- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some notes to get you through the hours until Saturday. Many thanks to ESPN Stats & Information.
Oregon has owned the series against Washington of late, winning eight straight all by at least 17 points. Washington hasn’t beaten Oregon since 2003. The current eight-game streak for Oregon is the longest for either team in the series (this will be the 105th meeting).
No team has been more offensively dominant than Oregon since Chip Kelly took over in 2009. In that time, the Ducks lead FBS in scoring (44.2 PPG), and games scoring 40 or more points (33). Oregon has scored at least 42 points in all five games this season.
Oregon has quietly been very good defensively, especially at getting opponents off the field on third downs. They are holding opponents to just 24.7 percent on third down conversions, the fifth-lowest rate in FBS.
Washington’s Keith Price ranks first among active quarterbacks in completion percentage (73.9), yards per attempt (6.8) and touchdown percentage (42.0) in the red zone since the start of last season (min. 30 attempts). This season, Price is 11-of-15 with four touchdowns and no interceptions inside the 20.
Oregon State is 3-0 for the first time since 2002 and undefeated through September for the first time since 2000. If the Beavers win Saturday against Washington State, they will eclipse their win total from last season. The last time Oregon State had a four-game win streak was 2009, the fourth of which came against Washington State.
Close wins have been standard operating procedure for the Beavers so far. They have won all three of their games by seven points or fewer, tied for most such wins in the country with Louisville and Minnesota, who have both played five games.
Quarterback Sean Mannion has been nothing short of spectacular for Oregon State. He is fourth in FBS with 362.7 passing yards per game, and had a career-high 433 yards in last week’s win at Arizona. Mannion has passed for more than 350 yards in consecutive games, and if he hit that mark again he will join Derek Anderson as the only quarterbacks in school history with three or more such games in a season.
Oregon State’s defense continues to be strong on third down. Opponents have converted just 20.5 percent of third downs, the second-lowest mark in FBS. Third down pass attempts have only gone for 4.3 yards per attempt against Oregon State (eighth in FBS), which doesn’t bode well for Washington State: the Cougars pass on 81.5 percent of third downs, more frequently than any other team.
Washington State has been porous defensively. This season, opponents are averaging 32.6 points per game (95th in FBS) and 472.2 yards of offense (104th in FBS). In fact, the Cougars have allowed at least 20 points in 15 straight games, tied for the third-longest active streak in FBS.
Oregon State has the worst average starting field position in FBS this season (own 25). The Beavers have started inside their own 20 on 33.3 percent of their possessions this season.
Stanford has dominated its series with Arizona of late, winning 4-of-5 and eight of 11. Prior to that, Arizona was 11-5 in the series.
Stanford's offense has struggled without Andrew Luck, ranking 10th in the Pac-12 (105th in FBS) in total offense (326.3 YPG). Arizona, however, is 10th in the Pac-12 (94th in FBS) in total defense (451.2 YPG).
After having the fewest three and out drives (14) in FBS last season, Stanford already has 16 such drives this season. The Cardinal had seven three and outs last week at Washington, their most in any game in the last four seasons.
Arizona QB Matt Scott leads the Pac-12 in total offense (367.2 YPG) and total pass yards (1,608). He is coming off a career-high 403 pass yards in last week's loss to Oregon State.
Stanford has not lost back-to-back games since the 2009 season, when it lost to Oregon State and Arizona.
Stanford has won five straight home games and is 16-1 in its last 17 home games.
Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor has enjoyed playing the Wildcats in the past. Last year Taylor ran for 153 yards in Stanford's win, and in 2010 Taylor scored a career-high four TD in another Cardinal victory.
Arizona's struggles on the road continued two weeks ago with a 49-0 loss at Oregon. The Wildcats have lost 8 of their past 9 road games, allowing an average of 42.0 PPG and 518.8 total YPG over that stretch.
Saturday is the five-year anniversary of one of the greatest upsets in recent college football memory. Stanford, a 41-point underdog, ended USC's 35-game home win streak with a 24-23 victory.
UCLA is back in the AP Poll after dropping out for a week, displaying resilience in the rankings that the Bruins haven’t shown in a decade. The last time UCLA dropped out of the poll and re-entered in the same season was 2002.
Offensive numbers have boomed for the Bruins this season, as they have gained 558.4 yards per game (fourth in FBS) under Jim Mora. From 2008-11 under Rick Neuheisel, UCLA gained 330.5 yards per game (106th in FBS) and never ranked higher than 72nd in the country in total offense.
UCLA’s offense has been led by senior running back Johnathan Franklin and redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley. Franklin is fifth in FBS with 139.4 rushing yards per game, while Hundley’s 294.0 pass yards per game is the highest among FBS freshmen.
UCLA lost receiver Devin Lucien, who is third on the team with 188 receiving yards, last week after the redshirt freshman fractured his clavicle. Luckily, seven other Bruins have double-digit receptions on the year -- tied for most such players in the country even without Lucien.
Mora has affected the defense in a major way as well. UCLA has 17 sacks on the year (T-6th in FBS), surpassing its 2011 total of 14 (T-108th in FBS) in just its fifth game. The defense has forced 14 turnovers (fourth in FBS) and has aided the team’s plus-five turnover margin through five games.
Cal has won its past six home games against UCLA, with the Bruins last winning in Berkeley in 1998. The Bears have won each of the past four of those games by double digits.
Cal will have to make major strides on defense if it plans to stop UCLA. The Bears are one of three Pac-12 teams allowing more than 30 points per game and one of four allowing more than 400 yards per game.