Pac-12: Vincenzo D'Amato

Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 continues with place-kickers.

Arizona: Casey Skowron, Bret Miller and Michael Unzicker are all in the mix this spring to replace Jake Smith, who converted 12 of 19 kicks (63.2 percent) last season, including a long of 53. The 12 converted field goals were the lowest in the conference, as was the conversion percentage.

Arizona State: No team in the Pac-12 attempted more field goals in 2013 than the Sun Devils -- and Zane Gonzalez was one of the few bright spots for an otherwise dismal ASU special teams unit. The freshman All-American converted 25 of 30 attempts (83.3) and had a streak of 18 straight.

California: With Vincenzo D’Amato gone (he was 17 of 20 last season), it’s looking like James Langford, Noah Beito and Matt Anderson will all get looks. Langford might have the edge as the kickoff guy with Beito a potential early frontrunner for field goals.

Colorado: Senior Will Oliver is back after converting 17 of 24 kicks last year (70.8 percent). He was perfect inside the 30 (7 of 7) and missed just once inside of 40 yards. Three of his misses came from 50-plus (2 of 5). He’s a potential All-American candidate. Strong-legged Diego Gonzalez from Guadalupe, Mexico, is waiting in the wings.

Oregon: Oregon’s kicking adventures weren’t as interesting in 2013 as they’ve been in the past. While the Ducks attempted the fewest field goals in the conference, Matt Wogan was a solid 7 of 9, and Alejandro Maldonado was 3 of 5 for a combined 71.4 percent -- seventh in the conference. Wogan returns and should be considered the frontrunner to handle all kicking duties, including punting.

Oregon State: Trevor Romaine returns as a fourth-year starter after converting 14 of 20 attempts last season. He was mostly money inside of 40 yards, converting 11 of 13 attempts. But struggled on the longer kicks, converting just 2 of 5 between 40-49 yards and 1 of 2 beyond 50.

Stanford: Jordan Williamson is back after connecting on 18 of 22 kicks in 2013, including a long of 48. Of his four misses, two of them came from 50 yards or longer, where he was 0 for 2. He was automatic inside the 30 and 15 of 16 inside of 40 yards. Time to finally put the 2011 Fiesta Bowl to rest. He's one of the league's most consistent kickers.

UCLA: Ka’imi Fairbairn returns after a hit-and-miss year where he connected on 14 of 21 kicks with a long of 48. He had a stretch where he converted on eight in a row. But also had some inconsistent games (2 of 4 against Nebraska, 2 of 4 against ASU).

USC: Andre Heidari had an up-and-down season. He struggled greatly in the 40-49 yard range, converting on just 3 of 8 kicks. Overall, he was 15 of 22, and his 2013 will most likely be remembered for his 47-yard game-winner against Stanford. Heidari also handled almost every kickoff, though punter Kris Albarado is available if needed.

Utah: "Automatic" Andy Phillips returns after making quite the splash in his first season of football. The former skier became a household name -- well, at least a name in Pac-12 households -- after converting on the first 11 field goals of his career. He’s got a big leg, converting on 9 of 11 from 40 yards or longer.

Washington: No easy task replacing Travis Coons, who handled kicking and punting for the Huskies. He was the Pac-12’s most accurate kicker in 2013, converting on 15 of 16 attempts. Cameron Van Winkle handled some kickoffs before an injury set him back, and Tristan Vizcaino comes in this fall and should be in the mix.

Washington State: Strong-legged Andrew Furney is gone. Wes Concepcion and Erik Powell are the kickers on the roster. Powell was a walk-on, but the coaching staff is high on him. Concepcion likely will handle punting but could kick if needed.

Previous positions

Safety
Cornerback
Linebacker
Defensive end
Tight end
Quarterback
Running back
Receiver
Offensive line
Defensive tackle

Season review: California

January, 10, 2014
1/10/14
4:00
PM ET
We continue our team-by-team review of the Pac-12 with California.

Offense: The first thing that jumps out, by the very nature of Sonny Dykes’ offense, is the passing yards. The Bears, behind true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, were third in the conference with 331.4 passing yards per game and 3,977 total yards in the air. So they were able to move the ball. What stands out next, however, is the scoring offense, which was last in the Pac-12 at 23 points per game. So despite moving the ball, the Bears weren’t able to generate points. And that’s the name of the game. When you look at the pass efficiency numbers, Cal was last in the league. On the year, the Bears scored just 32 touchdowns. They were last in third-down conversions (33.6 percent), last in turnover margin (-15) and last in red zone offense (72.1 percent). Khalfani Muhammad was actually pretty steady on the ground, averaging six yards per carry and 445 net yards to go with four touchdowns, but the running game wasn’t able to do enough to open up the passing game. Brendan Bigelow, who seemed poised for a breakout season, rushed for just 421 yards and four yards per carry. Goff completed 60.3 percent of his throws with 18 touchdowns to 10 interceptions while totaling 3,508 yards. And he did break the school’s single-season passing record. Bryce Treggs had 77 catches for 751 yards and Chris Harper hauled in 70 catches for 852 yards. The foundation for an explosive pass offense is in place, but the Bears simply weren't able to put it all together in Year 1. Grade: D-

Defense: The Bears were last in the league in scoring defense, total defense, passing defense and 10th in rushing defense. Oh yeah, last in pass efficiency defense also. It was not a good year. Injuries played a major role with several projected starters -- including Mustafa Jalil, Stefan McClure, Nick Forbes, Brennan Scarlett and Avery Sebastian being lost for the year or missing significant time. This led to a lack of veteran leadership when things started to spiral and youngsters who should have been redshirting were forced into action. They gave up at least 40 points in nine games, yielded 30 points to FCS Portland State (Cal’s only win of the year) and were last nationally in points allowed at 45.9 (there were a few pick-sixes and special teams points sprinkled in there as well). No way around it, this was a bad, bad year for Cal’s defense. And as a result, defensive coordinator Andy Buh was demoted and the staff was shaken up. There were just five interceptions (from five different players) and the defense produced just 18 sacks on the year. Grade: F

Special teams: Kicker Vincenzo D’Amato was one of the more accurate kickers in league, converting on 17 of 20 kicks -- including a long of 51 yards against UCLA. His only misses were from 45, 46 and 50 yards -- though he did convert five kicks of 40 yards or longer. But Cal failed to return either a kick or a punt for a touchdown and gave up five punt returns for scores (including a blocked punt for a score) and one kick return for a touchdown. Their punt return average was last in the league and the kick coverage team was mediocre. Outside of D’Amato, the special teams were unimpressive. Grade: C-

Overall: Tough, tough first year for Dykes and Co. In some ways, it was the perfect storm of a new coach, a true freshman quarterback, a tough schedule and a rash of injuries the likes we haven’t seen in a long, long time that all contributed to Cal’s worst season since going winless in 1999. The Bears have now lost 16 straight games to FBS opponents and questions are already swirling about the future of the head coach and the decision-makers in the athletic department. The bright side is that, hopefully, the Bears will be healthier next year and a lot of the young players who were forced into action this season will gain from that experience. But if you’re a Cal fan, there’s not much to feel good about when you look at 2013. Grade: F

Pac-12 names all-conference team

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
3:50
PM ET
The Pac-12 has announced its first- and second-team all-conference squads and postseason awards for 2013.

[+] EnlargeKa'Deem Carey
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsPac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Ka'Deem Carey was the only unanimous first-team pick.
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has been named the league's offensive player of the year. Arizona State defensive lineman Will Sutton joins an elite fraternity, earning his second straight Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award. Washington's Steve Emtman is the only other player to win the league's defensive player of the year award in back to back years (1990-1991).

UCLA's Myles Jack earned freshman of the year for both offense and defense with his 70 tackles as a linebacker and seven touchdowns as a running back. This is the first time since the awards were introduced in 2008 that the same player has won both sides.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham is the league's coach of the year for guiding the Sun Devils to a conference record of 8-1 and winning the South Division. The Sun Devils host Stanford this weekend in the Pac-12 championship game.

The team is selected by the Pac-12 head coaches.

Offensive player of the year: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, DE Arizona State
Freshman Offense and Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Jack, RB/LB, UCLA
Coach of the Year: Todd Graham, Arizona State

First team offense

QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon (2)
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona (2)
RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington
WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State
WR Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado
TE Chris Coyle, Grad., Arizona State
OL Evan Finkenberg, Grad., Arizona State
OL Hroniss Grasu, Jr., Oregon (2)
OL Marcus Martin, Jr., USC
OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, Jr., UCLA (2)
OL David Yankey, Sr, Stanford (2)

First team defense

DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford
DL Trevor Reilly, Sr., Utah
DL Will Sutton, Sr., Arizona State
DL Leonard Williams, So., USC
LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA (2)
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford (2)
LB Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford
DB Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State
DB Alden Darby, Sr., Arizona State
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon
DB Robert Nelson, Sr., Arizona State
DB Ed Reynolds, Sr., Stanford (2)

First team specialists

PK Zane Gonzalez, Fr., Arizona State
P Tom Hackett, So. Utah
RS Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
ST Soma Vainuku, So. USC

Second team offense

QB Taylor Kelly, Jr., Arizona State
RB Tyler Gaffney, Sr., Stanford
RB Marion Grice, Sr. Arizona State
WR Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
WR Jaelen Strong, So., Arizona State
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr., Washington
OL Jamil Douglas, Jr., Arizona State
OL Cameron Fleming, Sr., Stanford
OL Andrus Peat, So., Stanford
OL Isaac Seumalo, So., Oregon State
OL Khalil Wilkes, Sr. Stanford

Second team defense

DL Scott Crichton, Jr., Oregon State
DL Taylor Hart, Sr., Oregon
DL Devon Kennard, Sr., USC
DL Hau'oli Kikaha, Jr., Washington
DL Tenny Palepoi, Sr., Utah
LB Carl Bradford, Jr., Arizona State
LB Myles Jack, Fr., UCLA
LB Hayes Pullard, Jr., USC
LB Chris Young, Sr., Arizona State
DB Dion Bailey, Jr., USC
DB Osahon Irabor, Grad., Arizona State
DB Marcus Peters, So., Washington
DB Rashaad Reynolds, Sr., Oregon State

Second team specialists

PK Vincenzo D'Amato, Sr., California
P Travis Coons, Sr., Washington
RS Nelson Agholor, So., USC
ST Erick Dargan, Jr., Oregon
ST Joe Hemschoot, Sr., Stanford
ST Ryan Hofmeister, Jr., UCLA

RS: Return Specialist
ST: special teams player (not a kicker or returner)
(2): Two-time first-team selection

Honorable mention

Arizona: LB Marquis Flowers, Sr.; DL Tevin Hood, Sr.; WR Nate Phillips, Fr.; DB Jared Tevis, Jr.; LB Scooby Wright, Fr.

Arizona State: DL Davon Coleman, Grad.; Gannon Conway, Sr.; ST D.J. Foster, So.; ST De'Marieya Nelson, Jr.

California: DL Deandre Coleman, Sr.; QB Jared Goff, Fr.; WR Bryce Treggs, So.

Colorado: RB Mike Adkins, Fr.; LB Addison Gillam, Fr.; PK Will Oliver, Jr.

Oregon: WR/RS Bralon Addison, So.; WR Josh Huff, Sr.; OL Tyler Johnstone, So.; DL Wade Keliikipi, Sr.; LB Derrick Malone, Jr.; RB Byron Marshall, So.; DL Tony Washington, Jr.

Oregon State: OL Grant Enger, Sr.; TE Connor Hamlett, JR.; QB Sean Mannion, Jr.; DB Ryan Murphy, Jr.; DB Steven Nelson, Jr.; ST Terron Ward, Jr.

Stanford: DL Henry Anderson, Sr.; DB Alex Carter, So.; OL Kevin Danser, Sr.; DL Josh Mauro, Sr.; P Ben Rhyne, Sr.; DB Jordan Richards, Jr.; LB A.J. Tarpley, Sr.

UCLA: OL Jake Brendel, So.; ST Jayon Brown, Fr.; P Sean Covington, Fr.; TE Thomas Duarte, Fr.; WR Shaq Evans, Sr.; WR Devin Fuller, So.; DB Randall Goforth, So.; QB Brett Hundley, So.; DB Anthony Jefferson, Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Jr.; DL Cassius Marsh, Sr.; DL Ellis McCarthy, So.; DB Fabian Moreau, So.; OL Alex Redmond, Fr.; DL Eddie Vanderdoes, Fr.; LB Jordan Zumwalt, Sr.

USC: P Kris Albarado, So.; RB Javorius Allen, So.; WR Nelson Agholor, So.; DB Su'a Cravens, Fr.; OL Kevin Graf, Sr.; TE Xavier Grimble, Jr.; QB Cody Kessler, So.; WR Marqise Lee, Jr.; DB Josh Shaw, Jr.; DL J.R. Tavai, Jr.; OL Max Turek, So.; DL George Uko, Jr.

Utah: WR Dres Anderson, Jr.; OL Vyncent Jones, Sr.; DB Keith McGill, Sr.; PK Andy Phillips, Fr.; LB Jason Whittingham, So.

Washington: OL Dexter Charles, So.; PK Travis Coons, Sr.; OL Mike Criste, Jr.; OL Micah Hatchie, Jr.; DB Sean Parker, Sr.; QB Keith Price, Sr.; DL Danny Shelton, Jr.; LB Shaq Thompson, So.

Washington State: OL Elliott Bosch, Sr.; WR River Cracraft, Fr.; PK Andrew Furney, Sr.; DB Damante Horton, Sr.;

Some notes on the teams:

By School: Arizona State and Stanford placed the most players on the first team with six selections each.

By Class: Of the 27 first-team selections, two are graduate students, 11 are seniors, nine are juniors, four are sophomores and one freshman.

Unanimous: Only one player was named on the first-team ballot of all 12 head coaches -- RB Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona.

Two-time Selections: Ten players are repeat first-team selections from last year.

All-Academic: Two first team All-Pac-12 performers also were named to the Pac-12 All Academic second team -- RB Bishop Sankey of Washington and DB Ed Reynolds of Stanford, while Washington defensive lineman Hau'oli Kikaha was named to the All-Pac-12 second team and Pac-12 All-Academic first team. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly earned second-team honors on both the Pac-12 All-Conference and All-Academic teams.
Tags:

USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon Ducks, Pac-12, USC Trojans, Washington State Cougars, Oregon State Beavers, Jordan Zumwalt, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, Devon Kennard, Arizona State Sun Devils, California Bears, Tyler Gaffney, Stanford Cardinal, Deandre Coleman, Will Sutton, Colorado Buffaloes, Todd Graham, Arizona Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, Xavier Su\'a-Filo, Andy Phillips, Shayne Skov, Keith Price, Evan Finkenberg, Sean Parker, Soma Vainuku, Cassius Marsh, Xavier Grimble, George Uko, Hayes Pullard, Marquis Flowers, Taylor Kelly, Hroniss Grasu, Sean Mannion, Eric Kendricks, Paul Richardson, Anthony Barr, Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi, Chris Coyle, Anthony Jefferson, Cody Kessler, Chris Young, Brett Hundley, Vincenzo D'Amato, Kevin Graf, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jordan Richards, Shaq Evans, Deone Bucannon, Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Marqise Lee, Khalil Wilkes, Kevin Danser, David Yankey, Davon Coleman, Dion Bailey, Alex Carter, Alden Darby, Terron Ward, Dres Anderson, Randall Goforth, Derrick Malone, Damante Horton, Connor Hamlett, Isaac Seumalo, Andrew Furney, Henry Anderson, Gannon Conway, Scott Crichton, Rashaad Reynolds, Ka'Deem Carey, Andrus Peat, Shaq Thompson, Will Oliver, Ben Gardner, Trevor Reilly, Ty Montgomery, A.J. Tarpley, Cameron Fleming, Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens, Byron Marshall, Josh Mauro, Nelson Agholor, Ellis McCarthy, Marcus Mariota, Erick Dargan, Joe Hemschoot, Devin Fuller, Leonard Williams, Grant Enger, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Jared Tevis, Marcus Martin, Keith McGill, Marcus Peters, Ed Reynolds, Jamil Douglas, Bryce Treggs, Elliott Bosch, Tony Washington, Marion Grice, Eddie Vanderdoes, Ryan Murphy, J.R. Tavai, Carl Bradford, River Cracraft, Myles Jack, Thomas Duarte, Alex Redmond, Jake Brendel, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, Tom Hackett, Bralon Addison, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Travis Coons, Robert Nelson, Tyler Johnstone, De'Marieya Nelson, Jaelen Strong, Tenny Palepoi, Steven Nelson, Tevin Hood, Micah Hatchie, Vyncent Jones, Jason Whittingham, Addison Gillam, Scooby Wright, Zane Gonzales, Sean Covington, Kris Albarado, Hau'oli Kikaha, Fabian Moreau, Javorius Allen, Jayon Brown, Osahan Irabor, Ryan Hoffmeister, Nate Phillips, Mike Adkins

Pac-12 names players of the week

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
6:00
PM ET
The Pac-12 conference has announced its players of the week. Offensive honors go to Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion, with the defensive honors going to UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. Mannion’s teammate, kicker Trevor Romaine, was named special teams player of the week.

Here are the details, per the Pac-12’s release:
Mannion, a junior from Pleasanton, Calif., completed 27 of 44 passes for a career-high 443 yards in a 51-48 overtime win over Utah. His five touchdown passes tied a school record while his yard total is the fourth most in team history and the highest total for a Beaver since 2003. Mannion currently co-leads the nation in touchdown passes (12) and ranks second in the country in total yards (1,237) and total offense per game (404 ypg).

Barr, a senior from San Pedro, Calif., led the Bruins’ defense in a come-from-behind 41-21 win over No. 23-ranked Nebraska on the road. He collected a career-high 11 tackles, including two for a loss, as the Bruins held the Cornhuskers scoreless for the final 37 minutes of the contest. Barr forced three fumbles on the day, with the third one ending Nebraska’s best chance to score in the second half on the 12 yard-line. The Barr-led Bruins held the then ninth-ranked rushing team in the nation to 128 yards on 42 attempts.

Romaine, a junior place-kicker from Corona, Calif., made all three of his field goal attempts in Oregon State’s overtime win over Utah in the first Conference game of the season for both squads. His three kicks sailed through the uprights from 20, 36, and 49 yards, the latter being a career-high. The Beaver’s kicker has made five of six attempts on the season and now ranks ninth in team history with 184 career points.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks B.J. Denker of Arizona, Jared Goff of California, Marcus Mariota of Oregon, Brett Hundley of UCLA, Cody Kessler of USC, Travis Wilson of Utah and Connor Halliday of Washington State; and running backs Marion Grice of Arizona State, Tyler Gaffney of Stanford and Bishop Sankey of Washington. Also nominated for defensive player of the week honors were safeties Demetrius Wright of USC and Deone Bucannon of Washington State; linebacker Jourdan Grandon of Arizona, cornerback Osahon Irabor of Arizona State, defensive end Josh Shirley of Washington and Taylor Hart of Oregon’s defensive line. Also nominated for special teams player of the week honors were kickers Zane Gonzales of Arizona State, Vincenzo D'Amato of California and Andy Phillips of Utah; and punters Drew Riggleman of Arizona, Sean Covington of UCLA and Kris Albarado of USC.

Pac-12 players of the week

September, 9, 2013
9/09/13
5:00
PM ET
Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas, Washington State cornerback Damante Horton and Arizona kicker Jake Smith have been named the Pac-12’s players of the week.

Here are some more details on the trio, per the Pac-12’s release:
Thomas, a junior from Los Angeles, Calif., had 11 carries for a game-high 124 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Ducks’ 59-10 road win over Virginia on Saturday. He had touchdown runs of 1, 40 and 8 yards and reeled in one catch for another 28 yards. Thomas is averaging 8.7 yards per carry and is tied for 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game (126.0 ypg).

Horton, a senior from Oakland, Calif., led a spirited defensive effort by Washington State in the Cougars 10-7 win over No.22/25 USC Trojans in the first conference game of season. The cornerback stepped in front of a USC pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to even the score at 7-7 just before halftime. Horton collected his second interception with less than a minute remaining to seal the victory for Washington State, ending the game with two interceptions for 75 return yards and a career-best two tackles for a loss for 12 yards. He was also tasked with covering USC All-American receiver Marqise Lee, who was limited to 27 yards on seven catches.

Smith, a senior place-kicker Philadelphia, Pa., set a school record with 16 points by kicking to help lead Arizona past UNLV 58-13 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The first-year kicker collected his first made field goal from 41 yards to put Arizona up 3-0 and went on to convert three of four on the night in addition to making all seven extra points he attempted. Smith also kicked off 11 times in the game with five touchbacks and a 63.3-yard average.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks Travis Wilson of Utah, Taylor Kelly of Arizona State, Sean Mannion of Oregon State, and Jared Goff of Californa; running backs Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona, Tre Madden of USC and Tyler Gaffney of Stanford; and wide receiver Paul Richardson of Colorado. Also nominated for defensive player of the week honors were linebackers Jake Fischer of Arizona, Grandville Taylor of Arizona State, and Hardy Nickerson of California, safeties Jered Bell of Colorado, Ed Reynolds of Stanford and Dion Bailey of USC; defensive end Tony Washington of Oregon and defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi of Utah. Also nominated for special teams player of the week honors were kickers Vincenzo D'Amato of California and Andrew Furney of Washington State and Oregon State punter Keith Kostol.

Pac-12 players of the week

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
6:00
PM ET
Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson, Arizona safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant and California kicker Vincenzo D’Amato have been named the Pac-12 players of the week.

Some info on the trio, per the Pac-12's release:
Richardson, a junior from Los Angeles, Calif., caught 10 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the Buff’s 41-27 season-opening win over Colorado State on Sunday. Two of his receptions went for 75 yards or more, including an 82-yard touchdown reception from Connor Wood to open the game. It was Richardson’s first game back after missing all of the 2012 season rehabbing a knee injury that ended his 2011 campaign early. The over-200 yard performance was the only one in the nation over the weekend and just the fourth in Colorado history. Richardson now owns two of those four efforts, with the first one coming against California in 2011 where he set the school mark of 284 receiving yards.

Bondurant, a junior from Vallejo, Calif., led the Wildcat defense in a 35-0 shutout against Northern Arizona on Friday night. The Arizona safety collected a game-high seven tackles, including one for loss, and picked off a pair of passes. The first one came just after half time when Bondurant stepped in front of a tipped pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown, his second career interception return for a score. Later in the third quarter he jumped in front of another pass, securing his first career multi-interception game.

D’Amato, a senior place-kicker from Lake Forest, Calif., accounted for a career-high 18 points in the Bears’ 44-30 loss to Northwestern on Saturday night. D’Amato thew a 10-yard touchdown pass to holder Jackson Bouza on a faked field goal attempt at the conclusion of California’s first drive. The senior converted three field goals in his first three attempts to tie a career-high and made all three of his extra-point attempts.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks Travis Wilson of Utah, Brett Hundley of UCLA and Sean Mannion of Oregon State, running backs Daniel Jenkins of Arizona, Tre Madden of USC and Bishop Sankey of Washington, and wide receiver Chris Harper of California. Also nominated for defensive player of the week honors were linebackers Addison Gillam of Colorado, Eric Kendricks of UCLA, and John Timu of Washington, safety Josh Shaw of USC and defensive end Nate Orchard of Utah. Also nominated for special teams player of the week honors were kickers Will Oliver of Colorado, Andre Heidari of USC and Andy Phillips of Utah, and linebacker Kenny Orjioke of UCLA.

What we learned in the Pac-12: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
10:00
AM ET
A look at what we learned about the Pac-12 in Week 1.

Keith Price
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenWashington's Keith Price dazzled in his 2013 debut, throwing for 324 yards and two TDs.
Washington looks to be legit: Per my co-blogger, Washington quarterback Keith Price was “lights out” in his performance against Boise State. Bishop Sankey picked up where he left off last season, and the defense kept the Broncos out of the end zone. For those nervous about letting their expectations get raised, go ahead and raise them. Oh yeah, and you get the best tight end in the country back next week.

Andy Phillips is now a household name: In his first career game, the redshirt freshman kicker from Utah went 3-for-3, including a 45-yarder on his first career kick -- and executed a perfect onside kick to swing the momentum in the Utes’ victory over in-state rival Utah State.

USC QB TBD: Is it going to be Cody Kessler or Max Wittek at USC? What we learned is we didn’t learn much. Neither looked particularly sharp as USC struggled offensively against Hawaii. Kessler was 10-of-19 for 95 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Wittek was 5-of-10 for 77 yards. Both seemed constrained by a conservative gameplan of short throws and swing passes.

Oregon likes to run (well, duh): Three different Ducks eclipsed the 100-yard mark: De’Anthony Thomas, Marcus Mariota and Byron Marshall. In all, the Ducks rushed for 500 yards and a robust 11.1 yards per carry against Nicholls State. It marked the first time in school history three players went for 100 yards in the same game. Yes, it was Nicholls State, but you have to figure rushing records are getting harder and harder to break at Oregon.

DAT the featured back? New Oregon coach Mark Helfrich had been fairly noncommittal when talking about how Thomas would be used. He looked the part of an every-down back Saturday night, carrying 18 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns. The 18 carries were a career high.

Utah’s depth will be tested: For the second season in a row, the Utes lost a big-name player for the year at the hands of Utah State. Wide receiver Kenneth Scott will miss the rest of the season after suffering a leg injury in the first quarter. Others will have to step up. Sean Fitzgerald looked pretty good in relief, catching five balls for 79 yards.

They’re serious about this ejection thing: The NCAA’s new targeting rule, which went into effect this season, can lead to an ejection on the spot if the official deems it a head-to-head hit. The first big-name casualty was Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who makes up half of Oregon’s outstanding cornerback tandem with Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Miller was ejected late in the first quarter of Oregon’s win over Nicholls State.

Really, Beavers? Maybe more of the offseason focus should have been on the defense, and less about the quarterback competition. Sean Mannion played brilliantly. The defense, not so much, allowing Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams to throw for 411 yards and run for 107. Not that it bears repeating, but this is the second time in three seasons the Beavers have opened the season with a loss to an FCS team.

We’re not done yet: One more game on the Week 1 docket with Colorado and Colorado State squaring off Sunday in Denver.

The Cougs looked better: A gutty effort in SEC country from Washington State, which went toe-to-toe with Auburn before falling 31-24. Turnovers continue to be a curse and three interceptions from Connor Halliday, including one in the red zone in the fourth quarter, contributed to WSU’s downfall.

Speaking of turnovers: In its nine games (Colorado pending), the Pac-12 won the turnover battle, 15-11. When the Pac-12 tied in turnovers (Utah, Cal, Oregon State, Washington), it was 2-2. When it won the turnover battle (Arizona, Oregon, USC), it was 3-0, and when it lost the turnover battle (UCLA, Washington State), it was 1-1.

Special teams had special plays: See Vincenzo D’Amato’s pass to Jackson Bouza on the fake field goal (one of the more creative give-and-gos I’ve seen). See UCLA’s punt block for a touchdown against Nevada. See Phillips’ performance.

Speaking of special: After posting the worst field-goal percentage in college football last year (67.9 percent) the Pac-12 kickers came out swinging in Week 1, converting on 14 of 17 attempts (82 percent).

Huskies win an ugly one at Cal

November, 3, 2012
11/03/12
12:52
AM ET


There’s ugly. And there’s whatever that was Friday night in Berkeley, Calif.

But when all the turnovers had been recovered and all the yellow laundry had been cleared from the field (on one play, there were four separate penalties), the Washington Huskies emerged with a 21-13 victory over California. It was Washington’s first road win of the season and snapped a six-game road losing streak for the Huskies. The win moves Washington (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) one step closer to bowl eligibility.

Cal (3-7, 2-5) is officially eliminated from postseason contention for the second time in three seasons -- and questions surrounding the future of coach Jeff Tedford are sure to heat up with this latest loss.

The teams combined for eight turnovers (four apiece) and 19 penalties for a total of 168 yards (12 for 108 from Washington).

But amid the sloppiness, there were bright spots. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- playing on a bum ankle -- turned in a gritty performance with eight catches for 151 yards and a score. Bishop Sankey had a season-high 189 yards on the ground for Washington to go with a pair of scores.

However, it's hard to overlook a stretch in the fourth quarter in which four consecutive drives ended in turnovers -- including four turnovers over a span of 11 snaps.

The Huskies jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when they turned an Isi Sofele fumble into an 11-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard Sankey touchdown run.

The Bears battled back to match the score in the second quarter when Chris Harper scored on a 14-yard end-around. Cal then took a six-point lead in the third following a pair of Vincenzo D’Amato field goals.

But Seferian-Jenkins -- who came out of the locker room at halftime limping badly -- made his presence known late in the third quarter. He made a leaping 43-yard reception that later helped set up his jumping 29-yard touchdown from Keith Price that gave Washington a 14-13 edge at the end of the third quarter.

Price completed 16 of 29 passes for 237 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His Cal counterpart, Zach Maynard, was 15-of-29 for 175 yards with no touchdowns and a pick. C.J. Anderson led Cal on the ground with 160 yards on 22 carries.

The loss also puts a damper on an outstanding game from Cal linebacker Nick Forbes, who tallied 10 tackles with an interception and two fumble recoveries.

It was a Maynard interception in the fourth that set up Sankey’s second touchdown run of the game and gave Washington the final margin.

Making matters worse for Cal, Maynard was sidelined near the end of the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. He was helped off the field and then carted to the locker room. Allan Bridgford relieved Maynard on Cal’s final drive but was unable to get the Bears into the end zone.
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

Preseason position reviews: kicker

July, 30, 2010
7/30/10
10:36
AM ET
A good kicker solves a lot of problems. An inconsistent one makes everyone anxious, particularly late in tight games.

The Pac-10 will feature two of the best kickers in the nation -- two Lou Groza Award winners, no less -- in 2010, but for a handful of schools, the position is questionable.

So, who stands where?

Great shape
  • UCLA: Kai Forbath is the best kicker in the country. The first-team All-American and 2009 Groza Award winner is practically automatic, even outside 50 yards.
  • Arizona State: Thomas Weber suffered through a lost 2009 season because of injuries, but when healthy the 2007 Groza Award winner is a potential All-American.
  • Oregon State: Justin Kahut earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 after converting 22 of 27 field goals with a long of 50 yards.
  • Washington: Erik Folk bounced back from two injury-plagued years to connect on 18 of 21 field goals in 2009.
Good shape
  • Stanford: Nate Whitaker made 16 of 22 field goals last year, which is solid, but his 54-yarder against Wake Forest was the longest in the conference last season.
  • Arizona: As a sophomore, Alex Zendejas was true on 17 of 22 field goals with a long of 47 yards.
We'll see
  • California: Cal used two kickers last season -- Giorgio Tavecchio and Vincenzo D'Amato -- but neither was consistent.
  • Washington State: Nico Grasu was solid in 2008 -- booting the game-winner in the "Crapple" Cup against Washington -- but he faded in 2009, missing the final four games with a thigh injury.
  • Oregon: The Ducks are replacing the reliable Morgan Flint. Rob Beard and incoming freshman Alejandro Maldonado are the top candidates for the spot.
  • USC: Unproven seniors Joe Houston and Jacob Harfman are competing to replace Jordan Congdon, the seventh-best kicker in the conference in 2009.

SPONSORED HEADLINES