High-powered offenses featuring elite QBs clash when No. 5 Washington heads to No. 20 USC
Thu, Nov 2, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - Things to watch in the Pac-12 Conference this week:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 5 Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12, No. 5 CFP) at No. 24 Southern California (7-2, 5-1, No. 20 CFP), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
These are two of the highest-scoring teams in the nation with both boasting an elite QB. When all the points are scored - and there figures to be a lot of them - and all the TD passes are thrown between Michael Penix Jr. and Caleb Williams - again, a lot - the winner will have the inside track to a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. The Huskies travel to the Coliseum for the first time since 2015. They face a Trojans team that's 16-0 under the combination of coach Lincoln Riley and Williams against unranked teams but 2-5 against teams in the AP poll, according to league research. The Huskies have won 15 straight games dating to last season.
No. 20 UCLA (6-2, 3-2, No. 19 CFP) at Arizona (5-3, 3-2), Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
The Wildcats are receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll after beating ranked teams in two straight games. It's the first time they've won consecutive games over ranked opponents since 2014. Wildcats' quarterback Noah Fifita pick up Pac-12 freshman of the week honors for the third time this season. He threw for 275 yards and three scores in a 27-24 win over No. 16 Oregon State. The Bruins are 0-2 this season in games played outside the state of California.
No. 16 Oregon State (6-2, 3-2, No. 16) at Colorado (4-4, 1-4), Saturday, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes will appear on ESPN or network television for a school-record eighth time this season. There's no telling which famous celebrities, singers or athletes may show up on the Colorado sideline, either. Sanders sure draws a crowd to Boulder especially for night games. Five of the last eight games between these two teams in the Pac-12 era have been one-score games. The last two contests held in Boulder have gone to overtime, with the Beavers winning in 2018 (overcoming a 28-point deficit) and the Buffaloes in 2021 (it took two overtimes).
PLAYER TO WATCH
Oregon defensive back Tysheem Johnson had a two-interception performance in the Ducks' 35-6 win at No. 18 Utah. Johnson helped Oregon hold a ranked team to six points or less on the road for just the third time in program history - and first since 1989. He was named the league's defensive player of the week. No. 6 Oregon (7-1, 4-1, No. 6 CFP) hosts California (3-5, 1-4) on Saturday.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
No. 18 Utah (6-2, 3-2, No. 18 CFP) tries to keep their flickering hopes of defending their Pac-12 title afloat when the Utes host Arizona State (2-6, 1-4). ... The Huskies are 8-0 for the sixth time in program history. They also started with eight straight wins in 1923 (finished 10-1-1), 1984 (11-1), 1991 (12-0), 1992 (9-3) and 2016 (12-2). ... Washington State (4-4, 1-4) had to be pleased to see the calendar flip to November. The Cougars are a combined 1-7 in the month of October over the past two seasons. They have dropped four straight heading into their game against Stanford (2-6, 1-5). ... The Ducks lead the all-time series with California 42-41-2. ... Cal's 49 points scored against the Trojans are the most in school history in a game the team lost, according to Pac-12 research. ... Stanford has allowed 40 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time in program history.
___ Get alerts on the latest AP Top 25 poll throughout the season. Sign up here ___ AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football"