This Week in Pac-10 Football
Sept. 29, 2008
Walnut Creek, Calif. -
SERIES NOTES FOR THE GAME OF OCT. 2 & 4:
OREGON STATE (2-2) at UTAH (5-0) - Thu., Oct. 2 - 7:00 MDT/6:00 PDT - Versus national cablecast - The Series: Oregon State and Utah have met 14 times dating to 1931 with the Beavers leading the series 9-4-1. The teams have split the last six meetings. In five previous games at Salt Lake City, OSU leads 3-2, although Utah won the most recent meeting there in 1992 (42-9). . . . Last Year: Oregon State and Utah opened the season with a Thursday night game at Corvallis and the Beavers used defense and a punishing ground game to take a 24-7 win. OSU rushed for 241 yards and the Beaver defense limited the Utes to 196 yards total offense, including just 18 yards rushing, and posted five quarterback sacks (-37).
ARIZONA STATE (2-2) at CALIFORNIA (3-1) - Sat., Oct. 4 - 12:30 PDT/MST - ABC regional telecast - The Series: Arizona State and California have met 27 times dating to 1976 with the Sun Devils holding a narrow 14-13 series edge. ASU won last year to snap a four-game Cal winning streak in the series. In 11 games played at Berkeley, the Golden Bears lead 7-4 and have won the last four. The last Devil win in Strawberry Canyon was in 1997 (28-21). . . . Last Year: Arizona State and California met at Tempe in a battle of top 20 teams and the No. 7-ranked Sun Devils extended their record to 8-0 with a 31-20 win. Cal jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, but ASU battled back and took control of the game in the second half. ASU TB Dimitri Nance rushed for 85 yards and three TDs.
OREGON (4-1) at USC (2-1) - Sat., Oct. 4 - 5:00 PDT - ABC regional telecast - The Series: USC and Oregon have met 54 times dating to 1915 with the Trojans leading the series 36-16-2. Oregon won last year to snap a three-game USC winning streak in the series. In 29 games in Los Angeles, the Trojans hold a commanding 22-6-1 advantage and have won nine of the last 11, although the teams have split the last four L.A. meetings. The Ducks' most recent win at the L.A. Coliseum was in 2000 (28-17). . . . Last Year: Oregon and USC were both 6-1 and ranked in the Top 10 when the teams met at Eugene last year with the stakes being the winner staying in the national championship hunt. The teams battled on equal terms all afternoon with the difference being three costly second-half turnovers by the Trojans that the Ducks capitalized on in a 24-17 win.
WASHINGTON (0-4) at ARIZONA (3-1) - Sat., Oct. 4 - 4:30 MST/PDT - Versus national cablecast - The Series: Washington and Arizona have met 24 times dating to 1978 with the Huskies leading the series 16-7-1. The teams have split the last six meetings. In 12 games played at Tucson, Washington leads 7-4-1, including the last two matchups at Arizona Stadium. . . . Last Year: Washington had lost five straight and Arizona three in a row when the teams met in a wild offensive battle at Seattle last year. Arizona scored the final 22 points of the game to overcome a 41-26 fourth-quarter deficit and post a 48-41 win. The teams combined for 1,107 yards total offense with each over 500 yards (UW 572, UA 535). Quarterbacks Willie Tuitama of Arizona and Jake Locker of Washington had huge days. Locker had 493 yards total offense as he passed for 336 yards and two TDs and rushed for 157 yards and another two scores. Included was a 98-yard pass play for a TD to Marcel Reece. Not to be outdone, Tuitama completed 38 of 51 passes (.745) for a school-record 510 yards and five TD passes, including three scoring passes in the final 12 minutes of the game to pull out the win. WR/KR Mike Thomas played a major role in the Cats' win with 338 all-purpose yards, including 10 receptions for 165 yards and three TDs, two of them being the final two scores of the game.
WASHINGTON STATE (1-4) at UCLA (1-3) - Sat., Oct. 4 - 7:15 PDT - FSN PT/FSN NW/FSN AZ local cablecasts - The Series: UCLA and Washington State have met 54 times dating to 1928 with the Bruins leading the series 35-18-1. However, the Cougars have dominated the series of late in winning six of the last seven with the only defeat coming in overtime. UCLA leads 20-9 overall in home games, but just 6-5 at the Rose Bowl with WSU winning the last three matchups at the famed Pasadena venue. UCLA's most recent win in the series was 44-41 in OT at Pullman in 2005, and the Bruins last defeated the Cougars at the Rose Bowl in 1998 (49-17). . . . Last Year: Washington State and UCLA met at Pullman and the Cougars snapped a four-game losing streak by breaking open a close game in the fourth quarter and upsetting the Bruins 27-7. WSU outgained UCLA 545-267 and showed nice balance in rushing for 274 yards and getting 271 passing yards from QB Alex Brink. RB Dwight Tardy carried the load for the Cougs in rushing for a career-high 214 yards and two TDs, including a 51-yard burst late in the game that sealed the contest. UCLA TB Kahlil Bell opened the scoring with a 50-yard touchdown dash on the game's third play from scrimmage, but would later suffer a knee injury that would end his season.
STANFORD (3-2) at NOTRE DAME (3-1) - Sat., Oct. 4 - 2:30 EDT/11:30 PDT - NBC national telecast - The Series: Stanford and Notre Dame have met 22 times dating back to the 1925 Rose Bowl Game with the Fighting Irish leading the series 16-6. Notre Dame has won six in a row in the series with the last Stanford win coming in 2001 at Palo Alto (17-13). In 11 previous games at South Bend, the Irish lead 9-2 and have won the last six. The last Cardinal win at Notre Dame Stadium came in 1992 (33-16). . . . Last Year: Stanford and Notre Dame met late in the season at Palo Alto and the Irish hung on for a 21-14 win in a mistake-filled game. Notre Dame RB Robert Hughes rushed for a career-high 136 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Stanford also had its ground game going, rushing for 175 yards, led by RB Anthony Kimble, who rushed for 80 yards and both Cardinal TDs. . . . Coaching Note: Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh quarterbacked Michigan to two victories against Notre Dame in 1985-86.
Longest overall winning streak: 2 games - Oregon State and Stanford
Longest Conference-game winning streak: 2 games - Arizona State and Oregon
Longest home winning streak: 5 games - Oregon State
Longest road winning streak: 2 games - Oregon
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: In 26 non-conference games to date, the Pac-10 is dead even at 13-13 against non-conference foes.
HOME/ROAD: In 34 games involving Pac-10 teams so far this season, the home team has won 23 times, the visitors 11 times. In eight Conference games, the home team stands at 5-3.
ARIZONA: Wildcats begin a stretch of three of next four at home starting this week with Washington. . . . Nickel back Corey Hall and PR/WR Mike Thomas were named Pac-10 defensive and special teams player of the week, respectively, for their role in Arizona's 31-10 win at UCLA in last outing. Hall and Thomas were teammates at DeSoto (Texas) High School. . . . Thomas, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection at wide receiver last season, had 257 all-purpose yards at UCLA, including 107 yards on six punt returns (17.8), with three of the returns setting up UA touchdown drives. He also posted his third straight 100-yard receiving game with 115 yards on just four receptions (28.8-yard average), and threw in a couple of runs for 17 yards for good measure. Thomas leads the Pac-10 in both receptions (7.5 per game) and receiving yards and is the only receiver in the league averaging better than 100 yards per game (104.2).
ARIZONA STATE: Sun Devils hit the road for the first time this year with consecutive road games at California and USC. Four of the next five are on the road for ASU. . . . With a TD pass vs. Georgia in last game, QB Rudy Carpenter upped his career total to 72, tying him for seventh place on the Pac-10 career chart with USC Heisman winner Carson Palmer (1998-2002). . . . In that game, Carpenter also increased his career total offense mark to 9,010, becoming just the 13th QB in league history to top 9,000 yards total offense. Carpenter has started 35 consecutive games and is 23-12 as a starter. He currently holds the top spot in the Pac-10 in both passing yards (295.8 per game) and pass efficiency (165.4) and has been picked off just two times in four games. . . . Devils hope to get TB Keegan Herring, ASU's leading rusher last year, back from a hamstring problem in time for Cal this week.
CALIFORNIA: Special teams scored two TDs in Cal's win against Colorado State last week. Bears opened the scoring by returning a blocked punt for a TD and CB Syd'Quan Thompson returned a punt 73 yards for a score. Thompson, who was nominated for both defensive and special teams Pac-10 player of the week, earned the honors in the special teams category. . . . Cal had a school single-game record 187 punt return yards in the game with Thompson accounting for 131 of them on five returns. Defensively, Thompson recorded a game-high nine tackles, including a QB sack. . . . Bears are showing nice offensive balance in averaging 32 rushes and 35 passes per game. Those plays are good for an average of 205.2 yards per game rushing (second in the Pac-10) and 240.0 yards per game through the air.
OREGON: In 63-14 win at Washington State, the Duck offensive line paved the way for 346 yards rushing and seven rushing TDs. RBs Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount each ran for three scores. . . . CB Walter Thurmond III, who saw a string of 21 straight starts snapped in the Boise State game due to an injury, returned at WSU and picked off two passes. . . . QB Jeremiah Masoli got his second start and threw a modest 16 passes at WSU. Two of them connected with WR Jaison Williams for TDs. That gives Masoli four TD passes for the year with no interceptions. . . . Oregon has outscored all five of its opponents in the second half this year. And they have done it by an aggregate score of 124-36. . . . Ducks have scored more than 30 points in 14 of last 18 games dating to the start of last season. They currently top the Pac-10 at 47.4 points per game.
OREGON STATE: Freshman TB Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 186 yards and two TDs in the Beavers' stunning 27-21 upset of No. 1-ranked USC. Rodgers' rushing yards were the most by a Trojan opponent since Vince Young ran for 200 for Texas in the classic 2006 BCS national championship game at the Rose Bowl. . . . WR James Rodgers had two TD receptions meaning the Rodgers brothers scored all four of the Beavers' TDs in the game. . . . Jacquizz Rodgers has rushed for two TDs in each of the last three games. . . . First OSU win over a No. 1-ranked team since famous 3-0 victory over top-ranked USC in 1967. . . . Beavers are 6-3 in their last nine games against Top 25-ranked teams. . . . OSU scored on its opening drive vs. USC, first time that has happened for the Beavs this season. . . . Next win will be career victory No. 50 at OSU for coach Mike Riley. . . . OSU has lost just one fumble through first four games. . . . S Greg Laybourn leads Beavers in both tackles (9.0 per game) and interceptions (2).
STANFORD: After starting RB Toby Gerhart went out in the first quarter of Stanford's win at Washington, senior RB Anthony Kimble stepped up and rushed 15 times for a career-high 157 yards (10.5-yard average) and two touchdowns, including a scoring jaunt of 83 yards. The week before against San Jose State, it had been Gerhart with a career-high rushing day (148 yards). . . . Cardinal has rushed for more than 200 yards in each of its last two games and three out of five games this season. Stanford ranks third in the Pac-10 in rushing at 168.4 yards per game, a huge improvement over last year (111.2 yards per game). . . . Cardinal ranks second in the Pac-10 in QB sacks with 15, an average of 3.0 per game. . . . PK Aaron Zagory is 6-7 on field goals attempts and has made six straight three-point attempts after missing his first try of the year. . . . Win at Washington snapped a four-game road losing streak for the Cardinal.
UCLA: Game vs. Fresno State last week was Rick Neuheisel's 100th as a college head coach. His nine-year career record stands at 67-33 (.670). . . . WR/return man Terrence Austin accounted for 298 all-purpose yards on 13 touches vs. Fresno. Austin set a school record with 206 kickoff return yards on six returns (34.3-yard average), including returns of 73 and 56 yards, and added 44 yards on three punt returns, rushed two times for 29 yards and had two receptions for 19 yards. And none of that counts the 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that was erased by a penalty. Austin ranks second in the Pac-10 (ninth nationally) in all-purpose yards at 182.8 per game. . . . Bruins rushed for a season-high 234 yards vs. Fresno. . . . SS Bret Lockett (10.3) and OLB Reggie Carter (9.8) rank 1-2 in the Pac-10 in tackles. . . . P Aaron Perez leads the Pac-10 (ninth nationally) in punting with a 45.1-yard average. Nine of his 25 kicks have been for at least 50 yards.
USC: Through three games, QB Mark Sanchez has 10 TD passes vs. just three interceptions. He has thrown at least three TD passes in every game this year and has at least two in five consecutive starts. Sanchez currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in pass efficiency (162.9). . . . Loss at OSU last week was just 15th in coach Pete Carroll's tenure at USC. Fourteen of the 15 losses have come by a touchdown or less (the other was by 11 points). . . . Trojan O-line has allowed just two QB sacks in first three games. . . . USC has allowed just one second-half score this year and is outscoring opponents 63-6 after intermission. . . . Trojans have attempted just one field goal all season. PK David Buehler made it. . . . WR Damian Williams has emerged as SC's top receiving threat. He has three TD receptions over the last two games.
WASHINGTON: Huskies dealt a heavy blow when stellar QB Jake Locker suffered a fractured thumb against Stanford. He is likely out six weeks. Redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch takes over for Locker. He passed for 186 yards and a TD and ran for another score against Stanford. . . . Through four games, Washington is the only team in the league that has not thrown an interception this year. . . . Washington leads the league in fewest penalties committed. The Huskies have been flagged just 16 times in four games for an average of 30.5 yards per game. . . . Huskies also lead the Pac-10 in third-down conversions. UW is only team in league that converts better than 50% on third-down opportunities (34-of-63, 54%).
WASHINGTON STATE: Freshman QB Marshall Lobbestael, thrust into starting duty due to injuries, passed for two TDs vs. Oregon. . . . Lobbestael knew to look for All-Pac-10 FL Brandon Gibson, who pulled in 10 receptions for 103 yards against the Ducks. It was Gibson's 11th career 100-yard receiving game, tying him with current Cougar wide receivers coach Mike Levenseller for the WSU record. Gibson also has caught a pass in 28 straight games, which ties him with Arizona WR Mike Thomas for longest current streak in the Pac-10. Gibson's performance also moved him into third place on the WSU career reception list (155) and second place in career receiving yards (2,481). . . . FS Xavier Hicks Jr. credited with a game-high 14 tackles, eight solo, vs. Oregon. That is most tackles by a player in a league game so far this year.