemson history in career attempts, completions, pass TD, rush TD by QB and passing yards.
  • Stanford:  New head coach Troy Taylor won’t announce which of three candidates will be starting in their Friday opener at Hawai’i.  Junior Ari Patu started one game for the Cardinal in 2021 while sophomore Ashton Daniels came off the bench in 10 games last year.  Justin Lamson transferred from Syracuse after missing all of last season due to injury.
  • UCLA:  Ethan Garbers, who started one game in 2021, gets the nod for their first game but head coach Chip Kelly said that both 5-star true freshman Dante Moore and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee will also play.  Since 2018, Dorian Thompson-Robinson had started 48 of the last 56 games.

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