Pac-12 morning links

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
"It says here breakfast anytime?"
"That's right."
"I'll have the pancakes in the Age of Enlightenment please."

Leading off

It's depth-chart Wednesday. As we do every week, here are the links to the teams playing this week followed by any significant notes. Washington is on bye this week, so we'll update the Huskies next week. The other 11 teams are in action. UCLA is the only team that doesn't do a weekly depth chart. Enjoy! Notes
  • At Arizona, despite being listed the first four weeks as a potential starter at strong linebacker, Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea is officially off the depth chart after announcing his transfer. He didn't record a tackle in the first four games (depth charts are so awesome!).
  • At Cal, Y receiver Stephen Anderson has dropped the "or" next to his name with Darius Powe.
  • At Colorado, Jimmie Gilbert moves into the starting spot at right defensive end.
  • At Oregon, it looks like there are two scenarios for whether Jake Fisher returns this week. It's either Fisher at LT, or Tyrell Crosby. If Crosby moves, Matt Pierson moves from left to right tackle. In special teams, Thomas Tyner is listed as the first kick returner and Charles Nelson is listed first at punt returns.
  • At Oregon State, Siale Hautau moves in at left tackle for the injured Jalen Grimble (see story below). And it looks like Trevor Romaine is back to full-time kicking status.
  • At Washington State, Sulaiman Hameed moves up to start at strong safety, while Darius Lemora moves to free safety.
Heisman chatter

The Heisman Pundit has released its weekly straw poll. As always, it is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters. And despite a bye week, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota hasn't slipped a bit. Here are the results of this week's poll. Mariota received seven of the 10 first place votes.
  1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon -- 23 (7)
  2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia -- 18 (3)
  3. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M -- 7
  4. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama -- 5
  5. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska -- 4
  6. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin -- 2
  7. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State -- 1
Chip Patterson of CBS also weighs in on Mariota and notes that Brett Hundley climbed back into the conversation with his performance against ASU.

Tune in

Yours truly joined ESPN Radio 1080 The Fan in Portland last night if you're aching for some pod.

News/notes/team reports
Just for fun

USA Today wants to know which team has the best helmets? ASU and Oregon are in the discussion.

Speaking of the Ducks, their unis for this week.

UA jersey tour: TE Tyler Petite

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Football has always taken a back seat to other sports at Moraga (California) Campolindo High School when it comes to famous alumni. Matt Biondi leads the way for men's swimming, and five former baseball players, along with announcer Matt Vasgersian, made their way to the major leagues. While the football program hassent kicker Giorgio Tavecchio and punter Jackson Rice to California and Oregon, respectively, it's about to get a significant boost from ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Petite, the No. 132 prospect in the country.

Petite will be the first highly recruited position player from Campolindo. He was honored for that Tuesday afternoon, when Petite was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey in a ceremony sponsored by American Family.

"It's crazy," Petite said of the attention heaped upon him Tuesday. "I don't really have a manual on how to take it all in or handle it. It's surreal almost. I'd watch the Under Armour Game on TV and always thought it would be so cool if I could play in that."

Petite said there were a lot more people than he expected who showed up for the ceremony, though he probably shouldn't be too surprised considering the family atmosphere that's been established with his football team. It was one of the things that led him to commit to Duke this past summer.

"This is one of those places -- it's a little hard to explain if you don't go to Campo," Petite said. "Our team is to tight-knit. It's like Duke in how we aren't expected to be the best team in the area, but we're starting to build that rep. We have four losses in four years and we're playing some top-tier teams. That's what Duke is doing. They're playing with incredible teams and winning games."

Petite said he still speaks with USC coaches -- one of his two finalists, along with Duke -- but added that at this point, he is still "100 percent" committed to the Blue Devils.

Five questions with Tyler Petite

What one player are you looking forward to competing with or against at the game?

"Honestly, I'm just ready to go up against some of the top players in the country, but I want to see what these quarterbacks have. There's a lot of hype around [Josh] Rosen and [Blake] Barnett and I want to go out there and play with them. I want to show everybody what I have and play with the top dogs.

What was your earliest football memory?

"My first memory in football was my first play. Back in third grade -- we played flag football back in the day -- I was playing quarterback and faked a hand off on a bootleg and went 60 yards for a touchdown. That feeling you get running by everybody. I was watching college football later that day and I started thinking about how much I would love to play college football."

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?

"I would love to go up against LeBron in the NBA. I would get totally murdered, but it would be crazy to see that guy fly around."

Why do you wear your number?

"Right now I wear No. 8. There's a tradition at our school with that number. Two of the best quarterbacks to come through here wore it and Vince Graziano, who was here my freshman year when our team went to State. He played tight end too and is a guy with a mind set that I want to follow.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

"I'm kind of rocking a beard right now so I look like I'm about 28 years old. But really I'm like a little kid, always ready to have fun."

USC practice notebook

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
The Trojans started gearing up for Arizona State on Tuesday, with the team taking part in a full-pads practice session that was marked by some staunch play by the Trojans' defensive front seven, particularly during one 11-on-11 period in which J.R. Tavai, Hayes Pullard and the entire interior group came through with some impressive stops. And with a Sun Devils' squad coming to town that ranks No. 2 in the Pac-12 in total offense (560.8 ypg) and No. 1 in rushing offense (262.8 ypg), it's something that certainly didn't go unnoticed by USC head coach Steve Sarkisian.

"I was really impressed with the defensive front at the line of scrimmage today in the team run period," Sarkisian said. "I think that's going to be critical in the game Saturday with the tempo at which Arizona State operates at. With the guys they have running it, D.J. Foster and those guys, we're going to have to be really good up front Saturday."

With temperatures expected to soar -- at least during the early portion of the game -- combined with Arizona State's up-tempo offensive system, another point of emphasis was making sure that a large number of players up and down the depth chart were getting plenty of work in on Tuesday.

"Obviously, we've all see the forecast coming for Saturday, and it's going to be warm -- mid-90s," Sarkisian said. "I think Arizona State ran 111 plays versus UCLA the other night, so both teams are going to go fast, so we really have to prepare ourselves, and it started today -- playing all of our available people in all three phases of the game."

Injury report
  • Tailback Tre Madden was dressed out in pads and took part in a portion of practice for the first time since he suffered his turf toe injury back in fall camp. He participated in the early warm-up and individual periods, but then called it a day, and he said afterwards that his toe felt sore.
  • Offensive lineman Jordan Simmons (bone bruise) did not practice, and Sarkisian said he would be out for a couple of weeks.
  • Linebacker Lamar Dawson (knee) suited up but he was still limited.
  • Offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers (knee) appeared to participate in the entirety of practice, lining up with the No. 2 offense at left guard.
Victor Blackwell update

Reportedly upset with his playing time, USC fourth-year junior wide receiver Victor Blackwell stopped attending practices and meetings at some point following the Trojans' loss to Boston College, and on Tuesday Sarkisian said that he hasn't seen or heard from him in over two weeks now.

When asked whether or not Blackwell was still with the team, Sarkisian said, "If he decides that he wants to talk to me, then we'll talk about it."

News and notes
  • Freshman cornerback Adoree' Jackson came out with the No. 1 defense when the first 11-on-11 period started, and he appeared to stay there throughout a majority of the day. Kevon Seymour was at the other cornerback position.
  • There was plenty of work featuring the No. 1 offensive and defensive units going up against the scout teams, with Bryce Dixon, JuJu Smith and Steven Mitchell hauling in deep passes, and Javorius "Buck" Allen and Justin Davis breaking off some long runs. Sarkisian had noted on his Sunday night media call that he wants to see the tailbacks do more once they get to the second level in terms of breaking tackles and getting by defenders, and he seemed pleased with the initial progress that they showed on Tuesday. "I thought they were good," Sarkisian said. "A lot of that stuff has to be applied in our scout team periods because a lot of those runs get to the second level. When we go to our team run period it's tough. So, when we get to our scout team periods it's about developing a plan. It's not just getting to the second level and just running straight ahead as fast as you can go. It's about the leverage of the safety -- How's the safety coming to tackle me? What move can I anticipate using? Is it a straight-arm? Is it a cutback. ... It's developing that skill-set, that tool box of how to run. So, we just have to continue to coach it and develop their confidence, because it's not about ability -- they're plenty talented. It's just a matter of practicing it and getting their awareness up about it, and I think they've been very good."
  • A number of NFL scouts were in attendance on Tuesday, including those from the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Pac-12 by the numbers: Week 6

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Here's another look at random stats pertaining to the Pac-12.


Arizona at No. 2 Oregon
  • Oregon has scored 50 points off turnovers, the most in the Pac-12.
  • Oregon QB Marcus Mariota's 13 touchdowns without an interception are the most in the country. He went 10 games without a pick to start last season and had 25 touchdowns before finally throwing one ... against Arizona.
  • Arizona leads the Pac-12 and is sixth nationally averaging 593.8 yards per game.
  • Oregon ranks No. 1 in the nation in yards per play (8.14).
  • Arizona QB Anu Solomon's 1,454 passing yards in the second most among freshmen in the country.

No. 14 Stanford at No. 9 Notre Dame
  • Stanford ranks No. 1 in the country in scoring defense (6.5 points per game), total defense (198.o ypg) and passing defense (74 ypg). The Cardinal defense has allowed just two touchdowns in four games.
  • The Stanford defense's average starting field position (21.6-yard line) is the most advantageous in the country.
  • Stanford's Peter Kalambayi is the only player in the Pac-12 with more than two sacks and an interception.
California at Washington State
  • More penalties have been committed against WSU (41) than any other team in the Pac-12 -- 24 of those have come with the WSU defense on the field.
  • Cal ranks No. 5 in the country in scoring offense (47.5 ppg).
  • WSU QB Connor Halliday has attempted 60 more pass than anyone else in the country. He's also the national leader in completions (201), passing yards (2,318) and passing touchdowns (20).
  • Cal's Jared Goff isn't far behind Halliday. He's ninth in the country averaging 337 yards passing per game and his touchdown/interception ratio of 17 to 3 is among the best in the country.
  • Against FBS teams, Cal and WSU have combined to score 72.5 points per game and allow a total of 75.5 points per game.
Oregon State at Colorado
  • Oregon State ranks No. 16 in the country in total defense (306.5) and No. 2 in the Pac-12.
  • Oregon State (18) and Colorado (17) rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the country in total first downs received from opposing penalties.
  • Colorado's 138 first downs ranks No. 2 in the country behind only Texas A&M.
  • After catching 19 passes and three touchdowns against Cal, Colorado WR Nelson Spruce leads the country in receptions (56), receiving yards (697) and receiving touchdowns (10).
  • The 123 yards Oregon State QB Sean Mannion threw for against USC last week was the least he'd ever thrown for in a game he started.
Arizona State at No. 16 USC
  • USC's turnover margin (plus-seven) is sixth-best in the country; ASU (plus-one) is tied for No. 52.
  • ASU is the least-penalized team in the Pac-12 (5.5 per game).
  • USC QB Cody Kessler's 10 touchdowns without an interception are the second-most in the country behind only Mariota.
  • ASU WR Jaelen Strong has accounted for 33.3 percent of the Sun Devils' receptions, the second-most in the Pac-12.
  • ASU RB D.J. Foster averages 5.02 yards per carry before contact, which is the most among Pac-12 running backs.
Utah at No. 8 UCLA
  • Both defenses -- Utah (75.5 yards to goal) ranks No. 8 and UCLA (75.1) is No. 11 -- have an average starting field position that ranks among the country's best.
  • Utah's Kaelin Clay leads the nation with four return touchdowns -- only two other players have at least two.
  • Utah's Andy Phillips is one of two kickers in the country who has made at least five field goals from 40-plus yards.
  • With 47 tackles, three for loss, a pick-six and a forced fumble, UCLA LB Eric Kendricks is making a strong case for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
  • UCLA RB Paul Perkins has 214 yards rushing after contact, the second-most in the Pac-12 behind only ASU's D.J. Foster (224).
Past weeks
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

Week 5 Pac-12 QB Power Rankings

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
GoffEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesCal QB Jared Goff has 17 touchdown passes in four games. He had 18 last season.
The Pac-12 typically has great quarterbacks and good depth at the position, but the 2014 season is particularly stacked behind center. With a few All-American candidates and early NFL draft picks, it’s almost difficult to keep up with who’s doing what to which secondary.

No worries. We’ve got you covered. Each week, we will provide you a top-five ranking of the Pac-12 QBs.

Now, it won’t always be a 1 to 5 ranking according to the expected pecking order at season’s end or NFL draft lists. It will react heavily to the preceding week. And we’ll try to spread some love.

Inactive Week 4: Marcus Mariota, Oregon; Anu Solomon, Arizona.

To see last week’s rankings, click here.

Early commitment: Isaac Garcia to USC 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
In late July, USC kicked off the 2016 class by picking up a commitment from former Michigan high school standout and current Saint Bonaventure High athlete Daelin Hayes. Fast-forward two months, and No. 210 Hayes is now one of two ESPN Jr 300 prospects committed to the Trojans after the pledge of Isaac Garcia on Sept. 29.

Vote: Pac-12 play of the Week

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
We should know better by now. On weekend’s when not much should happen, EVERYTHING WILL HAPPEN. And it happened this weekend. There are quite a few awesome plays up for the Pac-12 Blog’s Play of the Week (and even more that just didn’t make the cut -- we can only have five, sorry guys) and now it’s your turn to vote for which was the best of the best.

Montgomery goes bowling

Ty MontgomeryAP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Every wonder what it’s like to be a human blocking sled? Well, Washington sophomore defensive back Trevor Walker discovered that on Saturday as Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery literally bowled him into the end zone. One defender approached Montgomery around the 8-yard line. He collided with Montgomery and flew out of bounds (that’s not how tackling is supposed to happen). Then Walker met up with Montgomery at the 5-yard line before being bulldozed into the end zone. I think we can all agree -- that’s how linemen and some fullbacks play. Wide receivers? Nah. Unless your name is Ty Montgomery.

Definitely, Mayle


Washington State mounted a surprising comeback in the second half against Utah after going down 21-0 early and still training by 17 at the half. But an 81-yard touchdown by Washington State receiver Vince Mayle tied everything up in Salt Lake City (the extra point gave the Cougars their final margin for victory). With just about five minutes left in the game, QB Connor Halliday hit Mayle on the slant. Mayle got by one defender before a fellow receiver threw a perfect block to spring him, untouched, another 55 yards into the end zone.

Call me Ishmael

Ishmael Adams AP Photo/Matt York

With UCLA leading by just three points and the first half nearly coming to a close, UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams managed to pick off Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici at the 5-yard line and returned it 95 yards for the score. Later in the game Adams would return a kick off 100 yards for a score, which is also ridiculous, but, the Bruins already had a hefty lead at that point and the Pac-12 writers decided to give the edge to the pick-six that totally deflated the ASU team before heading into the half.

Hail Mary 2.0


After Arizona beat Cal last week on a Hail Mary, USC threw one of its own against Oregon State. With the clock expiring before halftime and the Trojans only leading by four points, USC quarterback Cody Kessler scrambled around the pocket for a bit before he launched a 48-yard pass to the end zone where it found the hands of sophomore wide receiver Darreus Rogers. USC would go on to win the game by 25 points, but this play was certainly deflating for a the Beavers, who had shown signs of possible upset material early in the game.

Let’s go Lasco

LascoEzra Shaw/Getty Images

Cal junior running back Daniel Lasco recorded the first “receiving” touchdown of his career on Saturday, though most of his work was put in on the ground. He snatched a pass from Cal QB Jared Goff before taking off down field. Before he even reached the 20-yard line there was a point in which there were five Colorado defenders circling in on him. He plowed through that group somehow before outrunning another two guys and finding the end zone. Not only was it ridiculously impressive to beat seven defenders head-to-head in a single play, it was also record setting -- the 92-yard receiving touchdown was the longest passing play for a TD in Cal football history.


Who had the play of the week in the Pac-12?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,225)

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
USC's impact visitor list, Stanford's statement in the Evergreen State, UCLA's major opportunity and a sophomore quarterback at his best under the bright lights are a few of the highlights from the recruiting weekend in the Pac-12 conference.

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Warning: Bold Week 6 Pac-12 declarations

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
Declarative sentences are dangerous heading into Week 6 of a college football season. History has taught us most things that appear ready to be tied neatly with a bow end up torn to shreds. But danger is the Pac-12 blog's middle name. (We just thought "Pac-12 Danger Blog" might scare some folks away and damage advertising revenue).


Oregon's visit to UCLA on Oct. 11 will be what we thought it would be in August

Sure, both/either the Bruins and Ducks could fall this week at home, going down to Utah and/or Arizona, and we'd pin that on the proverbial "look ahead." But the expectation is that won't happen. The Utes lost some gusto while surrendering a 21-0 lead at home to Washington State, and Arizona is more than a three-touchdown underdog in Autzen Stadium.

[+] EnlargeMarcus Mariota, Devon Allen
AP Photo/Dean HareMarcus Mariota and Oregon will try to avoid a letdown this week against Arizona.
While neither the Bruins nor Ducks have been consistently impressive, they have produced the loudest national statements in the conference thus far. UCLA posted a dominant road win at Arizona State, while Oregon overwhelmed Michigan State in the second half.

What's most notable about the Ducks-UCLA matchup is its potential for a rematch in the Pac-12 championship game, as both appear to be front-runners in their respective divisions. Not to look too far ahead, which we are clearly doing, but that could create a quandary for the College Football Playoff. It certainly would make it more difficult to get two Pac-12 teams into the playoff.

Of course, if both arrive at the game -- and that's obviously no guarantee at this early juncture -- with multiple losses, the issue is moot. But play out the various scenarios of zero, one and two losses for each in your head. What if they split close games? What if, say, Oregon is the nation's only unbeaten team but UCLA's only defeats are close losses to the Ducks?

It could get complicated. Good thing we can call such speculation "way premature" in order to avoid taxing our brains with the myriad possibilities.

The Pac-12 needs Stanford to beat Notre Dame

If Stanford wins at Notre Dame, the Cardinal will likely jump into or at least be very close to the Top 10, which could give the Pac-12 three Top 10 teams heading into Week 7. If the Cardinal lose, it will become a big hit for them and the Pac-12 as a whole.

While the Pac-12 is widely viewed as the nation's No. 2 conference, probably by a wide margin, and its 22-4 record versus FBS foes is impressive, there already have been substantial damaging defeats.

Most obviously, whatever USC accomplishes this year will be diminished by the loss at Boston College. If the Trojans had lost amid a flurry of turnovers and miscues, that's one thing. The problem is that defeat was all about getting whipped at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That rates as a physical issue, which is a very football-y thing.

Washington State's losses to Rutgers and Nevada also will hurt because the Pac-12 blog suspects the Cougars are going to give a lot of conference teams trouble this season, witness the so-close performance against Oregon and the huge comeback win at Utah. The Cougs are a solid team, much better than they showed against the Scarlet Knights and Nevada, which by the way are a combined 7-2. But that won't prevent pundits and rival fans from using the transitive property against the Pac-12 when the Cougs notch an upset or two.

Yet if Stanford beats Notre Dame and surges into its Nov. 1 date at Oregon with just one defeat, the Pac-12 might produce a second Top-10 matchup in less than a month. That's the sort of thing the SEC does, which inspires all that media gushing that so annoys many of you fine people.

Bottom line: A road win over No. 9 Notre Dame would provide a significant perception boost and a loss would do the same in a negative direction.

The middle stepped back instead of forward

Washington and Oregon State could have made big statements on Saturday. They didn't. Therefore that velvet rope that has separated both from the North Division VIP room, uncomfortably shared by Oregon and Stanford, is still there, still manned by a couple of beefy security guys.

You probably could say the same for Utah, which looked like a potential South contender before it completely collapsed against the Cougars. The jury is still out on Arizona State, which is dealing with an injury to QB Taylor Kelly and a not-ready-for-prime time defense. We'll see where Arizona stands Thursday at Oregon.

Despite many unanswered questions, the overall feeling about the challenging middle of the Pac-12 feels different than it did in August or even a few weeks ago. It doesn't appear as rugged. There seems to be some separation between Oregon, UCLA, Stanford and -- perhaps -- USC and the rest of the conference, though the Trojans could topple if they lose at home to the Sun Devils on Saturday.

Washington was a preseason Top 25 team, and Oregon State and Utah looked like threats to advance into the rankings. No longer. At least not at this point.

That is not to say teams can't get healthy, solve issues or simply grow up and then go on a run. In fact, it's reasonable to suspect that among the gaggle of Arizona, Utah, Washington and Oregon State, at least one will end the season in the Top 25.

At this point, however, there's little to suggest we will have an unexpected interloper breaking through in either division, challenging the consensus preseason favorites.
When Arizona took down Oregon last season, it was considered one of the biggest upsets of the year. The Ducks had everything on lock and had seemingly "learned their lesson" two weeks prior, before handing it all away on the road against a 6-4 team.

This Thursday, Oregon will have the chance to see Arizona again, a year removed from one of the biggest blemishes of the Ducks' recent history. Which got us thinking about other big conference upsets -- how did teams respond in those matchups the following season? Well, we’ve got you covered with four different examples.

2007: Stanford 24-No. 2 USC 23

[+] EnlargePete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh
AP Photo/Matt SaylesWhen Jim Harbaugh, right, led Stanford to an upset of Pete Carroll's USC team in 2007, the rivalry heated up. It led to a memorable confrontation after the 2009 game, shown above.
Stanford scored 17 fourth-quarter points, giving the 41-point underdog Cardinal a huge win at USC. It stopped several of the Trojans’ win streaks including five straight against Stanford, 35 straight at home and 24 straight conference home wins.

And in 2008 ... No. 6 USC 45-Stanford 23

No. 6 USC played a rough first half and entered halftime tied at 17 with unranked Stanford. But a strong second half propelled USC to a 45-23 win. From the AP write up: "From the highlights of the game played on the video board during warm-ups, to the "Greatest Upset Ever" T-shirts worn by many fans in the crowd, to the Stanford band spelling out the score of last year's game at halftime, the Cardinal did their best to extend the memory.”

2003: No. 13 Kansas State 35-No. 1 Oklahoma 7

Kansas State put up 519 yards of offense against the vaunted Oklahoma defense, giving the Sooners their first loss of the 2003 season (though, they would still go on to play in the BCS Championship, where they endured their second loss of the season, against No. 2 LSU).

And in 2004 ... No. 2 Oklahoma 31-Kansas State 21

The Sooners, like USC in 2004, started slow against the team that had upset it the previous season. Oklahoma had 60 penalty yards midway through the second quarter and started the game with two three-and-outs. But a strong second half -- Adrian Petersen rushed for 104 yards -- propelled the Sooners to the win.

1998: NC State 24-No. 2 Florida State 7

NC State was a 25-point underdog, but managed to make the Seminoles look like the one that was far overmatched. Florida State was riding a 47-1 ACC record heading into this game, but when your quarterback throws six interceptions, it’s pretty hard to win.

And in 1999 ... No. 1 Florida State 42-NC State 11

This year it was the NC State quarterback who struggled, throwing four interceptions and losing two fumbles en route to a 31-point loss. Two of those turnovers resulted in FSU touchdowns, and the FSU kicker made five field goals -- so it wasn’t exactly an impressive performance for the FSU offense, but overall, the Seminoles managed to avenge their upset from the previous season.

1985: Oregon State 21-Washington 20

Oregon State came into this game after being shut out offensively in the two previous games and was a 38-point underdog against the Huskies. With just under four minutes left and the Beavers trailing by six, Oregon State failed to convert a fourth down at its 11 yard line. But minutes later a blocked punt turned into a defensive score and the extra point gave the Beavers the edge they needed for the win.

And in 1986 ... No. 13 Washington 28-Oregon State 12

The Beavers had already lost three games to ranked opponents in 1986 (by a collective score of 103-24) when the Huskies visited Corvallis. They were overmatched for against their fourth top-25 team of the season and ended up with a 16-point home loss to the team they had shocked the year before.

USC not taking Arizona State for granted 

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
LOS ANGELES -- There was talk before the start of the season that the Arizona State Sun Devils' (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) visit to this Saturday to play the USC Trojans (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) would be a pivotal Pac-12 South game.

Well, nothing has really changed, despite UCLA’s 62-27 smackdown of ASU Thursday night in Tempe. In fact, for USC, the Bruins' demolition has little consequence, considering that last season the Sun Devils provided its own smackdown of the Trojans, 62-41.

The ramifications of last season’s embarrassment in Sun Devils Stadium came hours later when USC athletic director Pat Haden unceremoniously fired head coach Lane Kiffin on the tarmac of LAX in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

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USC Trojans recruiting notebook 

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
There was an impressive group of recruits in attendance at the Trojans victory over Oregon State on Saturday, including official visitors Chuma Edoga, Aca'Cedric Ware and DaMarkus Lodge.

For Edoga, an ESPN 300 offensive lineman who is committed to the Trojans, the visit offered a chance to catch up with Caleb Wilson, the son of USC defensive line coach Chris Wilson. Edoga and the younger Wilson were friends in Georgia before the father took the coaching position with the Trojans and moved west.
Ware is a running back commit to USC from Texas state champion Cedar Hill and he was accompanied on the trip by his teammate Lodge, an ESPN 300 wide receiver who recently de-committed from Texas A&M. The pair had an opportunity to spend time with Ricky Town, one of two USC commit quarterbacks from the ESPN 300 -- the other being Sam Darnold == who were in attendance at the game.

For Town, it was a day that began with USC athletic director Pat Haden greeting him with a hug and a walk down the Coliseum tunnel. Town also got pulled into the postgame victory chant by Leonard Williams.

The class of 2016 quarterback class was well represented with Malik Henry, Shea Patterson and K.J. Costello. All three are ranked among the top 10 quarterbacks in the ESPN Junior 300. Henry was considered somewhat of a surprise name on the list as he did not include the Trojans in his top 5 list earlier this summer. Patterson made the trip from Louisiana and it's the second time he has visited USC in the past couple months. Costello got stuck in traffic on the ride home but still had a positive feeling about the game.

“USC always has an electric atmosphere and I feel like I get along with the coaches really well,” Costello said.

Thoughts on 1 versus 2

Bishop Gorman defeated St. John Bosco fairly handily Friday night in a game that was delayed for an hour due to lightning in the area. Once things got started, it was clear that Gorman was just going to be too much on this night with quarterback Tate Martell and the weapons around him. First of all, it's easy to see why USC offered Martell recently as part of the class of 2017 as he is one of the more dynamic high school quarterbacks we've seen. It helps that he is surrounded by skill players such as Cordell Broadus, Tyjon Lindsey and Russell Booze. Bosco came back at the end to make the score respectable but it would have been interesting to see how last year's Bosco team -- which had more high end talent than this year -- would have fared against this year's Bishop Gorman squad.

News and notes

  • More notable Class of 2015 out-of-state targets could be on campus for official visits this coming weekend, including cornerback Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas/Thurgood Marshall) and athlete Terry Godwin (Hogansville, Ga./Callaway). Both have stated in the past that they would be at USC on the weekend of Oct. 4. Godwin is currently committed to Georgia.
  • USC recently offered Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington's Antonio Callaway. The talented ESPN 300 wide receiver now holds close to 20 total offers from big time programs across the country like Florida State, Alabama and Miami.

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USC defense gets back on track

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
Claude PelonJohn Cordes/Icon SportswireThe USC defense held Sean Mannion to 123 yards passing, no touchdowns and two picks.

LOS ANGELES -- Saturday night, the USC defense played like a group that had been marinating in mistakes for the last 14 days. That's 336 hours to ponder the 452 rushing yards they surrendered to Boston College. That's 20,160 minutes to mire in the misery of the 506 total yards and 37 points they yielded at Chestnut Hill.

Nothing will take that loss off of the standings. Instead, it serves as a reminder of how disastrous things can turn when the Trojans don't play to their potential.

"This team needed to get punched in the face," said linebacker Hayes Pullard, who sat the first half of the BC game for an illegal hit the week before against Stanford. "I hate to say that. But because of that we're bouncing back and growing as a team."

Following a bye last week, this group was eager to show the Sept. 13 performance wasn't the norm. And they stifled the Oregon State offense and its strong-armed quarterback en route to a 35-10 home win.

The USC defense held Oregon State to just three offensive points (its only touchdown coming on special teams), 58 yards rushing and 181 total offensive yards. They sacked Sean Mannion twice, intercepted him twice and forced him into the worst statistical performance of his career -- which included a 14.6 adjusted QBR.

"I'm proud of these guys after what they had to hear about for the last week," said USC coach Steve Sarkisian.

If Sept. 13 was the burn, then film session the next morning was the frosty reminder of all that had gone wrong.

Said Pullard: "We didn't want to see it. But we had to. That's the thing about football. You have to tell the truth on Sundays."

Added defensive lineman Leonard Williams: "Everybody was just down."

Noted safety Su'a Cravens: "It was tough watching plays that we should have made not being made. It was tough messing up assignments [even though] we went over it 100 times in practice. But we still messed it up."

Cravens turned in a phenomenal performance Saturday, posting a team high six tackles, including two for a loss, one sack and a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter to break the early scoreless tie.

"Nobody likes losing," Cravens said. "And the way we lost, that's not SC ball. We got back to the basics and what we needed to do. That attitude of being hungry and dominant on the field came back. That attitude we had against Fresno State came back. It showed [Saturday]."

The Trojans are hoping it sticks around for a while. They have back-to-back games against the Arizona schools -- at home against ASU this week and at Tucson a week later. Both of those teams rank in the top 20 in scoring nationally.

Whether ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly, who sat out last week's game against UCLA with a foot injury, plays is still to be determined. Early reports are that his return this week is questionable.

Recall last year that it was the ASU game in Tempe that ultimately cost USC coach Lane Kiffin his job after the Trojans were blasted 62-41. The fallout sparked Kiffin's firing, Ed Orgeron's promotion, his quitting, Clay Helton's promotion and eventually Sarkisian's hiring.

USC's run defense will be tested by ASU's D.J. Foster, who leads the league in rushing with an average of 135 yards per game. The pass defense, however, is feeling pretty good about itself. Through four games and five weeks, the Trojans are the only team in the country that hasn't allowed a touchdown through the air.

"We were talking about that earlier in the week," Cravens said. "I think the coaches are doing a great of calling the right plays at the right time, and everyone is executing. I'm really proud of the DBs."

Pac-12 Live: Week 6

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
Join Pac-12 reporters Kyle Bonagura, Kevin Gemmell and Chantel Jennings at 4 p.m. ET as they review Week 5 in the conference and look ahead to the games this week, including Arizona vs. Oregon on Thursday. Don't forget that you can also ask the experts your Pac-12 questions live on the show.



Thursday, 10/2
Saturday, 10/4