This Week in Pac-10 Football (10/16/00)

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Oct. 16, 2000

OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: With just one regular season non-conference game remaining (Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 25), the Pac-10 has had an outstanding season against outside competition. The Pac-10's non-conference record stands at 23-7 (.767) overall and 22-7 (.759) vs. Division IA opponents. Of the Pac-10's seven losses, four have come to teams ranked in the Top 25. The Pac-10 has a remarkable 5-4 record against Top 25 teams and has posted four wins against teams ranked in the Top 5 with UCLA knocking off No. 3 Alabama and No. 3 Michigan, Washington defeating No. 4 Miami and Stanford handling No. 5 Texas.

SERIES NOTES FOR THE GAMES OF OCT. 21:

USC (3-3) at STANFORD (2-4) - 12:30 PDT - ABC - The Series: USC and Stanford have met 78 times dating back to 1905 and uninterrupted since 1946. The Trojans lead the series by a 53-22-3 margin. The teams have split the last four games overall and the last four games played at Palo Alto. . . . Last Year: Stanford and USC met at the L.A. Coliseum and the Trojans started out with a bang in scoring on their first three possessions to take an early 21-0 lead. But the Cardinal battled back to overtake the Trojans and hang on for a 35-31 win that kept Stanford on a Rose Bowl track with a 5-0 Pac-10 record. SC QB Mike Van Raaphorst threw for a single-game school record 415 yards as the Trojans piled up 587 yards total offense. Included were three touchdown passes of 64, 64 and 8 yards, but also three costly interceptions, one returned for a Stanford touchdown and one on the final play of the game to seal the win for the Card. RB Brian Allen keyed Stanford's ground game with 15 carries for 121 yards (8.1).

ARIZONA STATE (4-2) at WASHINGTON STATE (3-3) - 2:00 PDT/MST - The Series: Arizona State and Washington State have met 26 times with the Sun Devils leading the series 15-9-2. The teams have split 10 games played at WSU (4-4 at Pullman, 1-1 at Spokane). It has been a streaky series. ASU has won the last three, WSU the four prior to that, and ASU the four prior to that. . . . Last Year: Washington State and Arizona State met in warm Tempe and the Cougars bolted out to an early 14-0 lead only to see the Sun Devils rally in the second half for a 33-21 victory. ASU ground out 217 yards rushing and held WSU scoreless in the second half to post the win.

CALIFORNIA (2-4) at WASHINGTON (5-1) - 3:30 PDT - FOX Syndication - The Series: 80th meeting between Washington and California in a series that dates back to 1904. The Huskies lead the series 43-32-4 by virtue of winning the last 17 in a row. The last Golden Bear win in the series came at Seattle in 1976 (7-0). UW has won eight in a row at Seattle since then. . . . Last Year: Washington and California met at Berkeley and the Huskies rallied for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to post a come-from-behind 31-27 victory, the Dawgs' 17th consecutive win against the Golden Bears. UW put up 433 yards total offense against a Cal unit that entered the game leading the Pac-10 in defense. Husky QB Marques Tuiasosopo had a 'good news/bad news' day. He completed just 10 passes and was picked off three times, but those 10 completions went for 300 yards and two TDs, including an 83-yard scoring connection to FL Todd Elstrom. The Bears rushed for 197 yards behind a sensational day by frosh RB Joe Igber, who rushed 35 times for a Cal freshman record 182 yards (5.2) and one TD.

OREGON STATE (5-1) at UCLA (4-2) - 3:30 PDT - The Series: UCLA and Oregon State have met 50 times dating back to 1930 with the Bruins leading the series 34-12-4. In 28 home games, the Bruins lead 20-5-3, including 5-1 in games played at the Rose Bowl. The teams have split the last four games overall and the last two played at the Rose Bowl. . . . Last Year: Oregon State and UCLA met at Corvallis and the Beavers pounded the Bruins, 55-7, for their most lopsided win ever against UCLA and the Bruins' worst loss in 69 years. OSU showed why its offense was ranked No. 2 in the country entering the game as the Beavs cruised out to a 42-7 halftime lead and never looked back. A look at the stats illustrated Oregon State's domination as they led UCLA in every key category: first downs 28-14, rushing 225-89, passing 334-121, total offense 559-210. In addition, the Beavers were successful on 14-20 third-down conversion attempts and the defense posted seven QB sacks. Individually, OSU QB Jonathan Smith passed for 261 yards and three TDs with no interceptions and TB Antonio Battle, who took over after starter Ken Simonton went out with a first quarter injury, rushed 16 times for 105 yards (6.6) and one TD.

ARIZONA (5-1) at OREGON (5-1) - 7:15 PDT/MST - FOX Sports Net - The Series: Oregon and Arizona have met 25 times and the Ducks hold a narrow 13-12 series edge. It's been more Oregon of late with the Ducks winning five of the last six. The Ducks have won four straight at Eugene with the Wildcats' last victory at Autzen coming in 1986 (37-17). . . . Last Year: Oregon and Arizona met at Tucson and the Ducks took a 44-41 thriller that went right down to the wire. UO PK Josh Frankel kicked four field goals, including the game-winner from 32 yards out with 1:04 remaining. UA had a shot at the end, but could not convert a 45-yard field goal attempt as time expired. Arizona outgained Oregon 552-435 and rushed for 282 yards with numerous big plays, but the Ducks had 196 yards rushing of their own and added 288 yards of kickoff and punt returns to aid their cause.

ARIZONA has a three-game road winning streak going and will be looking for its third straight Conference road win at Eugene this week. . . . Freshman CB Michael Jolivette has five interceptions matching Arizona's team total of a year ago. As a team, Arizona has five picks in the last two games, three of them by Jolivette, and on the season have an 11-5 edge in interceptions over opponents. . . . QB Ortege Jenkins is 5-1 in his first year a sole starting QB, including 3-0 on the road. . . . Last three opponents have averaged just 63.3 yards rushing vs. the Cats. . . . Arizona defense has forced 25 turnovers in six games and the Wildcats stand +13 in turnover margin. UA has recovered 14 of opponents' 17 fumbles. . . . Wildcats are allowing 16.3 points per game through six games. Through six games in 1999, UA opponents were averaging 31.5 points per game. . . . UA is outscoring opponents 48-16 in the first quarter.

ARIZONA STATE TE Todd Heap last week became the all-time receiving yardage leader for ASU tight ends and needs just one more catch to lead all Sun Devil tight ends in receptions. . . . ASU set some punting game records against Washington last week. P Nick Murphy tied the school record for number of punts in a game with 12 and return man Justin Taplin had 10 punt returns for a school record. Murphy averaged 42.8 yards on his boots with three downed inside the 20-yard line. . . . ASU has forced 18 fumbles, seven more than their total of 11 all of last year. . . . The Sun Devils have scored first in every game this year and are outscoring opponents 43-13 in the first quarter. Not coincidentally, the ASU defense has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown in its last five games. . . . Illness and injury have led to ASU starting three different QBs this year, but despite the personnel changes, the Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in passing offense at 266.3 yards per game. ASU has averaged 340.3 yards per game passing over the last four games. . . . Sun Devils are Pac-10 co-leaders in QB sacks with 22. ASU had a total of 25 sacks last year. . . . ASU became the first team to hold UW QB Marques Tuiasosopo under 200 yards passing this year.

CALIFORNIA is on the road three of the next four games. . . . Cal will try to end a negative streak this week as the Golden Bears have not won in the state of Washington since 1979. . . . Because of various injuries to four of five projected starters, Cal has started six different lineups in six games on the offensive line. Only OT Mark Wilson has started every game. . . . Cal's 46 points vs. UCLA last week are the most in a game for the Bears since going for 56 against Arizona in 1996. QB Kyle Boller threw for a career-high 252 yards and three TDs. . . . P Nick Harris has placed 25 of his 43 punts inside the 20-yard line, including nine inside the 5-yard line. Harris, already the Pac-10 career record-holder in punting yards with 12,716, is just 231 yards shy of the NCAA career record (12,947 by Cameron Young of TCU, 1976-79). . . . TB Joe Igber is proving to be a multiple threat. He rushed for 181 yards vs. ASU two weeks ago and had 126 yards receiving vs. UCLA last week.

OREGON has a well-documented 18-game home winning streak going at Autzen Stadium, the second-longest current streak in the nation as well as the third-longest in Pac-10 history (see above). Included in that streak are 11 consecutive Pac-10 victories, just one shy of the Conference record for consecutive Conference game home victories (12 by USC, 1986-89). . . . Oregon also has the longest current Conference game winning streak going with eight straight league victories. . . . The Ducks are 3-0 in Conference play for the first times since 1957. . . . QB Joey Harrington completed 28 of 42 passes (.667) for a career-high 382 yards and four TDs at USC last week. The four scoring passes went to four different receivers. Harrington did suffer one interception after not being picked in his previous three games. Harrington now has a 9-1 record as a starter. . . . Win at SC was Ducks' third in a row against the Trojans. . . . The Oregon offensive line has allowed just five QB sacks in six games this season to lead the Pac-10 in fewest sacks allowed. The Ducks have led the league in fewest sacks allowed in three of the last five seasons. . . . USC was first team to score a touchdown against Oregon in the first quarter this year. Ducks are outscoring opponents 47-10 in the first quarter and 97-24 in the first half. . . . Oregon has more than doubled up its opponents in outscoring foes 30.2-15.0.

OREGON STATE QB Jonathan Smith connected with SE Chad Johnson on a 97-yard touchdown pass vs. Stanford last week. It is the longest pass play in OSU history and tied for the second-longest in Pac-10 history. Smith has a current string of 141 passes without an interception. . . . OSU's 5-1 start is its best since going 7-1 in 1964. . . . OSU's 38-6 win against Stanford last week was coach Dennis Erickson's 125th victory has a college head coach. Erickson stands 125-46-1 (.730) in 15 years as a college head coach. . . . Beavers have won seven straight home games, the longest home winning streak since 1965. Beavs have also won 10 of last 11 at home. . . . OSU has lost just eight turnovers, including just two pass interceptions and has a +12 turnover margin on opponents.

STANFORD has lost three games in a row for the first time since 1998. Cardinal has managed to score just 23 points in the three losses. . . . Despite the slide, Cardinal still stands 10-3 in its last 13 Conference games. . . . Stanford defense has improved by 85 yards per game over last year. Total defense allowed in 1999 was 452.8 yards per game compared to 367.5 yards currently. . . . Eleven of Stanford's 12 offensive touchdowns have come through the air. . . . Cardinal is the least penalized team in the league by a wide margin having been flagged just 29 times for 196 yards in six games. Stanford has led the Pac-10 in fewest penalties and penalty yards each of the last four seasons. . . . Cardinal O-line has allowed just 10 QB sacks in six games. . . . OLB Riall Johnson leads the Pac-10 with eight QB sacks, accounting for most of Stanford's 13 total. . . . Mike Biselli, the first-team All-Pac-10 PK last year, has taken over as Stanford's punter as well the last two weeks. . . . QB Randy Fasani, Stanford's starter until being injured (knee) against Texas, is expected to be available this week. Stanford has started four different quarterbacks over the last 14 games.

UCLA has won five in a row at the Rose Bowl and 18 of its last 20 regular season games there. . . . On the flip side, Bruins have lost seven straight road games. . . . Bruin defense forced four turnovers against Cal last week resulting in 21 points. . . . WR Freddie Mitchell caught eight passes for a career-high 167 yards (20.9) at Cal. It was his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game. In those four games, he has 28 receptions for 587 yards (146.8 yards per game) and four TDs. . . . QB Cory Paus threw for 309 yards and a career-high four TD passes at Cal. That gives him 576 yards and six TDs in his first two full games of the year the last two weeks. . . . UCLA has trailed in the first quarter of all six games this year, but has rallied to win four of them.

USC TB Sultan McCullough rushed for a career high 152 yards on 23 carries (6.6) vs. Oregon last week. Included was a 59-yard TD dash. He currently stands fourth in the league in rushing at 95.3 yards per game. . . . LBs Markus Steele (14) and Zeke Moreno (11) rank 1-2 in the Pac-10 in tackles for loss. . . . USC led the nation with 39 takeaways in 1999, but has just 10 so far in 2000. . . . Trojans lead the Pac-10 in third-down conversions at 42.7%. Opponents convert just 27.8% against Troy. . . . SC is outscoring opponents 51-27 in the fourth quarter. . . . QB Carson Palmer leads Pac-10 in pass attempts (211) and completions (117).

WASHINGTON freshman TB Rich Alexis rushed 16 times for 127 yards (7.9) and two TDs in Huskies' win at ASU last week. Included was an 86-yard touchdown run, the longest for the Huskies since 1994 (Napoleon Kaufman, 91 yard TD run vs. San Jose State). . . . Washington leads the Pac-10 in rushing at 191.7 yards per game and 15 of Huskies' 21 touchdowns have come via the run. But it's by committee as UW does not have an individual rusher listed in the top 10 in the league. . . . Huskies are outscoring opponents 71-32 in the fourth quarter. . . . Marques Tuiasosopo only QB in the league with triple figure rushing number (241 yards).

WASHINGTON STATE QB Jason Gesser threw for 348 yards and six TDs in the Cougs' triple overtime defeat at Arizona last week. Arizona did manage a couple of interceptions off Gesser, ending a string of four straight games and 131 pass attempts in which Gesser had not thrown a pick. . . . Gesser's six TD passes--four in regulation and two in overtime--came against an Arizona defense that had allowed only five TDs total to five previous opponents. . . . Gesser has a Pac-10-leading 15 TD passes with just four interceptions on the season. . . . Washington State has seven sets of brothers on its team. . . . Overtime loss at Arizona last week snapped a three-game road winning streak by the Cougs. . . . WSU is 8-11 (72.7%) on fourth-down conversion attempts this year.

HALFWAY POINT: As we pass the midpoint of the college football season, just two Pac-10 teams have losing records and four teams stand at 5-1.

QUOTABLE: Arizona coach Dick Tomey on the Pac-10 race: '(The champion) will be the team that gets better from here on out. It's going to be a wild finish.'

Add Tomey on Arizona's 5-1 record and Top 25 ranking: 'We've done a good job of handling the fact that we were underrated. Now we need to handle the fact that we are getting a little recognition.'

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti on the Ducks' high ranking in the polls (No. 7 this week in the AP poll): 'I'm pleased for our players getting that recognition, but I've also told them the most important thing is surviving success.'

Add Bellotti on Oregon's position in the Conference race: 'We probably couldn't be in any better shape at this point, but every game is going to become a little greater in magnitude if we take care of business. But if we don't, it's a very fleeting situation.'

Add Bellotti on USC TB Sultan McCullough, who torched the Ducks for 152 yards, including a 59-yard TD run: 'Sultan McCullough is simply the fastest running back maybe in the history of the Conference.'

USC coach Paul Hackett on Oregon: 'Oregon is riding the highest of anyone in the Conference right now. They are on a roll right now.'

Washington State coach Mike Price on elusive Cougar QB Jason Gesser's ability to improvise: 'There are some plays that we call 'Dial 1-800-Gesser.''

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