Dale Money | October 25th, 2019
In this article, we will break down some of the week’s biggest upcoming games in the Pac-12 Conference.
Arizona vs Stanford
It’s been almost four years since these two teams locked up, both are hovering around a .500 record and will be playing for a sniff at a Bowl game opportunity. Arizona is currently favored as a single point road favorite. All things considered this a rather young rivalry, having only played 32 total games against one another. The Cardinal lead the all-time series 16-14, owning a five-game win streak.
Kickoff is on Saturday at 3:30 PM Eastern.
Arizona stands at 4-3 overall, coming off a very forgettable 41-14 loss at the hands of USC last weekend. Taking over from Khalil Tate during the third quarter, Grant Gunnell was good in spurts but was unable to get much of anything going once he got into Trojan territory. Gunnell threw for just under 200 yards along with two touchdowns and one interception. Tate has been named starter against Stanford after back to back subpar performances.
The pass protection is going to need to step up and do their bit after allowing seven sacks last week,however, the blame isn’t entirely off Tate’s shoulders. Look for him to bounce back against a Stanford defense, that is ranked 105th in yards allowed up per game.
Not all was bleak for the Wildcats last weekend as Brian Casteel was one of the true bright spots on offense, eating up 101 yards through the air and adding two touchdowns on just four receptions. Casteel would be Chosen Pro Football Focus Pac-12 First Team of the week.
Stanford enters this game having just come off a tough 34-16 home loss to UCLA. It was a bit of a letdown loss, they had just returned from a bye after pulling off a huge home victory against the Huskies. With David Mills injured, and only six healthy offensive linemen not surprising it would take them until garbage time to score there first offensive touchdown off a Cameron Scarlett six-yard run.
Scarlett is the main source right now on the offensive side of the ball, with the team now down to its third-stringer hell be expected to try and do more of the work. Third-string Freshman quarterback Jack West would get his debut for the Cardinal against the Bruins, throwing for 143 yards on 15 completions.
It’s been decided West will get the nod, in what should be an ample opportunity as just like with the Cardinal this Wildcats secondary is one of the softest ranked 130th overall in passing yards allowed per game. This has the potential to be a very high scoring affair.
Washington State vs 11 Oregon
Two North division teams face off in Eugene Oregon, as Washington State will be on the road looking to win its first game against a ranked opponent this season. Oregon wants to erase last year’s memories of the 34-20 loss in Pullman. The win-loss history between these two clubs is rather tight in fact, the all-time record being 49-42-7 in Oregon’s favor. However, it’s the Cougars that have won the last four matchups which dates back to 2015.
It all begins on Saturday at 7:30 PM Eastern Time.
Washington State is currently 4-3 overall, tied for last in the North with California. The Cougars needed to play through a terrible bout of weather in their last game, but would not let that bring them down beating down the Colorado Buffaloes by a very convincing score of 41-10. Anthony Gordon showed up in a big way, throwing for over 360 yards, four touchdowns and one pickoff on 35 of 51 pass attempts.
Gordon currently leads the NCAA in passing yards by 500 yards over the second closest player Heisman hopeful Joe Burrow. Gordon will be looked upon to try and carry the can for Washington State’s passing attack. He’ll face another Heisman candidate in Justin Herbert in what should be one of the more entertaining Quarterback duels on this weekend slate.
He’ll rely on a receiving corps that was very balanced in the game against Colorado, those 35 receptions were spread out between eight players. Brandon Arconado and Easop Winston Jr. each posted over 80 yards receiving. Winston Jr. leads the team in receiving with 578 yards and nine touchdowns.
Runningback Max Borghi put up very solid numbers on both the ground and air against Colorado, running for over 100 yards. Borghi’s third game this season in which he’s gone over the 100-yard plateau. A true dual-threat player, he’s contributed a combined 9 touchdowns and over 800 yards, after taking over the role from multi-purpose back James Williams who left for the NFL.
Oregon enters the game on cloud nine, going into Seattle last weekend to play a 25th ranked Washington Huskies and escaped with a slim 35-31 win. This after being down by two touchdowns late. These were two very evenly matched teams, each were looking to stake their claim to the Pac-12 and possible shot at a Playoff bid.
After the Huskies had grabbed a two-touchdown lead early in the third quarter, putting them up 28-14. The Ducks would manage to cut it down to just three points on the final play of the third quarter, it was a skillfully set up 36-yard screen pass from Herbert to Mycah Pittman. They would add another touchdown in that fourth quarter jumping ahead 35-31, the defense would do a superb job holding that small lead in place. They did not allow a single point in that final quarter.
Herbert was a key part of that Oregon offense last Saturday afternoon and it certainly showed. Facing a tough squad in Washington at their den and guiding them back at one point behind two touchdowns. He will have the luxury of playing with a Ducks defense that has been one of the best, having given up the seventh-fewest points in the country.
12 Utah vs California
California heads out to Salt Lake City to face a Utah Utes team that remains undefeated at home, the Golden Bears have a current road record of 2-1. Having played just eleven times previously, California leads 6-5 in the all-time series their last meetup being in 2016 which the Golden Bears won 28–23 on a goal-line stand.
Kickoff starts on Saturday at 10 PM Eastern Time
California is sitting at 4–3, ranked dead last in the North division and coming off a close 21-17 loss to Oregon State. With Chase Garbers out indefinitely and Devon Modster having hurt himself in the game against the Beavers, now questionable to play against Utah. They may need to delve deep and bring in an inexperienced freshman in Spencer Brasch. He had minimal play filling in for an injured Modster, completing just two passes on six throws.
California has improved its crop of receivers from a year ago, which should help an inexperienced Brasch get more settled in should he get the start. Nikko Remigio leads all Bears in receiving yards as well as receptions. Jordan Duncan, Kekoa Crawford, and Trevon Clark each have two touchdowns and over 170 yards through the air.
Both teams have a defense that is ranked 20th in points allowed per game. California is tough against both the run and pass, having not allowed more than 24 points this season. Senior linebacker Evan Weaver leads all NCAA players in tackles with 104, 59 of those solo. Cameron Goode currently leads the Golden Bears in sacks with 4.5.
Ever since they lost to USC on the road back in late September, Utah has been like a team on a mission having beaten their past three opponents by a combined score of 111-23. Currently 6-1 they are sitting atop the South division just ahead of USC. They come off a strong home win against Arizona State in which only giving up the one field goal.
Starting quarterback Tyler Huntley should get the start, after coming out in last weeks game Arizona State due to a leg injury. So far this year Huntley has thrown for just over 1,500 yards along with nine touchdowns and one interception. If he isn’t able to go, look for Jason Shelley to get the start, Shelley filled in admirably for five games last year even playing in the Holiday Bowl against Northwestern.
At running back Zack Moss has rushed for 613 yards and eight touchdowns. In the game against Arizona State, he was targeted on a play in the second quarter by the defensive back Evan Fields. He had managed to pick up two touchdowns in that match. Moss is a bit scraped up by says he should be okay to suit up.
It’s that defense that has been the real strength of this Utes team, they were able to step in when needed helping the team overcome four turnovers including three fumbles against the Sun Devils. Ranked fifth in the nation, loaded on both the defensive line and secondary. Defensive end Bradlee Anae is ranked sixth in sacks.
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