What we learned in the Pac-10, Week 7

October, 12, 2008
10/12/08
2:08
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Revelations from the past weekend's action.

Arizona still isn't ready for prime time: Arizona's statistically good offense and defense were unmasked at Stanford in a 24-23 loss. The defense, ranked No. 2 in the nation? It gave up 420 total yards including 286 yards rushing. The offense, ranked No. 8 in the nation in scoring? It scored just one touchdown and gained only 336 total yards. The Wildcats were eyeballing a national ranking and imagining bowl possibilities, but now the "easy" part of the schedule is over. With California, USC, Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State ahead, the Wildcats still have some work to do to reach bowl eligibility.

As tough as he is, Mark Sanchez needs rest: Sanchez looked fine on USC's first touchdown drive against Arizona State -- he went 3-for-4 for 61 yards and sneaked in for the score -- but he was mostly bad thereafter (10-for-22 for 118 yards with three interceptions). The Sun Devils' defense has improved, but not that much. It's clear that Sanchez is not 100 percent and he and his banged-up knee could probably benefit from sitting out a week. And the Trojans won't need Sanchez to win at Washington State next weekend. The Cougars have given up over 60 points in three of four Pac-10 games, and none of those teams had Mark Sanchez.

Oregon will need more from its passing game to get into the Pac-10 hunt: Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli completed only 5 of 19 passes for 42 yards against UCLA. The week before at USC, he completed 18 of 29 for 156 yards. As good as the running game is, it's likely the Ducks will need to pass better to finish in the top-third of the conference. Playing it close to the vest against offensively challenged UCLA is one thing, but the rest of the schedule -- Arizona State, California, Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State -- is going to demand more balance. Perhaps that means former starting quarterback Justin Roper will take a snap or two?

Stanford is the Pac-10's most physical team: Stanford isn't the fastest team in the conference. It's not the most talented team by any stretch. But the Cardinal gets after it. It wasn't just the 286 yards rushing against what was supposed to be a stout Arizona defense. It was the Cardinal defense three times forcing the Wildcats to kick field goals from inside the Stanford 6-yard line. And that physical toughness also includes mental toughness. The Cardinal could have folded while losing the turnover battle, 3-0, or after seeing its starting quarterback, Tavita Pritchard, knocked out of the game with a concussion. But they didn't. At 4-3, Stanford needs two more wins to become bowl eligible, and the next two games are against bottom feeders UCLA and Washington State.

Carpenter made consecutive start No. 37, but what about No. 38? If you saw Rudy Carpenter walking around on a sprained ankle five days before, it was pretty amazing that he made his 37th consecutive start against USC. Dude is tough. But he clearly wasn't himself against USC, though some of that is no one is himself playing against the USC defense (except Jacquizz Rodgers, right?). Carpenter completed 11 of 20 for 126 yards with an interception before getting knocked out midway through the third quarter because he could barely walk. His backup, Danny Sullivan, didn't do much to suggest the Sun Devils would be fine without Carpenter, completing just 4 of 17 for 28 yards with two interceptions. The good news is the Sun Devils have a bye this week, so Carpenter will get extra time to heal before Oregon comes to town on Oct. 25. Still, however tough Carpenter is, it's unlikely he'll be 100 percent then or for the rest of the season.

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