Arizona State, Stanford poised for championship showdown in Tempe
The Civil War, Apple Cup, Battle for the Victory Bell, Territorial Cup and Rumble in the Rockies always make the final weekend of Pac-12 action exciting. The in-state and crosstown battles make the Pac-12's rivalries underrated nationally. However, the most that was on the line in all but one game was simply bragging rights — even in the historic Stanford-Notre Dame bout. The Duel in the Desert was the only game that carried any weight as Arizona State was attempting to clinch home-field advantage in the Pac-12 title game.
And they did just that in impressive fashion.
Offensive Player of the Week: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
On the road against the league's No. 1 total defense and No. 2 scoring defense, Hundley was efficient and productive against his crosstown rival. He finished 18-of-27 passing for 208 yards with 80 more yards on the ground, two total touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bruins scored more points against the Trojans defense than USC had allowed since Lane Kiffin was the head coach. Both Tyler Gaffney (33 carries, 189 yards, TD) and Bishop Sankey (34 carries, 240 yards from scrimmage, TD) were impressive in rivalry games as well.
Defensive Player of the W
In one of the more underrated rivalries in the nation, the All-America cornerback was charged with guarding Oregon State's Brandin Cooks, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. Ekpre-Olomu had 12 solo tackles, three passes broken up and one critical interception in the one-point Civil War classic. He did allow 10 completions to Cooks (exactly his per game average) but he held him to 30 yards below his average and kept him out of the end zone for just the third time this fall.
Team of the Week: Arizona State
On a weekend where very little was settled other than in-state bragging rights, the Sun Devils proved that it may be the team of the year in the Pac-12. Arizona State scored 58 points in a thorough destruction of archival Arizona in the Territorial Cup. The win means the Sun Devils have the best record in the Pac-12 and will be the host for the Pac-12 Championship Game this weekend. It also means Stanford won't have a chance to extend its 16-game home winning streak, and ASU has a chance to extend its eight-game home streak. Todd Graham in just his second season in Tempe could return Arizona State to the Rose Bowl for the first time 1996, a game it hasn't won since 1986.
Coordinator of the Week: Noel Mazzone, UCLA
UCLA walked into the Coliseum and scored 35 points and gained 396 yards with relative ease against the top total defense in the Pac-12. Brett Hundley played flawlessly while leading Mazzone's offense up and down the field without turning the ball over. Only Arizona State, Stanford and Cal have rushed for more yards on the Trojans than UCLA's 188 and only the Sun Devils (62) scored more points on USC than the Bruins' 35.
Freshman of the Week: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Back right where he belongs making tackles on defense, Jack got back into the two-way swing of things in a huge road win over USC. After not playing at all on defense in a critical loss to Arizona State, Jim L. Mora put his electric freshman linebacker back on defense — for the most part. He posted three tackles and got just a pair of offensive touches, the fewest since becoming a two-way player. That said, he still made a big impact on both sides of the ball, scoring the first quarter's only points for either team on a three-yard plunge. Colorado's Addison Gilliam was also excellent in defeat. He posted 14 tackles and an interception in the loss to Utah.
Pac-12 Post-Week 14 Power Rankings:
|Rank||Team||LW||Record||This Week||Next Week|
|1||(1)||10-2, 7-2||W, Notre Dame, 27-20||Arizona St|
|2||(2)||10-2, 7-2||W, Oregon St, 36-35||Bye|
|3||(3)||10-2, 8-1||W, Arizona, 58-21||Stanford|
|4||(4)||9-3, 6-3||W, USC, 35-14||Bye|
|5||(5)||9-4, 6-3||L, UCLA, 35-14||Bye|
|6||(6)||8-4, 5-4||W, Washington St, 27-17||Bye|
|7||(7)||6-6, 4-5||L, Oregon, 36-35||Bye|
|8||(8)||6-6, 4-5||L, Washingon, 27-17||Bye|
|9||(9)||7-5, 4-5||L, Arizona St, 58-21||Bye|
|10||(10)||5-7, 2-7||W, Colorado, 24-17||Bye|
|11||(11)||4-8, 1-8||L, Utah, 24-17||Bye|