Pac-12 Football Week 5 features top-25 matchups

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QUICK HITS:

• The last time Stanford (7-0-1) and Notre Dame (9-0) played when each was undefeated was in the 1925 Rose Bowl.

• With games scheduled this weekend against No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 20 BYU, Pac-12 teams will have faced six AP-ranked non-conference foes in 2018 (ranking at game time). That’s more than any other Power 5 Conference through week five this season (Pac-12 - 6; ACC - 5; Big Ten - 4; Big 12 - 4, SEC - 4).

• Seven FBS players have recorded 200 or more receiving yards in a game this season with four hailing from the Pac-12 - Oregon’s Dillon Mitchell (239 vs. Stanford); Stanford’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside (226 vs. San Diego State); Colorado’s Lavis Shenault (211 vs. Colorado State); Oregon State’s Isaiah Hodgins (200 vs. Nevada). There were only three 200+ yard receiving games in the Pac-12 last season.

THE RANKINGS: Four Pac-12 teams (all reside in the North Division) are ranked in the AP poll and three in the Coaches poll. STANFORD (7/7), WASHINGTON (11/11), OREGON (19/20) and CALIFORNIA (24/nr) ... It’s the fourth consecutive week in the Top 10 for Stanford. The Cardinal have appeared in the Top 10 in 56 of 133 ranking periods since 2010 ... Washington has now appeared in the AP Top 25 for 37 consecutive ranking periods ... California makes its first appearance in the AP poll since Oct. 18, 2015.

REMAINING PERFECT: There are 21 FBS teams that remain undefeated. Of those 21, three are from the Pac-12. Only the 14-team SEC and ACC have more undefeated teams with four each.

PAC-12 AFTER DARK: College football’s week four saw ABC’s Saturday Night Football deliver the highest prime-time rating of any network, as ABC and ESPN combined to air two of the three highest rated games of the week while simultaneously setting multiyear superlative highs. ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring STANFORD at OREGON (5 pm PT/8 pm ET) delivered a 3.0 overnight, the best overnight featuring two Pac-12 teams on ESPN/ABC since Nov. 22, 2014 (64 games, including seven SNF games) ... ESPN’s telecast of ARIZONA STATE at WASHINGTON (7:30 pm PT/10:30 pm ET) earned a 1.4 overnight, up 17% from the same window last year and the third consecutive week the network has experienced year over year gains in the finale game window of the day. For the season, the window is up 33%.

SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE: Several matchups this weekend will feature some contrast in statistics, as well as some similarities.

• The Red Zone... UCLA’s red zone offense has been perfect on five trips to the red zone. COLORADO’s red zone defense tops the Pac-12 at 60.0%, allowing the opposition three scores on just five trips.
• UTAH’s pass defense (FBS-best 93.0 yards per game) vs. WASHINGTON STATE’s pass offense (2nd in the FBS with 401.8 yards per game).
• STANFORD allows just 13.5 points per game and has gained a league-best 9 turnovers (4 fumbles, 5 interceptions). Notre Dame averages 31.5 points a game and has lost just one fumble this season.
• WASHINGTON’s pass defense (154.0 yards allowed per game, 11th in the FBS) and pass efficiency defense (98.55, 15th in the FBS) looks to prey on the BYU passing game that averages 163.8 yards (113th in the FBS) with a passing efficiency of 11.95 (112th in the FBS)
• OREGON STATE has averaged 183.5 rushing yards per game with 10 rushing TDs (2nd in Pac-12), while ARIZONA STATE’s rush defense allows 136.8 rushing yards per game and has given up just three rushing touchdowns.
• OREGON’s pass offense leads the Pac-12 in efficiency (170.0) and touchdowns (13). CALIFORNIA’s pass defense is second in the league in efficiency (91.8) and leads the Pac-12 in interceptions (7).
• Turnover Chain Wanted... ARIZONA has just one takeaway, while USC has two takeaways this season. The fewest turnovers gained in the Conference, respectively.

FRESHMEN MAKING THEIR MARK: Several Pac-12 freshmen are making an impact this season:

Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State - 2nd in the Pac-12 in rushing with 118.2 yards per game
CJ Verdell, RB, Oregon - 7th in the Pac-12 in rushing with 78.5 yards per game
Kazmeir Allen, RB, UCLA - 10th in the Pac-12 in rushing with 53.7 yards per game
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC - 6th in the Pac-12 in receiving with 85.5 yards per game
JT Daniels, QB, USC - 5th in Pac-12 with 265.0 passing yards per game
Chase Garbers, QB, CAL - 5th in Pac-12 in pass efficiency (149.3), leads Pac-12 QBs in rushing (126 yards)
Quentin Lake, DB, UCLA - 15th in Pac-12 in tackles (6.7 per game)
Merlin Robertson<>, LB, Arizona State - 22nd in tackles (6.0 per game), 6th in sacks (0.62 per game)
Blake Mazza, PK, WSU - 5-7 FG, including a 50-yarder, 20-20 PAT, 2nd in Pac-12 kick scoring 8.8 ppg
Peyton Henry, PK, WASH - 6-7 FG, 13-13 PAT, 3rd in Pac-12 kick scoring 8.0 ppg

PAC-12 HEADLINERS: Among 177 returning starters are a number of headliners, including a total of 10 first-team and 12 second-team All-Pac-12 performers. Nine of the 12 squads return at least six starters on offense, and seven squads return at least six starters on defense ... Returning are the reigning Offensive Player of the Year in Stanford senior running back Bryce Love, as well as the Freshman Co-Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in Arizona running back J.J. Taylor and Stanford offensive lineman Walker Little, and Arizona linebacker Colin Schooler. Four teams have multiple returning First Team all-conference performers - USC linebacker Cameron Smith, defensive back Marvell Tell and all-purpose/special teams Michael Pittman Jr.; Stanford’s Love and offensive lineman Nate Herbig; Washington offensive lineman Kaleb McGary and defensive back Taylor Rapp; Utah placekicker Matt Gay and punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Additional returning first team performers include Arizona State junior wide receiver N’Keal Henry and Oregon junior all-purpose/special teams Brenden Schooler.

THE COACHING RANKS: Five new coaches enter the league this season. It’s the highest number of new coaches to grace the sidelines in one season for the Pac-12. UCLA’s Chip Kelly returns for his second stint in the Pac-12. Kelly posted a 46-7 record in four seasons at Oregon (2009-12) and led the Ducks to the 2010 BCS title game ... ARIZONA’s Kevin Sumlin has averaged 8.7 wins over 10 seasons, including back-to-back 10-win seasons at Houston (2011) and Texas A&M (2012) ... ARIZONA STATE’s Herm Edwards moves from his role as an ESPN analyst back to the sidelines where he last coached in the NFL for eight seasons (2001-08 - five with the Jets, three with the Chiefs) ... OREGON’s Mario Cristobal moves from co-offensive coordinator to head coach. Cristobal has reached the pinnacle of college football with a pair of national titles as a player for Miami (1989, 1991) and one CFP title as an Alabama assistant coach (2015) ... OREGON STATE’s Jonathan Smith returns to his alma mater for his head coaching debut. Like his Civil War counterpart, Smith achieved success as a player (MVP of the 2000 Fiesta Bowl/BCS) and as a Washington offensive coordinator (2016 Peach Bowl/CFP semifinal).

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

OFFENSE: J.J. Taylor, RB, ARIZ
Taylor sparked Arizona’s offense with a career day, rushing for 284 yards and 2 TDs on 27 carries (each figure a career-best tally). The 284 yards are an FBS single-game best this season and the fourth-best single-game total in UA history. Taylor is the 15th player in program history to rush for 200+ yards in a game. Taylor’s 62-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the longest rushing play of the season for the Wildcats. Taylor also returned one kickoff for 21 yards, giving him 305 all-purpose yards in the contest. No other Pac-12 player has more than 265 all-purpose yards in a game this season.

DEFENSE: Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, WASH
Posted a career-high 20 tackles (14 solo, 6 assists) for the highest total by a Husky in 22 years (John Fiala, 22 vs. ASU in 1996) in Washington’s 27-20 win over Arizona State. He also forced two fumbles, recovering one of them, to help UW’s defense hold ASU to 268 total yards ... First player to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Week honors since ASU LB Antonio Longino in 2015 (Nov. 16, 23) and the first Husky to earn back-to-back honors since CB Derrick Johnson in 2002 (Nov. 9, 17). Burr-Kirven was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.

SPECIAL TEAMS: TJay Tufele, DL, USC
With 1:50 to go in the USC-WSU game and the Trojans leading 39-36, the Cougars drove into field goal range, but Tufele burst through a hole and got a hand on PK Blake Mazza’s 38-yard try that would have tied the game. Tufele also had 3 tackles while starting on the defensive line.

  Offensive Defensive Special Teams
Sept. 4 JJ Arcega-Whiteside, STAN Nate Landman, COLO Chase McGrath, USC
Sept. 10  Laviska Shenault Jr., COLO Chase Hansen, UTAH Brandon Ruiz, ASU
Sept. 17 Gardner Minshew II, WSU Ben Burr-Kirven, WASH Travell Harris, WSU
Sept. 24 J.J. Taylor, ARIZ Ben Burr-Kirven, WASH Jay Tufele, USC

POLL NOTES: WASHINGTON’s preseason AP No. 6 ranking was its highest preseason ranking in the AP poll since 1997 when the Huskies opened the year at No. 4. The Huskies have now appeared in the AP Top 25 for 35 consecutive ranking periods ... STANFORD has appeared in the AP preseason Top 25 for the eighth consecutive year. The Cardinal are one of eight teams to have appeared in the preseason AP poll in each of the last eight seasons, joining Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Oklahoma, LSU and Georgia ... USC has appeared in each of the last 17 presesaon AP polls and 58 preseason polls overall. Only Ohio State (65) and Oklahoma (60) have appeared in more preseason AP Top 25 polls.

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