Saturday, October 5, 2013
Saturday's Pac-12 slate
By Ted Miller
Here's a look at Saturday's games. All times are ET.
Washington State (3-2, 1-1) at California (1-3, 0-1) 4 p.m. Fox Sports 1: California leads the series 44-25-5 and has won eight consecutive meetings. The teams have not met in Berkeley since 2009 after playing the 2011 meeting in San Francisco at AT&T Park, home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants. The Cougars’ last victory in the series came at Memorial Stadium, a 48-38 victory in 2002 behind Jason Gesser’s 432 yards and four touchdowns along with Eric Coleman’s blocked punt he returned for a touchdown. Both teams prefer to throw the ball. Cal ranks fourth in the nation with 373 yards per game, while the Cougars are 14th with 329.3 yards per game. Neither runs well, with Cal ranking 97th in the nation in rushing and the Cougs at 121st. Both teams were forced to make QB changes in losses last weekend -- Bears QB Jared Goff because of fumble issues and Connor Halliday because of injury. Nonetheless, it appears that neither team will change starters.
No. 2 Oregon (4-0, 1-0) at Colorado (2-1, 0-1) 6 p.m. Pac-12 Network: Oregon leads the series 9-8, including a 70-14 victory last year. The most notable meeting, of course, was the Ducks’ 38-16 win in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2001 season, when Oregon finished No. 2 behind Miami. The Ducks are second in the nation in scoring offense with 59.8 points per game. They are third in the nation in total offense with 599.3 yards per game. The Ducks lost their first two turnovers of the season last weekend in torrential rain against California. Colorado throws the ball well but can't stop the pass -- it yields 300 yards passing per game. It stops the run well -- 10th in the nation in run defense -- but ranks 103rd in the nation in rushing. That run defense figures to be challenged by the Ducks, who rank No. 1 in the nation with 332.5 yards rushing per game.
No. 22 Arizona State (3-1) vs. Notre Dame (3-2) at AT&T Stadium, 7:30 p.m. NBC: The Sun Devils have lost both previous games with Notre Dame, going down in 1998 and 1999 by scores of 28-9 and 48-17, respectively. In the history of USC and Notre Dame football, a team has played both programs in consecutive weeks on 12 separate occasions. No team has ever won both of those contests. ASU running back Marion Grice has 12 touchdowns through four games this season. In his last seven games dating to last season, Grice has found the end zone 18 times (13 rushing, five receiving) -- scoring at least one touchdown in each of those contests. In 2013, he is averaging a touchdown every 7.3 times he touches the ball (12 TDs on 87 touches/13.8 percent of touches). Jaelen Strong is off to one of the best starts for a WR in school history, amassing 433 yards (108.2 ypg) on 31 receptions (7.8 rpg) in his first four games. Twenty of those 31 receptions this season have resulted in first downs. He has also drawn six pass interference penalties against him this season, four of which have resulted in first downs, giving him a total of 24 of ASU’s 104 first downs this season (23.1 percent). QB Taylor Kelly is one of just three FBS quarterbacks in 2013 to pass for more than 300 yards in each of their starts this season (Sean Mannion of Oregon State and Keith Wenning of Ball State being the others). The Sun Devils haven’t fared well against the run the past three weeks, making Saturday’s matchup intriguing as Notre Dame hasn’t done well running the ball this season. The Fighting Irish rank 93rd nationally in rushing offense (135.5 ypg) while ASU is ranked 92nd nationally in rushing defense (192.3 ypg)
No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) at No. 5 Stanford (4-0, 2-0) 10:30 p.m. ESPN: Washington leads the series 41-38-4 but Stanford had won six of the previous seven games before the Huskies notched a 17-13 upset of the No. 8 Cardinal last year. The Huskies won that game with a great defensive effort and two big offensive plays: a 61-yard run from Bishop Sankey on a fourth-and-1 play and a 35-yard TD catch from Kasen Williams in the fourth quarter. Sankey enters the week as the nation’s No. 1 rusher with 151.8 yards per game. He broke Corey Dillon’s UW record with 40 carries (for 161 yards) last week vs. Arizona. He’s rushed for 100 yards or more in seven of the last nine games and for 200 in two of his last five games. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan is 11th in the nation in passing efficiency. Huskies QB Keith Price is 12th. Washington has run more than 80 plays in all four games (85, 85, 81, 86).