Stanford stays in the playing field for the Pac 12 Championship while Chris Polk outruns the Wildcats….
Primetime Pac 12 delivered last weekend as No. 4 Stanford (8-0, 6-0 Pac12) battled No. 21 USC at the Coliseum in a triple OT thriller that lasted 255 minutes and ended with 104 points on the board. 93,000 fans packed the Coliseum for this much-anticipated Pac 12 match up; and at the end of the battle, Andrew Luck and the Trees came out on top to continue their quest for the National Championship.
With Luck on your side, you can guarantee that he will do whatever it takes to win. And that is exactly what happened last weekend as he finished the night 29 of 40 for 330 yards and 3 TD’s. Luck had one pick late in the fourth with the score tied 27 all and just 3:51remaining in regulation. Sophomore CB Nickell Robey intercepted a pass intended for Owusu and ran it back for a TD to put SC (6-2, 3-2 Pac 12) up 33-27. This was Robey’s second pick of the season, and the extra point followed to put them up by 7. Luck and his line took the field again and moved the ball 76 yards in 10 plays to put another 7 on the board.
We have ourselves another tie game – 34 all.
Barkley has only 38 seconds left on the clock to work with, so naturally he hits leading receiver Robert Woods for a gain of 19 to put them on their own 44. Next play Barkley connects with Teifer for 16 yards and sets them up 1st and 10 on the Stanford 40. An incomplete pass and timeout leaves them with 9 ticks on the clock. Barkley connects with Woods and he runs all the way across the field and his knee goes down before he can get out of bounds; end of game and we are heading into OT. My boss from SoCal is texting me that ‘he’s out of bounds, he’s out of bounds’ and Kiffin is running up and down the field trying to convince the refs that he called timeout – or at least he would have if he knew that Woods was going to run the width of the entire field…
So we head into OT. The Trees and the Trojans traded TD’s and extra points in the first two OT’s to tie the game 48-48 heading into triple OT. Triple OT requires you to go for 2, so after Stepfan Taylors 5 yard run to put Stanford up 54-48, Luck connected with wide open senior TE Coby Fleener in the end zone for the conversion. SC responded with a 21 yard gain to put them down on the Stanford 4 yard line. But TB Curtis McNeal fumbled the ball into the end zone and Stanford recovered. Battle over: Stanford 56 – USC 48.
Up next: Stanford travels north to Corvallis Saturday take on the Beavs. If you thought Luck’s stats were impressive this season YTD - wait until after this game. He’s averaging 277 yards per game with 2218 on the season. I’m afraid this game is going to get ugly fast and end up like Boise State vs. Fresno State or Colorado State. I have some dear Beaver Believer friends heading down to Corvallis this weekend to cheer on their team. My advice to Tom and Kerry – drink a lot before the game; it will keep you in a happy place; and if you are going to bet - just do it on the spread!
So back to Saturday night; I am totally exhausted from the Stanford game thinking I can now relax and watch Washington (6-2, 4-1 Pac12) beat up on the Wildcats and secure bowl eligibility; something they haven’t done in consecutive seasons since 2001-2002. They did succeed by beating the Wildcats (2-6, 1-5 Pac12) Saturday night, but only after Arizona put up a good fight and 31 points in a game that ended 42-31. One of the wackiest plays I have seen in college ball this season came with 10:40 in the third when senior CB Robert Golden intercepted a pass and ran it back 91 yards for a TD. Watch it here on you tube: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sue6EVlGkVo) I think he actually ran more like 130 yards by the time he made it into the end zone, but this was just one of the things you missed if you headed out to a Halloween party before the end of the game.
The Arizona defense couldn’t stop junior back Chris Polk Saturday night. The level that he played that night took me back to earlier this year when I was watching the Pac 10 Championship basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats and the Huskies. Isaiah Thomas secured the win with a 20 foot jumper as time expired; carrying the team all week and finishing that day with 28 points, 7 assists, and five rebounds. I remember watching that game and being beyond impressed with how he had played all week. Last Saturday night, I felt the same way as I watched Chris Polk run up and down the field; scoring five of the six touchdowns and securing the W. Polk had 4 receptions for 100 yards in the air, and 34 carries for 144 on the ground.
How’s he doing this season? He already has 1016 rushing yards on the season, and broke the school record Saturday night for the most career games (18) with over 100 yards. This Pac 12 offensive player of the week also tied the modern school record for the most TD’s in a single game, and is the second player in Washington history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 3 seasons….and there are still four games left in the regular season!
The game was much closer than the final score indicated; the Wildcats actually headed into the fourth up 31-28. With 8:21 on the clock, Polk responded with a 5 yard rushing TD, and added another with just under 4 minutes on the clock to secure the win and secure bowl eligibility for the Dawgs. Arizona QB Nick Foles ended the day 32 of 50 for 388 yards, 2 TD’s and 3 picks. Foles had just 5 interceptions on the season heading into game last Saturday.
Up next: Washington hosts No.8 Oregon Saturday night at 7:30 (Root Sports/FSN) in their last game at Husky Stadium before renovations begin. Expect this game to be a shootout with Polk on one side of the ball and LaMichael (if he is healthy) and Barner on the other.
No. 6 Oregon (7-1, 5-0 Pac 12) may have another win for the season, but the first half was anything but impressive as the Ducks went into half up just 15-10 on the Cougs; a game that many expected to be a typical Autzen blowout.
Things didn’t start well for the Washington State Cougars (3-5, 1-4 Pac 12) when they were penalized for a false start on their first offensive play of the game. Three plays later the Cougs were forced to punt on fourth and 5; it was blocked and sophomore LB Boseko Lokombo ran it back 25 yards to put the Ducks up 8-0 (2 point conversion) just 90 seconds into the first quarter. At this point I’m thinking this is going to be another typical Autzen blowout – but that wasn’t the case this Saturday afternoon. Oregon starting QB Darron Thomas couldn’t connect with his receivers and threw 2 interceptions in the first half. Coach Kelly made the decision at the break to bench Thomas and start backup Bennett in the second half. The change in the lineup paid off for the Ducks as they scored a TD less than one minute into the third when Bennett connected with freshman back De’Anthony Thomas for a 45 yard reception to put the Ducks up 22-10.
On their next offensive series, Oregon marched down the field 77 yards in 14 plays and scored on a 19 yard reception when Bennett connected with Lavasier Tuinei and put the Ducks up 28-13. The Ducks took control of the game at this point and had a better second half; defeating the Cougs with a final score of 43-28.
Bennett was 4 of 7 for 88 yards and 2 TD passes in the second half. Washington State QB Lobbestael finished the day 28 of 48 for 337 yards, a TD and 2 interceptions. Sophomore WR Marquess Wilson had a career high 11 catches for 126 yards; he has 889 on the year. The Ducks have a lot of tape to watch and improvements to make before they face Stanford on November 12 and USC on the 19th; they can’t expect to play a first half like they did Saturday and come out with a victory against a ranked team.
Up next: Oregon travels north to take on the Huskies and Washington State heads south to take on the Golden Bears (4-4, 1-4 Pac12). OSU Game time: 3:30 PST.
I don’t even feel like writing about Oregon State this week, but I can follow up with what I wrote last week and let you know that the Beavers will not be in the Pac 12 Championship. That scenario I talked about last week; gone. Oregon State (2-6, 2-3 Pac 12) traveled to Utah (4-4, 1-4 Pac 12) and were handled by the Utes 27-8 in a game that was ugly from the very first series. Mannion threw 3 interceptions and was sacked six times; Utah put up 225 rushing yards to the Beavs 32; TB Malcolm Agnew fumbled on the Utes 1 yard line; and OSU dropped key passes and missed a field goal. And if you thought Saturday was bad just wait until this weekend. Stanford’s triple OT at the Coliseum made them realize that they are not invincible in the Pac; expect them to come out and prove to everyone Saturday how much they want that Pac 12 Championship….
Up next: Oregon State hosts No. 4 Stanford Saturday. Game time: 12:30 PM on ABC.
Game of the week: No. 1 LSU vs No. 2 Alabama
Game time: 5:00 PST on CBS
Team Stats: LSU Tigers
Record: 8-0, 5-0 SEC
QB Position; Jarrett Lee: 98 of 155 for 1250 yards and 13 TD's
Passing: 99th Overall; 183.1 average
Rushing: 32nd Overall; 189.0
Points For: 13th Overall; 39.3
Points Against: 2nd Overall; 11.5
Team Stats: Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 8-0, 5-0 SEC
QB Position; AJ McCarron: 134 of 200 for 1664 yards and 10 TD's
Passing: 63rd Overall; 228.4 average
Rushing: 14th Overall; 229.3
Points For: 12th Overall; 39.4
Points Against: 1st Overall; 6.9
Chick Pick: Alabama
Over/Under: 48 Points