This Week in Pac-12 Football
• DIVISION RACES FOR THE PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Pac-12 North: It comes down to the Apple Cup as WASHINGTON STATE and WASHINGTON hook up in Pullman to determine who represents the North in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.
Pac-12 South: Utah punched its ticket to the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Utes defeated Colorado, 30-7, on Saturday afternoon, then awaited the outcome of the Arizona State-Oregon game Satruday night. Arizona State controlled its own destiny entering the final two weekends, but Oregon dashed the Sun Devil hopes with a 31-29 victory. That win was enough to push the Utes into their first-ever Pac-12 Football Championship Game.
• Pac-12 Football Championship Game Media Credentials: Media interested in covering the Pac-12 Football Championship Game may apply for credentials at www.sportssystems.com/pac12football. Deadline is Nov. 25, 5 p.m. PT.
• College Football Award Finalists: WASHINGTON STATE QB Gardner Minshew II has been named a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, STANFORD TE Kaden Smith has been named a finalist for the John Mackey Award, while UTAH P Mitch Wishnowsky has been tabbed a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
THE RANKINGS: Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AP poll and the Coaches poll. WASHINGTON STATE (7/7) is ranked in the Top 10 for the 32nd time in the history of the AP poll, and is joined by WASHINGTON (16/16) and UTAH (18/17).
BIG GAME POSTPONED: Due to extremely poor air quality from the tragic fires in Northern California, the Big Game between Stanford and California was postponed and rescheduled for Saturday, December 1 at 12 noon PT (P12N). It’s the first conference game that’s been postponed since the Arizona State-UCLA game that was cancelled on Sept. 15, 2001 following the tragedies of 9/11.
STREAKING: WASHINGTON is riding a 14-game home winning streak, tied with Clemson for the second longest active streak in the FBS (Alabama’s 24-game streak leads the FBS). WASHINGTON STATE is tied for fourth as its riding a 13-game home winning streak of its own.
SEVEN IN A ROW: During Washington State’s seven-game winning streak, QB Gardner Minshew II is 251-for-361 (.695) for 2,778 yards (396.9 ypg) and 25 TDs ... Minshew has been well protected during the last seven games, getting sacked just six times in 361 pass attempts ... 10 different Cougars have caught at least 15 passes over the last seven games, while five different players caught at least 25 passes ... During the seven-game streak, Minshew’s 2,778 passing yards are more than 85 FBS teams have thrown for all season.
PAC-12 RUNNING BACKS PACE FBS RUSHING LEADERS: The Pac-12 has five running backs listed among the FBS top nine in rushing yards per game.
4. Eno Benjamin, ASU (131.3 yards per game)
5. Zack Moss, UTAH (121.3 ypg)
7. Jermar Jefferson, OSU (119.6 ypg)
8. Joshua Kelley, UCLA (118.8 ypg)
9. J.J. Taylor, ARIZ (117.3 ypg)
TAKING A STAND: WASHINGTON LB Ben Burr-Kirven leads all Pac-12 players with 10 or more tackles in a game nine times this season. He has compiled a league-best 145 tackles to date for a 13.2 tackles per game (2nd in the FBS). Here’s list of those defensive stalwarts with the most games having double-digit tackles:
9 - Ben Burr-Kirven, WASH
7 - Evan Weaver, CAL
6 - Jordan Kunaszyk, CAL; Nate Landman; COLO; Troy Dye, ORE; Adarius Pickett, UCLA
5 - Colin Schooler, ARIZ
4 - Tony Fields II, ARIZ; Jalen Harvey, ASU; Peyton Pelluer, WSU; Chase Hansen, UTAH; Cody Barton, UTAH
3 - Bobby Okereke, STAN
2 - Jalen Moore, OSU; Sean Barton, STAN; Alijah Holder, STAN; Cameron Smith, USC;
1 - 22 players
RECORD CLIMBERS: Washington QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin are climbing the Pac-12 career charts and are among the all-time top ten in several categories.
Career Passing Yards
4. 12,200 Jared Goff, CAL, 2013-15
5. 11,818 Carson Palmer, USC, 1998-2002
6. 11,589 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18
Career Total Offense
4. 12,214 Matt Barkley, USC, 2009-12
5. 12,086 Jared Goff, CAL, 2013-15
6. 11,815 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18
Career Touchdown Passes
4. 99 Matt Leinart, USC, 2003-05
5. 96 Jared Goff, CAL, 2013-15
6. 94 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18
Total Touchdowns (Rushing, Passing, Receiving)
2. 123 Luke Falk, WSU, 2014-17
3. 122 Matt Barkley, USC, 2009-12
4. 110 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18
Career Rushing Yards
1. 6,245 Charles White, USC, 1976-79
2. 5,621 Royce Freeman, ORE, 2014-17
3. 5,082 LaMichael James, ORE, 2009-11
4. 5,044 Ken Simonton, OSU, 1998-2001
5. 4,961 Myles Gaskin, WASH, 2015-18
Career Rushing Touchdowns
1. 60 Royce Freeman, ORE, 2014-17
2. 59 Ken Simonton, OSU, 1998-2001
3. 53 LaMichael James, ORE, 2009-11
4. 52 Myles Gaskin, WASH, 2015-18
52 LenDale White, USC, 2003-05
BILETNIKOFF SEMIFINALISTS: ARIZONA STATE’s N’Keal Harry and STANFORD’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside are two of the 11 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award which recognizes the outstanding FBS receiver.
THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALISTS: The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award tabs a pair of Pac-12 safeties as semifinalist for the prestigious honor that recognizes the best defensive back in the nations - senior Ugochukwu Amadi, ORE and senior Taylor Rapp, WASH..
MAXWELL AND BEDNARIK AWARD SEMIFINALISTS: The Pac-12 had several players listed among the semifinalists announced for the Maxwell Award (Player of the Year) and Chuck Bednarik Award (Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year). Those up for the Maxwell Award include COLORADO WR Laviska Shenault, OREGON QB Justin Herbert, UTAH RB Zack Moss and WASHINGTON STATE QB Gardner Minshew II. The Chuck Bednarik Award tabs WASHINGTON CB Byron Murphy and LB Ben Burr-Kirven as semifinalists.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Joshua Kelley, RB, UCLA
Ran for a USC-UCLA rivalry best 289 yards on 40 carries (7.2 avg.) and 2 TDs to lead the Bruins to 34-27 victory. It was the third-most rushing yards in UCLA history. In the fourth quarter alone, Kelley ran for 104 yards on 12 carries and a TD which put the Bruins in the lead for good at 28-27. During the game, he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Kelley ripped off the two longest runs of his career (61 and 55 yards). He finished with 289 of UCLA’s total of 479 yards of total offense in the contest and produced 11 first downs with his runs.
DEFENSE: Jahad Woods, LB, WSU
Collected a team-best 11 tackles (8 solo) in WSU’s 69-28 win over Arizona. Woods added a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Late in the 2nd quarter Woods ended an Arizona drive and on third and goal from the WSU 3, Woods forced a fumble, recovered by WSU in the end zone, ending the Wildcat threat. Early in the 4th quarter, WSU forced a fumble on the punt return, recovered by Woods, setting up a 22-yard scoring drive that pushed WSU’s lead to 62-28.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Matt Gay, PK, UTAH
Gay broke the Utah school record for consecutive field goals with makes of 51, 33 and 31 yards for 21 consecutive field goals before missing from 56 yards in the fourth quarter against Colorado. His 33-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter gave Utah its first lead of the game at 10-7. His 51-yarder in the 4th quarter extended his school record for 50-plus yard field goals to seven. Gay scored 12 points in Utah’s 30-7 win against the Buffs.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOTES: On Oct. 22, the Utah trio of Huntley, Hansen and Gay became the fourth set of teammates to sweep all three weekly awards. It was accomplished by Oregon State twice (Nov. 20, 2004 and Oct. 14, 2006) and once by USC (Sept. 24, 1988) ... Colorado’s Lavisk Shenault is just the fifth receiver to earn Offensive Player of the Week twice in the same season. He joins USC’s Dwayne Jarrett (2006), Stanford’s Troy Walters (1999), California’s Bobby Shaw (1997) and USC’s Johnnie Morton (1993) ... Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven is the first player to repeat as Defensive Player of the Week since Arizona State LB Antonio Longino in 2015 (Nov. 16, 23), and the first Husky defender to repeat since CB Derrick Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002 (Nov. 9, 17).
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 ... 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.