No. 19 Oregon at No. 24 Cal highlights Pac-12 week
Here are some things to watch in Week 5 of the Pac-12 Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 19 Oregon at No. 24 California. The Ducks (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) are coming off a disappointing collapse after No. 7 Stanford rallied from a 23-point deficit to win 38-31 in Eugene. They face a stiff test in their first road game of 2018. The Bears (3-0) will be playing their first Pac-12 game after a perfect start in nonconference play moved them into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2015. The key will be if Oregon QB Justin Hebert, among the national leaders in TDs and passing yards, can navigate against a Cal defense that’s tied for second nationally with seven interceptions.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: No. 7 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame. It’s not a conference game, but it could have College Football Playoff implications. The Cardinal (4-0) boosted their resume with the win at Oregon last week and could pick up another notable road victory in South Bend. The Irish have not been dominating except for last week’s 56-27 victory over Wake Forest after switching quarterbacks. Ian Book accounted for five TDs after taking over for Brandon Wimbush but will face a much stiffer challenge against Stanford’s rugged defense. The last time the Cardinal and Irish played when both were undefeated was 1925.
NUMBERS GAME: Arizona RB J.J. Taylor’s 284 yards rushing last week against Oregon State is the most in the FBS this season. ... Utah leads the FBS in pass defense, allowing 93 yards per game. ... Arizona (one) and USC (two) have forced the fewest turnovers in the Pac-12. ... UCLA is off to its first 0-3 start since opening 0-4 in 1971. ... Colorado is 3-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1994-95.
UPSET WATCH: Arizona hosting Southern California. The Trojans are road favorites for Saturday’s game in Tucson, but the Wildcats are rounding into form after a slow start to the season. Arizona has won two straight after opening 0-2, and the Trojans are coming off a tight win over Washington State after losing two straight.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington. The Huskies’ stellar defense is anchored by the speedy senior. This week, Burr-Kirven became the first player to earn consecutive Pac-12 defensive player of the week awards in three years after notching 22 tackles against Arizona State, most by a Washington player in 22 years.