Roundup: Cardinal defense attempts to stop ASU's 'grassketball'

Stanford

The biggest game of the weekend in the nation is going down on The Farm with No. 23 Arizona State visiting No. 5 Stanford (4 p.m. PT on FOX) in a contest that could have a big say in the Pac-12 title race. With big dudes up front on both sides, the battle in the trenches will be a key to victory. Luckily for the Cardinal, Andrus Peat is cashing in on his potential. On the other side of the ball, Stanford’s defense looks to contain Arizona State’s attack as described in Sports Illustrated’s Weekly Spotlight. As defensive coordinator Derek Mason puts it, Arizona State makes it “basketball on grass,” or grassketball, like Martin Rickman suggests.

Arizona State

Man, that Stanford defense is top notch. Be there any hope for any offense out there? The Sun Devils certainly feel like they have a chance, and tight end Chris Coyle previews the Stanford game by telling us all how he thinks the Forks can have success on offense against the boys who like to party in the backfield.

Utah

BYU and Utah are preparing for battle Saturday night (7:15 p.m. PT on ESPN2), and they don’t call it the Holy War for nothin’. There are a ton of familial connections on both sides; for example, the rivalry bleeds both blue and red, but the Reilly clan still stands together (Trevor is a star defensive end/linebacker for the Utes while Drew plays for BYU). You should also know that the Friel brothers balance rivalry and football (Kaneuka is a starting tight end for the Cougars while Kala is a reserve tackle for the Utes). More interested in the nuts and bolts of this game? Here’s a Utah-BYU position breakdown.

USC

In another intriguing non-conference clash, USC welcomes Utah State to the Coliseum (12:30 p.m. PT, ABC or ESPN2) in a battle of 2-1 squads. Aggie QB Chuckie Keeton is quite the handful, but the new approach has paid off for USC’s defense thus far, as Clancy Pendergast’s group has established itself as one of the top defenses in the nation (second against the run, tied for third in sacks and fourth in total defense).

UCLA

Just about everyone expects UCLA to put a beatdown on New Mexico State (7:30 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Networks), but the Bruins are ramping up the tempo and staying on their toes. And, thinking down the line a little bit, Shaq Evans says UCLA is going to try to embarrass USC. How ‘bout dem apples?

Washington

It’s a battle of undefeated squads (one FCS, one FBS) when Pocatello’s Finest takes a trip to Montlake. Here are five things to watch for during the Idaho State-Washington game this Saturday at noon PT on the Pac-12 Networks.

Oregon State

Oregon State skips town for the second week in a row to take on San Diego State (4:30 p.m. PT), and while defense hasn’t been a bright spot for Riley’s troopers thus far, Steven Nelson says communication is improving. Also, here are five questions about San Diego State with the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Stefanie Loh.

Washington State

It’s about a 15-minute drive from Moscow to Pullman, so Saturday night’s game between Idaho and Washington State (7:30 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks) will have many a peeps in the Palouse a-buzzin’. Robb Akey, former head coach of the Vandals and former defensive coordinator of the Cougs, isn’t coaching at the moment, but Akey is happy now just being a dad. He isn’t the only connection between the two schools, because Washington State special teams coach Eric Russell remembers Idaho fondly -- he got his start in the coaching biz with the Vandals two decades ago.

Arizona

Plenty of schools have the Saturday off, and Arizona is one of ‘em. RichRod’s boys have made it look easy in the first three weeks of the season… perhaps too easy. That’s why the folks at the Daily Wildcat think the bye week comes too early for the Wildcats.

Oregon

Oregon also gets to chill after annihilating its first three opponents by putting up a combined 184 points on the board. That’s not the only impressive total, however, because the Ducks have also only given up 27 points, leading some to ask if Oregon’s defense is as dangerous as its offense. Also, while we have the time, let’s meet the faces behind Oregon’s flashiness.

Colorado

This unit might not be at Oregon’s level, but the Colorado defense is coming together thanks to solid coaching and greater confidence in what it can achieve. No game for the Buffs as well… for the second straight week, unfortunately. Thoughts and prayers out to the people in Boulder.

California

A lil’ in-season R&R for the Golden Bears also, so this seems to be the perfect time to tell you that Cal and Sonny Dykes seek to repair the football program’s academic woes.

Pac-12 Networks

Let’s end it on this- the Conference of Champions has had a banner year thus far in the non-league slate, so Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports says it’s time to praise the Pac-12. Nation’s best non-conference record, yo.

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