The bizarre, important and historic numbers from around the conference.
True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Pac-12 to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 10.
10 Pac-12 Stats to Know
9: Stanford has handed Oregon its first loss of the season nine times
The big one is finally here: Oregon (8-0, 5-0) at Stanford (7-1, 5-1) Thursday night. Nine times since 1964 Stanford has given Oregon its first loss of the season. On two occasions, it was the Ducks’ only loss of the season — 2012 and 2001. Last year’s 17-14 overtime loss to the Cardinal ended a 13-game winning streak for the Ducks. The 2001 loss ended a 23-home game winning streak — the longest in the nation at that time.
293: Oregon’s Mariota has not thrown an interception since last Stanford meeting
Oregon quarterback and Heisman frontrunner Marcus Mariota has protected the ball better than any starting QB through the air this season. On the way to 2,281 yards passing with 20 touchdowns on 225 attempts, the junior has no interceptions this season. His last interception — a Pac-12 record 293 attempts ago — came 13 seconds before halftime of the last Stanford meeting. Mariota does arrive at Thursday’s game with two lost fumbles suffered Oct. 19 against Washington State — his first fumble in 79 attempts since losing one against USC last season. Stanford is tied for 95th in the nation with 11 turnovers gained.
1 and 0: Stanford downed Oregon three times in the 2000s with QBs making their first appearance against the Ducks; then lost the next year
The Cardinal has defeated Oregon three times this century, all with quarterbacks playing against the Ducks for the first time. In 2001 it was Chris Lewis, stepping in after Randy Fasani sprained his knee in the second quarter. Lewis threw for two touchdowns and 189 yards on 12 completions with no interceptions in a 49-42 win. In 2009, it was freshman Andrew Luck also throwing two touchdowns on 12 completions with no interceptions and 251 yards in a 51-42 victory. Last season, it was Kevin Hogan, making his second career start, throwing for 211 yards with a fourth-quarter, game-tying touchdown, an interception and he added a rushing TD in Stanford’s 17-14 OT win. In each of the following seasons the Ducks bounced back. They did not face an injured Lewis the following year, instead surrendering just 92 yards and a touchdown on 12 completions with an interception against Kyle Matter and Ryan Eklun in a 41-14 win. Luck lost to Oregon his sophomore and junior seasons (52-31 and 53-30), combining for 597 yards passing six total TDs, four interceptions and a lost fumble. Hogan, 7-0 against ranked teams, has a chance to stop the trend Thursday and become the first Stanford QB to defeat Oregon in back-to-back seasons since Chad Hutchinson (1996 and ’97).
28.9: Stanford and Oregon combined for 28.9 percent on third and fourth downs in last year’s meeting
In last season’s meeting, Stanford was 6-of-17 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth, while Oregon was 4-of-17 on third and failed on both fourth-down tries — one at the Cardinal 7, which led to a 93-yard scoring drive by Stanford for the game’s first points. This season, Stanford is third in the Pac-12 in third-down conversions at 53-of-109 (48.6), while Oregon is fifth at 46-of-100 (46.0). On the defensive side, the Ducks rank second in the conference at forcing fourth down, having faced the most third-down attempts this season and allowing 33.1 percent to be converted (47-of-142). Stanford is fourth at 34.4 (42-of-122). Both teams rank ninth in the conference on fourth-down conversions at 40 percent. Oregon has attempted to move the chains four times as much as Stanford — 8-of-20 to the Cardinal’s 2-of-5. Defensively, Oregon is second best in the conference in stopping fourth-down attempts at 42.1 percent (8-of-19), while opponents have converted 52.4 percent against Stanford (11-of-21).
29.44-21.63 Stanford puts its top-ranked kick return game against Oregon’s 73rd-ranked return defense
If Stanford is looking for a spark against Oregon Thursday it could come in the return game. The Cardinal is No. 1 in FBS in kick return average (29.44), and go up against a Ducks special teams unit allowing 21.63 yards per return — good for 73rd in FBS. On the other side, Oregon is ranked 48th in kick returns (22.25), while Stanford is 10th best (17.78) at defending the kickoff. Stanford’s Ty Montgomery is tied for first in the FBS with two of his 21 kickoff returns taken back for scores. The junior averages 32.5 yards per return — .2 yards off No. 1 in the nation.
7: John Elway to have No. 7 jersey retired Thursday night
At halftime of the Stanford-Oregon game, the Cardinal will retire former quarterback John Elway’s No. 7. Stanford’s quarterback from 1979-82, Elway was a Heisman Trophy runner-up to Herschel Walker in 1982. The two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year (1980 and ’82) threw for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns at Stanford. Junior receiver Ty Montgomery and sophomore defensive Aziz Shittu both currently wear the No. 7 jersey. They will be the last players to do so. This will be the third Stanford football number to be retired — Ernie Nevers (1) and Jim Plunkett (16).
3: Cal’s Lawler scores his first career TD, then his second and third
California receiver Kenny Lawler collected the first touchdown of his career in the second quarter (17 yards) in Saturday’s 33-28 loss to Arizona. The freshman then followed with a 3-yard TD in the third quarter and a third score on a 29-yard catch in the fourth quarter. He finished with six catches for 72 yards. He is the first Bears receiver to catch three TDs in a game since DeSean Jackson vs. Minnesota in 2006.
60: Denker to Miller for 60 yards a season long for both
Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker connected with Terrence Miller for 60 yards on a third-and-10 in the third quarter of the Wildcats’ 33-28 victory against Cal Saturday. The senior-to-senior, 60-yard hookup is the longest completion of Denker’s two-year career at Arizona and the longest reception of Miller’s five-year career. Miller went on to finish with five catches for 88 yards — the highest yardage total of any UA receiver this season.
0: Oregon State offense shutout in the second half for the first time
The Beavers were shutout in the second half for the first time this season after averaging 23.9 points per second half in their eight games leading into Friday’s game with USC. It was the first time OSU was shutout in the second half since a 23-6 loss to Cal on Nov. 12, 2011. After averaging 44.1 points over this season’s first seven games — good for ninth in the nation — Oregon State has dropped to 37.2 and 26th in the nation after scoring just 14 against USC and 12 against Stanford.
2: USC won back-to-back games in single season by at least two touchdowns for the first time since 2011
With its 31-14 and 19-3 wins over Oregon State and Utah the last two outings, USC has put together back-to-back, two-touchdown wins in the same season for the first time since November 2011. The Trojans were 40-17 and 42-17 winners against Washington and Colorado in 2011.