Week 5 Gold Stars: Clark Phillips III has a career day for Utes
Welcome to the Week 5 edition of Gold Stars, my weekly look at the Pac-12’s best individual performers.
We’ll keep a running track of the Gold Stars of the Week, all leading up to the Gold Stars of the Year column in December. It’s exactly like the Heisman Trophy, only there’s no ceremony, no trophy, and no one puts this on their résumé. As a note: 1st-place finishers get 3 gold stars, 2nd-place get 2 and 3rd-place gets 1.
Also, I’m on the voting committee for Pac-12 weekly awards, and I’ll include my ballot below Gold Stars.
Week 4 winners were: Cal RB Jaydn Ott (3 stars), Oregon QB Bo Nix (2 stars) and UCLA LB Laiatu Latu (1 stars).
Week 3 winners were: Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (3 stars), Washington State LB Daiyan Henley (2 stars), Washington WR Ja’Lynn Polk (1 star).
Week 2 winners were: USC QB Caleb Williams (3 stars), Oregon State S Kitan Oladapo (2 stars), USC WR Jordan Addison (1 star).
Week 1 winners were: Arizona WR Jacob Cowing (3 stars), Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (2 stars), Washington State LB Daiyan Henley (1 star).
|Michael Penix Jr.||Washington||Quarterback||5|
|Daiyan Henley||Washington State||Linebacker||3|
|Jacob Cowing||Arizona||Wide Receiver||3|
|Jaydn Ott||Cal||Running Back||3|
|Kitan Oladapo||Oregon State||Safety||2|
|Jayden de Laura||Arizona||Quarterback||1|
|Ja'Lynn Polk||Washington||Wide Receiver||1|
|Jordan Addison||USC||Wide Receiver||1|
On to the Gold Stars of Week 5 …
1. Utah CB Clark Phillips III (3 stars)
The first defensive player to claim the No. 1 spot in Gold Stars, Phillips almost single-handedly shut down the Oregon State passing game in a 42-16 Utah win. Phillips had 3 interceptions, including 2 off starting quarterback Chance Nolan, 1 of which he returned for a touchdown.
Nolan was bounced after completing just 2-of-7 passes, and his replacement, Ben Gulbranson, didn’t do all that much better, completing 12-of-21 passes for 177 yards and 2 interceptions.
It was one of the most one-sided performances for any Pac-12 team this season.
2. UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson (2 stars)
It wasn’t just the numbers on Friday night, although the numbers were impressive.
The UCLA long-time starter was simply clicking from the start, helping the Bruins control the tempo and the game almost throughout.
After Friday’s 24-of-33 passing, 315- yard, 3-touchdown, zero-interception performance in UCLA’s 40-32 win over No. 15 Washington, DTR is completing nearly 75 percent of his passes for 1,211 yards, with 11 touchdowns and 1 interception. His 171.5 passer rating leads the conference and would stand as the best mark in UCLA history.
Thompson-Robinson has made the leap from good to great over the past 2 years, when he boasted passer ratings above 150.
3. Arizona QB Jayden de Laura (1 star)
Had de Laura put up the massive numbers he accounted for on Saturday against any other Pac-12 team — heck, against any other team in the country — he probably would’ve claimed the coveted No. 1 spot on this list.
As it stands, putting up 484 passing yards and 6 touchdowns against a terrible Colorado squad still lands him on the list. Let’s see him reach these numbers against any team better than the Buffaloes, and he’ll get his just due.
My Pac-12 Weekly Awards ballot:
Defensive Line POW: Oregon DE Brandon Dorlus
Dorlus had a career-high 2 sacks and a career-high 3 tackles for loss, helping the Ducks limit the Stanford offense by pressuring Tanner McKee.
Defensive POW: Utah CB Clark Phillips III
A quick-pick-6 alone might be enough to lift Phillips to the top of this list. Adding 2 other interceptions only solidifies his bona fides.
Honorable mentions: Oregon DE Brandon Dorlus, USC LB Eric Gentry.
Freshman POW: Washington State S Jaden Hicks
Hicks led the Cougars’ defense with 10 tackles in a big performance against Cal, helping shut down fabulous freshman running back Jaydn Ott.
Offensive Line POW: Oregon OT TJ Bass
Bass and the Ducks’ offensive line continued their terrific season, helping pave the way for a season-high 351 rushing yards, the most for Oregon since 2018. The Ducks also have only allowed 1 sack all season, leading the nation.
Offensive POW: UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
Thompson-Robinson is getting the national attention that he deserves with the Bruins off to a rare 5-0 start. UCLA was written off for a month because of weak competition, but the Bruins’ big win over Washington puts them in the conversation.
Honorable mentions: Oregon QB Bo Nix, Arizona QB Jayden de Laura, Arizona WR Jacob Cowing, UCLA WR Jake Bobo.
Special Teams POW: USC K Denis Lynch
On a day without many late-game heroics, Lynch’s simple consistency ruled. Lynch converted all six extra-point opportunities, keeping him a perfect 28-for-28. He’s also hit 5-of-7 field goals this year.