Though the matchups were there, the production from many of the Pac-12’s top NFL prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft were held in check. Perhaps we’re getting a bit spoiled, as recently we’ve seen our late Saturday/early Monday morning televisions light up with highlights that keep us well awake into the wee hours of the nights.
Week 5 may have been lighter on the highlight side of things for the Pac-12, but every week of the college football season is important, especially for prospects who are making their last go-around of their auditions to the NFL.
These were our top takeaways from an otherwise quiet week out west in the Pac-12 conference.
Justin Herbert’s QB1 Title Remains
Look at this strike by Oregon QB Justin Herbert pic.twitter.com/vgvaNZSBeq
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 30, 2018
Herbert put on a masterful performance in Oregon’s overtime loss last week, and this week he followed it up with more of the same traits that will likely land him the crown of QB1 come next spring.
As seen in the clip above, Herbert’s natural ability to put passes exactly where they need to be with momentum and on the money are not only special but consistent in his game.
— New Account (@ftbeard_17) September 30, 2018
It seems as though the only other quarterback who makes those kinds of throws each week is West Virginia’s Will Grier, but where Grier has his misses, Herbert simply doesn’t. Herbert shows a level of consistent accuracy on short, intermediate and deep passes that no other quarterback in the country has been able to display as often as Herbert has.
Combine that with what he can do with his legs and the QB1 crown is still his to wear — for now.
Stanford’s Stars Come Up Short
Young Marques Colston pic.twitter.com/6gUg4aX0Du
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 30, 2018
The clip above was great to see from Stanford wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who is having a career year. However, that play was really his only impactful play of the game.
Arcega-Whiteside finished Stanford’s 38-17 loss to Notre Dame with just five catches for 30 yards. Whatever the gameplan was, it wasn’t heavy on Arcega-Whiteside.
BRYCE BYKE pic.twitter.com/vvmHGCOe7u
— The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) September 30, 2018
As for Stanford’s other offensive star, Heisman runner-up last year, running back Bryce Love, he finished the game with just 73 yards on 17 carries.
Love is really struggling this season with just over four yards per carry and only has slightly over 300 yards in four games. The broadcasters continue to say “this guy could break one open anytime the ball is in his hands,” which is true, but for the NFL’s sake, it doesn’t look good when it’s either a home run play from good blocking or bust. Love’s limitations keep popping up this season.
Wazzu Wonder Twins
Washington State head coach Mike Leach had his boys running that signature Air Raid offense heavy against Utah in Week 5, and the result was a tight 28-24 win.
WR Easop Winston Jr does it again!!!
4 receptions 115 yards 1 Touchdown (scored the go ahead TD) pic.twitter.com/rfvt971akt
— Lets go to Roscoes (@MrRoscoes) September 30, 2018
Wazzu senior quarterback Gardner Minshew finished the game with 445 passing yards and three touchdowns. His two big targets, junior wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. and sophomore Dezmon Paton, each had over 100 yards receiving.
USC’s Aca’Cedric Ware; Hard to Say, Harder to Stop
— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) September 30, 2018
In USC’s 24-21 win over Arizona, it wasn’t Stephen Carr or Amon-Ra St. Brown who was doing most of the heavy lighting. That was left to senior running back Aca’Cedric Ware, who finished the night with 173 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns, all career highs for a single game.
Ware has rushed for over 100 yards just five times in career and three of those times have come against Arizona, so it’s safe to say he’s very comfortable in the state.
Perhaps the Arizona Cardinals need to look at him as a late-round pick.