Pac-12: Oregon State
Up next: Marqise de Receiving
Who & against whom: USC receiver Marqise Lee set a new Pac-12 receiving record in a losing cause at Arizona.
The numbers: Lee caught 16 passes for 345 yards with two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in the 39-36 loss. He also had three kick returns for 123 yards, with a long of 72, to finish with 469 all-purpose yards.
A closer look: Talk about a brilliant effort on a horrible day for USC. Lee's receiving total set a new Pac-12 record and was fifth most in FBS history, just 60 yards off Louisiana Tech receiver Troy Edwards' mark set in 1998. Lee broke the conference record of 293 yards receiving set by Oregon State's Mike Hass against Boise State in 2004. It probably could have been more. Lee hit 299 yards early in the third quarter after catching a 44-yard touchdown pass that put the Trojans up 28-13. He also caught a 49-yard TD pass, and his long reception of the day was 57 yards. The Trojans lost despite piling up 618 yards of offense. The culprits? Losing the turnover battle five to one and getting 13 penalties for 117 yards.
Tight end Taylor McNamara (San Diego, Calif./Westview) has committed to Arizona, ESPN's Greg Biggins reports.
A member of the ESPNU150, McNamara had offers from USC, Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Washington, UCLA, California, Washington, Oregon State, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Miami, Maryland and Kentucky.
So this is a big get for the Wildcats.
"There were a lot of reasons why I liked Arizona. I'll have a chance to play early there, I'm comfortable with the school and the direction the program is going in, it's close enough to home for my parents and coaches to come and watch me and I like the players on the team and trust the coaching staff there," he told Biggins.
McNamara, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, is the Wildcats' third commitment.
ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive tackle Aziz Shittu of Buhach HS (Atwater, Calif.), one of the top players on the West Coast, has become the Cardinal's third commitment for the 2012 class.
Shittu (6-foot-2, 275 pounds) picked Stanford over an array of other suitors, including Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Northwestern, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, Southern California, Washington and Washington State.
ESPN's Craig Haubert said of Shittu, "Stanford picked-up a verbal from one of the top defensive line prospects in the state of California. Aziz Shittu is a big man who can be tough against the run, but also can help rush the passer. He is capable of firing out low and knocking blockers back to help collapse the pocket, but the big man can also attack blockers as well and use his weapons to work past them to apply pressure. Shittu looks to give effort and can be a disruptive defender and is a nice in-state pick-up for the Cardinal."
Go figure. The Pac-10, after Oregon and Stanford, is all over the place this season.
While USC lost QB Matt Barkley to an injury late in the first half, the story here was simple: Oregon State dominated. USC never made a move. Trojans backup Mitch Mustain never even suggested he could lead a comeback.
The Beavers outgained the Trojans 327-255. No USC offensive lineman could block Beavers defensive tackle Stephen Paea. Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 127 yards and caught seven passes for 43 yards.
Suddenly, Oregon State is interesting. It needs to win one of its final two games to become bowl eligible. But those two games are against Stanford and Oregon. Both those teams are hunting for BCS bowls. Or even national titles.
Oregon State looked like an easy date last week after the debacle versus the Cougars. Now? Not so much.
And we might get to see Mitch Mustain after Matt Barkley appeared to suffer an injury at the end of the half.
Barkley wasn't sharp before he got hurt. Oregon State got a pick-6 -- 65 yards from Jordan Poyer -- and the Trojans looked sloppy and uninspired while the Beavers looked motivated to put last weekend's embarrassment behind them.
The key: Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers getting in rhythm in both the running -- 12 carries, 68 yards, TD -- and passing games (five receptions, 48 yards).
The Beavers need this win to have a fighting shot for bowl eligibility.
USC? It suddenly looks flat and unmotivated.
Gunderson, who spent the last two years as a graduate assistant for administration for the Beavers, played quarterback for Oregon State from 2003-2007, earning four letters. He earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors twice and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering.
The Central Catholic High School of Portland graduate will take over many of the responsibilities of Kelly Harness, the current assistant director of operations, who is leaving her post this month.
(And, yes, this seems like Oregon State day. And, no, we didn't plan it that way this morning).
2009 overall record: 8-5
2009 conference record: 6-3 (tied for second)
Offense: 8, Defense: 7, punter/kicker: 2
Top returners: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, WR James Rodgers, C Alex Linnenkohl, DT Stephen Paea, DE Gabe Miller, LB Dwight Roberson, CB James Dockery
Key losses: QB Sean Canfield, LB Keaton Kristick, LB David Pa'aluhi, DE Matt LaGrone
2009 statistical leaders (*returning starter)
Rushing: Jacquizz Rodgers* (1,440)
Passing: Sean Canfield (3,271)
Receiving: James Rodgers* (1,034)
Tackles: Keaton Kristick (95)
Sacks: Stephen Paea*, Gabe Miller* (3)
Interceptions: Lance Mitchell* (3)
1. Cool Katz: Sophomore Ryan Katz entered the spring as the favorite to win the quarterback job and he didn't disappoint. He has a big arm and good mobility. All he is missing is experience. He'll enter fall camp as the clear leader, while Peter Lalich and Cody Vaz compete for the backup job.
2. There are plenty of offensive weapons: Everything starts with the Rodgers brothers, running back Jacquizz and receiver James, but it doesn't end there. Receivers Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop and tight end/H-Back Joe Halahuni will give Katz plenty of options when he distributes the football.
3. Solid in the secondary: The Beavers will be experienced -- not to mention big -- in the secondary, with three starters back from 2009 and all four first-teamers measuring over 6-feet. James Dockery and 6-foot-2, 219-pound Brandon Hardin are the corners, while Lance Mitchell, 230-pound Cameron Collins and Suaesi Tuimaunei have combined for 29 starts at safety.
1. Front seven issues: Taylor Henry stepped up at defensive end after Matt LaGrone quit the team, but what's unclear is if he can hold off touted JC transfer Dominic Glover as the starter. Things also are fluid at linebacker. Will Keith Pankey be 100 percent by fall camp after missing spring with a torn Achilles tendon? Will Tony Wilson or Rueben Robinson step in at middle linebacker?
2. How will the offensive line shake out? Starters Grant Johnson and Michael Philipp missed spring with injuries, which forced line coach Mike Cavanaugh to do some mixing and matching. The good news was the re-emergence of tackle Wilder McAndrews, who almost quit due to persistent wrist problem. It's possible that McAndrews could take over at left tackle and Philipp could move inside to guard. Then Johnson and Burke Ellis could compete at the other guard.
3. Who is Katz’s backup? The story of spring might have been Katz's impressive effort, but Vaz also deserves note. His rise is more about how well he played than Lalich not producing. Considering how often a backup quarterback is needed, this will be an interesting competition to follow during fall camp.
Mazzone worked under Dennis Erickson at Oregon State (2002) and he's been an offensive coordinator at Ole Miss, Auburn and N.C. State. He comes to Arizona State after having served as wide receivers coach for the New York Jets from 2006-2008 and working as a personnel consultant for the Jets in 2009.
Mazzone will replace Rich Olson. The Sun Devils ranked ninth in total offense and eighth in scoring in 2009. They were seventh in scoring and total offense in 2008.
Coach Dennis Erickson picked Mazzone over Boise State assistant head coach Brent Pease and former Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart.
That's probably how it will be, particularly with Washington's recent slide.
Still, it's worthwhile to take the temperature and see where things stand.
(Note: The "official" Coach of the Year -- as well as the All-Pac-10 team -- is voted on by conference coaches. Obviously, the Pac-10 blog also will have a post-season honor roll that involves a panel of one).
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Case for: Stanford went 1-11 in 2006. Three years later -- and with many of the same players -- it's in the Rose Bowl hunt. Even if it falls short, Harbaugh's late-season wins over Oregon and USC probably will be the most impressive accomplishments on any candidate's résumé (unless Mike Stoops gets 'em, too). Harbaugh has transformed the most academically elite BCS program into a physical team that plays with a nasty streak.
Issues: Some may raise an eyebrow over the rub-their-noses-in-it two-point play against the Trojans. Losing either the Big Game or to Notre Dame might dampen the momentum of his candidacy.
Chip Kelly, Oregon
Case for: The opener at Boise State was a disaster on and off the field, but Kelly kept his players together, repaired the damage and constructed a team that is clearly well-coached in all three phases. A Rose Bowl berth for a first-year head coach would merit recognition.
Issues: Kelly inherited a healthy program, one that finished ranked in the top 10 a year ago and was expected to finish in the top-third of the conference, so he could lose out to a "rebuilder." And maybe some could see the horrible performance at Boise State and the Blount incident as negatives.
Mike Riley, Oregon State
Case for: If the Beavers advance to their first Rose Bowl since 1965, he'll win it.
Issues: Really none. Some might feel like, having won it last year, it's someone else's turn. Of course, he probably won't win it if he falls to his rival in the Civil War season-finale.
Mike Stoops, Arizona
Case for: If Arizona earns its first Rose Bowl berth, he'll win it. He might even get some consideration if the Wildcats finish at 8-4 and fall short. More than a few folks will tell you it's harder to build a winner at Arizona than it is at Stanford, which has won or shared 12 Pac-10 titles vs. one shared title for Arizona (1993).
Issues: He likely needs to win at least two of three down the stretch to make enough of a statement, and even then the Pac-10 champ's coach likely beats him out.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
USC's All-American linebacker Brian Cushing is like a high-performance sports car that requires plenty of care from a mechanic.
Cushing, who's already dealt with wrist and hip injuries this season, strained his hamstring Tuesday and is questionable for the top-ranked Trojans' visit to Oregon State on Thursday, according to the LA Daily News.
If Cushing can't play or is limited, senior Clay Matthews, who's presently splitting time at defensive end with Everson Griffen, would move into Cushing's strongside LB spot.