Pac-12: Nick Montana

Quarterbacks come and go for a variety of reasons. Some simply aren't happy in a new state or in another part of the country. Others decide football isn't the sport for them. Many feel their talents are being wasted on the bench. It always seems like the grass is greener. Sometimes the move works out. Sometimes it doesn't.

Inspired by the move of Wes Lunt to leave Oklahoma State, the Pac-12 blog thought it would be fun to look back fondly at some of the quarterbacks who have left the conference following the 2008 season (a full four-year cycle). A special thanks to the league's sports information directors for helping compile this list and whatever information is available (which isn't the case with some players).

Here's the team-by-team breakdown of some of the recently departed signal callers no longer calling signals in the Pac-12.

Arizona
  • Tom Savage: Transferred to Pitt after the 2011 season. Eligible to play in 2013.
  • Cam Allerheiligen: Left after the 2011 season. Went on to play baseball at Weatherford College.
Arizona State
  • No QB transfers since 2008.
California
  • Beau Sweeney: Transferred after the 2010 season to Cornell. Appeared as a quarterback and TE/H-Back.
  • Allan Bridgford: Transferred after the 2012 season to Southern Miss.
Colorado
  • Matt Ballenger: Transferred after the 2008 season to College of Idaho and went on to be an all-conference basketball player.
  • Nick Hirschman: Transferred to Akron following the 2012 season.
Oregon
  • Chris Harper: Transferred to Kansas State after the 2008 season and became a wide receiver, leading the Wildcats in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2011.
  • Justin Roper: Transferred to Montana after the 2008 season, completed 61.5 percent of his throws with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2010.
  • Jeremiah Masoli: Transferred to Mississippi after the 2009 season. Is now with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
  • Brennan Doty: (Walk-on) transferred to Lamar to play basketball.
  • Bryan Bennett: Transferred to Southeastern Louisiana after the 2012 season.
Oregon State
  • Justin Engstrom: Transferred to Portland State after the 2008 season. Was a backup.
  • Brennan Sim: Transferred to South Alabama after the 2008 season.
  • Peter Lalich: Transferred to California University of Pennsylvania after the 2009 season.
  • Ryan Katz: Transferred to San Diego State before the 2012 season and was the starter until an injury knocked him out for the year.
  • Jack Lomax: Left the team prior to the 2012 season.
Stanford
  • L.D. Crow: Transferred to UCF after the 2008 season.
  • Nick Ruhl: (Walk-on) transferred to Menlo College after the 2008 season. Returned to Stanford and graduated with two degrees.
  • Adam Brzeczek: (Walk-on) transferred to Montana after the 2011 season. Did not attempt a pass in 2012, but appeared in two games and rushed for 33 yards on three carries with a touchdown.
  • Brett Nottingham: Transferred to Columbia after the 2012 season.
UCLA
  • Chris Forcier: Transferred to Furman after the 2008 season.
  • Nick Crissman: Graduated in 2012, but intended to transfer to play one more year
USC
  • Aaron Corp: Transferred to Richmond after the 2009 season.
  • Jesse Scroggins: Trasnferred to El Camino Junior College after the 2011 season and has since joined Arizona.
Utah
  • Corbin Louks: Transferred to Nevada after the 2008 season.
  • Griff Robles: Transferred after the 2011 season to Dixie State College. Utah had converted Robles to a linebacker, but he wanted to play quarterback. Appeared in 11 games last year, completing 50.9 percent of his throws with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
  • Tyler Shreve: Transferred to Riverside Community College after the 2011 season to play football and baseball.
Washington
  • Ronnie Fouch: Transferred to Indiana State after the 2009 season. Went on to start 22 games and posted 38 touchdowns to 15 interceptions with more than 4,300 passing yards in his career.
  • Nick Montana: Transferred to to Mt. San Antonio College after the 2011 season and is now at Tulane.
Washington State
  • J.T. Levenseller: Transferred to Eastern Washington after the 2008 season.
  • Cody Clements: Transferred to Cerritos College following the 2012 season.

Huskies lose OG Colin Porter

April, 10, 2012
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Washington's offensive line took a big blow this week with the forced injury retirement of offensive guard Colin Porter, a two-year starter.

Here's the Seattle Times report, which notes "Porter is suffering from 'degenerative arthritis' in each of his shoulders." And, by the way, he played all last season, despite the condition. So, yeah, this is a tough guy here.

The Huskies were set up to have four returning starters on the line in 2012, losing only left tackle Senio Kelemete to graduation. Now that number is three, and there are other injury concerns, most particularly guard Colin Tanigawa, who tore his ACL at Oregon State on Nov. 19 and is questionable for the 2012 season. Further, right tackle Erik Kohler is nursing nagging injuries and is limited while playing second-team guard this spring.

That leaves just senior center Drew Schaefer manning his 2011 spot this spring.

When you add in the loss of RB Chris Polk, it's reasonable to wonder about the Huskies' running game in 2012.

Coach Steve Sarkisian is a big believer in a physical running game. The Huskies rushed 452 times last year, compared to 406 pass attempts. With junior QB Keith Price entering his second year as a starter, it's hard to believe those numbers won't at least reverse.

That, of course, means more exposure for Price to getting hit. The Huskies, despite a veteran line, gave up 34 sacks last year, which ranked 98th in the nation. You might recall that Price struggled with nagging injuries much of the 2011 season, in large part because of that spotty protection. Further, with the transfer of Nick Montana, the Huskies' backup QBs, which could end up being a true freshman, have no game experience.

So let's just say it would be a good thing for Washington for Tanigawa and Kohler to get healthy. And for some young guys to step up and show their stuff this spring.
Keith Price got hit, hammered, drilled, dumped and decked. And in the long run, it might have been the best thing to ever happen to the Washington quarterback.

With every sack Price took -- 26 of them for those keeping track at home -- a knee would strain a little more and an ankle would twist a little further. As those injuries compounded, he had to subdue his first instinct to run the football. In essence, those nagging injuries transformed him into a pure pocket quarterback.

[+] EnlargeKeith Price
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireKeith Price and Washington will likely have to be nearly flawless to win at LSU on Saturday.
"This year, I didn't have my legs underneath me and I had to make those throws while standing in the pocket and getting hit," Price said. "I had to stand in there and just take them. If I had my legs, I could have avoided them."

An athlete by nature who was more prone to the tuck-and-run, Price had to completely overhaul his style of play. And in the process he set the school's single-season passing touchdown record with 33 scores.

"This year was about learning a new style of play," he said. "I could never imagine playing without my legs. I depend on them so much. Now, it doesn't really matter."

Price was the Pac-12's nice little surprise. Expectations were cautiously tempered as he replaced top-10 draft pick Jake Locker. But the secret is out. This guy can play -- as evidenced by his 66.9 completion percentage. While the rest of the conference might have been in shock to see the sophomore carve up defenses with his arm -- not his legs -- it came as no surprise to him.

"I prepared for this, it's not like it just happened," Price said. "I put in the time and I sacrificed stuff I like for the game that I love. The coaches had faith in me and they helped shape who I am. It's been a blast."

And on Dec. 29, the rest of the country saw what the Pac-12 had learned as Price led the Huskies in a 56-point losing effort against Baylor in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Price accounted for seven touchdowns -- four in the air and three on the ground, his only rushing touchdowns of the year, mind you.

"I thought we had that one," Price said, leaving it at that.

Like its young quarterback, Washington is a team on the rise. The Huskies started the year by winning six of their first eight before hitting the meat-grinder portion of their schedule -- a four-game stretch that included Stanford, Oregon and USC. As the underdog, Washington dropped all three. Then it compounded when the Huskies lost at Oregon State. Injuries kept Price out of the game until he relieved Nick Montana in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough.

"I think it was an OK season," Price said. "We have a lot of things we have to improve on. But it was a decent season. Next year we need to have a great season."

Ah, next year. Price won't surprise anyone. And the centerpiece of the offense, running back Chris Polk, will be playing on Sundays. But Price doesn't seem concerned. He happily accepts the target on his back. But first things first, he wants to put some weight on his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame.

"That's my biggest thing is staying healthy," he said. "Have a good offseason and a good spring ball and just go into camp feeling good about my body. I'm going to be taking a lot of hits and I don't need to be taking any unnecessary hits."

He even sounds like a pocket passer.

Nick Montana leaving Washington

January, 17, 2012
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It has been a busy offseason of comings and goings at Washington, the latest being backup quarterback Nick Montana being granted his release to transfer on the day the Huskies hired super-recruiter Tosh Lupoi away from California.

Montana's decision is simple: He wants to play and he's not going to beat out Keith Price, who will be a junior next fall. Montana's plan is to go to a junior college first, then transfer to a four-year school. That way he can avoid sitting out and not seeing game action for a year.
"I've got three years [of college eligibility] left and I want to spend those on the field," he told the Seattle Times. "I don't want to wait another year. You only get one shot at playing college football so I just kind of made the best decision for me and I'm going with it.''

It doesn't seem like there are any hard feelings here. For one, Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian did the same thing when he was a college QB. Again from the Times:
"I just told [Sarkisian] straight up," he said. "He understood. He told me about how he transferred [from USC to El Camino and then to BYU] and how his career kind of went. So he was totally understanding and supported me in that and let me know if I need anything to just let me know. He was really supportive about the whole thing and that just made it that much easier for me. Obviously it's not an easy decision, but having him handle it the way he did made it a lot better for me."

Montana got one start for Price last season, and it was mostly forgettable. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 79 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 38-21 Huskies loss at Oregon State. Price, in fact, came off the bench to try to rally the offense in the fourth quarter.

What it means for the Huskies, however, is the depth behind Price has no experience. Redshirt freshman Derrick Brown appears to be the leading candidate for the backup job, but the Huskies have two touted incoming freshmen in Jeff Lindquist (Mercer Island, Wash.) and Cyler Miles (Denver).

Washington: What went wrong?

November, 23, 2011
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Washington's defense is bad. No question.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times took a measure so he could quantify what Huskies fans have been feeling: This defense is historically bad.

Writes Condotta:
Washington is allowing 34.5 points a game, the second-highest in school history behind only the 38.5 allowed by the 2008 team that went 0-12 and prompted the firing of Sarkisian's predecessor, Tyrone Willingham. It's also allowing 430.4 yards per game, third-most in school history behind 2008 (451.8) and 2007 (446.4).

Coordinator Nick Holt is paid $650,000 a year -- most of any defensive coordinator in the Pac-12 not named Monte Kiffin -- to make sure the Huskies don't have a historically-bad defense.

[+] EnlargeKeith Price
AP Photo/Christine CotterWashingon's offensive line failed to protect quarterback Keith Price and gave up a conference-leading 33 sacks this season.
So, yes, many fans are calling for Holt's head on a platter, while coach Steve Sarkisian ties to advise patience as his Huskies prepare for the Apple Cup on Saturday with rival Washington State.

"It's going to take time," Sarkisian said. "Do I wish we were better? Sure. But the reality of it is, let's go win Saturday and we're 7-5 and that's a better record than we had at the end of last season.''

Sarkisian even tried to take heat off the defense by blaming himself and the offense (Sarkisian calls the offensive plays).

"What was disappointing in last week's game to me ... our defense forced us three turnovers and we didn't turn any over those turnovers into points," he said.

Sark's right in more ways than one. The offense might deserve more blame than the defense for the Huskies' three-game slide.

Before we crunch some numbers, though, let's finger the biggest reason why Washington has lost four-of-five: the schedule. Stanford, Oregon and USC supplied three of those defeats. They are each top-10 teams. The loss at Oregon State, however, was dreadful, so Huskies fans should feel free to be miserable about that one.

Back to the offense.

The Huskies averaged 35.6 points and 429.6 yards during a 6-2 start. During the 0-3 slide, they've averaged 18.3 points and 279 yards. And before we only point at the schedule, let's note the Huskies had just 315 yards against a pretty rotten Oregon State defense, though, of course, that was with backup quarterback Nick Montana playing most of the game.

The defense, meanwhile, is yielding the exact same yardage, 430.4, today as it did on Oct. 29 after a victory over Arizona made Washington 6-2. During the 6-2 start, the defense gave up 33.4 points per game. During the three-game slide, it was 37.3 -- and that's, again, with Oregon and USC on the schedule, the Nos. 1 and 3 scoring offenses in the Pac-12.

The Huskies' two offensive stars during the 6-2 start -- running back Chris Polk and quarterback Keith Price -- have seen their numbers slide. Price threw 23 touchdown passes and eight interceptions in the first eight games. He's thrown three and three in the past three, not to mention three picks in the win over Arizona. As for Polk, he averaged 127 yards rushing in the first eight games, 75 in the last three.

And let's not leave out the offensive line. Polk is a proven back, so his downturn likely can be significantly attributed to smaller running lanes. But the real eye-catcher is this: Washington gave up just 16 sacks in the first eight games. They've yielded 17 in the last three, and their 33 on the season rank last in the Pac-12.

So it's not just the defense that's been stinking up the joint.

The takeaway is this: The Huskies have not yet arrived in Year 3 under Sarkisian and Holt.

Bracket off the Oregon State game. It plays like a bit of an anomaly -- the one face plant a year a lot of teams have. The obvious trend is the Huskies can't yet go mano-a-mano with highly-ranked teams (the fourth of their five losses came at now-No. 21 Nebraska). Their four losses to ranked teams came by an average of 24.3 points.

What's the solution? Well, some might scream for Holt to be fired. And Holt shouldn't feel terribly comfortable, even though he's almost certainly coming back in 2012.

But the biggest issue can be summed up in one word: linemen. The Huskies need to get better on both lines if they are going to push into the top-third of the Pac-12.

Final: Oregon State 38, Washington 21

November, 19, 2011
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A month ago, Washington was 5-1, ranked and appeared poised for a banner season under third-year coach Steve Sarkisian.

No longer.

After getting rolled 38-21 at Oregon State, which entered the game at 2-8, things have come apart for the Huskies, who are losers of four of five and three in a row.

With quarterback Keith Price sitting out with a knee injury, the Huskies needed the defense to step up. It did not. The Beavers gained 484 yards, 116 more than their season average, and those 38 points are 18 more than the Pac-12's lowest scoring offense had been averaging.

The Beavers, who have won eight of 11 against Washington, scored 27 points in their previous three games.

Price's replacement, Nick Montana, struggled, and Price came off the bench to try to save the day. He couldn't.

He threw an interception at the Beavers' 1-yard line with 7:35 left in the game. The Beavers then drove 99 yards in 12 plays -- killing 5:23 off the clock -- for a final touchdown.

The Huskies, now 6-5, will play rival Washington State next weekend. Oregon State will conclude its season at Oregon.

Halftime: Oregon State 17, Washington 14

November, 19, 2011
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Nick Montana has thrown two touchdown passes to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but it's clear that Washington is going to lean on running back Chris Polk at Oregon State.

And Polk has come through with 17 carries for 70 yards against the Beavers.

The bigger issue, as has been the case much of the season, is the Huskies defense, which has been picked apart by QB Sean Mannion, who was 11 for 13 for 102 yards with two TDs in the first half. The Huskies also gave up a 56-yard run to receiver Markus Wheaton and they trail 17-14 at the break.

Montana, playing for an injured Keith Price, threw an interception and is being used conservatively. He's completed 7 of 11 for 39 yards -- just 3.5 yards per completion.

Oregon State receiver James Rodgers was hurt late in the second quarter, but it appears to be his ankle, not his surgically-repaired knee. He'd caught four passes for 48 yards and a TD before going down.

The Huskies' bowl prospects would take a hit with a loss, which would be their fourth in five games after a 5-1 start.

Pac-12 lunch links: Woods' status uncertain

November, 18, 2011
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Happy Friday.

Break might help struggling Price

November, 18, 2011
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It might be a good thing that Washington quarterback Keith Price is going to miss Saturday's game at Oregon State. While that supposition hangs on the Huskies managing to beat the 2-8 Beavers with backup Nick Montana, Price has looked like he could use a break the past few weeks.

When the Huskies headed to Stanford on Oct. 22, they were 5-1 and ranked 22nd. Price, a sophomore, was fifth in the nation in passing efficiency (177.9) and had thrown 21 touchdown passes to just four interceptions.

Keith Price
Steven Bisig/US Presswire"I don't think we've played very well around him," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian says of the struggles of sophomore quarterback Keith Price.
Price and Washington got crunched 65-21 that evening, and a downward slide started for him and the Huskies, who have lost three of four, including the drubbing by the Cardinal. Price has throw four touchdown passes in his past four games, with six interceptions, and his rating has fallen to 155.1.

That's hardly terrible -- it ranks 16th in the nation. And, to be fair, the competition level went up, considering those defeats came to Stanford, Oregon and USC. But Price also threw three picks at home against woeful Arizona (though one wasn't his fault, he was saved from another by a penalty).

And, yes, coach Steve Sarkisian has seen it, too. Price has been playing with multiple injuries much of the season -- ankle, both knees -- but there's more than just a physical element to Price's recent struggles.

"I think when you start to struggle a little bit and you're a young quarterback, you can have a tendency to press and to maybe try a little too hard," Sarkisian said. "I think that's been a part of it."

But it's not all on Price.

"I don't think we've played very well around him," Sarkisian said. "I don't think we've protected the quarterback great. We haven't run the football as well as I think we can to take some of the pressure off of him. We haven't made tough catches. All of those things added up, your quarterback goes from being one of the hottest in the country to struggling a couple of games."

That's all fair. Price's receivers have dropped way too many passes. His offensive line has yielded 29 sacks, including seven to USC. And running back Chris Polk, who is averaging 113.2 yards per game, has only 116 total rush yards in the past two games.

So Price perhaps could use the break before the Apple Cup and whatever bowl game the Huskies end up in. Get healthy. Rediscover his kwan.

Of course, again, they need to win in Corvallis. To make sure that happens, the Huskies need to regain, to use Sarkisian's term, their "real sense of purpose and attitude," which he said he didn't see at USC.

As for Montana, son of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, he might not be asked to do too much if Polk can get back on track against the Pac-12's No. 11 run defense. But Sarkisian said he feels good about Montana running the entire offense.

"I feel great about Nick Montana because I have some experience with him now," Sarkisian said. "I understand what his demeanor is like on game day more so than the beginning of the season.''

The experience will be good for Montana. And the rest should be good for Price.

But none of it will feel good if it becomes the fourth loss in five games.

Montana gets call for Washington

November, 17, 2011
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Nick Montana, son of Joe, will make his first career start at Oregon State on Saturday, coach Steve Sarkisian Tweeted on Thursday.

Starter Keith Price suffered a knee injury against USC last weekend. While there is no structural damage, according to Sarkisian, Price was unable to practice this week.

Sarkisian's Tweet is a course reversal. He said after practice on Wednesday night that he wouldn't publicly announce the starter, but would let the team know.

Montana was 9 of 15 for 73 yards and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kasen Williams in relief of Price last week against the Trojans. For the season, Montana is 13 of 20 for 147 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Considering that Oregon State has the No. 11 run defense in the Pac-12, you can bet that Huskies running back Chris Polk will get plenty of touches, particularly if its cold and rainy in Corvallis, as expected.

What to watch in the Pac-12: Week 12

November, 17, 2011
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Issues to consider heading into the 12th week of games.

Barkley's big moment? While much was made of USC quarterback Matt Barkley saying that Oregon didn't seem to be as good this season as the previous two years, a minor tweak won't decide this game. What it did do, however, is brighten the spotlight on Barkley just that much more. He's been the face of the Trojans for three years. This is likely his last college game that will attract national interest. He can secure his legacy by producing a big game on the road in the Pac-12's toughest venue. And even if that isn't enough to produce a victory, it will get the attention of NFL scouts.

Luck rises again: Not much to say here. Just expect Stanford QB Andrew Luck to turn in a tour de force performance in his final Big Game, one that gets him back to the top of Heisman Trophy lists.

[+] EnlargeChris Polk
Joe Nicholson/US PresswireDespite rushing for over 4,000 career yards, star Washington RB Chris Polk went undrafted.
Doing the Polk-a: Even if Washington QB Keith Price is 100 percent and starting, the Huskies should give the ball to running back Chris Polk and get out of the way at Oregon State. He's surely well-rested after the Huskies had to throw to play catchup during the previous two weekends. And the Beavers are terrible against the run, ranking 11th in the Pac-12, surrendering 183.7 yards per game. Further, if Nick Montana is forced to start for Price, you don't want to put too much pressure on him on the road in what might be chilly, wet conditions.

Can the Cougs stop John White? Utah is fairly simple on offense: RB John White. The Utes rank last in the Pac-12 in passing and 10th in passing efficiency, while White ranks second in the conference with 119 yards rushing per game. That he averages five yards a carry despite defenses knowing he's coming is pretty darn impressive. The Cougars have been decent against the run this year, yielding 155.8 yards rushing per game. If they hold the Utes to that, they should be in pretty good shape to notch an upset.

Erickson's last stand? Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson looked like a Pac-12 coach-of-the-year candidate a few weeks ago. But after consecutive losses to UCLA and Washington State, he's back on the hot seat. Losing at home to Arizona not only would put a big dent in the Sun Devils South Division title chances, it might end Erickson's chances for survival into 2012.

Neuheisel's last stand? Each time UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel has looked dead this year, he's resurrected himself with a big win. But at some point that stops working and folks simply point at the lack of consistency as being as bad as losing. If the Bruins lose at home to 2-9 Colorado, perhaps blowing their chances to win the South Division and earn bowl eligibility, it's hard to imagine Neuheisel not getting fired, even if he pulls another rabbit out of the hat and beats USC in the season finale.

James makes Heisman statement: USC is tough against the run, ranking second in the Pac-12 in run defense, but Oregon RB LaMichael James did just fine against the conference's No. 1 rushing defense: Stanford. The Trojans are faster on defense than Stanford, but the home crowd should give James some extra juice. If he produces another 150-yard, multiple-touchdown evening, he should sew up another trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Halliday encore? What is Washington State QB Connor Halliday to do after throwing for 494 yards -- a conference freshman record -- and four touchdowns in an upset victory over Arizona State? Even the confident Halliday admitted it might be impossible to duplicate those numbers. And Utah's defense is a different animal than the Sun Devils'. The key for Halliday is to keep playing within the system and let the game come to him. Don't force throws. Don't hold the ball too long. Don't look for the bomb when the short out is open. The Utes don't have a high-scoring offense. This game doesn't figure to be a shootout. It will be about field position and not making mistakes.

Maynard needs to match up: California's formula for success during a modest two-game winning streak has been run the ball and play good defense, thereby taking pressure off struggling QB Zach Maynard. That might work against Washington State and Oregon State at home, but the Bears will be hard-pressed to make it work against Stanford on the road. Maynard will have to make plays in the passing game and he will have to avoid stupid mistakes. When he gets flustered, his accuracy goes south. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinal can fluster him.

Huskies Price still gimpy at practice

November, 16, 2011
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Washington quarterback Keith Price remains highly questionable for Saturday's game at Oregon State.

Although coach Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday an MRI on Price's left knee revealed no structural damage, Price mostly sat out Tuesday's practice and walked with a noticable limp, according to reporters on hand.

If Price can't go, Nick Montana will get his first career start. Freshmen Derrick Brown and walk-on Thomas Vincent took the snaps with the second team.

Price hurt his knee in the loss at USC and Montana, son of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, came off the bench and completed 9 of 15 passes for 73 yards with a touchdown.

The big test for Price will be Wednesday. If he shows significant improvement during today's practice, the chances he'll start go up significantly. He's already shown repeatedly this year that he can manage pain.

Whoever plays quarterback for the Huskies, he will be facing a struggling defense that is now down another starter, as Beavers defensive end Taylor Henry quit the team this week. Henry had three sacks this year. He will be replaced by true freshman Dylan Wynn, meaning both Beavers defensive ends will be freshman -- Scott Crichton is the other.

Of course, if Montana gets the call, Sarkisian likely will lean on running back Chris Polk. The Beavers rank 11th in the conference in run defense, giving up 183.7 yards per game.

Pac-12 lunch links: Halliday will start

November, 15, 2011
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The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

Quick look at week 12 games

November, 15, 2011
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Here's a quick look at Week 12 in the Pac-12.

All times are ET. All games are Saturday.

Washington (6-4, 4-3) at Oregon State (2-8, 2-5) 3:30 p.m. Root NW: Washington leads the series 58-33-4 and won last year 35-34 in double-overtime. Huskies quarterback Keith Price hurt his knee last weekend at USC and was replaced by Nick Montana. Price awaits results from tests on his knee, and Montana could get the start in Corvallis. Beavers wide receiver James Rodgers, who has 218 career receptions, needs three catches to pass Mike Hass for No. 1 on the program's all-time list. The Beavers are last in the Pac-12 in scoring (20.3 ppg) and rushing (88.2 ypg).

Utah (6-4, 3-4) at Washington State (4-6, 2-5) 5 p.m. FCS: The series is tied 5-5-0. Washington State won the last meeting 38-21 in 2000. After beating UCLA last weekend, the Utes became bowl eligible for a ninth consecutive season. The Utes have won three in a row and four of five. Utah is 6-0 when running back John White rushes for over 100 yards. The Utes are No. 1 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (19.2 ppg). The Cougars have two conference wins, equalling their total over the past three seasons combined. Four total wins is their most since going 5-7 in 2007. WR Marquess Wilson has 1,197 yards receiving, a new school season record. In the win over Arizona State, redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Halliday set a Pac-12 freshman record with 494 yards passing.

Colorado (2-9, 1-6) at UCLA (5-5, 4-3) 7:30 p.m. Versus: UCLA leads the series 4-2, but Colorado won the last game 16-14 in 2003. Colorado ended a seven-game losing streak with its first Pac-12 win last weekend against Arizona. UCLA controls its own Pac-12 South Division destiny. If it wins out, it wins the division. The Bruins rank last in the conference in run defense (190.2 ypg). Colorado ranks last in scoring defense (37.8 ppg) and 11th in scoring offense (21.3 ppg).

No. 18 (AP) USC (8-2, 5-2) at No. 4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0) 8 p.m. ABC: USC leads the series 37-18-2 but Oregon won its second in a row 53-32 last year in the Coliseum. If the Ducks win, they clinch the Pac-12 North Division title. Oregon has won 21 consecutive home games and 19 consecutive conference games. 25 of the Ducks 65 TDs this year have come on plays of 25 or more yards. The Ducks rank third in the nation in scoring (46.7 ppg). USC has won at least eight games 10 consecutive seasons. The Trojans had a season-high seven sacks in their win over Washington. Oregon has allowed just seven sacks this year. The Trojans have held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing five times this year; USC ranks second in the Pac-12 in run defense. Oregon ranks fifth in the nation in rushing (291.8 ypg).

Arizona (2-8, 1-7) at Arizona State (6-4, 4-3) 9:30 p.m. FSAZ: Arizona leads the rivalry series 46-37-1 but Arizona State won 30-29 in double-overtime last year in Tucson. Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles became the program's all-time leading passer, eclipsing Willie Tuitama with 9,289 yards through the air. Sun Devils wide receiver Jamal Miles returned the opening kickoff against Washington State 95 yards for a TD, his second kickoff return for a TD this season and third for his career, which are both school records. The Sun Devils are 5-0 at home this year. Arizona is last in the Pac-12 in turnover margin at minus-7. Arizona State is first at plus-14. The Wildcats are last in the conference -- and 118th in the nation -- with just eight sacks.

California (6-4, 3-4) at No. 9 Stanford (9-1, 7-1) 10:15 p.m. ESPN: Stanford leads the series 56-46-11, including a 48-14 win at Cal last year. Oregon ended Stanford's 17-game winning streak last week. It had been the nation's longest winning streak. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has 74 career TD passes. He needs four more to eclipse John Elway's school record of 77. Luck's 29 TD passes is second to the school record 32 he threw last year. Stanford has scored 30 or more points in 13 consecutive games. The Cardinal is 57 for 57 in redzone trips this season. Cal running back Isi Sofele is the program's ninth 1,000-yard rushing in 10 seasons. Cal is No. 1 and Stanford No. 2 in the Pac-12 in total defense.

Montana might start for injured Price

November, 14, 2011
11/14/11
5:51
PM ET
Washington's backup quarterback Nick Montana -- son of Joe -- may get his first career start at Oregon State because starter Keith Price hurt his knee against USC, according to coach Steve Sarkisian.

Montana came off the bench for Price in the loss to the Trojans and completed 9 of 15 passes for 73 yards with a touchdown.

Price is having on MRI on his left knee, which he hurt after a third-quarter sack. Price has battled various injuries all season, including both knees and both ankles, but hasn't yet missed a start. Sarkisian told reporters results of the MRI will be available on Tuesday.

If Price can't go, it will be interesting to see what Montana can do with the Huskies' offense, which has scored 21 or fewer points in three of its last four games.

That said, the way to attack Oregon State is to run the ball. The Beavers rank 86th in the nation in run defense, surrendering 183.7 yards per game. Huskies running back Chris Polk is just the sort who can wear a defense down.

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