This week in the Pac-10
Arizona State (4-5, 1-4) at Stanford (3-4, 1-4)
There is significant pressure on the Sun Devils to win this game, as it is one that they should win and it gets them closer to the magic number of six victories, which would make them bowl eligible. ASU got absolutely punked by the Cal Bears on Saturday, as Andrew Walters was only able to go for three quarters on a gimpy ankle. He was picked off twice and pretty much rendered ineffective, anyway. It was the ASU defense that stumbled, however, as the Bears scored on their first three possessions en route to a 41-point first half where they gained 240 yards.
Stanford is feeling much better about themselves after jumping previously unbeaten (in conference) UCLA. Chris Lewis filled in for the injured Trent Edwards at quarterback and threw for a score and ran for another in doing just enough to keep the Bruins at bay. Stanford's defense held the Bruins to 14 points and sacked the quarterback eight times. Stanford's effective blitzing scheme kept constant pressure on quarterback Matt Moore, who sat on the grass on both knees in frustration for several seconds after one long pass sailed well beyond his intended receiver. The Cardinal only had 11 sacks the entire season last year, so UCLA's offensive line can't feel too good about what transpired on the farm last Saturday.
Arizona State and Stanford have met 19 times with the Sun Devils holding a 12-7 series advantage. The Sun Devils won last year to snap a three-game Cardinal winning streak.
Dawgman line: Stanford keeps it rolling at home and downs the fading Sun Devils by six.
UCLA (6-3, 4-1) at #12 Washington State (7-2, 4-1) – 4:00 p.m. ABC
The Bruins were inept on offense and couldn't get out of a 21-7 hole to Stanford in Palo Alto. Now they get to travel to chilly Pullman where an angry bunch of Washington State Cougars await them. UCLA tailback Maurice Drew will need to come up big to keep WSU's defensive line away from quarterbacks Matt Moore and Drew Olsen, who were sacked into the grass at Stanford Stadium eight times. DD Acholonu is licking his chops. Craig Bragg can help out if he can make some good things happen returning punts and kickoffs. He is UCLA's biggest weapon.
The Cougars went down to Los Angeles and played the Pac-10 team that will likely be vying for the national title in the Sugar Bowl. The Trojans took advantage of interesting officiating and two horrible snaps on punts that reminded many Husky fans of Ernie Conwell in the Sun Bowl when he hiked the ball so far over the punter's head that it wound up in a store in Juarez. WSU's Josh Swogger, Matt Kegel's back up at quarterback, looked very athletic and more dangerous at times. Kegel did throw for over 300 yards, however, but was out dueled by SC's Matt Leinart. USC pounded the Cougar defense with their tailbacks and talented offensive line in the second half to pull away. WSU will be ready for UCLA to try the same thing. As long as the deep snapping gets fixed, the Cougars match up well in this one. They won't rush for negative 28 yards again, that's for sure.
This is the 50th meeting between UCLA and Washington State in a series that dates to 1928. The Bruins hold a 34-14-1 series lead, but the Cougars have won the last two. Last year Washington State, with a berth in THE Rose Bowl on the line, came away with a convincing 48-27 victory, which gave the Cougs a Pac-10 co-championship.
Dawgman line: Cougars win big, UCLA starts their decline.
California (5-5, 3-2) at Oregon (5-4, 2-3) – 7:00 p.m. TBS
The Bears looked fantastic in dispatching of the Sun Devils rudely. The Bears piled up 327 yards on the ground to absolutely trample the hapless Sparky into the turf. Adimchinobe Echemandu rushed for a career-high 201 yards and three touchdowns, and J.J. Arrington ran for two more scores in California's 42-14 victory that snapped a two-game losing streak. Echemandu had 137 yards and two scores before halftime in a truly dominating performance.
Oregon comes off of a dismal showing in Seattle where they jumped on top of Washington 10-0 and then quit. They gave up 42 unanswered points and looked every bit a team in disarray. Oregon was ranked in the top 10 not too long ago, and now faces a surging Cal Bear team that will run and run, and when they don't run, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is accurate. Jeff Tedford has talent at the skill positions. Washington ran for over 260 yards against the Ducks last week with a pair of redshirt freshmen. Cal's running backs are bigger and a bit more seasoned. The Ducks desperately need some leadership from the quarterback position. Jason Fife looks the more poised between he and Kellen Clemens, but Oregon coach Mike Bellotti steadfastly sticks to the sophomore. The Ducks defense will need to step it up to cover for an inept offense. Expect to see Cal run the ball 50 times.
California and Oregon have met 65 times dating to 1899 with the Golden Bears leading the series 35-28-2. The Ducks, however, have dominated in recent years and have won the last six meetings, with the last Cal win coming in 1993. These teams last met in 2001 at Berkeley with the Ducks romping the Bears, 48-7.
Dawgman line: Bears win by a field goal as Tedford downs his former boss.
Byes: USC (8-1, 4-1), Oregon State (6-3, 3-2)
Link to last week's This Week in the Pac-10 match ups.
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