This Week in Pac-10 Football
Sept. 2, 2008
Walnut Creek, Calif. -
CURRENT STREAKS HEADING INTO THE SEASON:
Longest overall winning streak: 6 games - USC
Longest Conference-game winning streak: 4 games - USC
Longest home winning streak: 3 games - Arizona, Oregon State and USC
Longest road winning streak: 3 games - USC
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: The Pac-10 got off to an excellent 5-1 (.833) start against non-conference opponents in the first week of the season. Included were wins over foes from the SEC, Big Ten and ACC.
ARIZONA: In season-opening 70-0 win against Idaho, RB Nic Grigsby accounted for 190 all-purpose yards despite playing only in the first half. Grigsby rushed for 169 yards and two TDs and added three receptions for 21 yards. . . . The 70 points by Arizona was the third highest total in school history and most since 1921. The Wildcats also established school records for most points in a half (49) and a quarter (35). . . . Freshman CB Trevin Wade made his debut against Idaho and intercepted two passes, returning one of the 62 yards to set up a touchdown. . . . The shutout was the first for Arizona since 1996 (Illinois). . . . QB Willie Tuitama tossed three TD passes vs. Idaho to establish a UA career record for touchdown passes with 47.
ARIZONA STATE: Sun Devils take on Stanford in game two of a four-game stretch of home games to open the season. . . . A good sign for ASU in winning its opener was just one QB sack allowed. Devils allowed a league-worst 55 sacks last year. . . . QB Rudy Carpenter and Purdue QB Curtis Painter have started 32 straight games, longest streaks in the country among signal-callers. Carpenter completed 22 of 28 passes for 388 yards in opening win vs. Northern Arizona and tied a school record with 13 straight completions. He tossed one TD pass to give him 66 for his career, second on ASU's career list (85, Andrew Walter, 2001-04) and just one shy of cracking the Pac-10 career TD pass list. . . . PK Thomas Weber won the Lou Groza award after connecting on 24 of 25 field goal attempts last year. He opened a perfect three-for-three in ASU's opener.
CALIFORNIA: Sophomore Jahvid Best takes over as Cal's featured running back. In the Bears' season-opening win against Michigan State, Best rushed for a career-high 111 yards and a TD on 24 carries and added five receptions for 63 yards and four kickoff returns for 103 yards for a grand total of 277 all-purpose yards. The 24 carries compares to 29 for all of last season. . . . Best's backup, freshman TB Shane Vereen also topped the 100-yard rushing mark with 101 yards on nine carries, highlighted by an 81-yard TD dash that proved to be the winning score in Cal's 38-31 win. . . . Freshman punter Bryan Anger made his debut vs. Michigan State and dropped three of his four punts inside the 20-yard line. Included were boots of 59 and 56 yards.
OREGON: Finally getting his shot as the lead running back, TB Jeremiah Johnson rushed for a career-high 124 yards and two TDs on 15 carries (8.3-yard average) in the Ducks' season-opening win against Washington. Johnson had a third TD called back on a penalty. Johnson averages a touchdown for every 10 carries from scrimmage. . . . Seniors OL Max Unger and ROV Patrick Chung have started every game in their respective careers. A start this week will make it 40 straight for each. . . . Oregon is 27-1 in non-conference games at Autzen Stadium during Mike Bellotti's head coaching tenure with the lone home loss coming in 2004 (Indiana).
OREGON STATE: The Beavers welcomed back WR Sammie Stroughter, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2006, who missed virtually all of last season with an injury. Stroughter showed he has not lost a thing with 12 catches for 157 yards and two TDs in opener at Stanford. Fellow WR Shane Morales was also in double figures in receptions at Stanford with 13 catches for 151 yards and a TD, giving the Stroughter-Morales duo 25 receptions for 308 yards and three TDs. . . . OSU heads off to play at No. 19-ranked Penn State this week. The Beavers have won three of their last four road games against top 25 opponents and five of their last nine overall.
STANFORD: Cardinal plays four of the next five on the road starting this week at Arizona State. . . . CB Wopamo Osaisai earned Pac-10 defensive player of week honors in upset opening win against Oregon State. Osaisai led the Stanford defense with a team-high 11 tackles, nine solo, and a pair of passes broken up. . . . Cardinal ranked ninth in the Conference in rushing last year at 111.2 yards per game, and thus were greatly encouraged by 210 yards on the ground in the opener vs. OSU. RB Toby Gerhart led the way with a career-high 147 yards and two TDs on 19 carries (7.7-yard average). Gerhart's 147 yards rushing is the highest total ever in a season opener for Stanford. . . . Cardinal ranked second in the league in turnover margin last year and got off to a good start with a 3-0 advantage vs. Oregon State.
UCLA: Game at BYU next week is the only road trip in first five games of the season for the Bruins. . . . It marks the third game between UCLA and BYU in the last calendar year, all taking place at different venues. UCLA defeated BYU Sep. 8, 2007 at the Rose Bowl, with the Cougars gaining revenge with a 17-16 win to close last season in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. . . . Stirring overtime win against Tennessee in the opener jumped UCLA into the Top 25 in the AP poll (No. 23). . . . PK Kai Forbath named Pac-10 special teams player of the week after connecting on field goals of 41 and 42 yards, with the latter being the game-winner in overtime to upset Tennessee.
USC: Trojans have an open date to prepare for the highly-anticipated showdown with Ohio State at the L.A. Coliseum next week. . . . USC has won its last 11 non-conference home games. . . . Decisive (52-7) opening win at Virginia propelled the Trojans to the top spot in the polls. . . . QB Jonathan Sanchez named Pac-10 offensive player of the week for his performance in SC's 52-7 win at Virginia. Sanchez completed 26 of 35 passes for a career-high 338 yards and three TDs. . . . With seven starters back on a defensive unit that ranked second in the nation in scoring defense last season (16.0 points per game), the Trojans were expected to be excellent on defense. It sure looked that way in the opener as the Troy defenders allowed Virginia just 14 first downs, 32 yards rushing, 187 yards total offense, just 2-of-12 on 3rd down conversions and forced four turnovers.
WASHINGTON: After opening on the road at Oregon, the Huskies get the next three at home, beginning this week with BYU. . . . Washington's first three opponents--Oregon, BYU, Oklahoma--are all ranked in the top 20 in the polls. . . . Youthful Huskies started 10 underclassmen in opener at Oregon. . . . BYU comes to Husky Stadium this week with the longest active winning streak among FBS teams at 11 games. . . . Junior walk-on Tripper Johnson made the squad after playing minor league baseball the past eight years. He is listed as the Huskies' backup free safety and saw action in the opener at Oregon, posting three tackles. . . . Second-team All-Pac-10 C Juan Garcia came back from a spring foot injury to start his 26th straight game at center in the Huskies' opener.
WASHINGTON STATE: Cougars play three of the next four at home, beginning with Conference opener against California this week. . . . A bright spot in WSU's opening game loss to Oklahoma State was All-Pac-10 wideout Brandon Gibson, who had six receptions for 53 yards and scored the Cougs' first TD of the Paul Wulff era on a nine-yard reception. Gibson led the Pac-10 in receiving yards last year and was the only receiver to average more than 100 yards per game (107.3). He has caught a pass in 24 straight games, second-longest current streak in the Pac-10 (Mike Thomas, Arizona, 25 straight). . . . Wulff, at 41, is the youngest head coach in the Conference.
QUOTES OF NOTE: Arizona coach Mike Stoops before the Wildcats 70-0 opening win against Idaho: 'I think we can score when we want to. We have that type of an offense.'
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti after the Ducks limited Washington to 10 points, 242 yards total offense (95 rushing, 147 passing) and posted three QB sacks in season-opening win against the Huskies: 'Our defense is as advertised.'
STAT OF THE WEEK: USC has won four national championships in years in which the Summer Olympics have been held (1928, 1932, 1972, 2004).
A LOOK AHEAD: The schedule for Sat., Sep. 13:
California at Maryland, 12:00 EDT (ESPN or ESPN2)
Washington State at Baylor, 11:30 CDT (FSN)
Oregon at Purdue, 3:30 EDT (ABC)
UCLA at BYU, 1:30 MDT (Versus)
Hawai'i at Oregon State, 1:00 PDT (FSNNW)
Stanford at TCU, 6:00 CDT (The Mtn.)
Oklahoma at Washington, 4:45 PDT (ESPN)
Ohio State at USC, 5:00 PDT (ABC)
Arizona at New Mexico, 6:00 MDT (CSTV)
UNLV at Arizona State, 7:00 MST (FSNAZ)