ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Pac Mentality Week 10: Oregon Ducks navigate the Stanford hurdle

Nov 3, 2014, 4:10 AM | Updated: Nov 9, 2014, 5:08 pm

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There is very little doubt that the Oregon Ducks are superior to the Stanford Cardinal in 2014 in terms of talent.

Then again, you could have made that argument in each of the last two seasons as well, but Stanford won each of those meetings between the two teams and went on to win the Pac-12 Championship both times.

Oregon got over the Stanford hurdle Saturday, using a punishing ground game and two touchdown passes from Marcus Mariota in a convincing 45-16 win at Autzen Stadium.

The game was tight in the third quarter after Stanford’s Jordan Williamson hit a 25-yard field goal to pull the Cardinal within eight at 24-16. But the Ducks dominated from that point on. Thomas Tyner scored on a 21-yard touchdown late in the third. Mariota ran and threw for a score in the fourth quarter as Oregon (8-1, 5-1) won going away.

It was the first time an opponent had scored over 30 points on Stanford in 31 games.

“To get this win was huge. It will build a lot of momentum heading into the rest of the year,” Mariota said. “It was one of those things — good to get it under your belt and bury the hatchet a little.”

With the win, Oregon reiterated that they’re the team to beat — certainly in the North — and possibly in the entire conference.

What Else Transpired

#14 Arizona State 19…..#17 Utah 16 (OT) – I’ve been raving about Utah’s special teams — especially their kicking game — all season long. And with good reason. Punter Tom Hackett and placekicker Andy Phillips have been outstanding this season. But the kicking game failed the Utes on Saturday. Phillips missed a 35-yard field goal in overtime opening the door for his counterpart, Zane Gonzalez, to boot the game-winning 36-yarder in the Sun Devils’ triumph.

ASU’s defense was again fantastic, holding Utah to a season-low 241 yards and only 57 in the air in the win.

#22 UCLA 17…..#12 Arizona 7 – UCLA has been wildly inconsistent this season, but Saturday their defense showed up big time against the potent Wildcats attack. Arizona scored on their first drive of the night — one that was aided by 30 yards in penalties on Bruins linebacker Myles Jack — and that was it. Arizona’s Anu Solomon struggled mightily, completing just 18-of-48 passes for 175 yards and an interception while being sacked three times. Brett Hundley threw for 189 yards and a touchdown and added 131 more yards on the ground. UCLA held the ball for over 38 minutes in the victory.

USC 44…..Washington State 17 – Cody Kessler threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in USC’s easy win over the Cougars. It was Kessler’s fourth game with at least four TD tosses this year, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is now 25-to-2. Wazzu quarterback Connor Halliday left the game with an injury and didn’t return. He was replaced by freshman Luke Falk, who completed 38-of-57 for 370 yards and two touchdowns but it wasn’t nearly enough.

California 45….Oregon State 31 – The mystifying season for the Beavers continued as their normally solid defense was torched 546 yards by an ever-improving Cal team. Daniel Lasco ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears. OSU’s Sean Mannion threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns, and became the Pac-12’s all-time leading passer in the process.

Washington 38…..Colorado 23 – Shaq Thompson is an amazing football player. The linebacker played another game at tailback for the injury-depleted Huskies and was responsible for 215 yards from scrimmage on just 15 touchdowns and scored on a 24-yard touchdown run. The Huskies broke open a close game in the third quarter when Travis Feeney scored on a 30-yard interception return. Then early in the fourth, Dante Pettis took a punt return 87 yards to the house to close the scoring. Cyler Myles returned at quarterback for UW and threw for 206 yard and two touchdowns.

Movement in the AP Rankings

This Week Last Week Movement
Oregon Ducks (8-1) #5 #5 No Movement
Arizona State Sun Devils (7-1) #11 #15 Up 4 spots
UCLA Bruins (7-2) #18 #25 Up 7 spots
Utah Utes (6-2) #20 #18 Down 2 spots
Arizona Wildcats (6-2) #21 #14 Down 7 spots

Observations

• Todd Graham is a loyal guy. Despite a lot of clunkiness on offense with Taylor Kelly at the controls, Graham stuck with the senior despite the lingering presence of Mike Bercovici on the sideline. By the end of the night, Kelly had throw for 205 yards and run for 55 more against a really good Utah defense. Kelly has not looked sharp in the two games since his return from a foot injury, but the Sun Devils keep on winning. It should be noted, Bercovici did come into the game late in regulation to attempt to replicate his Hail Mary magic from earlier this season, but this one was picked off.

• Cody Kessler has 25 touchdown passes and two picks this season. Sean Mannion has nine touchdowns and six picks. Didn’t see that coming.

• Sonny Dykes might be the Coach of the Year in the conference. After Cal stunk up the joint in 2013, going 1-11, Dykes has the Bears on the verge of bowl eligibility after their road win in Corvallis — their second straight road win after nine consecutive losses. If the Bears do get to six wins, they will have earned it — they’ve got a road game at USC and home games against Stanford and BYU remaining.

Marotta’s Players of the Week

Offense: Cody Kessler, QB, USC – Five more touchdowns for the USC signal caller. He’s now tied for fourth in the nation in TD passes and his 168.2 rating is good for sixth among FBS quarterbacks.

Honorable Mention: Cal RB Daniel Lasco, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, UCLA QB Brett Hundley, USC WR JuJu Smith, Washington RB Shaq Thompson

Defense: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona – Wright is making a push for the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Award. The linebacker had 19 tackles, three sacks and four tackles for loss in the Wildcats’ loss.

Honorable Mention: ASU CB Lloyd Carrington, Oregon S Erick Dargan, Utah DE Hunter Dimick, Washington LB Travis Feeney, UCLA DB Anthony Jefferson, ASU S Jordan Simone, Oregon LB Tony Washington

Special Teams: Zane Gonzalez, K, Arizona State – The sophomore booted four field goals, including the overtime game-winner for the streaking Sun Devils.

Honorable Mention: USC PR Nelson Agholor, Cal K James Langford, Washington PR Dante Pettis, Arizona P Drew Riggleman

Quotes

”I think our team needs to remain competitive when there’s adversity. There’s always going to be adversity in football. You have to remain competitive. At some point, each individual play has to be its own masterpiece. We’re just too up and down emotionally. We’re just all over the map. We need to take pride in each individual play and make the most out of that.” — Washington State head coach Mike Leach

“We’ve been preaching ‘finish.’ We’ve been preaching belief in ourselves and the ability to execute at the critical moments. I think that showed up tonight with some really cool plays that were needed when we had to have them. When we had to have those plays we were able to make them throughout the game. That’s what it’s going to take. We’re going to have to play good football every time we take the field.” — USC head coach Steve Sarkisian

“We are 7-2 and it has not been easy. They keep fighting. That’s what we are supposed to do, but not everybody does it. Our punter Matt Mengel played outstanding for us. We ran the ball 59 times for a lot of yards. And then our defense was outstanding. That’s against a high-octane offense. I think that they were fourth or seventh in total offense – I know they were in the top 10. They scored on their first drive and did not score after. Today was the first game that I felt defensively like we did what we were supposed to do on every play. Don’t pop a gap, just do your job. Trust your teammate. We did that. You saw the results. That is what we have to continue to emphasize and work on and continue to grow. It was a big win for us, and it keeps us alive and that is what we are after.” — UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Jr.

“I’m not worried about it. We’re not going to have a Dr. Phil moment. I’m not worried about their feelings. We just didn’t play well. I thought we were a little loose at times. Practices were good but we were, for lack of a better word, too giggly. That makes me a little uneasy at times. We won’t be giggly this week in practice.” — Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez

“That’s a really good football team. For those guys to not be a top-25 team, I don’t understand that. They’re excellent in every phase, and our guys—for whatever reason—haven’t put our best foot forward in past years. We didn’t necessarily put our best, best foot forward today, which is encouraging. We made a bunch of mistakes that we’ll get fixed before we head on the road to a tough place to play. We’ll enjoy this tonight and get ready for next week.” — Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich

“I told him after the game he was phenomenal. He’s tough to contain. You put pressure on him and he doesn’t feel it, he escapes the pocket and he throws the ball down the field. As a runner and a passer, he’s special and we just couldn’t contain him.” — Stanford head coach David Shaw on Oregon’s Marcus Mariota

“Zane is a big time kicker. I was just worried about the snap. I just wanted Shield to make a good snap, that is all. I was not worried about Zane. He just has one of those personalities that gives you a lot of confidence in him. If he lines up right, he will make the field goal. The only time he misses is when there is a bad snap. After the game everyone may be talking about how Utah and the best kicker in the nation missed the field goal in overtime but I think the best kicker in the nation made the field goal tonight and that is Zane.” — ASU head coach Todd Graham on kicker Zane Gonzalez

“Offensively, we’ve got to throw the ball better; in order to attack the kind of aggressive blitzing defense that we faced tonight, we’ve got to be better putting the ball up the field, make them pay for that a little bit, and we weren’t able to do much of that. ” — Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham

“It just says that we’re young. We had a freshman fumble the ball twice. He hadn’t done that this season, but he’s in the locker room in tears right now. We’ve been great on punt coverage this season, but the guy made a nice run and they had some good blocks.” — Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre

“They are all important. It is so hard to win in this conference. I think that what everybody knows. Just look at the scores, in overtime or down to the wire, and then you go on the road and it’s even harder. Every week if you can eek something out we’re happy.” — Washington head coach Chris Petersen

“Our guys battled. I thought we played a pretty mistake free game in the first half and then things got a little wilder in the second half, and we got on our heels a little bit. Our guys really did a good job of answering back and making key plays down the stretch. We got a little bit of a pass rush, got a turnover and made some key stops. And then we made some key plays offensively. It was a good win for us against a good football team.” — Cal head coach Sonny Dykes

“We weren’t bad we just had too many lapses. We didn’t do well enough on third down, we didn’t keep drives going. We were not consistent.” — Oregon State head coach Mike MacIntyre

Notes

• Oregon State’s Sean Mannion now has a Pac-12 record 12,454 passing yards. His Saturday performance allowed him to eclipse the former mark of 12,327 held by Matt Barkley of USC.

• Cal had a season-high 269 rushing yards.

• Oregon is currently the only team in the Pac-12 North with a winning conference record.

• Stanford’s loss at Oregon was their first ever in a game televised by FOX.

• UCLA’s Brett Hundley threw his 68th career touchdown pass in the Bruins’ win over Arizona. He is now tied with Cade McNown on UCLA’s all-time list in that category.

• UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Jr. is now 13-2 against Pac-12 South opponents since taking over the job in 2012.

• Arizona is now 0-8-1 against ranked UCLA teams in games played at the Rose Bowl.

• Arizona State is now 7-3 all-time in overtime games.

• Utah’s Travis Wilson has thrown 165 passes this season without being intercepted.

• USC’s Buck Allen had 119 yards rushing against Washington State and now has six straight 100-yard games.

• Washington State’s announced crowd of 25,012 was the smallest in the Pac-12 this season.

• Colorado’s Nelson Spruce had 13 catches Saturday to give him 90 on the season, a new school record. CU still has three games remaining.

• Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha now has 15.5 sacks this season, which is more than 42 FBS teams.

A Look Ahead at Week 11

Week 11 is highlighted by a non-conference matchup with College Football Playoff implications when Notre Dame visits Arizona State in Tempe Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the full slate of games in Week 11:

• Notre Dame @ Arizona State – 1:30 p.m. Saturday – ABC

• Washington State @ Oregon State – 2:00 p.m. Saturday – Pac-12 Networks

• UCLA @ Washington – 5:00 p.m. Saturday – Fox Sports 1

• Colorado @ Arizona – 6:00 p.m. Saturday – Pac-12 Networks

• Oregon @ Utah – 8:00 p.m. Saturday – ESPN

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