Pac-12 teams gearing up for bowl season

Peter Vander Stoep

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A RECORD NINE PAC-12 TEAMS IN BOWL GAMES

Pac-12 Champion STANFORD leads a record nine Pac-12 teams into the postseason.  Stanford received the Pac-12‘s automatic BCS qualifying berth into the Rose Bowl Game by virtue of its victory over Arizona State in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. In lieu of contracted arrangements with seven postseason bowl games, the Pac-12 managed to place all nine bowl eligible teams into the postseason.

Pac-12 record in bowl games: 
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO: 48-44-3
Valero Alamo Bowl: 2-3-0
National University Holiday Bowl: 7-12-0
Hyundai Sun Bowl: 14-12-2
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: 7-8
Fight Hunger Bowl: 5-2
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: 1-0
AdvoCare V100 Bowl: 2-2
Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl: 0-1

PAC-12 BOWL PARTICIPANTS

WASHINGTON STATE (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-6) - Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Sat., Dec. 21, 12 p.m. MT, ESPN): The Cougars are making their 11th bowl appearance, and first since the 2003 Holiday Bowl when they defeated No. 5 Texas, 28-20. . . Junior QB Connor Halliday set WSU and Pac-12 records of 557 passing yards, 58 completions and 89 attempts at Oregon. He owns a school record 13 career 300-yard performances (eight this season). He’s thrown for 4,187 passing yards and eclipsed Ryan Leaf’s single-season school record of 3,968 yards set in 1997. . . Senior CB Deone Buccanon, a Walter Camp Football Foundation Second Team All-American, becomes the first Cougar to earn All-American second-team honors since Mkristo Bruce in 2006. Bucannon’s 109 tackles are the most by a Cougar since James Darling recorded 136 in 1996. His 14 career interceptions are tied for third-most in school history while his 379 career tackles are fourth-most in WSU history.

USC (9-4) vs. Fresno State (11-1) - Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Sat., Dec. 21, 12:30 p.m. PT, ABC): The Trojans are making their 51st bowl appearance. It’s USC’s second postseason trip to Las Vegas, having played in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl (lost to Utah, 10-6). . . USC has won five of its last six and is going after its 25th 10-win season. . . Sophomore QB Cody Kessler has hit 70% of his passes with no interceptions in the past 5 games. . . Sophomore TB Javorius Allen, the team’s MVP, has been on fire the second half of the season, with 11 TDs in the last 5 games and four 100-yard rushing outings. . . USC will be guided in the Las Vegas Bowl by interim head coach Clay Helton, its third head coach of 2013. Recently-announced new Trojan head coach Steve Sarkisian is waiting in the wings to take over after the game. 

OREGON STATE (6-6) vs. Boise State (8-4) - Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Tues., Dec. 24, 2 p.m. HT, ESPN): The Beavers are playing in their 14th bowl game, and their 11th in the last 15 seasons. . . Junior QB Sean Mannion established numerous team records during the 2013 season. He holds the school’s single-season mark with 4,403 passing yards and is second on the Pac-12’s single-season last (trails Cody Picket, Washington, 2002 - 4,458 yards). His 10,177 career passing yards put him 11th all-time in the Pac-12. His 36 TD passes set the school’s single-season mark and is tied for fourth in the Pac-12 (Pac-12 record: Matt Barkley, USC, 2011 - 39 TD passes). . . Junior WR Brandin Cooks, recipient of the Biletnikoff Award, broke the Pac-12 record with 120 receptions and his 1,670 receiving yards are 51 yards short of breaking the league’s record that was set last year by Marqise Lee of USC (1,721 yards).

WASHINGTON (8-4) vs. BYU (8-4) - Fight Hunger Bowl (Fri., Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN): The Huskies are making their fourth straight bowl game appearance. . . Junior RB Bishop Sankey, a Walter Camp Foundation Second Team All-America selection and Doak Walker Award finalist, set a UW record with 1,775 rushing yards on a school-best 306 carries in 2013. He ranks No. 3 in the nation in both yards and yards per game (147.9 ypg). His 18 rushing touchdowns rank No. 6 in the country. . . Junior TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Mackey Award Winner, caught 33 passes for 413 yards and led the UW with seven receiving TDs. . . UW amassed a school record 6,142 total yards (514.3 ypg) of offense this season. . . Senior QB Keith Price owns the UW career record with 74 TD passes. . .  Quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo will serve as the interim head coach for Washington’s bowl game before newly-hired head coach Chris Petersen assumes the reigns.  

OREGON (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4) - Valero Alamo Bowl (Mon., Dec. 30, 5:45 p.m. CT, ESPN): The Ducks are playing in their ninth consecutive bowl game, and 27th bowl game overall. Oregon has won four of its last six bowl games. . . The Ducks have posted 10 or more wins in each of the last six seasons, which is tied for the seventh-longest streak in modern college football history. . . Sophomore QB Marcus Mariota tossed at least one TD pass in 25 straight games (every game of his career), which is the third-longest active streak in the FBS. His 39 total TDs (30 passing, 9 rushing) and 3,994 yards of total offense are the most in a single season at Oregon. . . Mariota set a Pac-12 record with 353 consecutive passes without an interception. . . The Ducks are third in scoring in the FBS (46.8 ppg), and second in total offense (573.0 ypg). . . Of Oregon’s 68 drives resulting in TDs this season, 47 (69.1 percent) have lasted two minutes or less.

ARIZONA STATE (10-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5) - National University Holiday Bowl (Mon., Dec. 30, 7:15 p.m. PT, ESPN): The Sun Devils are making their 27th postseason appearance, and third consecutive bowl game. . . It’s the first 10-win season since 1996 when the Sun Devils finished 11-1. . . The Sun Devil offense has scored 30 or more points in 11 of 13 games this season (both non-30 point games came against Stanford), including a school record six games where they posted 50 or more points. . . Junior QB Taylor Kelly has 3,510 passing yards, which is the third-best single season total in ASU history. ASU is 6-7 with Kelly as the starter when he throws an interception, compared to 11-1 record when he doesn’t. . .  Freshman PK Zane Gonzalez has 126 points on the season, second in ASU history only to Wilford White’s 136 in 1950. Gonzalez’s 126 points also puts him first in points by kicking in a single season.

ARIZONA (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5) - AdvoCare V100 Bowl (Tues., Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m. CT, ESPN): The Wildcats are making their fifth bowl appearance in the last six years. It’s their first appearance in a bowl game east of El Paso. . . Junior RB Ka’Deem Carey, a Walter Camp Football Foundation First Team All-American, finished 10th in the Heisman balloting. He’s UA’s career rushing leader with 4,070 yards and leads all FBS players with 15-straight 100-yard rushing games. Owns or shares 21 single-game or season school records, including single-game (366 yds, also Pac-12 record) and single-season (1,929 yds) records. His 156.0 ypg average currently ranks 2nd in the FBS. Carey has a UA record 50 career TDs and his 300 points scored are something only Max Zendejas (360, 1982-85) and Art Luppino (337, 1953-56) have accomplished.

UCLA (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (8-4) - Hyundai Sun Bowl (Tues., Dec. 31, 1 p.m. CT, CBS): The Bruins are making their 10 bowl appearance in the last 12 years. UCLA is 2-1 in three previous Sun Bowl appearances, including a 50-38 win over Northwestern in the 2005 game. . . Head coach Jim Mora has 18 wins in his first two seasons at the helm, the best two-year start for a UCLA head coach in program history (Tommy Prothro had 17 wins in 1965 & 1966). . .  Sophomore QB Brett Hundley has tossed 51 TD passes in his career, third-best total in school history. . . The Bruins established a new school mark with 18 true freshmen seeing action this season, including LB/RB Myles Jack, who was named Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman of the Year.

STANFORD (11-2) vs. Michigan State (12-1) - Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (Wed., Jan. 1, 2 p.m. PT, ESPN): The Cardinal are making their fourth straight BCS bowl appearance and back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances for the first time since the 1971 & 1972 games. The Cardinal appeared in the very first Rose Bowl Game in 1902 (lost to Michigan, 49-0). . . Offensively, the Stanford ground game is led by senior RB Tyler Gaffney. Gaffney is third in the league in rushing (123.8 ypg). His 1,485 yards are the third best single-season effort in school history. He has 17 rushing touchdowns and just 21 yards lost this season. He has lost yardage on just 11 of his 284 carries. . . Junior WR/KR Ty Montgomery averages 161.9 all-purpose yards per game. He’s posted 12 TDs, including two by kickoff return. .  Stanford is 31-2 under head coach David Shaw when out-rushing an opponent, and 18-4 when the Cardinal produces a 100-yard rusher . . Shaw notched 30 career wins in his first 35 games, which is the third-fastest among active coaches. . The Cardinal have allowed just 87.3 yards rushing per game (No. 3 in the FBS) and are averaging 2.92 sacks per game (tied for No. 11 in FBS). 

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