Pac-12 Football: Game of the Week, Stanford’s QB Problem, Heisman WatchBy Debbie B.
The Pac-12 has five teams sitting in the Top 25 (see ya later Arizona schools) and this week’s schedule of games pits two of them against one another.
Stanford sits at #18 but there have been concerns about Josh Nunes as the team’s starting quarterback. Will he have a better game this week?
#2 Oregon will play conference spoiler #23 Washington. Can the Huskies have another Top 10 upset?
And on a final note, let’s take at look at the Heisman race.
Game of the Week: #2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0) vs. #23 Washington (3-1, 1-0)
Last week, Washington upset Stanford 17-3. The Huskie’s defense rolled over the Cardinals, holding them to 235 yards of offense and no offensive touchdowns.
Washington still has a lot to prove and they’ll be thrown into the fire against Oregon on Saturday.
The Ducks sit as No. 4 in the FBS rankings for scoring 52.4 points per game and No. 7 with total offense at 550.6 yards.
As for Washington, they average 313.3 yards of total offense–a weak No. 109 ranking
The Ducks have two talented running backs, Kenjon Barner and Heisman contender De’Anthony Thomas and a new quarterback that has exceeded expectations, Marcus Mariota.
To-date, he is 99 for 144, 1103 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As for the Huskies, they have Keith Price as their field general. In his four games, he has 737 yards, five touchdowns and two picks.
Their running game is weak with top back Bishop Sankey (329 yards, four touchdowns) and the passing game has Kasen Williams.
History is on Oregon’s side for the win as they’ve been the victor in the teams’ last 27 of 28 at-home games. In 2011, the Ducks won 38-17 and for this year, the bettors see another win for them at -24 with a 65.5 over/under.
Stanford’s Quarterback Problem
In last week’s upset by Washington, Stanford’s (3-1, 1-1) quarterback Nunes struggled and questions started swirling on whether there’d be a change this week against Arizona (3-2,0-2).
How bad was he last week? Nunes completed 18 of 37 passes,170 yards and one pick. Nope, there was no touchdown and the team had a hard time converting third downs, going 5 for 18 .
On Tuesday, Stanford coach David Shaw immediately shot this down at a press conference with, “Josh is the starting quarterback. He played well the first game. He played much better the second game. He played an OK half against USC, then an outstanding half against USC and is coming off a bad game. We’re not changing quarterbacks. That doesn’t make any sense to me. We wanted to bronze his arm and his legs after USC, and then now I have to answer a hundred questions about how come we’re not changing quarterbacks. It’s asinine.”
Note Stanford’s first game was San Jose State (a 20-17 win), followed by Duke (50-13). Not exactly Pac-12 competition.
To-date, Nune is 65 for 125 (52 percent), 785 yards, six touchdowns and four picks.
This week, he will face an Arizona team that has lost two in a row and one that is No. 10 in passing vs Stanford’s 106 ranking.
Can the slumping quarterback get his head back in the game? The bettors may think so, giving Stanford -9 and a 54.5 over/under.
In this week’s CBS Straw Poll, two Pac-12 players sit in the Top 10: USC’s Marqise Lee (WR) and Oregon’s Thomas.
Lee’s team had a bye last week but to-date, the player has 40 receptions for 457 yards and six touchdowns.
This week USC faces Utah, which could provide an opportunity for Lee to get his numbers up as well as for quarterback Matt Barkley. His name has fallen out of the Heisman conversation but the team has some October opportunities that could beef up his stats.
Oregon’s Thomas has been on the list for majority of the season and to-date, he has 31 attempts for 302 yards with five touchdowns. His teammate Barner has better numbers (96 carries for 605 yards, nine touchdowns) and may take the limelight away if Thomas’ production doesn’t increase.
West Virginia’s quarterback Geno Smith still sits at the top of the list and has -125 odds to win the Heisman, while Thomas is +500 and Barkley is +1200.