By the Pac-12 Conference
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.-- Quarterback Matt Barkley of USC, linebacker Chase Thomas of STANFORD and wide receiver/punt returner Richard Morrison of ARIZONA have been named Pac-12 Players of the Week in football.
Barkley, a senior from Newport Beach, Calif., led USC to a 50-6 victory over Colorado as he threw for a USC single game record-tying six touchdown passes, including a school record-tying five in the first half, to become the Pac-12’s career recordholder. He passed former Trojan Matt Leinart‘s Pac-12 record of 99 career touchdown passes and now has 102 for his career. Barkley completed 95.0% of his passes (19-of-20) to set both the Pac-12 game mark for highest completion percentage (minimum 15 completions) and the Pac-12 game passing efficiency rating record (319.2). He threw for 298 yards overall with no interceptions and was 16-of-17 for 269 yards in the first half to earn College Football Performance Awards National Performer of the Week and National Quarterback of the Week.
Thomas, a senior from Marietta, Ga, led an impressive Stanford defensive performance that held the Pac-12's No. 3 rushing offense to three yards rushing in a 21-3 victory over Cal in the 115th Big Game. The three yards rushing (0.1 yards/carry) was the fewest allowed by a Stanford defense since 2003 (vs. BYU, minus-five) and tied for the seventh best in school history. Thomas had seven tackles, which included 4.0 tackles for loss in the game. He registered one sack for a seven-yard loss, a forced fumble and another fumble recovery. Stanford's dominating defense recorded 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and allowed only three points, the lowest since the 2011 season opener versus San Jose State and lowest in a Big Game since 1998. Stanford's defense held Cal, which entered the game averaging 5.0 yards per carry, to 3.86 inches per carry.
Morrison, a junior from Royse City, Texas, delivered the back-breaker in the third quarter of last Saturday’s 52-17 victory over Washington. With Arizona leading 38-17, the Wildcats forced the Huskies into a punting situation. Morrison fielded the punt and raced 63 yards, aided by a key block from Mark Watley to spring him for the final yards, for a touchdown to put the game out of reach. The return was the longest of Morrison’s career and was also his first touchdown on a return. Arizona’s last punt return for a touchdown was turned in by Bug Wright, who had an 86-yard scoot against Washington State on Nov. 7, 2009, at Arizona Stadium.
Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterback Marcus Mariota of OREGON, and running backs Ka’Deem Carey of ARIZONA, Storm Woods of OREGON STATE and Stepfan Taylor of STANFORD. Also nominated on defense were linebackers Jake Fischer of ARIZONA and Michael Doctor of OREGON STATE and defensive end Kevin Greene of USC. Also nominated on special teams were punters Josh Hunter of ARIZONA STATE, Jackson Rice of OREGON, and Keith Kostol of OREGON STATE.