Published September 15, 2015
The first full week of conference games begins in the Pac-12 this weekend.
It's been a wild ride to get here.
So far, the Pac-12 has seen an epic comeback capped by a Hail Mary, a nearly monumental upset in the Pacific Northwest, a forgotten quarterback riding to the rescue and a potentially serious injury to another quarterback — and it's not even October yet.
As a reminder, here's a rundown of the crazy things that happened the first month of the season in the Pac-12:
THE HILL MARY
Arizona's comeback victory over California could end up being the game of the season in college football, not just the Pac-12.
The Bears scored two touchdowns in the opening 3:07 and carried an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Wildcats, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon, came roaring back.
Arizona scored a school-record 36 points in the final quarter, including 19 in the final 3:30. The Wildcats recovered an onside kick on a second try after Cal was penalized for batting the ball out of bounds on the first one, and got a final chance when the Bears missed a field goal.
With 52 seconds left, the Wildcats took over at their own 29 and were barely able to spike the ball and stop the clock to set up a final play.
It ended up being one of the greatest in Arizona football history: a 47-yard Hail Mary by Solomon into the arms of Austin Hill in the end zone.
Arizona 49, California 45, The Hill Mary Game.
When quarterback Brett Hundley suffered an injury to his left arm, UCLA appeared to be in trouble against Texas.
Not quite. Not with Jerry Neuheisel still on the roster.
Neuheisel committed to UCLA when his father, Rick, was still coach. Neuheisel could have left after his father was fired in 2011, particularly because he was behind Hundley on the depth chart, yet decided to stick it out.
His decision paid off Sept. 13, when Hundley was hurt and Neuheisel got his shot. He led the Bruins to a tight victory over the Longhorns and was carried off the field by his teammates, who chanted his name.
Adding to the moment was the reaction of his father, now an analyst with the Pac-12 Networks, after watching Jerry throw his first college touchdown pass: http://goo.gl/s1EUkg
NEAR-UPSET IN THE PALOUSE
Almost no one expected Washington State to have a chance in its game against No. 2 Oregon last Saturday.
The Ducks were 23 1/2-point favorites, had won seven straight in the series and the Cougars had already lost to Rutgers and Nevada.
Washington State didn't care about any of that, giving the Ducks a fight instead of an expected rollover.
Behind quarterback Connor Halliday and a bruising defense, the Cougars kept up with Oregon almost the entire way.
Halliday threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns, and Washington State's defense took advantage of Oregon's injury-riddled offensive line, sacking quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite Marcus Mariota five times.
Trailing 38-31, the Cougars had the ball at Oregon's 38 in the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over on downs when Halliday was sacked.
The monumental upset was averted, but it was fun to watch.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly had been a mainstay for Arizona State, playing every game since 2012 while leading the Sun Devils to a pair of bowl games.
Arizona State's prospects for the rest of this season took a hit on Sept. 13, when Kelly injured his right foot against Colorado. The senior was still on crutches and wearing a walking boot this week, so he's out for at least Thursday night's game against UCLA.
Junior Mike Bercovici gets the start against the Bruins and possibly beyond — the Sun Devils haven't said whether Kelly could be back by the next game or not.
Kelly has been the perfect fit to Arizona State's up-tempo, zone-read offense, a smart runner-passer who knows the Sun Devil's offensive system nearly as well as his coaches.
Bercovici could come in and play well, but there is a bit of uncertainty about the Sun Devils with Kelly out.