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Pac-10 Football Notes

By Connor Doyle
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 4, 2002

UA (1-0)

Last week: Beat Northern Arizona, 37-3

This week: Bye

Not too much stock should be taken in the Wildcats' first game of the season against the Division I-AA Lumberjacks, but head coach John Mackovic said the game did provide an opportunity to see where the passing game stood. The signs were good ¸ senior quarterback Jason Johnson threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game early in the third quarter. But a discouraging sign came with the running game, in which junior tailback Clarence Farmer only rushed for 29 yards, often against stacked coverage in the box.

Arizona State (1-1)

Last week: Beat Eastern Washington 38-2

This week: Central Florida (0-1)

Like their in-state counterpart, the Sun Devils took the opportunity last week to beat up on a DI-AA opponent in Eastern Washington. The victory snapped ASU's losing streak at six games, dating back to last season. The game was an important step for two players: redshirt freshmen Chad Christensen (quarterback) and Hakim Hill (tailback). Christensen didn't post gaudy numbers, but he played essentially mistake-free for the entire game, and Hill amassed 160 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, despite sharing touches with two other backs.

California (1-0)

Last week: Beat Baylor 70-22

This week: New Mexico St. (0-1)

Safe to say, no one expected this kind of offensive outburst from the Golden Bears, who scored a touchdown for every loss they suffered last season (10). Cal scored on the first play of the game, a trick play resulting in Terrell Williams throwing a 71-yard touchdown strike to receiver David Gray. On the next play of the game, Golden Bears' corner James Bethea ran back an interception to the Aggies 10-yard line, setting up another Cal touchdown. In all, Cal scored 35 points in the first quarter ¸ a school record.

No. 13 Oregon (1-0)

Last week: Beat Mississippi State 36-13

This week: Fresno State (1-1)

Oregon quarterback Jason Fife isn't making anyone forget about Joey Harrington just yet, but he showed poise in the pocket and an ability to make plays Saturday, finishing with 166 yards on 14-27 passing and three touchdowns. Running back Onterrio Smith gained 100 yards on the ground before halftime, and finished the game with 129 yards on 28 carries. The final score of the game doesn't indicate just how dominating the Ducks were early in the game. Oregon scored 27 points before the Bulldogs earned a first down, and it didn't punt until the third quarter. For the game, MSU had 31 yards rushing.

Oregon State (1-0)

Last week: Beat Eastern Kentucky 49-10

This week: Temple (1-0)

Coming into the season, the Beavers were wondering how to replace former standouts quarterback Jonathan Smith and tailback Ken Simonton. Saturday, head coach Dennis Erickson received strong performances from their replacements, Derek Anderson and Steven Jackson. Anderson compiled 345 yards and three touchdowns against the DI-AA Colonels, and Jackson rushed for 121 yards as well as two scores. Anderson's performance was the 10th-best passing display in school history.

No. 18 Southern California (1-0)

Last week: Beat Auburn 24-17

This week: Bye

In a rare Monday-night game, the Trojans made a statement in their victory over the Tigers. While quarterback Carson Palmer put up good numbers, it was the USC defense that made headlines. After Auburn tailback Carnell Williams gained 97 yards in the first half, the defense buckled down and stifled the Tigers' running game, holding Williams to 3 yards. It's an encouraging sign for the unit, which will have their hands full against Colorado, who led the NCAA in rushing last season, in two weeks. The defensive effort was augmented by USC's ability to control the clock, as the offense's had the ball for over 21 minutes in the second half. While Palmer threw for 302 yards, he was intercepted twice. He said after the game he didn't feel totally comfortable in the first half.

Stanford (0-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: Boston College (1-0)

Starting quarterback Chris Lewis will be unavailable for Saturday's game against BC while the senior serves his one game suspension from the NCAA for a "minor" rules violation. Redshirt freshman Kyle Matter will start in his place. Cardinal AD Ted Leland said the nature of Lewis' violation will remain confidential. Heading into their season opener, the Cardinal coaching staff said they're planning to involve three true freshmen ¸ defensive end Julian Jenkins, cornerback T. J. Rushing and tight end Matt Traverso ¸ in the team's first game. Both Jenkins and Rushing are No. 2 on the depth chart for their respective positions, and Traverso is slated to be the third-string tight end.

UCLA (0-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: No. 19 Colorado State (2-0)

Despite quarterback Cory Paus' superb play in training camp, head coach Bob Toledo said he's sticking to his plan to substitute in freshman quarterback Drew Olson during the second quarter of Saturday's game, no matter the score. Toledo said he wants Olson to get game experience in case something happens to Paus that would prevent him from playing ¸ whether it be injury or another off-the-field transgression. Toledo said this week that he expects as many as 10 redshirt freshmen and 9 true freshman could play against Boston College. This is unsettling to the head coach, who is already wary of a hot CSU team coming off an upset win over Colorado last weekend.

No. 14 Washington

Last week: Lost to Michigan 31-29

This week: San Jose State (1-0)

Washington and head coach Rick Neuheisel agreed to a six-year contract extension that will keep him in Seattle through 2008. Word of the new deal for the head coach comes on the heels of likely the biggest blunder in his career. The illegal participation penalty that gave the Wolverines a first down and a shot at the eventual game-winning field goal with 12 seconds left came right after Neuheisel called a timeout to set up the defense. After the game, Neuheisel said the penalty, and the loss, was squarely on his shoulders.

No. 11 Washington State

Last week: Beat Nevada 31-7

This week: Idaho (0-1)

The season opener wasn't only a coming-out party for the Cougars and the brand-new Seahawks Stadium ¸ home of the NFL franchise bearing the same name, but also for redshirt freshman linebacker Will Derting, who picked off three passes, returning one for a school-record 98 yards and a touchdown. While the score may have been lopsided in the Cougars' favor, the game was far from a repeat of last year's offensive explosiveness. Most discouraging was WSU's ground attack, which gained only 108 yards on 27 carries. Before the game, head coach Mike Price said his goal was at least 400 yards on offense against one of last year's worst defenses in college football. The Cougars only gained 369.

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