Pac-12 Conference News and Notes

8:19 AM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ARIZONA: Before this weekend Arizona had reached into the national rankings behind a high-powered offense, but that came to an end with a 49-0 loss to Oregon in Eugene in the Pac-12 opener for the Wildcats. Arizona had a season- low 332 total yards of offense in the game. Arizona had been averaging 605 yards per game before the loss. The Wildcats' biggest issue was finishing drives as the squad went 0-for-5 in the red zone, while also turning the ball over five times, three on interceptions from quarterback Matt Scott. Scott completed only 50 percent of his passes (22-for-44) for 210 yards and failed to get his team into the end zone. The Ducks bottled up Scott, who rushed for 190 yards in the first three games of the season. Ka'Deem Carey led the team with 79 yards on the ground. Carey is the second-leading rusher in the Pac-12 this season. Arizona's defense did not put up much resistance against the Ducks, as the Wildcats surrendered 495 yards of total offense and a 9-for-19 conversion rate on third down. The defensive unit was scorched for 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Ducks held the ball for all but three minutes of the final period. Arizona will face another ranked team from the Beaver State when Oregon State comes to Tucson next weekend.

ARIZONA STATE: A former WAC rivalry was renewed at Sun Devil Stadium over the weekend as Arizona State downed Utah 37-7. Arizona State is now 18-6 all-time against the Utes although this was just the second meeting since 1993. The Sun Devils are now ranked in the top 20 nationally in points per game (42.7), while ranking 23rd in points against (14.7). The Sun Devils scored 21 points in the first quarter and racked up 512 yards of total offense in the game. The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 49-10 in the first quarter this season. Arizona State was penalized eight times in the game which was uncharacteristic of a team which has only 20 penalties total this season. Taylor Kelly completed 19-of-26 passes for 326 yards and three scores in the game as the Sun Devils averaged 16.2 yards per completion. Rashad Ross and Chris Coyle each tied for the team-lead with five catches although Ross (87 yards, TD) had the superior game in terms of yardage. The defense was also impressive allowing only 209 yards, recording four sacks and forcing three turnovers. Brandon MaGee had double-digit tackles for the second straight week with a game-high 10. Arizona State's first conference road game comes next weekend against California.

CALIFORNIA: In a battle of Golden State squads the California Golden Bears fell short in a 27-9 decision to No. 13 USC at the L.A. Coliseum. Under Jeff Tedford the Golden Bears are now 6-5 all-time in conference openers. California trailed by just eight points, 17-9, heading into the final period but were outscored 10-0 in the fourth quarter. The Golden Bears managed only 250 total yards of offense in the game, while the defense allowed 488. California really struggled on the ground with only 77 yards and a 2.1 average per rush. Zach Maynard and the passing game didn't exactly impress either with the quarterback completing 18-of-33 passes for 173 yards and two picks. Maynard was under constant pressure in the game and was sacked seven times. Keenan Allen had a strong game with nine receptions for 93 yards. Allen is now fourth all-time at California in career receptions with 173. The Golden Bear offense was unable to get in the end zone in the game with a 3-for-5 conversion rate in the red zone, all three resulting in field goals. Marc Anthony was a bright spot for the unit recording a career-high 13 tackles. California will host Arizona State at Memorial Stadium next weekend.

COLORADO: Despite trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter the Colorado Buffaloes still managed to capture a stunning 35-34 win on the road over Washington State in week four. Jordan Webb ran the ball in on a designed draw play to tie the game 34-34 with nine seconds left and Will Oliver's extra point proved to be the difference. The win snapped the three-game losing streak the Buffaloes endured to open the season. Colorado was only 2-6 on the road last season. Colorado recorded eight first downs in the first quarter of the game after having 10 total in the previous week against Fresno State. The 21-point fourth quarter included 255 yards of total offense for the Buffaloes who had only 276 in the first three. Webb completed 29-of-42 passes for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Webb did all that despite being harassed all game as he was sacked six times. Tony Jones had 105 yards rushing on only four carries highlighted by a key 84-yard touchdown jaunt in the fourth quarter. Although allowing 451 yards of total offense the Colorado defense held the Cougars to just one touchdown on three red zone trips. Parker Orms led the team with 12 tackles in the game and Kenneth Crawley finished with 10. Colorado has its conference home opener next weekend against UCLA.

OREGON: The Ducks made a big statement by dropping then ranked No. 22 Arizona 49-0 over the weekend. The win catapulted the Ducks over LSU in the top-25 to the No. 2 spot behind Alabama. The win was the first shutout by an Oregon squad in conference play sine a 35-0 win over Stanford in 2003. It was the first shutout of Arizona by the Ducks since 1964. Even with a slow start, Oregon finished with 495 yards of total offense, scoring 36 of the 49 points in the second half. Oregon's performance keeps it ranked at the top of the conference in points (52.8) and second in yards per game (571). De'Anthony Thomas had his worst game of the season in the win with only 65 yards combined rushing and receiving, while also going without a touchdown for only the second time in the last 14 games. Kenjon Barner rushed for 86 yards and Colt Lyerla had a team-high 116 all-purpose yards to make up for Thomas' lack of production. Marcus Mariota completed 20-of-35 passes for 260 yards and a pair of scores but was also intercepted once. Michael Clay was the team's defensive power in the game recording a game-high 13 tackles, two for loss, including a sack. The defense was especially impressive in the red zone, holding the Wildcats to zero points on five trips. while also forcing four turnovers. Oregon hits the road next weekend with another conference game this time in Seattle against Washington State.

OREGON STATE: Through the first few weeks of the season, despite playing only two games, Oregon State has been one of the biggest surprises in the nation. A 27-20 win over UCLA pushed the Beavers into the top-25, where they currently sit at No. 19. It is the first time since October of 2010 that the squad has been in the national rankings. Oregon State has now beaten ranked teams in consecutive weeks for the first time since 2000. The Beaver defense was matched up against a UCLA team that ranked second in the nation in total offense entering play. Oregon State were able to stall the Bruins and hold them to only 444 yards of total offense which was nearly 200 yards fewer than they had averaged in the first three games. Oregon State also had a big day on offense itself with 501 total yards. The majority of that effort came through the air, as quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 379 yards and two scores on 24- for-35 passing. The wide receiver tandem of Markus Wheaton (nine receptions, 150 yards, TD) and Brandin Cooks (six receptions, 175 yards, TD) were responsible for all but 54 yards of the Beavers' passing attack. Oregon State will get its first chance to defend its national ranking against an Arizona team looking to rebound.

STANFORD: Stanford got an extra week to celebrate its big win over USC as the Cardinal were off this past weekend. Stanford gets back to business on Thursday night with a road game against Washington.

UCLA: A week after moving into the top-25 the UCLA Bruins were promptly dropped from the national rankings after a 27-20 loss to Oregon State. The Bruins had a six-game home winning streak come to an end with the loss. UCLA had amassed some impressive offensive numbers in the first three games, but managed season lows in points (20) and total yards (444) while also being held scoreless in two of four quarters. The Bruins had scored in 11 of the first 12 quarters of the season. Brett Hundley threw for 372 yards and a touchdown on 27-for-42 passing to become the first freshman to throw for 300 yards in three straight games. The 372 yards was also the most in a game by a Bruin since 2005. Pac-12 leading rusher Johnathan Franklin was bottled up all game with only 45 yards on 12 carries, while Hundley had only 32 yards and the lone rushing score. Shaquell Evans caught six passes for 148 yards and a touchdown marking his first ever 100-yard receiving game. On defense the Bruins were torched for 501 total yards including a 75-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. The Bruins travel to Boulder to take on Colorado next week in game two of their Pac-12 conference schedule.

USC: USC rebounded from a shocking loss to Stanford last week with a 27-9 win over instate rival California. Matt Barkley's Heisman campaign took another big hit as the senior quarterback threw for only 192 yards on 22-for-34 passing, while also being intercepted twice. He has now thrown four interceptions in the last two games after throwing seven all of last season. Marqise Lee continued to pile up the numbers as the wideout caught 11 passes for 94 yards, including two scores. Lee currently leads the country in receptions (40) and is second in receiving yards (457), while also tying for the national lead in touchdown receptions (six). With Barkley struggling, the Trojans got a boost from the backfield with Silas Redd (158 yards, TD) and Curtis McNeal (115 yards) each having big games. The Trojans' defense was also strong, holding California to only 250 total yards, while compiling seven sacks. Morgan Breslin had six total tackles, 4.5 coming for loss, including three sacks to lead a unit that held California to three field goals on five red zone trips. After a bye week next weekend, the Trojans head on the road to take on Utah in Salt Lake City in their next matchup.

UTAH: Utah couldn't ride the momentum of a thrilling win over in-state rival BYU in its Pac-12 conference opener as the Utes were routed 37-7 by Arizona State. The Utes' offense managed only 209 yards of total offense and 10 first downs in the game while producing just one red zone trip in the contest. Jon Hays made his second straight start and completed 10-of-15 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown but also threw an interception. Kelvin York rushed for a team-high 86 yards while John White was held to just 18 yards on 14 carries. White has struggled this season after back-to-back 1,500 yard rushing season, with only 233 yards through the first three games of this season. Utah's defense also put forth a poor performance allowing 512 total yards to the Sun Devils who had 20 more plays (74-54) than the Utes. Utah was constantly backed up into the shadow of its own goal line with Arizona State making six trips to the red zone in the game. Utah will have an extra week to prepare for its next matchup with a home date against USC on October 4.

WASHINGTON: The Huskies, who had a bye this past weekend, are the only team in the conference that has yet to play a league game. That will be rectified on Thursday when Washington brings in Stanford to CenturyLink Field for its conference opener.

WASHINGTON STATE: Washington State let a 17-point fourth quarter lead slip away as the Cougars fell 35-34 at home to an 0-3 Colorado squad in the Pac-12 conference opener. Connor Halliday again got the start at quarterback and for the second straight week threw for four touchdowns. Halliday finished the game with 401 yards passing on 32-for-60 passing but was also intercepted twice. The 32 completions tied for the fourth most in a single game in program history while the 60 pass attempts were the second highest single game total. The Cougars had only 50 yards rushing in the game as Halliday was sacked three times while losing 35 yards on the ground. Gabe Marks and Marquess Wilson each made big contributions to the passing attack. Marks caught seven passes for 107 yards and a score and although Wilson had fewer receptions (five) and yards (99) the junior caught a pair of touchdown passes. The defense allowed 531 yards in the game and were lit up for 21 points in the fourth quarter, including an 84-yard touchdown run to Colorado's Tony Jones late in the period. Washington State will have its hands full next week against No. 2 Oregon and its high-powered offense.

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