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Athlon hands out some hardware for the opening weekend of college football
Team of the Week — California
Of the Pac-12’s eight wins in Week 1, only three came against FBS opponents. Of those three, Cal’s 36–21 win over Fresno State was by far the most impressive considering that Stanford beat a San Jose State team that won one game last season and USC struggled with Minnesota, which won three games in 2010. The Golden Bears nearly doubled up Fresno in total yardage (413 to 210) and showed some nice balance, with 147 yards on the ground and 266 through the air. Zach Maynard, a transfer from Buffalo, was solid in his debut, throwing for 266 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He only completed 16-of-35, but coach Jeff Tedford seemed relatively pleased with the play of his quarterback. One negative for Cal: It appears the Bears will struggle to create a home-field advantage this season while playing at Candlestick Park. The opener drew an announced crowd of 31,563, with Fresno State fans reportedly outnumbering Cal fans.
Disappointment of the Week — Oregon State
This one is easy — even in a week in which the Pac-12 struggled. Oregon State lost at home to Sacramento State, an FCS school that lost its opener last year to Stanford, 52–17. The Beavers are trying to bounce back from their first losing season since 2005. It won’t be easy, with non-conference tests remaining at Wisconsin and vs. BYU at home, along with a nine-game Pac-12 schedule.
Player of the Week — Robert Woods, USC
Woods’ sophomore season began in style, with a school-record 17 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns in the Trojans’ closer-than-expected 19–17 win over Minnesota at the L.A. Coliseum. Woods, who led USC with 792 yards as a freshman, scored on catches of 7, 50 and 2 yards.
Freshman of the Week — Malcolm Agnew, Oregon State
The Beavers have apparently found the replacement for Jacquizz Rodgers. On an afternoon that will be remembered more for a loss to Sacramento State, Agnew rushed for 223 yards (an OSU freshman record) on 33 carries. The true freshman from St. Louis, Mo., Agnew was a 2-star recruit (by Scout.com) who picked Oregon State over Colorado State.
Around the Pac-12
• In two career games against SEC teams, Oregon tailback LaMichael James has 31 carries for 103 yards. His 49 yards against Auburn in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game and his 54 yards in last week’s loss to LSU are his two lowest totals since he emerged as the Ducks’ primary ball-carrier early in the 2009 season.
• Arizona received solid production from true freshman Ka’Deem Carey in the win over Northern Arizona. Carey, who picked Arizona over Arizona State and USC, rushed for 59 yards on nine carries.
• Joseph Fauria, a former transfer from Notre Dame, had his most productive afternoon in a UCLA afternoon, catching six passes for 110 yards and one score in the Bruins’ loss at Houston. Fauria caught a total of three passes in 2010, his first season at UCLA.
• Stanford’s rush defense was highly effective in the 57–3 win over San Jose State. The Spartan had two running backs carry the ball more than three times, and both averaged less than one yard per attempt. Brandon Rutler and David Freeman combined for 14 yards on 18 carries.
• Washington gave up more than 500 yards of offense to defending FCS national champion Eastern Washington but managed to win the game, 30–27, thanks to a 4-to-0 edge in the turnover battle. EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, a former starter at SMU under June Jones, completed 39-of-69 for 473 yards and three touchdowns. Washington’s Keith Price wasn’t nearly as productive. Making his second career start, Price completed a more-than-respectable 68.0 percent of his passes, but his 4.1 yards-per-attempt average was alarmingly low.
• Colorado is going to need to get more production from senior tailback Rodney Stewart. In Saturday’s loss at Hawaii, Stewart netted only 52 yards on 18 carries for a 2.9-yard average. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season, when he rushed for 1,318 yards and 10 carries.
• Utah has to be a bit concerned that it only gained 292 yards against an FCS foe (Montana State), but the Utes did get a break out performance from tailback John White. The diminutive (5-8, 186) junior college transfer rushed for 150 yards on 19 carries.