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Pac-12 Walkthrough: Arizona, UCLA Square Off

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Can Brett Hundley and the Bruins rescue a once-promising season by beating Arizona and staying alive in the Pac-12 South? Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.
Can Brett Hundley and the Bruins rescue a once-promising season by beating Arizona and staying alive in the Pac-12 South? Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.

Everything you need to know about the Pac-12 this weekend.

Ducks: Hunted

Boom! That sound you heard was the foundation of the Pac-12 season crashing to the turf. No. 5 Stanford upset No. 2 Oregon, 26-20, on Thursday night, challenging everything we thought we knew about the Pac-12 this season.

Stanford is now the conference’s frontrunner with games against USC, California and Notre Dame remaining.

Read about the Cardinal win:

Smothered Ducks

Time to Stop the Oregon Hype Machine

Featured Matchup

No. 16 UCLA (6-2, 3-2) at Arizona (6-2, 3-2), 8 p.m. MST (ESPN)

All-Time Series: UCLA, 20-14-1

Not to be out-done by the North Division, the South will take center stage on Saturday with a matchup that likely will eliminate a team from division contention.

For UCLA, that could spell doom for a once-promising season.

A loss will drop the defending South Division champion Bruins to .500 in the conference with three games to play. Arizona has won five of the last six meetings, but UCLA and Brett Hundley drubbed the Wildcats, 66-10, last season in Los Angeles behind Brett Hundley’s 288 passing yards and three touchdown tosses.

The Bruins defense held Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher, to just 71 total yards (56 rushing) and one touchdown.

Carey leads the nation once again in yards per game with 153.1. UCLA is below average at stopping the run, yielding 169.5 ypg on the ground (73rd in the nation).

If the Bruins can slow Carey again, all they’ll have to do to win the South is essentially win out over Washington, Arizona State and Southern California. No easy task.

Last Week: UCLA 45, Colorado 23; Arizona 33, Cal 28

Next Week: UCLA vs. Washington; Arizona vs. Washington State

Rest Of The Pac

No. 23 Arizona State (6-2, 4-1) at Utah (4-4, 1-4), 2 p.m. MST (Pac-12 Network)

All-Time Series: ASU, 18-6

If long-term history is any indication, Arizona State should keep its hold on first place with a win over Utah. If recent history is the barometer, the Sun Devils could be in for a challenge.

Arizona State enters Saturday’s contest with a nine-game winning streak over Utah. In fact, the Utes haven’t beaten the Sun Devils since 1976.

Working in Utah’s favor, however, is the voodoo of Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the .500 Utes always seem to play like world-beaters. Just ask Stanford, which Utah dropped at home earlier in the season.

Travis Wilson is expected to return to the Utah lineup after the bye week to heal his injured hand. How bad is the Utah running game? Wilson rushed for a team-high 42 yards against USC despite not leading the team in passing yards.

Despite the poor numbers, the second the Sun Devils sleep on Utah, they’ll wind up getting bit.

Last Week: ASU 55, Washington State 21; Utah bye

Next Week: ASU vs. Oregon State; Utah at Oregon

Southern California (6-3, 3-2) at California (1-8, 0-6), noon PST (Fox)

All-Time Series: USC, 64-25-4

Southern California might not be able to throw the ball like Trojans past, but USC can run the ball. It doesn’t seem to matter who carries the ball.

Javorius Allen became the fourth Trojans player to rush for more than 100 yards in a game this season when the sophomore tallied 130 against Oregon State last week. For USC, however, the passing game is slowly coming around. Quarterback Cody Kessler now has more than 200 yards in the air in five straight games after beginning the season with paltry 95 and 41-yard performances.

Helping Kessler last week was the return of wide receiver Marqise Lee, who took the first play of the game (a Kessler pass) 71 yards for a touchdown.

The biggest factor for USC against Cal will be the loss of defensive lineman Morgan Breslin. The junior has 15 tackles on the season — 8 of them for loss and 4.5 of them sacks.

Even with Breslin out for an extended period due to hip surgery, the Trojans should be able to breeze by lowly California, who is three losses short of tying the program mark for consecutive losses (10).

Last Week: USC 31, Oregon State 14; Arizona 33, Cal 28

Next Week: USC vs. Stanford; Cal at Colorado

Colorado (3-5, 0-5) at Washington (5-3, 2-3), 5 p.m. PST (Pac-12 Network)

All-Time Series: Washington, 6-5-1 (1-1 bowl games)

If there ever was a time that Washington wanted to see Colorado come to town, this is it. The Huskies can build a winning streak for the first time since losing three in a row to sink their North Division title hopes.

Washington rebounded last week with a win over California. Quarterback Keith Price regained his confidence, throwing for 376 yards — as did running back Bishop Sankey, who added another 241 yards on the ground.

The biggest improvement came at receiver where Jaydon Mickens became the first Huskies wideout to haul in more than 100 yards in a game (180 yards) since the season’s second week.

Colorado is good at neither stopping the run nor the pass. The Buffs have lost 13 straight Pac-12 contests. Their last conference win came in the Pac-12 opener in 2012 against Washington State.

Last Week: UCLA 45, Colorado 23; Washington bye

Next Week: Colorado vs. Cal; Washington at UCLA

Quotable

“I don’t know. I know we won. But (laughs) there have been a lot of games since then. We look at the games from last year because we’re trying to evaluate their scheme, but other than that, it’s pretty irrelevant to us.” Jim Mora, on what he remembers from last year’s win over Arizona

“Every game we play in on TV, every game is a big game. So he has the opportunity, even though we play some late games on the West Coast, I think people are following him closely enough now that he’s got an opportunity to show what he’s all about every time we play.” – Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez on Ka’Deem Carey’s Heisman potential

“Let me say something. In my 27 years of coaching, Morgan Breslin is absolutely one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached.” – USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron on DE Morgan Breslin

Infirmary

Arizona

C.J. Dozier, LB: Concussion, out for season

Trevor Ermisch, WR: Knee, out for season

Jake Fischer, LB: Knee, probable

Austin Hill, WR: Knee, out

DaVonte Neal, WR: Eligibility, out for season

Derrick Rainey, CB: Lower back, questionable

David Richards, WR: Foot, probable

Arizona State

Chans Cox, LB: Shoulder, out for season

Alani Latu, LB: Ankle, out for season

Junior Onyeali, DL: Shoulder, out for season

California

Chris Adcock, C: Knee, out for season

Nathan Broussard, LB: Knee, out for season

Austin Clark, DT: Knee, out for season

Matt Cochran, RG: Ankle, out

Daniel Ervin, RB: Shoulder, probable

Khairi Fortt, LB: Bicep, probable

Mustafa Jalil, Knee, out for season

Jalen Jefferson, LB: Head, probable

Daniel Lasco, RB: Shoulder, probable

Alex Logan, S: Medical, retired

Chris McCain, DE: Suspended from team

Stefan McClure, CB: Knee, out for season

Richard Rodgers, WR: Thumb, probable

Brennan Scarlett, DE: Hand, out

Avery Sebastian, SS: Achilles, out

Sione Sina, DE: Knee, out for season

Harrison Wilfley, DT: Head, out

Joel Willis, DB: Head, probable

Colorado

Michael Adkins II, RB: Concussion, expected to play

Justin Castor, PK: Hip, out for season

Timothy Coleman Jr., DL: ACL, out for season

Terrence Crowder: RB: Discipline, out

Kenneth Crawley, CB: Ankle, questionable

Clay Jones, RB: Neck, probable

Ryan Severson, WR: Hamstring, probable

Josh Tupou, DL: Ankle, probable

Alex Wood, TE: Concussion, questionable

Oregon

Marcus Mariota, QB: Knee, probable

UCLA

Jordon James, RB: Knee, expected to play

Simon Goines, LT: Knee, expected to play

Eric Kendricks, LB: Shoulder, expected to play

Steve Manfro, RB: Ankle, out

Fabian Moreau, CB: Leg, expected to play

USC

Morgan Breslin, DE: Hip, out

Anthony Brown, CB: Knee, out

Kevin Graf, OT: Ankle, probable

Tre Madden, RB: Hamstring, out

Saf Su’a Cravens, OT: Groin, probable

Randal Teller, TE: Knee, out

Leonard Williams, DE: Shoulder, questionable

UTAH

Brian Blechen, DB: Knee, out for season

Jake Murphy, TE: Wrist, out

Kenneth Scott, WR: Knee, out for season

Westlee Tonga, TE: Undisclosed, out

Travis Wilson, QB: Hand, expected to play

Washington

Dexter Charles, G: Shoulder, probable

Kevin King, S: Shoulder, expected to play

Will Shamburger, DB: Undisclosed, questionable

John Timu, LB: Ankle, questionable

Leaders

Passing

Player Comp.-ATTs. Yards TDs-INT
Sean Mannion, Oregon State 296-436 3,540 31-6
Connor Halliday, Washington State 302-482 3.098 20-18
Jared Goff, Cal 252-417 2.881 14-9

Rushing

Player Carries YDs TDs
Bishop Sankey, Washington 199 1,162 12
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona 188 1,072 10
Tyler Gaffney, Stanford 211 1,043 13

Receiving

Player Catches YDs TDs
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State 91 1,344 14
Paul Richardson, Colorado 57 984 8
Chris Harper, Cal 62 821 5

Point After

Stanford’s upset win over Oregon on Thursday night wasn’t just huge. It changes everything.

The Stanford defense proved that it’s arguably the best defense in not just the Pac-12, but perhaps in the nation.

It’s time to start prognosticating whether or not the Cardinal defense can stymie the likes of Alabama, Baylor and Florida State. The answer might be yes.

Stanford shut down an Oregon offense that was second in the country to only Baylor and averaged about 56 points per game. The Cardinal held the Ducks to 62 rushing yards — including (former?) Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota to minus-16 on the ground (Mariota was playing with a sprained knee).

As easy as Thursday’s win looked, Stanford’s path to what’s likely the Pac-12 North title has been sluggish and under-appreciated.

Lots of hype surrounded the Cardinal, who started the season at No. 5 in the nation. Ho-hum early wins over San Jose State and Army and a road loss to Utah seemingly tamped down the hype. They dropped to No. 12 then climbed their way back to No. 5 prior to the Oregon game.

This win likely will move them into the Top 5 in the polls. But can a one-loss team compete among the game’s elite? Yes. Will they get the chance? A lot has to happen.