This Week in Pac-10 Football
Sept. 14, 2009
HOME/ROAD: In 18 games involving Pac-10 teams so far this season, the home team has won 12 times, the visitors six times. There has been only one Conference game to date, with the visitor winning that (Stanford at Washington State).
CURRENT STREAKS: Longest overall winning streak: 12 games - USC Longest Conference-game winning streak: 8 games - USC Longest home winning streak: 10 games - USC Longest road winning streak: 5 games - USC
ARIZONA: After opening with first two games at home, Wildcats hit the road for the next three, starting this week at Iowa. . . . Iowa is the alma mater of Arizona head coach Mike Stoops and his brother, UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. Both Mike and Mark played safety for the Hawkeyes and both started their coaching careers at Iowa. . . . Cats have won four in a row dating back to last year, longest winning streak for UA since 2000. . . . RB Nic Grigsby rushed for a career-high 207 yards and two TDs in win vs. Northern Arizona. That put him over the 2,000-yard mark (2,182) for his career, ninth on the UA career list. Included in his performance vs. NAU was a 94-yard run, second-longest in school history. Grigsby is leading the Pac-10 and is second in the nation in rushing at 162.5 yards per game. . . . Through two games, QB Matt Scott is the leading rusher among Pac-10 quarterbacks with an average of 65.5 rushing yards per game.
ARIZONA STATE: Sun Devils come off an early-season open date and now play 11 straight saturdays. . . . Season opening win vs. Idaho State marked the first ASU game since Oct. 22, 2005 that did not feature the graduated Rudy Carpenter as the starting quarterback. Senior Danny Sullivan made his starting debut against the Bengals with frosh Brock Osweiler also seeing some action. . . . ASU defense came up with five turnovers in opener, including four interceptions. Veteran OLB Mike Nixon named Pac-10 defensive player of the week for picking off three of those passes, returning one of them for a TD vs. ISU. . . . PK Thomas Weber, the 2007 Lou Groza Award winner, tied a school record with five field goals against Idaho State. He accounted for 20 of ASU's 50 points in the game. . . . P Trevor Hankins did the punting in opener leaving Weber to handle the place kicking only. . . . ASU used five tailbacks in the opener as the Devils rushed for 199 yards.
CALIFORNIA: After opening the season with two home games, the Golden Bears hit the road for Minnesota and Oregon the next two weeks. . . . Cal has won five in a row dating back to last year. . . . Bears have not turned the ball over in either of the
ir first two games. . . . Cal leading the Pac-10 in QB sacks with 10 in the first two games. . . . In limited action thus far (just 27 carries in first two games), TB Jahvid Best nevertheless ranks second in the Pac-10 in rushing at 140.5 yards per game with an outrageous per carry average of 10.4. Best has reeled off six consecutive 100-yard rushing games dating back to last year. . . . As a team, the Bears are averaging a league-high 7.1 yards per rush. . . . ILB Mychal Kendricks leads the Pac-10 in tackles at 13.0 stops per game. That's good for a tie for fifth nationally.
OREGON: Game against Utah this week is game two of a four-game homestand for the Ducks. . . . The Utes bring with them the nation's longest current winning streak of 16 games. . . . Senior Andre Crenshaw and redshirt freshmen LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner all saw action at tailback in Ducks` 38-36 win vs. Purdue. James had the most yardage with 56 on nine carries and Crenshaw and Barner each rushed for a TD. They combined for 25 carries for 113 yards and two TDs. . . . MLB Casey Matthews posted a career-high 12 tackles vs. Purdue and ranks second in the Pac-10 in tackles at 11.0 stops per game. . . . CB Walter Thurmond III had 148 return yards vs. Purdue as he returned two kickoffs for 70 yards (35.0), six punts for 60 yards (19.0) and added an interception return for 18 yards and a TD.
OREGON STATE: Beavers have No. 17-ranked Big East favorite Cincinnati coming to Reser Stadium this week. OSU has won 26 straight non-conference home games dating back to the 1996 season. The Beavs have not lost a non-conference home game ever under coach Mike Riley. . . . OSU is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2005 and is looking for the first sweep of its non-conference games since 2002. . . . Beavers have not turned the ball over in either of their first two games. . . . The Rodgers brothers, TB Jacquizz and WR James, are at it again in the early going. In the first two games they have combined for 597 rushing/receiving yards and six TDs. Jacquizz Rodgers ranks third in the Pac-10 in rushing (134.5 yards per game) and leads the league in receptions at 7.0 per game. . . . Narrow win at UNLV is nothing new for the Beavers. OSU is 14-2 in games decided by seven or fewer points since the start of the 2006 season.
STANFORD: After opening with first two games on the road, Stanford becomes the last Pac-10 team to make its home opener with this week's contest against neighboring San Jose State in the Bill Walsh Legacy Game. Stanford was 4-1 at home last year. . . . The Spartans are coached by former Arizona head coach Dick Tomey. . . . Frosh QB Andrew Luck ranks second in the Pac-10 in passing at 234.5 yards per game and has tossed three TDs vs. just one interception in first two starts. . . . Luck's go-to guy has been WR Ryan Whalen, who leads Pac-10 wideouts in receptions (6.5 per game) and receiving yardage (98.5). . . . PK Nate Whitaker bombed a 54-yard field goal at Wake Forest, the fifth-longest field goal in Stanford history and the longest in two decades. . . . Stanford has not allowed a first-half touchdown yet this year.
UCLA: Bruins` 19-15 road win at Tennessee extends the Pac-10's record against the SEC to 11-8 since 2000. UCLA has a big hand in that with a 4-0 mark vs. the SEC span during that time (2-0 vs. both Alabama and Tennessee). . . . Starting QB Kevin Prince suffered a fractured jaw late in the Tennessee game and is expected to miss three to four weeks. . . . MLB Reggie Carter and PK Kai Forbath named Pac-10 defensive and special teams players of the week for performances at Tennessee. Forbath made 4 of 5 field goal attempts (missing from 51 yards) and accounted for 13 of the Bruins 19 points. A Forbath field goal in overtime beat Tennessee at the Rose Bowl last year. . . . UCLA FS Rahim Moore has intercepted five passes in Bruins` first two games. Five picks was enough to lead the Pac-10 in interceptions in last year's final stats (Mike Nixon of ASU and Walter Thurmond III of Oregon).
USC: Retooled Trojan defense gets much of the credit for showdown win vs. Ohio State at Columbus. For the second year in a row the USC defense limited OSU to less than 275 yards total offense and under 100 yards rushing. . . . Even with eight new starters on defense, Trojans rank second in the league in scoring defense (9.0) and total defense (193.0). . . . Win marked USC's 10 straight victory against a Big Ten opponent. . . . Trojans' overall winning streak has now stretched to 12 games. . . . All-Pac-10 C Kristofer O'Dowd was back in the lineup in Columbus after missing the opener with an injury. . . . TB Joe McKnight named Pac-10 offensive player of the week. On SC's dramatic late 86-yard TD drive to win the game, McKnight picked up 53 of the 86 yards--32 rushing, 21 receiving--and capped it with a two-point conversion catch after the score.
WASHINGTON: Coach Steve Sarkisian faces his former team when USC comes calling this week. Sarkisian spent seven years on the Trojan staff prior to being named to head the Husky program last December. . . . Game vs. USC is third straight at home for the Huskies, who make first road trip of the year next week with game at Stanford. . . . Huskies snapped their nation's-longest 15-game losing streak with win vs. Idaho and gave Sarkisian his first victory. UW scored on its first five offensive possessions in the game. . . . QB Jake Locker and Washington as a team are leading the Pac-10 in passing yardage at 287.0 yards per game. Locker also leads league in total offense at 321.5 yards per game and is co-leader in TD passes with five (tied with QB Kevin Riley of Cal). . . . Huskies top the Pac-10 in third-down conversion rate at .667 (22 of 33).
WASHINGTON STATE: Senior QB Kevin Lopina got the start and the bulk of the playing time in last week's game. . . . A bright spot for the Cougars is P Reid Forrest, who leads the Pac-10 in punting with a 47.0-yard average, a full two yards more than No. 2 Bryan Anger of Cal. Four of Reid's boots have traveled 50+ yards and three have been downed inside the 20-yard line. . . . Cougs are second-least penalized team in the Pac-10 having been flagged for an average of just 38.0 yards per game. . . . Soph WR Jared Karstetter is averaging better than 20 yards per reception (20.5) with 123 yards and one TD on six catches. . . . Hard-hitting FS Xavier Hicks is the only player in the league to have already forced two fumbles this season.
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: The Pac-10 is off to a stellar start with a 13-4 (.765) record against non-league foes in the first two weeks of the season.