Is Stanford closing the gap on Oregon?
Week 6 in the Pac-12 opened with an entertaining affair in Salt Lake City between UCLA and Utah on Thursday night and concluded on Saturday with a Washington-Stanford matchup that had national title implications.
Despite being outgained by over 200 yards, Stanford earned a huge victory over Washington. The Huskies also deserve some credit, as it’s clear coach Steve Sarkisian has this team trending in the right direction.
Oregon continued to roll up the points and yards against Colorado, winning 57-16 in Boulder on Saturday afternoon.
Washington State picked up a solid conference win at California, while Arizona State lost a three-point non-conference affair to Notre Dame.
Pac-12 Post-Week 6 Power Rankings
|1||1||Oregon (5-0, 2-0): Another week, another blowout win for the Ducks. Oregon’s offense got off to a sluggish start against Colorado, but quarterback Marcus Mariota accounted for seven overall scores, and the defense didn’t allow a touchdown after the first quarter. The Ducks’ offense recorded 755 overall yards – the second-most in school history – and has at least 50 points in all five games this year. After five easy wins, the competition steps up for Oregon this Saturday. Next Week: at Washington|
|2||2||Stanford (5-0, 3-0): The Cardinal had only 14 first downs and was outgained by 205 yards against Washington, but coach David Shaw’s team still found a way to win. Stanford’s offense did just enough, and even though the defense gave up yards to the Huskies, it made a critical stop late in the fourth quarter and recorded six sacks to seal the victory. The Cardinal are essentially 1B to Oregon’s 1A in the Pac-12 power rankings, with these two teams on a collision course for a huge North Division matchup on Nov. 7. Next Week: at Utah|
|3||3||Washington (4-1, 1-1): There’s no shame in the Huskies’ 31-28 loss at Stanford. Washington outgained the Cardinal by 205 yards and had a chance to win late in the fourth quarter, but a pass from quarterback Keith Price to Kevin Smith was ruled incomplete after replay. The Huskies are closing the gap in the Pac-12 North and will have another shot at an upset win this week, as rival Oregon visits Seattle on Saturday afternoon. Next Week: Oregon|
|4||4||UCLA (4-0, 1-0): Thanks to a solid performance by quarterback Brett Hundley and some timely defense, the Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak in Salt Lake City, defeating Utah 34-27 on Thursday night. Hundley scored on a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown, while the UCLA defense forced six interceptions and generated three sacks. The win was costly in the injury department for coach Jim Mora, as tackle Torian White and Jordon James suffered ankle injuries. White is out for the remainder of the season, while James is doubtful for next week’s game. Next Week: California|
|5||5||Arizona State (3-2, 1-1): A week after clobbering USC and ending the Lane Kiffin tenure, the Sun Devils lost 37-34 against Notre Dame. The Sun Devils trailed 24-13 at the end of the third quarter but tied the Fighting Irish at 27 in the fourth. Arizona State’s offense recorded 427 yards, but three turnovers proved to be too much to overcome. Notre Dame’s defense controlled the line of scrimmage, sacking quarterback Taylor Kelly six times, while linebacker Dan Fox scored on an interception return in the fourth quarter. The loss dropped Arizona State to 3-2, but it’s hard to penalize the Sun Devils in the power rankings when the two teams behind them are on bye. Next Week: Colorado|
|6||6||Oregon State (4-1, 2-0): The Beavers did not play in Week 6 and will hit the road for their next two matchups. Since losing to Eastern Washington in the opener, Oregon State has won four in a row. The defense is struggling, but the Beavers’ offense has been on fire this season, with quarterback Sean Mannion averaging 403.6 passing yards per game. Receiver Brandin Cooks leads the Pac-12 with an average of 10.4 catches per game and ranks second in yards per contest (161.4). Next Week: at Washington State|
|7||7||Arizona (3-1, 0-1): The Wildcats had a bye in Week 6 and return to action on Thursday night at USC. Arizona’s rushing attack (291.5 ypg) will face a tough test against a Trojans’ defense holding opponents to just 99.6 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback B.J. Denker did not play well against Washington, and if the Wildcats struggle to move the ball on the ground, the focus on the offense will shift back to the pass. Next Week: at USC (Thursday)|
|8||8||Washington State (4-2, 2-1): The Week 6 win over California wasn’t perfect, but the Cougars already have four wins – one more than last season – and are positioned to make a run at a bowl. Quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 521 yards, which was the most by a Washington State passer since Alex Brink threw for 531 in 2005. The Cougars gave up 585 yards to California, but the defense forced five turnovers, three sacks and six tackles for a loss. Next Week: Oregon State|
|9||9||Utah (3-2, 0-2): The Utes had six turnovers against UCLA, yet still managed to have a chance at a tie late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Travis Wilson will get credited with the six interceptions, but not all of the throws were his fault. The offensive line deserves blame, as Wilson had defenders in his face all night, and the rushing attack managed only 99 yards on 33 attempts. The Utes have improved since last season, but there’s little margin for error the rest of the year if they want to make a bowl. Next Week: Stanford|
|10||10||USC (3-2, 0-2): The Trojans had a bye in Week 6 and return to action on Thursday night. The biggest storyline in Los Angeles during the off week was the coaching change. Interim coach Ed Orgeron has tried to let the players have a little fun, which should help take some of the pressure off this team after a disappointing start. Will it pay off in the win column? USC may not win the Pac-12 South, but there’s too much talent here to finish 5-7 or 6-6. Next Week: Arizona (Thursday)|
|11||11||Colorado (2-2, 0-2): Credit coach Mike MacIntyre and his staff for throwing everything they had at Oregon, but the Buffaloes were simply outmanned in a 57-16 loss. Receiver Paul Richardson threw a touchdown pass to give Colorado a 10-8 lead in the first quarter, but the Ducks’ offense eventually got on track, finishing with 755 yards on 96 plays. The Buffaloes don’t have the talent to beat the top teams in the Pac-12, but this team won’t be an easy out this year. Next Week: at Arizona State|
|12||12||California (1-4, 0-2): New California coach Sonny Dykes simply needs time to turn the Golden Bears into a bowl team. The Golden Bears dropped to 1-4 after a 44-22 loss to Washington State on Saturday, which might have been their best shot at a conference win the rest of the season. California has a plethora of injuries on defense, and only three seniors were listed as starters on the Week 6 depth chart. With injuries and youth taking its toll, California will take its lumps in 2013. Next Week: at UCLA|
Pac-12 Week 6 Awards and Recap
- by Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Offensive Player of the Week: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
As usual, there were plenty of worthy candidates who accounted for seven touchdowns (Marcus Mariota), topped 500 yards passing (Connor Halliday) or scored three different ways (Brett Hundley), but only one posted 290 all-purpose yards in the biggest conference game to date. Montgomery took the opening kickoff 99 yards for the game's first score and Stanford never looked back. He finished with 204 return yards — a 35.0 yards per return average on his other three returns — three receptions for 56 yards, a receiving touchdown, a return touchdown and 30 yards rushing on two attempts. He was a one-man show in a game highlighted by its defensive prowess.
Defensive Player of the Week: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
UCLA had a trio of great performances from Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Anthony Jefferson, but Shayne Skov was all over the field against an excellent Washington offense. Skov played one of the best games of his career, posting 14 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the huge win over the division rival Huskies. With Trent Murphy, A.J. Tarpley and James Vaughters, the Cardinal boast the best linebacker corps in the nation.
Team of the Week: Stanford
Stanford's slimmest of margins entailed an Keith Price tipped-pass interception inside the Cardinal's 5-yard line with less than seven minutes to play and a final minute replay booth decision. Kevin Hogan was solid — 12 of 20, 100 yards with two total touchdowns — but didn't turn any Heisman voters' heads. More important, the defense pressured Price all night and a playmaker emerged on the outside of the offense in Montgomery. This team has a nasty schedule but the poise and veteran leadership needed to conquer it was on full display Saturday night as the Huskies rallied. Stanford won despite being outgained by more than 200 yards.
Coordinator of the Week: Lou Spanos, UCLA
The Bruins went into a hostile environment and returned home still unbeaten due to extraordinary performance by the defense. Spanos' defense had quarterback Travis Wilson solved from the opening kickoff. UCLA forced six turnovers, registered three sacks and held an offense averaging over 500 yards per and 42 points per game to just 387 yards and 20 offensive points. But maybe the most critical performance came on third downs, where the Bruins held Utah to just 2 o -13. This unit has star power and could quickly develop into an elite defense should the young players continue to hold their own.
Freshman of the Week: Daquawn Brown, DB, Washington State
At some point, we will all have to acknowledge the Pac-12's No. 2 tackler, Colorado freshman linebacker Addison Gillam. He posted 15 tackles, two for loss and one sack in the blowout loss to Oregon. But Washington State's freshman defensive back played an equally large role in a road win for the Cougars. Brown posted six tackles and his second interception of the season against a Golden Bears offense that threw the ball 62 times.
• Washington had more than twice as many first downs (30) as Stanford (14). But the Huskies never led the Cardinal.
• The Huskies had 489 yards of offense. Stanford had 279.
• UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw, ran and caught a touchdown pass on Thursday night against the Utes. He finished with 211 yards passing, 85 yards rushing and seven yards receiving.
• Oregon's Marcus Mariota scored seven touchdowns against the Buffaloes this weekend. So after 18 career games, he has 59 total TDs and just six interceptions. That is 3.3 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions per game and basically a 10:1 total TD-to-interception career rate. He has gone 202 consecutive attempts without an interception.
• The Ducks scored at least 50 points for fifth straight time. According to ESPN Stats and Info, there are only the second team in history to do so, joining Princeton in 1885.
• There were 129 pass attempts for 1,027 passing yards between Cal and Washington State.
• Taylor Kelly through for his fifth straight 300-yard game but the Sun Devils lost thanks to two more interceptions. He has six on the year, ahead of only Connor Halliday (10) and Travis Wilson (nine) in the Pac-12.
• Nine players are tied for the lead nationally in interceptions with four. Three of them play in the Pac-12: Colorado's Greg Henderson, Oregon State's Steven Nelson and Wazzu's Deone Bucannon. Bucannon also leads the league in tackles with 56 total stops.