This Week In Pac-10 Football
Nov. 24, 2008
Walnut Creek, Calif. -
SERIES NOTES FOR THE GAMES OF NOV. 28-29:
UCLA (4-6) at ARIZONA STATE (4-6) - Fri., Nov. 28, 7:30 MST/6:30 PST - ESPN2 national cablecast - The Series: The 25th meeting between UCLA and Arizona State with the Bruins leading the series 15-8-1. The teams have split the last four meetings. The Bruins have had good success at Tempe winning seven of 10 previous games at Sun Devil Stadium, including the most recent visit in 2006 (24-12). . . . Last Year: Arizona State and UCLA met at the Rose Bowl and the No. 9-ranked Sun Devils ran their record to 9-1 with a narrow 24-20 victory. The game was largely a defensive struggle with TB Keegan Herring the exception in rushing for 116 yards and a TD.
OREGON (8-3) at OREGON STATE (8-3) - The Civil War - Sat., Nov. 29, 4:00 PST - Versus national cablecast - The Series: The Civil War is the longest football rivalry on the West Coast in terms of number of games played. Oregon and Oregon State have met 111 times dating to 1894 and uninterrupted since 1945 with the Ducks leading the series 55-46-10. Oregon State won at Eugene last year, snapping a 10-year run of the home team winning the Civil War. Thus the Beavers have won five in a row at home with the last Duck victory at Corvallis coming in 1996 (49-13). . . . Last Year: Oregon and Oregon State closed out the regular season at Eugene and, as noted, the Beavers snapped a 10-year streak of the home team winning the Civil War with a thrilling 38-31 double overtime victory. The Ducks and Beavers were tied at 21 at halftime and 28-28 at the end of regulation forcing the overtime. The teams traded field goals in the first overtime before OSU freshman James Rodgers dashed 25 yards for a TD on the first play of the second overtime. The Beavers stopped the Ducks on four downs on the following possession to claim the OT win.
NOTRE DAME (6-5) at USC (9-1) - Sat., Nov. 29, 5:00 PST - TV TBA - The Series: USC and Notre Dame have met 79 times, dating to 1926 and uninterrupted since 1946, with the Fighting Irish leading the renowned intersectional rivalry 42-32-5. However, it has been all Trojans of late as USC has won six in a row and nine of the last 12. USC's current six-game win streak is its longest ever against the Irish. SC has won three in a row and five of the last six games played at Los Angeles, with the lone Notre Dame win in L.A. in that stretch coming in 2000 (38-21). In 41 total games at Los Angeles, USC has a narrow 20-17-4 advantage. . . . Last Year: USC and Notre Dame met at South Bend and QB Mark Sanchez threw four touchdown passes and the Trojan defense dominated the Irish in a 38-0 shutout win. It was USC's most decisive victory over Notre Dame in the 79-game series and the Trojans first shutout at South Bend since 1933. Sanchez, making just his second career start in place of injured John David Booty, passed for 235 yards and the four TDs and the Trojans added 227 yards on the ground.
WASHINGTON STATE (2-10) at HAWAI'I (6-5) - Sat., Nov. 29, 6:00 HST/8:00 PST - The Series: Washington State and Hawai'i have met just three times with Hawai'i winning the first game and the Cougars the most recent two for a 2-1 series edge. All three games have been in Hawai'i with the most recent meeting being in 1999, a 22-14 WSU win. . . . Last Meeting: Washington State closed out the 1999 season at Hawai'i and the Cougars scored 10 points in the final three minutes of the game to grab a 22-14 win. Freshman Jason Gesser, hometown Honolulu, got his first collegiate start at quarterback for Washington State. He would go on to become the WSU career passing leader before being passed by Alex Brink last year. But it was the Cougar running game, which went for 222 yards and two TDs, along with three Rian Lindell field goals and a sturdy defensive effort that keyed the WSU win.
Longest overall winning streak: 7 games - USC
Longest Conference-game winning streak: 7 games - Oregon State and USC
Longest home winning streak: 8 games - Oregon State and USC
Longest road winning streak: 3 games - Oregon State and USC
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: In 29 non-conference games to date, the Pac-10 stands at 13-16 against non-conference foes.
HOME/ROAD: In 69 games involving Pac-10 teams so far this season, the home team has won 47 times, the visitors 22 times (.681). In 40 Conference games, the home team stands at 26-14 (.650).
ARIZONA: A win against rival Arizona State in the season finale would give the Wildcats their first seven-win season since 1998. . . . Arizona scored only seven rushing touchdowns in 2007, but has 30 this year, second only to Oregon in the Pac-10. The Wildcats have rushed for at least one score in every game. . . . Arizona is averaging 37.6 points per game, just off the school record of 38.5. . . . WR Mike Thomas has extended his UA career reception record to 246 catches. He has caught a pass in 35 straight games, tying him with WSU's Brandon Gibson for the longest such current streak in the Conference. . . . RB Nic Grigsby, with 952 yards, needs 48 more to become Arizona's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2001 (Clarence Farmer). . . . Wildcats are least intercepted team in the league as QB Willie Tuitama has been picked off just seven times this year.
ARIZONA STATE: Sun Devils play host to UCLA in a game that will eliminate the loser from bowl consideration and keep the winner's post-season hopes alive. . . . Arizona State's 31-0 blanking of Washington State in last game was first shutout for the Sun Devils since 19-0 win over No. 1-ranked Nebraska in 1996. . . . ASU limited WSU to just seven yards rushing. . . . QB Rudy Carpenter continues to climb the Pac-10 career charts. With three touchdown passes vs. WSU, Carpenter upped his career to 80 career touchdown passes. That's good for No. 3 on the Pac-10 career list behind USC's Matt Leinart (99) and ASU's Andrew Walter (85). Carpenter also has moved into eighth place on the career passing chart with 10,266 yards. Carpenter has started 41 straight games, longest current streak of any quarterback in the country.
CALIFORNIA: TB Jahvid Best named Pac-10 offensive player of the week following his career-best 201 yard rushing game in Big Game win against Stanford. Best averaged 10.6 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one on a reception. Best ranks second behind Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers in Pac-10 rushing at 108.3 yards per game Best and Rodgers are the only backs in the league averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game. . . . Best gives Cal a 1,000-yard rusher for the seventh consecutive season. . . . OLB Zack Follett had five tackles for loss (-19), including 2.5 quarterback sacks (-17), among his 10 stops in the Big Game. . . . Also in the Big Game, Cal freshman P Bryan Anger set a school single-game record by averaging 60.2 yards on four punts. Included were punts of 76 and 75 yards.
OREGON: Ducks enter the Civil War having won four of their last five games. . . . QB Jeremiah Masoli named Pac-10 offensive player of the week for the second time this season after accounting for 387 yards total offense and five touchdowns in Ducks' win against Arizona in last outing. Masoli passed for 298 yards and two TDs and ran for 89 yards and three more scores. . . . Ducks averaged 8.8 yards per play in that game vs. Arizona (57 plays for 504 yards). . . . 55-45 win against Arizona marks fourth time this year Ducks have surpassed 50 points in a game. . . . TB LeGarrette Blount has tied the UO single-season record for rushing touchdowns with 15 (Saladin McCullough, 1996). The 15 TDs rushing ties Blount with Stanford's Toby Gerhart for most rushing TD in the Pac-10.
OREGON STATE: Beavers take on Oregon in the Civil War with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line. It would be OSU's first trip to the Rose Bowl game since 1965 (1964 season). . . . Win also would give Beavs at least a share of the Pac-10 crown for the first time since 2000. . . . Oregon State and USC have the longest current home win streaks (8 games) and Conference game win streaks (7 games) going among Pac-10 teams. . . . S Greg Laybourn was named Pac-10 defensive player of the week for the third time this year following 11-tackle performance in Beavers' 19-17 win at Arizona. Laybourn leads the Pac-10 in tackles with 8.5 stops per game. . . . In Arizona, TB Jacquizz Rodgers, the Pac-10's leading rusher, went out early with a shoulder injury. Brother James Rodgers picked up the slack in running the ball 10 times for 102 yards and a TD.
STANFORD: Cardinal finish the season at 5-7, improving their record for the second straight year under coach Jim Harbaugh. . . . Stanford also was improved in most of the major stat categories over a year ago. Most dramatic was rushing offense, where the Card ranks third in the Pac-10 at 199.6 yards per game. Last year's number was 111.2 yards per game, ninth in the Conference. Stanford's season total of 2,395 rushing yards is the second-highest in school history. . . . With 103 yards rushing in the Big Game, RB Toby Gerhart upped his season total to 1,136 yards, a new single-season rushing record for the Cardinal (old record 1,084 by Tommy Vardell in 1991). Gerhart had eight 100-yard rushing games this year.
UCLA: Bruins play at Arizona State in a game will eliminate the loser from bowl consideration and give the winner post-season hope. . . . UCLA forced a season-high five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) in win at Washington in last game. . . . Bruins rank second in the Pac-10 in pass defense at 164.2 yards per game after allowing Washington just 39 yards through the air. . . . TB Kahlil Bell looked to be at full strength at Washington with a season-high 97 yards rushing and a pair of TD runs. . . . P Aaron Perez leads the Pac-10 in punting with a 44.5-yard average. He has 62 punts on the season with 21 of them traveling 50+ yards. . . . Former three-year starting offensive lineman Chris Joseph has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. Joseph started the last three years at guard and center for the Bruins before graduating last June.
USC: Trojans finish the regular season against traditional rivals Notre Dame and UCLA. . . . USC leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense (8.3), total defense (222.5), rushing defense (90.2) and pass defense efficiency (84.4). . . . No opponent has gained 400 yards on the Trojans this season and seven of nine opponents have been held to 10 or fewer points, including three shutours. . . . Trojans have outscored opponents 171-25 in the second half, including 91-12 in the fourth quarter. . . . MLB Rey Maualuga has been named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the best defensive player in college football. . . . QB Mark Sanchez leads the Pac-10 in pass efficiency (162.7) by a large margin, with 26-7 TD-to-interception ratio a big reason.
WASHINGTON: Husky defense showing improvement in holding last two opponents under 350 yards total offense. . . . Soph OLB Mason Foster ranks second in tackles in the Pac-10 with 8.4 stops per game. . . . Despite struggles in some areas, Huskies have been at or near the top of the Pac-10 all year in fewest penalties incurred, an average of just 4.5 for 38.5 yards per game, and third-down conversions, 42.6% (69-of-162). . . . Although Huskies have posted a modest total of 14 QB sacks this year, DE Daniel Teo'Nesheim has half of them (7). That's good for a tie for sixth in the Pac-10 in that category.
WASHINGTON STATE: PK Nico Grasu named Pac-10 special teams player of the week for his role in 16-13 double-overtime upset win against Washington in the Apple Cup. Grasu was three-for-three on field goal attempts. His first kick came as time expired, sending the game into overtime. He kicked another in the first overtime and then the game-winner in the second overtime. . . . Paul Wulff became the first WSU head coach to win the Apple Cup in his first season since Jim Sweeney in 1968. . . . WR Brandon Gibson has claimed second place on the WSU career reception list with 181 catches. He trails only Michael Bumpus, who had 195 (2004-07). Gibson had already claimed the WSU career record for receiving yards. He has caught a pass in 35 straight games, which ties him with Arizona WR Mike Thomas for longest current streak in the Pac-10.