Roundup: Rivalry games in NorCal and SoCal
All 12 teams hit the gridiron Saturday, and we get started early with a 10 a.m. PT/11 a.m. MT start time in Tempe between Arizona State and Wazzu on the Pac-12 Networks. The good news for the Sun Devils is that Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong returned to practice Thursday after suffering a concussion against Oregon State. No word yet on whether he will take the field on Saturday.
To provide some clarity in Pullman, Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday has a broken leg, not a broken ankle, as was widely reported.
The huge Pac-12 South battle between Utah and Arizona (12:30 p.m. PT/1:30 p.m. MT, ESPN) also happens to be the last home game of the season for the Utes, and Kyle Goon writes that Utah’s senior class brought leadership and the expectation to win football games.
Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com tells us that linebacker Scooby Wright is the face of Arizona football. The underdog-minded Wright was a two-star recruit out of high school but has been wreaking havoc on opposing offenses all season long.
Yeah there’s a decently-sized football game in Berkeley (I think they call it Big Game, or something like that), but shouts out to the Cal basketball team for puttin’ a beatdown on No. 23 Syracuse in New York Thursday. Raphielle Johnson of College Basketball Talk writes that Cal took a step forward in the 73-59 win over Syracuse. But ah yes – Cal-Stanford in football… 1 p.m. PT on FOX Sports 1/FOX… winner achieves bowl eligibility, and as Cal prepares to get to win No. 6, the Golden Bears will try to stop Stanford’s run game.
As far as Stanford is concerned, Jon Wilner reports that quarterback Kevin Hogan is considering entering the NFL draft. He is a fourth-year college student who has one year of eligibility remaining.
Oregon has the Pac-12 North wrapped up but needs to take care of Colorado to stay on path for the College Football Playoff (1:30 p.m. PT/2:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks). Andrew Greif of The Oregonian informs us that Royce Freeman and Byron Marshall are on the verge of 1,000-yard seasons. Freeman has 945 rushing yards, while Marshall has 902 rushing and receiving yards combined.
In Boulder news, you should know that Colorado men’s cross country is the favorite to win the national championship at the NCAA finals in Indiana on Saturday. If they win it, it'll be the first time the Buffs have repeated as national champs on the men's cross country front.
The prime time matchup takes us to the Rose Bowl for the crosstown rivalry between USC and UCLA (5 p.m. PT, ABC), and I highly suggest you read this story from Jack Wang of the LA Daily News on UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley, whose mother left him at the age of 5 and was partly raised by his grandmother who has now passed away. Great feature.
On the Trojans’ side of things, Steve Sarkisian says that cornerback Josh Shaw will play against UCLA. Also, USC students are doing all they can to protect the school's statues from nefarious-minded UCLA fans.
The nightcap will be held in Seattle, where Washington will take on Oregon State (7:30 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks) in another bowl-eligibility bowl. Christian Caple reminds us that Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith was a pretty good quarterback at Oregon State. As a freshman, Smith threw for 469 yards in a one-point loss to the Dawgs in Husky stadium (it was the most yards a QB had thrown against the Huskies at that time).
Hey, props to Oregon State men’s soccer for winning its first NCAA tournament game in program history thanks to a goal from freshman Jordan Jones. The Beavs beat Denver 1-0.
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