This week in Pac-12 Football
By the Pac-12 Conference
AROUND THE PAC-12
POLL WATCH: The Pac-12 continues to place five teams among the Top 25. The last time five Conference teams appeared in the AP poll in back-to-back weeks - Sept. 12 and 19, 2010 (Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, USC, and Oregon State).
TOUCH AND GO: Oregon sophomore RB De'Anthony Thomas is making the most of each rush, reception and punt return, averaging 15.3 yards per touch. He's rushed 13 times for 228 yards (17.5 avg), hauled in 11 receptions for 154 yards (14.0 avg) and returned seven punts for 93 yards (13.3 avg). . . After rushing for 160 yards on four carries at Ohio State, California sophomore RB Brendan Bigelow averages 27.9 yards per touch. He's rushed for 175 yards on six carries (29.2 avg) and returned six kicks for 160 yards (26.7 avg). . . More touches - OREGON QBs Marcus Mariota and Bryan Bennett combined to connect with 13 different receivers in their win over Tennessee Tech, Arizona QBs Matt Scott and B.J. Denker connected with 12 different receivers in their win over South Carolina State, and Utah QB Jon Hayes tossed completions to 11 different receivers in the win over BYU.
FRESH LEGS: Three Pac-12 running backs posted their first career 100-yard rushing games last weekend. California sophomore RB Brendan Bigelow set a career-high with 160 yards rushing on 4 carries and 2 TDs in the loss at Ohio State. Oregon freshman RB Byron Marshall tallied 126 yards and 1 TD on 13 carries. Washington sophomore RB Bishop Sankey posted 102 yards and 2 TDs on 14 carries.
OREGON STATE at No. 19 UCLA
12:30 p.m. PT - ABC/ESPN2 (reverse mirror)
UCLA leads, 41-15-4. Last game: UCLA, 27-19 (2011)
Something will have to give in Saturday's game at the Rose Bowl between UCLA and Oregon State. UCLA is second in the Pac-12 in rushing, averaging 311.3 yards per game, while senior RB Johnathan Franklin, the FBS's leading rusher, averages 180.3 yards per game. Oregon State has the league's top defensive unit against the run, allowing just 35.0 yards per game on the ground.
Oregon State sophomore QB Sean Mannion is second in the league, averaging 276.0 yards passing per game, while UCLA freshman QB Brett Hundley is third at 275.7 yards passing per game. Hundley leads all freshmen nationally in passing yards and completions and is tied for the national freshman lead with 8 TD passes.
UCLA has held its first three opponents to 282 yards of total offense and 12 points combined in the second half.
COLORADO at WASHINGTON STATE
1 p.m. PT - FX
COLO leads, 4-3. Last game: WSU, 31-27 (2011)
Washington State sophomore QB Connor Halliday passed for 378 yards on 24-of-48 passing with 4 TDs in last Friday's 35-27 win at UNLV. It was his third career 300-yard performance in just two starts and six appearances. Junior WR Marquess Wilson was the recipient of five passes for 110 yards. It was his 12th 100-yard game, the most in WSU history. Wilson now has 2,612 career receiving yards, third-most in WSU history.
Senior LB Travis Long has started 39 straight games, every game in his career. Long made two sacks at UNLV to up his career total to 15 and now sits tenth in WSU's top-10 for career sacks. He added two tackles-for-loss to push his career TFL to 33.5, good for sixth on WSU's career top-10 for tackles-for-loss.
Through the first three games, the Buffaloes have had a different rushing leader in each game - sophomore Tony Jones (43 yards vs. Colorado State), freshman Christian Powell (147 yards) and junior Josh Ford (61 yards vs. Fresno State). Powell is seventh in the Pac-12, averaging 66.3 yards per game.
CALIFORNIA at No. 13 USC
3 p.m. PT - P12N
USC leads, 64-30-5. Last game: USC, 30-9 (2011)
Three of the Pac-12's top receivers will be on the field Saturday at the Coliseum. California junior WR Keenan Allen (20 rec, 216 yds, 6.7 avg) has 164 career receptions for 2,049 yards, with at least one reception in each of the 27 games he's played . . . USC junior WR Robert Woods (20 rec, 173 yds, 8.7 avg, 4 TD) has 196 career receptions for 2,257 yards, and needs 21 receptions to be USC's career leader. USC sophomore Marqise Lee ranks third in the nation with 12.5 receptions per game and is fifth with 121.0 yards per game . . . Allen adds 17.7 yards per punt return, while Lee tops the league with 30.0 yards per kick return.
Keep an eye on Golden Bear freshmen WR Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs. Harper has 15 receptions for 183 yards (12.2 avg), while Treggs adds 9 recpetions for 128 yards (14.2 avg).
USC senior QB Matt Barkley is second all-time in the Pac-12 with 90 career TD passes and needs 10 more to pass former Trojan Matt Leinart (99, 2003-05). Barkley has connected with Woods and Lee for 49 of his 66 completions and 8 of his 10 TD passes this season.
USC coach Lane Kiffin played for and coached under Cal coach Jeff Tedford while the latter was the offensive coordinator at Fresno State.
UTAH at ARIZONA STATE
7 p.m. PT - P12N
ASU leads, 17-6-0. Last game: ASU, 35-14 (2011)
Arizona State ranks sixth in the FBS in pass efficiency defense (84.5). The Sun Devils lead the Pac-12 with seven interceptions and allow a league-best 147.3 yards through the air. Three players have two picks each - freshman LB Carlos Mendoza, senior LB Brandon Magee and junior S Alden Darby.
ASU is third in the FBS in tackles for loss at 9.67 with 14 different players having recorded tackles for loss this season . . . Sun Devil junior Will Sutton is the top tackler in the Pac-12 among defensive tackles with 22 total.
Field position could be a factor for both teams Saturday as UTAH senior P Sean Sellwood leads the FBS in punting (48.9 avg) and Arizona State senior P Josh Hubner is fifth in punting (46.9 avg).
Utah has just two turnovers (1 fumble, 1 interception) through three games. The Utes led the Pac-12 in turnover margin last season with a +10 (0.77 per game)
For the second year in a row, Utah senior QB Jon Hayes has stepped in for injured junior QB Jordan Wynn. In two games, Hayes has connected on 30-of-53 passes for 350 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions.
No. 22 ARIZONA at No. 3 OREGON
7:30 p.m. PT - ESPN
ORE leads, 23-14. Last game: ORE, 56-31 (2011)
Lots of yards, lots of points. Oregon leads the league in scoring (54.0 ppg) and is second in total offense (596.3 ypg). Arizona is second in the Pac-12 in scoring (46.3 ppg) and leads the league in total offense (604.7 ypg). The Wildcats are averaging a league-best 36.0 first downs per game.
Oregon has scored 42 points or more in six consecutive games, averaging 50.8 points in that span of games.
Oregon has been ranked in the AP Top 10 in 33 of the last 35 ranking periods, including Top 5 appearances 21 times during that span.
Arizona senior QB Matt Scott tops the Pac-12 with 331.7 passing yards per game, connecting on 71.5 percent of his passes (88-of-123). Add on his 63.3 yards per game rushing average, and his total offense figure of 395.0 per game ranks fourth in FBS. Oregon freshman QB Marcus Mariota leads the Pac-12 in pass efficiency with a 180.5 rating having completed 58-of-77 (.753) passes for 674 yards and 8 TDs with just one interception.
Arizona senior LB Jake Fischer and sophomore S Jared Tevis rank one-two in the Pac-12 in tackles with 11.0 and 8.7 per game, respectively.