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Pac 12 News and Notes
by Matt Fargo - 10/25/2011
Blowout City! Every game that featured Pac 12 teams ended up being horribly non-competitive. The smallest margin of victory was USC's 14-point non-conference win at Notre Dame.
Even worse, the five conference games were decided by 36, 43, 24, 44 and 23 points. Good times.
Action got underway Thursday with Arizona blowing away UCLA 48-12. After the Bruins closed the gap to 14-7 in the first quarter, Arizona ran off 34 unanswered points to run away with the game. The Wildcats outgained UCLA 573-323 and they had their best rushing performance of the season with 254 yards, easily eclipsing their previous best of 129 yards.
Oregon scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, all in the first quarter as it dominated the Buffaloes 45-2. The Ducks racked up 527 total yards including 371 yards rushing on 48 carries (7.7 ypc). They have rushed for at least 327 yards in each of their last five games. Colorado avoided its first home shutout since 1986 with a third quarter safety.
The first quarter featured two punts by each team but then California erupted for 20 second quarter points and eventually built a 34-0 lead before the Utes scored their 10 points in garbage time. The Golden Bears held Utah to just 178 total yards including 13 yards rushing. The Utes had only 58 total yards through three quarters.
USC outgained Notre Dame 443-267 and the Irish hurt themselves with three turnovers. Notre Dame was trailing 17-10 and was driving for the game-tying touchdown but fumbled and the Trojans returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. The Irish again fought back and down a touchdown, fumbled at their own 18 and USC punched it in.
Stanford rolled again to improve to a perfect 7-0 ATS as it rushed for a school record 446 yards on 44 carries (10.1 ypc). After Washington cut the lead to 17-14 in the second quarter, the Cardinal scored on a 70-yard run on the very next play to start of a run of 31 unanswered points. Stanford has won 15 straight games and has not trailed this season.
Last and certainly least, the Beavers went into Seattle and destroyed the Cougars by 23 points. Oregon St. won the yardage battle 551-315 and scored on eight of its first nine possessions. Washington St. tied the game at 14 apiece early in the second quarter but the Beavers ran off 20 unanswered points to pull away.
Not only was the Thursday game between UCLA and Arizona an ugly matchup, it got uglier right before halftime.
A streaker came onto the field with four seconds remaining in the first half which caused a delay in the game and that gave enough time for Bruins wide receiver Taylor Embree and Arizona cornerback Shaquille Richardson to start fighting. The benches cleared and a melee ensued.
Order was eventually restored but both teams will suffer the consequences.
Along with Embree, UCLA has lost receivers Randall Carroll, Ricky Marvay and Shaqelle Evans for this week's game against California. The good news is that the two top receivers were not lost but depth will be an issue.
Defensive tackle Cassius Marsh was suspended two games.
For Arizona, Richardson and fellow cornerback Jourdon Grandon were suspended for this week's game at Washington while cornerbacks Mark Watley and Lyle Brown will have to sit out the first half.
The Seat is Getting Hotter
Speaking of UCLA, guess who is back on the hot seat?
Not only did Rick Neuheisel lose badly against Arizona, he lost his team during the fight that took place against the Wildcats.
"It's definitely a step in the wrong direction," Neuheisel said. "I still hold out my feeling we can and will turn the corner."
Good luck Rick.
The ugly loss to Oregon St. did not help matters for Washington St. head coach Paul Wulff. He posted a 5-32 record in his first three years but the season started well this year as the Cougars opened 3-1 but they have dropped three straight, the last two by a combined 53 points.
You can make it four straight losses after this weekend as they head to Eugene as five-touchdown underdogs to the Ducks.
Game of the Week
Stanford passed a small test at home against Washington and now it gets tougher with a trip to USC this weekend. The Cardinal have won 15 straight games since losing at Oregon last year and with the way the Trojans looked at Notre Dame last week, this is certainly no gimmie.
Stanford moved from No. 8 to No. 6 in the BCS Standings and this would be its first real signature win of the season which would help improve that ranking even more. The Cardinal have won the last two meetings against USC including a 34-point drubbing the last time they played in Southern California two years ago.
Stanford is a 7.5-point favorite.