Utes and Huskies clash in Pac-12 Football Championship
Preview: Washington is making its second FCG appearance, while Utah is making its first-ever FCG appearance. The Huskies will be the home team based on its 7-2 conference record. Washington capture the 2016 Pac-12 Championship with a 41-10 win over Colorado. A win by the Huskies and it’ll be their third straight 10-win season, the first in program history. A win by the Utes and it would be their fourth 9-win season in the last five years. The champion, if not among the top four teams in the final CFP rankings, will be the Pac-12’s representative in the Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual.
FOX: Joe Davis, play-by-play; Brady Quinn, analyst; Bruce Feldman/Petros Papadakis, sideline
ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski, play-by-play; David Norrie, analyst; Ian Fitzsimmons, sideline
Series Record: WASH leads, 11-1-0. First meeting was in 1931, a 7-6 Husky victory in Seattle. Washington has won eight straight before Utah picked up its lone series victory, a 34-23 decision in Seattle in 2015.
Last Meeting: Sept. 15, 2018, Salt Lake City, Washington prevailed, 21-7. Both defenses excelled, but it was Washington that stepped up to limit Utah to 261 yards total offense (152 yards below its season average). While the Utah defense was able to keep the Washington in check for most of the game, allowing 327 yards total offense with 7.0 tackles for loss and an interception, it was the Huskies’ Myles Gaskin who made the most of 30 carries as he rushed for 143 yards and 1 TD.
Pac-12 FCG Records: All-time Pac-12 FCG results and records are available on pages 9-12
THE RANKINGS: Three Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AP poll and the Coaches poll. WASHINGTON (10/11) is joined by WASHINGTON STATE (t12/13) and UTAH (17/17).
DIVISION RACES FOR THE PAC-12 FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Pac-12 North: It came down to the Apple Cup as WASHINGTON STATE and WASHINGTON battled in Pullman to determine who would represent the North in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game. The Huskies prevailed with a 28-15 victory, making their second appearance in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game.
Pac-12 South: Utah already punched its ticket to the Pac-12 Championship Game prior to the final weekend of the regular season. The Utes defeated Colorado, 30-7, on Saturday, Nov. 17, then awaited the outcome of the Arizona State-Oregon game later that 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.
BIG GAME RESCHEDULED: 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.
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.
PAC-12 RUNNING BACKS PACE FBS RUSHING LEADERS: The Pac-12 has six running backs listed among the FBS top 20 in rushing yards per game.4. Eno Benjamin, ASU (131.3 yards per game)
4. Eno Benjamin, ASU (127.0 yards per game)
6. Zack Moss, UTAH (121.3 ypg)
7. J.J. Taylor, ARIZ (119.5 ypg)
8. Jermar Jefferson, OSU (115.0 ypg)
9. Joshua Kelley, UCLA (113.0 ypg)
16. Myles Gaskin, WASH (107.6 ypg)
TAKING A STAND: WASHINGTON LB Ben Burr-Kirven leads all Pac-12 players with 10 or more tackles in a game 10 times this season. He has compiled a league-best 155 tackles to date for a 13.1 tackles per game (2nd in the FBS). Here’s list of those defensive stalwarts with the most games having double-digit tackles:
10 - Ben Burr-Kirven, WASH
8 - Evan Weaver, CAL
7 - Jordan Kunaszyk, CAL;
6 - Nate Landman; COLO; Troy Dye, ORE; Adarius Pickett, UCLA
5 - Colin Schooler, ARIZ; Chase Hansen, UTAH; Peyton Pelluer, WSU
4 - Tony Fields II, ARIZ; Jalen Harvey, ASU; Cody Barton, UTAH
3 - Bobby Okereke, STAN; Cameron Smith, USC;
2 - Jalen Moore, OSU; Sean Barton, STAN; Alijah Holder, STAN;
1 - 23 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. 11,796 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. 12,027 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. 5,131 Myles Gaskin, WASH, 2015-18
Career Rushing Touchdowns
1. 60 Royce Freeman, ORE, 2014-17
2. 59 Ken Simonton, OSU, 1998-2001
3. 55 Myles Gaskin, WASH, 2015-185
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 tabbed a pair of Pac-12 safeties as semifinalist for the prestigious honor that recognizes the best defensive back in the nations - OREGON’s Ugochukwu Amadi and WASHINGTON’s Taylor Rapp.
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 tabbed WASHINGTON CB Byron Murphy and LB Ben Burr-Kirven as semifinalists.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Myles Gaskin, RB, WASH
Led the No. 16 Huskies to a 28-15 win over No. 7 Washington State, rushing for 170 yards and 3 TDs on 27 carries. Gaskin, who finished his career with four wins and 10 TDs in four games vs. WSU, scored on two runs of five yards and another of 80. Gaskin also passed 1,000 yards for the season, making him the first Pac-12 player ever to rush for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. He also moved into third on the Pac-12’s career list for rushing (5,131 yards) and rushing TDs (55).
DEFENSE: Ashtyn Davis, S, CAL
Had two interceptions in a game for the first time in his career including one he returned 35 yards for a score on Colorado’s second drive of the game to key a 33-21 Cal victory. The pick-six was the first of his career. Returned his second interception in the 2nd quarter 24 yards with the interception ending CU’s drive at the Cal 21-yard line. Also returned four kickoffs for 82 yards and finished with a game-high 141 all-purpose yards. His four interceptions leads the Pac-12 and ranks tied for 14th nationally with 0.36 INTs/game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Steven Coutts, P, CAL
Coutts pinned Colorado inside its own 20-yard line five times without a touchback on eight punts for 371 yards. Coutts also had two punts of 50-plus yards for the first time in his Cal career and finished with a 46.4 yard average and a net of 47.1. Cal recovered a pair of fumbles on his punts, while Colorado had another fumble for a no gain return and a negative return on another while totaling minus-six yards in punt returns.