This Week In the Pac-10
Arizona (1-2) at #25 Purdue (1-1)
The Wildcats are hoping that hitting the road will mean they can play in front of a kinder, gentler crowd, a crowd who will finally LOVE their coach. After all, he was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for Purdue in 1977. Coach Mackovic even sounds a little giddy himself at the thought of getting out of dodge, "This week on the road, we are going to have some fun." What wasn't fun was the way they rolled over in the 48-10 loss to Oregon. Back-up quarterback Ryan O'Hara came into the game in the second quarter and once again out-performed Nic Costa, as he led Zona on their only two scoring drives. Purdue comes into the contest having lost to Bowling Green, 27-26, and rebounding last week against Wake Forest, 16-10. Even though the Boilermakers seemed like an offensive juggernaut in last year's Sun Bowl, it is the defense that has people talking so far this year. Purdue has held their opponents to 1.4 yards per rushing attempt, but still give up 272 yards in the air. Junior QB Kyle Orton has 482 yards passing and 4 touchdown tosses in his first 2 games, and hasn't thrown a pick in his last 144 attempts. Yakima's own Taylor Stubblefield leads the Boilers in receiving, averaging almost 100 yards per game.
Dawgman line: Purdue by 16 big ones
UCLA (1-1) at #1 Oklahoma (3-0)
The Bruins of Westwood fly to Norman to take on the Sooners, college football's current top dog. Bob Stoops has the Sooner faithful in full frenzy, something that was missing during the dark days after Barry Switzer took both his fur coat and utter disregard for NCAA rules to the NFL. Leading the way is QB Jason White, who has thrown for 845 yards and completed 65% of his passes while only being sacked once. On the ground, Kejuan Jones and Renaldo Works share time, accumulating 308 yards on the ground through three games. Linebacker Lance Mitchell's year is probably over after tearing his ACL. Still, Teddy Lehman, a Butkis Award candidate, can be moved inside to fill the void by the former Husky recruit's absence. Bruin coach Karl Dorrell hopes for a better outcome than the last time his team faced a #1 Sooner team. That was in 1986, and OU blasted UCLA 38-3 in Norman, despite Dorrell's 2 receptions for 21 yards. Last week, the Bruins barely beat Illinois in a 6-3 Snoozefest that probably should've gone into overtime if it weren't for some really obtuse play calls by the Illini in the final minute. QB Drew Olson completed only 11-of-31 passes for 94 yards with one interception and was sacked six times by Illinois. Oklahoma is a bit of a step up in competition for UCLA, and they'll notice the difference.
Dawgman line: Oklahoma by 27
California (1-3) at Illinois (1-2)
Da Bears had another tough loss last week, as Utah scored with just a minute left to win 31-24. Cal had reeled off 17 points in the third quarter, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Utes. Cal backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers replaced Reggie Robertson after just two series, and passed for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Geoff McArthur shined with 8 receptions for 130 yards. Hoping to shake things up, Coach Tedford announced that Rodgers will get the start when Cal heads to Champagne to play its fifth non-conference game of the year. Illinois lost to UCLA in the Snoozefest of the day (mentioned above), where their scoring consisted of a lone field goal. But their stellar defense held the Bruins to just 6 points, but unfortunately that was 3 points too many. A few interesting points about the Illini … they've converted on 50% of their third-down opportunities, senior linebacker Ty Myers averages 2 forced fumbles per game, and quarterback Jon Beutjer has completed 67% of his passes this season. This could be a great match up, but then again, it could wind up being Snoozefest Redux.
Dawgman line: Illini by a field goal
#3 Michigan (3-0) at #22 Oregon (3-0)
The leader of the Pac is coming off of an impressive road victory over the Arizona Mildcats, in a contest that lasted all of 5 minutes. The Ducks and their well-behaved fans are rolling out the red carpet for the highest-ranked visitor to enter Autzen in 11 years. The Oregon offense has scored 121 points this season – that's 111 more points than Michigan's defense has allowed. This is the fourth meeting for these two programs, and the Ducks are still trying to figure out how to score on these guys. In the previous three contests, all played in Ann Arbor, the Ducks were outscored 59-0. Michigan is coming off of a 38-0 spanking of Tyrone's boys, leaving Notre Dame with the nation's second-worst offense. RB Chris Perry is already halfway to the 1000-yard mark, with 549 yards and 7 touchdowns, and is the nation's leading rusher. As a matter of fact, Michigan has the best rushing offense in the nation, averaging 307.3 yards per contest ("contests" also include home wins over Central Michigan and Houston). Now fan favorite John Navarre is now Michigan's all-time leading passer, and he hopes to find stud WR Braylon Edwards open somewhere in Oregon's improved secondary. Michigan must have scheduled this game hoping to snag some recruits from the Greater Eugene area. Currently, thirteen players on the Michigan roster hail from "Pac-10" country. Color commentator Dan Fouts will have to hold on tight for this one, but woah Nelly, not onto Keith Jackson…
Dawgman line: Wolverines squeak out a 2 point victory
New Mexico (1-2) at #24 Washington State (2-1)
Did the Cougars finally prove they were for real last week? They finished off the #17 Colorado Buffaloes by scoring 24 points in the third quarter and didn't allow any miraculous comeback attempts by Ralphie, who stayed locked in his electric fence. The Cougs relied on some big plays, thanks to Sammy Moore, who had a 97-yard kick-off return and a 74-yard TD reception. Congrats to QB Matt Kegel, who was named the Pac-10's Offensive Player of the Week for his 310 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. But it is the defense that has been stealing the show. They have forced 12 turnovers, have 12 sacks, and give up just 18.3 points per game. Wazzu finally gets to play a game in its own stadium, as they host the Lobos, who are coming off of a 10-7 loss to BYU in a defensive battle. The Cougars better beware – the Lobos women's soccer team will be in attendance cheering with all their might and their football team is ranked 8th in the nation in total yards per game at 484. UNM relies equally on the pass and run, but their defense has been giving up a lot of yards through the air to their pass-happy opponents.
Dawgman line: Doba's Cats by 30
#16 Arizona State (2-0) at #18 Iowa (3-0)
Arizona State's offense continued to sputter last week, as they held off winless Utah State 26-16. Andrew Walter hasn't had the campaign many in Tempe had expected, but he's undefeated. The Devil defense helped the cause for the second straight week, as Riccardo Stewart returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown. The Devils overcame 4 turnovers and 12 penalties. Now they leave the friendly (and fricken hot) confines of the desert and head to beautiful Iowa City to face the defending Big Ten co-champions. ASU was the victor in these two teams' only prior meeting, 17-7 in the 1997 Sun Bowl, and the Devils haven't faced a team from the Big Ten since. The Hawkeyes come into the contest boasting wins over cupcakes Miami of Ohio (21-3) and Buffalo (56-7), and rival Iowa State (40-21). Leading the Hawkeyes is senior QB Nathan Chandler, who has completed 27 of 44 passes for 314 yards while throwing no interceptions to date. He had some major league shoes to fill in Heisman trophy runner-up Brad Banks, and he's done a yeoman's job so far. One very odd note for Iowa is that they've started on offense in 44 of their last 45 games – that's some serious power over the coin toss. It's too bad the Hawkeyes won't be traveling to Vegas this season – they are due for a trip to the craps table.
Dawgman line: Hawkeyes by 7
Stanford (1-0) at BYU (2-1)
Five weeks into the college football season and Buddy Teevens' Stanford Cardinal is still undefeated. Who would've thought that? With QB Trent Edwards leading the Trees into Provo for the first time in school history, they'll have to deal with a very loud crowd and the altitude. BYU isn't your typical Mountain West stop, their facilities upgrade would suggest more of an SEC feel without the cheating. Stanford took apart San Jose State in their only game, while the Cougars' lone loss was to USC in the ghetto. Cougar head man Gary Crowton lost starting QB Matt Berry for three weeks, so he'll send first year freshman John Beck out to throw against the Cardinal defense that held SJS to nine yards of total rushing. With only 14 seniors, Stanford faces a BYU team that is light years ahead of them in the maturity column. Will it make a difference? Probably. Also key is that junior running back Marcus Whalen is expected to return for BYU after breaking a bone during pregame warmups against Georgia Tech. He will join leading rusher junior Reynaldo Brathwaite, who has 281 yards on just 40 carries in the first three games. Buddy Ball may be appealing to the wine and cheese crowd of Palo Alto, but it won't fly in the Wasatch Mountains.
Dawgman line: BYU by 6
Boise State (2-0) at Oregon State (2-1)
The Beavers face yet another WAC powerhouse opponent, and this time with all-american running back Steven Jackson probably slowed with a sore knee. After getting whacked in Fresno, OSU takes on the Broncos from Boise, who are undefeated after beating up on the other two state schools of Idaho. QB Ryan Dinwiddie has thrown for an even 400 yards to date. TB David Mikell has racked up 334 yards and has averaged over 8 yards per carry. He'll find the going a bit tougher in Corvallis, where LB Richard Siegler will be chasing, hitting, and taunting him while having flags thrown in his general direction. OSU struggled to beat New Mexico State last week. QB Derek Anderson, after struggled mightily in the first two games when he couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, looked better against NMS. He has connected on less than half of his passes while throwing 7 interceptions to just one touchdown. With Jackson potentially slowed, he'll have to carry more of the burden for coach Mike Riley. With Jackson's 423 yards potentially on the bench, junior Dwight Wright, who has an impressive 5.3 yards per carry, will be called upon. When Anderson is throwing to his own team, his biggest weapon is James Newson, who has snared 15 balls this season. Will the Beavers get revenge against the WAC? Sure. Boise State is no Fresno State.
Dawgman line: Oregon State by 14
Link: Last Week's match ups
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