Things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 7 Southern California at No. 20 Utah. The Trojans (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12) have thrived in their first season under Lincoln Riley, who is the first USC coach to open 6-0 in his first season since Jess Hill in 1951. QB Caleb Williams, who followed Riley from Oklahoma, has been superb and the defense has been dominating, leading the nation with 12 interceptions. Saturday’s game will be USC’s biggest test so far. The Utes (4-2, 2-1) are coming off a 42-32 loss to No. 11 UCLA, but have won 11 straight home games and have one of the conference’s best defenses. Utah leads the Pac-12 – 13th among Power Five schools – in total yards per game allowed at 315.8 and second in points at 19 allowed per game.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Washington State at Oregon State. The Cougars (4-2, 1-2) have had a solid first full season under coach Jake Dickert, winning their first three games and losing to Oregon by three. Washington State played USC tough last week before losing 30-14, but lost starting running back Nakai Watson and receiver Renard Bell to injuries. The Beavers (4-2, 1-2) pulled off on of the most improbable wins in the Pac-12 last week, scoring the winning touchdown with 13 seconds and no timeouts left when Tre’Shaun Harrison caught a pass over the back of a Stanford defender and ran in for a 56-yard touchdown. Oregon State trailed by 14 heading into the fourth quarter and won 28-27.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Pac-12 has five of the 15 highest-scoring FBS teams: Oregon (42), UCLA (41.5), Washington (41), Utah (40.3) and USC (40.2). … Arizona has lost its last seven conference road games as it heads to Washington on Saturday. … The Huskies are looking for their first 5-0 home start since 2018. … Stanford has lost 11 straight games against FBS opponents heading into Saturday’s game against Notre Dame. The Cardinal’s 10 straight Pac-12 losses is the longest in program history.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Tuli Tuipulotu, USC. The The 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive lineman has been dominating this season, leading the nation with 7.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss per game. He had three sacks and four tackles for loss in the win over Washington State last week to earn Pac-12 defensive player of the week honors.
Colorado vs. California. The Bears (3-2, 1-1) are 14 1/2-point favorites in Saturday’s game, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but the Buffaloes (0-5, 0-2) are in desperation mode. Colorado fired coach Karl Dorrell after a Week 5 loss to Arizona and have lost six straight games over two seasons. Cal has struggled offensively, scoring 25.8 points per game – 11th in the Pac-12 – so if the Buffaloes can find some semblance of offense, they might have a shot.
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