This Week in Pac-10 Football
Oct. 6, 2008
Walnut Creek, Calif. -
SERIES NOTES FOR THE GAMES OF SAT., OCT. 11:
ARIZONA (4-1) at STANFORD (3-3) - 2:00 PDT/MST - The Series: Arizona and Stanford have met 23 times dating to 1979 with the Wildcats leading the series 13-10. However, the Cardinal has taken four of the last five games. Arizona has had good results at Palo Alto, winning six of the previous 10 games at Stanford Stadium, including five of the last six. The Cats won the most recent matchup at Palo Alto in 2006 (20-7). . . . Last Year: Arizona and Stanford met at Tucson with the Cardinal squeaking out a 21-20 win in a largely defensive game. Stanford managed just 277 yards total offense (to 369 for Arizona), but the defense fended off some late thrusts by Arizona to hang on to the victory. Freshman RB Nic Grigsby was a bright spot for the Cats in rushing for 126 yards.
ARIZONA STATE (2-3) at USC (3-1) - 12:30 PDT/MST - ABC regional telecast - The Series: USC and Arizona State have met 24 times dating to 1978 with the Trojans leading the series 15-9 by virtue of winning the last eight. In 11 games at the L.A. Coliseum, SC leads 7-4 and has won the last four. The Sun Devils last win in the series came at Los Angeles in 1999 (26-16). . . . Last Year: No. 11 USC and No. 7 Arizona State met in front of a full house on Thanksgiving evening at Tempe and the Trojans rolled to a 44-24 victory. USC QB John David Booty passed for four TDs and ran for a fifth as the Trojans piled up 508 yards total offense and played turnover-free ball. Booty passed for 375 yards and the four TDs. His ASU counterpart QB Rudy Carpenter passed for 240 yards and one TD, but the Sun Devils could muster just 16 yards rushing and 259 yards total offense. The USC defense also racked up six QB sacks.
WASHINGTON STATE (1-5) at OREGON STATE (2-3) - 3:30 PDT - FSNNW regional cablecast, also available on FCS - The Series: Washington State and Oregon State have met 92 times in an old Pacific Northwest rivalry that dates to 1903. The Cougars lead the series 47-42-3. As befits a close series, the teams have split the last 12 games. Oregon State leads 26-24-1 in games played in the state of Oregon, including 21-19 in games at Corvallis. OSU has won three of the last four at Corvallis, but WSU took the most recent Reser Stadium game in 2006 (13-6). . . . Last Year: Oregon State and Washington State met late in the year at Pullman and the Beavers assured themselves of a bowl berth with a 52-17 win. The OSU running game accounted for 218 yards and six touchdowns and the Beaver defense picked off seven WSU passes.
UCLA (2-3) at OREGON (4-2) - 7:15 PDT - FSN national cablecast - The Series: UCLA and Oregon have met 61 times dating to 1928 with the Bruins leading the series 39-22. Oregon has won five of the last seven, but the teams have split the last four. UCLA leads 17-10 in games played in the state of Oregon, including 14-6 at Eugene. The teams have split the last four games at Autzen Stadium with the Ducks taking the most recent one in 2006 (30-20). . . . Last Year: UCLA and Oregon met late in the season at the Rose Bowl with both teams forced to use reserve quarterbacks due to injuries. As might be expected, it turned into a defensive struggle with the Bruins blanking the No. 9-ranked Ducks 16-0. Freshman PK Kai Forbath kicked three field goals, including a career-long 54-yarder for most of the Bruins' points. UCLA limited Oregon to 12 first downs and 148 yards total offense (43 rushing, 105 passing) and forced four turnovers. The Duck defense did just about as well, holding the Bruins to 10 first downs and 220 yards total offense (156 rushing, 64 passing).
Longest overall winning streak: 2 games - Arizona and California
Longest Conference-game winning streak: 2 games - Arizona and California
Longest home winning streak: 5 games - Arizona, Oregon State and USC
Longest road winning streak: 2 games - Oregon
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: In 28 non-conference games to date, the Pac-10 stands at 13-15 against non-conference foes.
ARIZONA: Wildcats play their only October road game this week at Stanford. . . . Arizona and California are the only two teams still undefeated in Conference play at this early juncture. . . . TE Rob Gronkowski, playing in only his second game of the season last week vs. Washington, tied a school single-game record with three TD receptions. In just two games, Gronkowski has five TD receptions . . . Wildcats lead the Pac-10 and are second in the nation in total defense allowing just 226.2 yards per game. Cats lead the nation in pass defense, allowing just 118.8 yards per game through the air. Arizona has allowed just six touchdowns in five games. . . . Couple those defensive numbers with the fact the Cats lead the Pac-10 in scoring at 43.6 points per game. . . . All-Pac-10 WR Mike Thomas not only leads the Pac-10 in receptions per game (6.6) and receiving yards per game (88.6), but last week vs. Washington he got his first kick return for a TD, taking a punt return 48 yards for a score. . . . QB Willie Tuitama has been picked off just two times in 158 pass attempts this year.
ARIZONA STATE: Sun Devils got 2007 leading rusher Keegan Herring back from hamstring problems vs. California last week. . . . DE Dexter Davis ranks second in Pac-10 in QB sacks (4) and fifth in tackles for loss (6). . . . With a touchdown pass at California last week, QB Rudy Carpenter upped his career total to 73, good for seventh place on the Pac-10 career list. Carpenter also has cracked the Pac-10 career top 10 list in total offense, currently standing at No. 10 with 9,158 yards. . . . Lou Groza Award winning PK Thomas Weber leads the Pac-10 in field goals, having connected on 8-of-10 this year. He is an astounding 32-of-35 for his career. Weber also ranks third in the league in punting with a 42.6-yard average. . . . Sun Devils have allowed just four rushing TDs in five games this year.
CALIFORNIA: DE Cameron Jordan and P Bryan Anger named Pac-10 defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively, after 24-14 win against Arizona State. Jordan led the defensive effort that limited ASU's potent offense to 236 yards total offense, and Anger averaged 47.4 yards on seven punts, with three kicks downed inside the ASU 10-yard line. . . . It marked second week in a row Cal had picked up special teams honors following Syd'Quan Thompson's award for punt return performance the previous week. . . . Cal and Arizona remain the only two undefeated teams in Conference play. . . . Nate Longshore regained the starting quarterback job vs. Arizona State and responded with three touchdown passes. . . . TB Jahvid Best, the nation's leader in all-purpose yards (215.5 yards per game), missed the ASU game with a dislocated elbow, but the Bears hope to have him back for next game vs. Arizona on Oct. 18. . . . Cal's defense has picked off 10 passes through five games, which equals the team total for all of last year.
OREGON: Ducks lead the league in QB sacks with 18 for 109 yards, an average of 3.0 per game. . . . Despite tough going at USC, Oregon still leads the Pac-10 in rushing by a wide margin at 267.2 yards per game, more than 85 yards per game more than runnerup California (180.0). The 1-2 tailback punch of Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount rank 5-6 in the Pac-10 in rushing and have almost identical numbers--Johnson 78 rushes for 485 yards and 7 TDs (6.2 per carry, 80.8 per game); Blount 75 rushes for 481 yards and 8 TDs (6.4 per carry, 80.2 per game). No other duo in the league comes close to matching the pair's 15 rushing TDs. . . . Ducks are averaging 41.2 points per game and have topped 30 points in 15 of last 19 outings dating to last year. . . . WR Jaison Williams has increased his career reception total to 162 catches, good for a tie for third on the Ducks' career receiving list. He is just 16 short for the Oregon career record of 178 catches (Samie Parker, 2000-03).
OREGON STATE: Beavers have won five in a row at home at Reser Stadium. . . . Oregon State has given up the fewest turnovers in the Pac-10, losing the ball only six times in five games. Included are only two fumbles lost all season. . . . Freshman TB Jacquizz Rodgers leads the Pac-10 in rushing at 110.0 yards per game. His 124 rushing attempts is also the most in the Conference. . . . Beaver defense has limited each of last two opponents--ranked teams USC and Utah--to less than 340 yards total offense. . . . S Greg Laybourn has posted 20 tackles over the last two games and leads the Pac-10 in stops at 9.0 per game. . . . QB Lyle Moevao leads the Pac-10 in passing yards at 280.4 yards per game. . . . Coach Mike Riley looks for his 50th win as OSU head coach this week. . . . WR Sammie Stroughter needs just 58 receiving yards to become the fifth player in Beaver history to top the 2,000-yard mark.
STANFORD: RB tandem of Toby Gerhart (87.5) and Anthony Kimble (51.5) is combining for 139.0 yards per game rushing and Stanford ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in rushing at 167.2 yards per game. That's a big improvement over last year's figure of 111.2 rushing yards per game, ninth in the Pac-10. Gerhart and Kimble have combined for nine of Stanford's 16 offensive touchdowns this season. . . . Of course, the offensive line gets some credit for that as well as the fact that Stanford QBs have been sacked just 13 times in six games this year after going down 48 times in 12 contests a year ago. . . . Four of P David Green's last six punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. . . . QB Tavita Pritchard has tossed five TD passes in last two games after throwing just one in the Cardinal's first four contests.
UCLA: Conference road opener at Oregon this week and just second road game of the season for the Bruins, who have played four of five games thus far at the Rose Bowl. . . . P Aaron Perez is averaging 44.4 yards per punt, with a league-high 11 boots of 50+ yards. Plus eight of 32 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. . . . Also on special teams, Terrence Austin ranks second in the Pac-10 in kickoff returns (26.8 yards per) and fourth in punt returns (8.3). He is second in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards at 168.2 yards per game, including 316 yards over the last two games. . . . TB Kahlil Bell has been battling a high ankle sprain, but still managed to rush for two TDs vs. WSU last week. . . . Bruin offensive line has allowed only eight QB sacks in five games after giving up 36 last year.
USC: Trojans have a five-game winning streak going at the L.A. Coliseum. . . . QB Mark Sanchez earned his third Pac-10 offensive player of the week honor this season following Troy's 44-10 win against Oregon. Sanchez passed for 332 yards and three TDs with no interceptions as USC piled up 598 yards total offense vs. the Ducks. Sanchez has at least three TD passes in all four Trojan games this year and at least two in his last six starts. . . . All-Pac-10 SS Kevin Ellison had a career-best 12 tackles against Oregon, all of them coming in the first half. . . . Trojans lead the league in both rushing defense (84.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (11.8 points per game). USC limited Oregon, which was averaging more than 300 yards per game rushing entering the game, to only 60 yards on the ground. . . . Troy has allowed only two TD passes in four games. . . . Trojans have allowed just four quarterback sacks in four games, lowest total in the league.
WASHINGTON: Although struggling in many aspects, the Husky offense continues convert third-down opportunities at a remarkable rate. UW leads the league at 53.2% on third-down attempts. . . . It took five games, but Washington finally had its first pass intercepted at Arizona last week. But just one pick on the season is still best mark in Pac-10. . . . Redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch got his first career start at Arizona last week. He is filling in for injured star Jake Locker. . . . DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim got three QB sacks for minus-22 yards last week at Arizona. They marked the first sacks for UW this season.
WASHINGTON STATE: Game at Oregon State this week is Paul Wulff's 100th as a college head coach, with all but this year's coming in an eight-year stint at Eastern Washington. His career mark stands at 54-45 (.545). . . . Cougs are in game two of a stretch of three of four games on the road with the only home contest against USC. . . . WSU may be struggling on offense, but All-Pac-10 WR Brandon Gibson can always be counted on to perform. Gibson ranks second in the Pac-10 in receptions per game (6.0) and third in receiving yards per game (76.7). Gibson has caught at least one pass in 29 straight games, tied with Arizona WR Mike Thomas for longest current string in the Pac-10. . . . P Reid Forrest is tied for second in Pac-10 with nine punts downed inside the 20-yard line.
HOME/ROAD: Home teams had a 6-0 sweep last week, so in 40 games involving Pac-10 teams so far this season, the home team has won 29 times, the visitors 11 times. In 12 Conference games, the home team stands at 9-3.
A LOOK AHEAD: The schedule for Sat., Oct. 18:
USC at Washington State, 12:30 PDT (FSN)
Stanford at UCLA, 1:00 PDT (FSNW/CSNBA)
Oregon State at Washington, 4:00 PDT (Versus)
California at Arizona, 7:00 MST/PDT (FSNAZ/CSNW)
Arizona State and Oregon - open dates