Monday, September 26, 2011
Weekend rewind: Pac-12
By Ted Miller
Taking stock of the fourth week of games in the Pac-12.
Team of the week: Arizona State ended an 11-game losing streak to USC with a 43-22 victory in front of an inspired home crowd. The win pushed the Sun Devils back into the national rankings and bolstered their position in the Pac-12 South Division.
Best game: Washington outlasted California 31-23, with the Huskies' defense getting a fourth-down stop on their 2-yard line to preserve the win.
Brock Osweiler threw for 223 yards as Arizona State snapped its losing streak to USC.
Biggest play: With USC down six and facing a third-and-5 from the Arizona State 14-yard line, Sun Devils defensive end Greg Smith sacked and forced a fumble from Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley, and defensive tackle Bo Moos recovered. The Sun Devils then drove 82 yards for a touchdown and a 36-22 lead with 6:48 remaining in the game.
Offensive standout: LaMichael James rushed for a school record 288 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns in the Ducks' 56-31 win at Arizona.
Defensive standout: Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan had 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss to go along with five total tackles in the Ducks' win over the Wildcats.
Special teams standout: Oregon State's Jordan Poyer returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown against UCLA. He also had 56 yards on two kickoff returns. He ended up with 156 return yards in the game.
Smiley face: Washington's maligned defense held California to just three second-half points, including none in the fourth quarter. The Bears had just one TD in five red zone chances.
Frowny face: Arizona gave up 415 yards rushing to Oregon. The Wildcats presently rank 114th in the nation in run defense (233.5 yards per game). They also rank 106th in the nation in scoring defense (35.0 ppg) and 112th in total defense (484 ypg).
Thought of the week: Assuming that Stanford's Andrew Luck will win first-team All-Pac-12 quarterback, who would you pick for second team right now? Eight conference QBs rank among the top 40 in the nation in passing efficiency. While USC's Barkley, Arizona's Nick Foles and Oregon's Darron Thomas entered the season as "name" QBs, through four games the second-best Pac-12 QB would be Washington's Keith Price, followed closely by Arizona State's Brock Osweiler.
Questions for the week: At 0-3, Oregon State is the first team to have a stamp of doom put on its season. Who's next? You might be able to say that the loser of Arizona's visit to USC and Washington State's trip to Colorado will start to see reasons for optimism this season slip away.