This Week in Pac-12 Football - Week 14
KING OF THE HILL: #10 OREGON and #17 UTAH will meet up in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV. These 2 teams met just 2 weeks ago when the Utes knocked off the then #3 Ducks 38-7 in Salt Lake City.
This will be the 7th time that the Championship Game is a re-match of a regular season matchup. The team that won the first meeting is 5-1 when they meet again in the #P12FCG with the only exception being Oregon beating Arizona in the 2014 Championship Game.
Oregon is making their 3rd straight trip to the title game, becoming the first school to do so. The Ducks will also be looking for their record 5th Pac-12 Championship Game title (4-0). Utah will be playing in the #P12FCG for the 3rd time in the last 4 years, having faced Washington in 2018 and Oregon in 2019.
LIFE OF RILEY: USC named Lincoln Riley as their new head coach. Riley was highly successful in his 5 seasons at Oklahoma, leading the school to 4 Big 12 titles, 4 New Year’s Six bowls with 3 College Football Playoff appearances. Donte Williams will remain USC’s interim head coach for their final game this weekend at Cal.
HELLO HUSKIES: WASHINGTON named Kalen DeBoer as their new head coach. DeBoer is 79-9 as a head coach including a 9-3 record at Fresno State this season, his 2nd season with the Bulldogs. Fresno State is 9th in FBS this season in passing offense (330.1 YPG) and 14th in total offense (464.7 YPG).
PERMANENT MARKER: Following their win in the Apple Cup, WASHINGTON STATE removed the interim tag and named Jake Dickert their head coach, agreeing to a 5-year deal. The Cougars went 3-2 with Dickert as the interim coach including snapping a 7-game losing streak to Washington.
BEAVER BELIEVER: OREGON STATE Head coach Jonathan Smith agreed to a new contract that will keep him with the Beavers through the 2027 season. Smith led his alma mater back to bowl eligibility this season for the first time since 2013.
AROUND THE PAC-12
#10 OREGON (10-2, 7-2) vs #17 UTAH (9-3, 8-1)
Fri., Dec. 3 • 5:00 pm PT • ABC
OREGON: Finished the regular season with a 38-29 win over their in-state rival Oregon State. QB Anthony Brown was 23-28 against the Beavers for a career-best completion percentage of 82.1, throwing for 275 yards and 2 scores while adding 83 yards on the ground with another touchdown. RB Travis Dye had 99 rushing yards and 2 scores in that game, surpassing 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career. Dye has 16 total touchdowns this season including 13 in the last 7 games since CJ Verdell suffered a season-ending injury. Oregon was 10-13 on 3rd down against Oregon State and have converted 63.5% (47-74) over the last 6 games. DE Kayvon Thibodeaux leads Oregon with 6.0 sacks and 11.0 TFL despite missing 2 and half games this season. Thibodeaux set the Pac-12 Championship Game record with 2.5 sacks in the 2019 game against Utah. LB Noah Sewell needs 6 tackles to become the first Duck to reach 100 in a season since Troy Dye in 2018. Oregon’s defense held the Beavers to 85 yards on the ground last week after OSU had rushed for over 200 yards in 9 of the previous 10 games. A victory would give the Ducks 11 wins in a season for the 8th time in program history and the 2nd time under Mario Cristobal. Oregon has had 43 different players start a game this season, including 14 players who made their first career start this season.
UTAH: Finished the regular season with a 28-13 win over Colorado, winning 8 of their last 9 games since making Cameron Rising the starting quarterback. Rising threw for 3 scores against the Utes to match his season high and has been sacked only 4 times this season. RB Tavion Thomas needs 22 yards to reach 1,000 for the season and has 573 rushing yards and 12 rush TD over his last 4 games. Thomas’ 18 rushing TD this season are the most in a season in program history. The Utes are averaging 275.6 rush YPG over the last 5 games and have topped 200 yards 6 times this season. WR Britain Covey has 176 career receptions, 3rd most in school history. Utah’s defense is 16th in FBS with just 323.2 total YPG allowed while being ranked in the Top 25 in both run defense and pass defense. LB Devin Lloyd has 22.0 TFL this season, the 2nd most in FBS. Safety Brandon McKinney will be playing in his 2nd Pac-12 Championship Game, having played for Washington against Utah in the 2018 game. A win would Utah their fifth 10-win season under Kyle Whittingham and their win over the Ducks 2 weeks ago made Whittingham the winningest coach in program history.
USC (4-7, 3-5) at CALIFORNIA (4-7, 3-5)
Sat., Dec. 4 • 8:00 pm PT • FS1
USC: Game originally set for November 13th but rescheduled due to COVID-19 issues limiting the amount of available players for Cal. Only the 4th time USC has had a rescheduled game in program history. Have not lost a road game at Cal since 2003. QB Jaxson Dart had 248 pass yards, 1 passing TD and 1 rushing TD last week in his 2nd career start. RB Vavae Malepeai ran for a season-high 99 rushing yards last week against BYU and has 4 rush TD in the last 2 games.
CALIFORNIA: Teams did not play last year for the first time since 1925 due to scheduling limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Had their 3-game win streak snapped last week at UCLA. Have won 3 of their last 4 home games, all by at least 12 points. QB Chase Garbers has 11 career rushing TD, the most by a quarterback in school history. RB Christopher Brooks has 192 rushing yards with 2 total TD over the last 2 games.
BOWL ELIGIBLE TEAMS
ARIZONA STATE: Beat Arizona 38-15 in their regular season finale to win their 5th straight Territorial Cup, their longest streak over the Wildcats since the mid-1980s. RB Rachaad White had 98 rushing yards to go over 1,000 for the season and his 15th rushing TD of the season. QB Jayden Daniels had 86 yards rushing and 86 yards passing in that game. The defense held Arizona to just 50 yards rushing on 34 carries, the 3rd time in the last 4 games they’ve held their opponent under 100 yards rushing. Have won 8 games in the regular season for first time since 2014.
UCLA: Are bowl eligible for the first time since 2017 and are guaranteed to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2015. Beat Cal 42-14 in the regular season finale to finish with 3 straight wins, their longest win streak since 2019. Averaged 49.3 PPG and 519.0 total YPG over those final 3 games. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson tied his career-high with 21 passing TD while adding 9 rushing TD, 2 more than he had in his first 3 seasons combined. 8-0 this season when rushing for over 200 yards, 0-4 when rushing for 200 or less.
WASHINGTON STATE: Finished the regular season winning their last 2 games by a combined 84-31 score. Their 27-point win in the Apple Cup was their largest in program history. QB Jayden de Laura leads the Pac-12 with 23 passing TD and 250.6 passing YPG. RB Max Borghi had a career-high 12 rushing TD this season and his 32 career rushing TD are 2nd most in program history (Steve Broussard, 33). Will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2018 when they went 11-2.
OREGON STATE: Bowl eligible for the first time since 2013. Went 6-0 at home this season for just the 2nd time in school history, joining the 2000 Fiesta Bowl team. Finished the regular season rushing for 217.4 YPG, 14th in FBS, and topping 200 yards per game for the first time since 1996. RB B.J. Baylor finished the regular season with 1,259 rush yards including 6 games with 100+ yards on the ground. The Beavers won at USC this season for the first time since 1960.
WASHINGTON: Finish with a losing record for the first time since 2009. Went to a bowl game every season from 2010 to 2019 and were eligible in 2020 but decided not to pursue a bowl game for medical reasons. 5 of their 8 losses were by 7 points or less. Highly-touted freshman QB Sam Huard made his first career start in the season finale. Defense led the Pac-12 with just 143.3 pass YPG allowed.
COLORADO: Had a school record 7 games this season without a turnover, including just 1 turnover over the final 5 games of the season. Scored on 31 of their 33 Red Zone trips, a school record 93.9%. Parted ways with Offensive Coordinator/WR Coach Darrin Chiaverini following their final game. Chiaverini, who also played at CU, was on the Buffs staff for 6 seasons.
STANFORD: 2 of their 3 wins this season were against teams that were ranked in the Top 15 at the time of the game (at #14 USC, vs. #3 Oregon). TE Benjamin Yurosek had 5 receptions for 87 yards and a TD against Notre Dame, the 4th time in the last 7 games he had at least 5 catches and 85 yards. WR Brycen Tremayne had a receiving TD in each of the first 5 games before suffering a season-ending injury.
ARIZONA: Held 4 opponents this season to under 100 yards passing in a game. WR Stanley Berryhill III had 10 receptions for a career-high 104 yards against the Sun Devils. Berryhill finished the season with 83 catches, tied for the 3rd most in school history. QB Will Plummer had a career-high 346 passing yards in the season finale at Arizona State, his first career game with 300+ passing yards.