This Week in Pac-10 Football
Nov. 18, 2001
COMING UP: Four games are on the Thanksgiving weekend schedule, including one Conference Game. ARIZONA and ARIZONA STATE hook up at Tempe in their annual desert grudge match on Fri., Nov. 23 (FOX SN). Also that day, CALIFORNIA closes out its season with a game at Rutgers. On Sat., Nov. 24, its a pair of major intersectionals as Notre Dame is at STANFORD (ABC) and WASHINGTON is at Miami (ABC).
PAC-10 IN THE POLLS: Four Pac-10 teams remain ranked in the polls, all in the Top 20, and a total of six league teams receive votes. Following are the rankings of Pac-10 teams in the AP (media) and ESPN/USA Today (coaches) polls:
Team AP ESPN Oregon (9-1) 6 7 Washington (8-2) 12 12 Stanford (7-2) 13 13 Washington State (9-2) 15 16 UCLA (6-4) t33 35 USC (6-5) t33 t39
SERIES NOTES FOR THE GAMES OF NOV. 23 & 24:
CALIFORNIA (0-10) at RUTGERS (2-8) - Fri., Nov. 23, 1:00 EST/10:00 PST - The Series: California and Rutgers have met just once with the Golden Bears defeating the Scarlet Knights 21-7 at Berkeley to open the 1999 season. . . . Last Meeting: California and Rutgers opened the 1999 season at Berkeley with the Golden Bears taking a 21-7 decision. Cal RB Marcus Fields ran 42 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage and ended the day with 123 yards on just 11 carries (11.2-yard average).
ARIZONA (4-6) at ARIZONA STATE (4-5) - Fri., Nov. 23, 1:00 MST - FOX Sports Net national cablecast - The Series: 75th edition of the Arizona-Arizona State series that started in 1899 and is uninterrupted since 1946. Arizona leads the series 42-31-1 overall, although Arizona State has taken the last two. ASU holds a slim 16-15-1 advantage at home with UA winning three of the last four at Sun Devil Stadium. . . . Last Year: Arizona and Arizona State met at Tucson with the Sun Devils earning a bowl berth with a 30-17 win. Arizona outgained ASU by more than 100 yards (371-264), but some costly turnovers and miscues in the kicking game, plus a little trickery, gave the Devils the win. ASU PK Mike Barth kicked three field goals and scored a TD from 13 yards out on a fake field goal. The Sun Devils got another TD when DE Terrell Suggs pounced on an Arizona fumble in the end zone.
NOTRE DAME (4-5) at STANFORD (7-2) - Sat., Nov. 24, 5:00 PST - ABC - The Series: Stanford and Notre Dame have met 15 times with the Fighting Irish leading the series 10-5. The teams have split the last four games. Stanford leads 3-2 in games at Stanford Stadium and has won the last two home contests. The home team has won five in a row. The teams first met in the 1925 Rose Bowl Game (following the 1924 season) with Knute Rockne and Pop Warner matching coaching wits in a classic matchup. The Irish, behind the legendary Four Horsemen, defeated the Ernie Nevers-led Stanford squad 27-10. . . . Last Year: Stanford and Notre Dame met on a cool, windy day at South Bend with the Irish hanging on for a 20-14 win. Stanford outgained ND 384-266, including 242-100 through the air, but the Irish came up with one more TD to get the victory. Both teams started freshman QBs with Chris Lewis making his second career start in place of injured Randy Fasani for Stanford and Matt LoVecchio making his starting debut for Notre Dame. Lewis passed for 242 yards and two TDs. LoVecchio had a more modest 100 yards, but included were two TD passes to FL David Givens. Givens set up one of those TDs himself by blocking a Cardinal punt deep in Stanford territory.
WASHINGTON (8-2) at MIAMI (9-0) - Sat., Nov. 24, 8:00 EST/5:00 PST - ABC split-national telecast - The Series: Washington and Miami have met just twice with the Huskies winning both games. UW won 38-20 at Miami in 1994 and knocked off the Canes 34-29 at Seattle last year. Miami was ranked in the Top 5 in the polls in both previous meetings. . . . Last Year: Fourth-ranked Miami made its first visit to Husky Stadium and fell to the home-standing Dawgs 34-29. Washington went out to a 21-3 lead at halftime, watched Miami close the gap to 27-22 at the end of three quarters, but hung in to register the win. A highlight for the Huskies was freshman TB and Florida native Rich Alexis taking a pitch down the sideline for a 50-yard TD run. UW had a huge time of possession advantage--37:28-23:32--due in part to piling up 205 yards rushing. The Huskies also forced three Hurricane fumbles.
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: The Pac-10 has posted a stellar 21-5 (.808) mark vs. non-conference foes, 19-5 (.792) vs. Division I-A opponents. Included is an excellent 4-1 mark against teams rated in the Top 25.
HOME/ROAD RECORDS: In 37 Conference games to date this year, the home team holds a 21-16 advantage.
CONFERENCE: Should Oregon State defeat Oregon at Eugene on Dec. 1, the result would be a four-way tie for the Pac-10 championship among Oregon, Stanford, Washington and Washington State. There has never been a four-way tie for the championship in league history. On three occasions the league has had three teams tie for the title, including last year with Washington, Oregon and Oregon State. The other three-way ties came in 1935, 1959 and 1993.
ARIZONA: RB Clarence Farmer has rushed for 306 yards the last two games. He ranks second in the Pac-10 at 107.1 yards per game. He scored three TDs vs. Stanford in last game. . . . PK Sean Keel connected on a 52-yard field goal against Stanford. That's the longest field goal in the league this season. Keel also connected from 43 yards in going 3-for-3.
ARIZONA STATE: C Scott Peters has started 42 consecutive games dating back to 1998. . . . Freshman FS Jason Shivers has averaged 12 tackles per game the last three weeks. . . . With 169 yards in last game vs. WSU, WR Shaun McDonald has topped the century mark in receiving in four straight games. Over that four-game span, he has 24 catches for 589 yards. He is the only receiver in the Pac-10 averaging over 100 yards per game receiving. He has caught at least one TD pass in seven of nine games this year and tops the Pac-10 with 10 TD receptions. Also tops receiving leaders with an average of 23.6 yards per reception. . . . Sun Devils are outscoring opponents 84-44 in the fourth quarter.
CALIFORNIA: Golden Bears head to Rutgers attempting to avoid first winless season since 1897 squad went 0-3-2 against primarily club competition. . . . 35-28 loss in Big Game at Stanford last week was narrowest defeat of year for Cal as the Bears were in the game until the final gun. . . . California defense forced five turnovers at Stanford last week with FS Nnamdi Asomugha returning one of his two interceptions for a TD.
OREGON: QB Joey Harrington has run his record to a stellar 23-3 record as a starter. Harrington has 23 TD passes with just five interceptions. . . . Oregon is 17-3 in the month of November under coach Mike Bellotti, including 10-0 at Autzen Stadium. Of course, the Ducks close out this season in December. . . . Ducks are 9-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less the last two years. . . . WR Keenan Howry has caught at least one pass in 33 straight games. . . . Oregon has rushed for 22 scores and averages 5.4 yards per rush. Both figures top the Pac-10 with the 5.4-yard average a full yard over any other league team. From a total offense standpoint, it's 46 TDs and 6.5 yards per play, again both Pac-10-leading figures. . . .UO has allowed a league-low 10 QB sacks in 10 games.
OREGON STATE: TB Ken Simonton needs 113 yards against Oregon on Dec. 1 to become the first player in Pac-10 history to rush for 1,000 yards in four seasons. This past week he moved ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Allen of USC into second place on the Pac-10 career rushing chart. . . . Also moving up the Pac-10 career chart is QB Jonathan Smith, who has jumped all the way to third place on the Pac-10 career passing list. He became the Beavers career passing leader last week. . . . Coach Dennis Erickson has a career mark of 44-10-1 (.809) in the month of November.
STANFORD: Stanford has won nine of its last 11 games. . . . Cardinal extended their Big Game winning streak against Cal to seven straight games, longest winning streak for either team in the series. . . . Card has rushed for more than 200 yards in four of its last eight games and ranks second in the Pac-10 at 199.1 yards per game. That's just 6.6 yards per game behind Conference leader Oregon (205.7). Stanford has never led the league in rushing since the Conference started keeping such stats in 1954. . . . Stanford has scored 35 or more points in seven of nine games this season and leads the league at 38.9 points per game. The school record is 37.2 points per game by the 1999 Rose Bowl team.
UCLA: Bruin defense finally allowed a third-quarter touchdown last week, the first one all season. Bruins are outscoring opponents 96-17 in that third quarter. . . . In 40 quarters this season, UCLA has allowed an opponent to score more than once on just two occasions. . . . MLB Robert Thomas has been named one of three finalists for the Butkus Award, presented to the best linebacker in college football (Rocky Calmus of Oklahoma and E.J. Henderson of Maryland are the other two).
USC: Trojans have won five straight Conference games after starting league play 0-3. Troy has won five of last six overall and boasts the longest current winning streak among Pac-10 teams with four straight. . . . Late stretch run and win over UCLA clinched a bowl berth for SC. . . . Trojans knocked off UCLA for third straight year after having endured an eight-game losing streak to the rival Bruins. . . . PK David Davis has made 12 field goals in a row and 15-17 on the the season.
WASHINGTON: Huskies are in line for a bowl game for the seventh consecutive season, longest such streak among Pac-10 teams. . . . UW finished up Conference play at 6-2 despite being outscored 237-227 in league games. . . . Huskies have a remarkable 13-of-16 (81.2%) success rate when going for it on fourth down this year.
WASHINGTON STATE: WSU finds itself it line for a bowl berth for first times since 1997 Rose Bowl team. . . . Cougar defense held its last three opponents to under 100 yards rushing. . . . DE D.D. Acholonu leads the Pac-10 in QB sacks with 11. . . . WSU tops the Pac-10 in passing offense (300.9 yards per game) and TD passes (30).