No. 15 Washington at UCLA top Pac-12 football this week

  • Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. attempts a pass while being pressured by Stanford defensive end Stephen Herron Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Seattle.

    Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. attempts a pass while being pressured by Stanford defensive end Stephen Herron Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Seattle. Associated Press

  • California running back Jaydn Ott (6) runs the ball for a 73-yard touchdown against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

    California running back Jaydn Ott (6) runs the ball for a 73-yard touchdown against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Associated Press

 
 
Posted9/29/2022 7:00 AM

Here are some things to watch this week in the Pac-12 Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK

 

No. 15 Washington at UCLA, Friday. The Huskies have turned things around quickly in their first season under coach Kalen DeBoer. Washington (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) has had a great pass rush so far, racking up 15 sacks, and Michael Penix Jr. has been superb now that he's healthy, throwing for an FBS-best 1,388 yards and 12 TDs. The Huskies have their first 4-0 start since 2017, but are facing their first road game in the only matchup up undefeated Pac-12 teams. The Bruins (4-0, 1-0) have a seven-game winning streak over two seasons, their longest since opening the 2005 season. They also have won 11 straight games against top-15 opponents, including Washington twice.

MATCHUP OF THE WEEK

Oregon State at No. 12 Utah, Saturday. The Utes (3-1, 1-0) bounced back from a road loss at Florida to open the season with three lopsided wins, outscoring opponents 142-27. Utah dominated Arizona State last week, holding the Sun Devils to a program-low six rushing yards, but lost TE and leading receiver Brant Kuithe to a season-ending knee injury. The Beavers (3-1, 0-1) won their first three games before giving up a late score in a 17-14 loss to No. 7 Southern California last week. Oregon State has not beat a ranked road opponent in a decade, but beat Utah 42-34 at home last year.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

The Pac-12 has four teams inside the AP top 15 for the first time since 1986: No. 7 USC, No. 12 Utah, No. 13 Oregon and No. 15 Washington. USC's ranking is its highest since reaching fifth in 2017 ... Arizona State (1-3, 0-1) is off to its worst four-game start since 1994. Interim coach Shaun Aguano will coach his second game since Herm Edwards was fired. ... Oregon has won 21 straight home games, third-longest in the FBS. ... Stanford has lost eight straight conference games, its longest Pac-12 streak since 2002-03. ... USC has yet to have a turnover on offense and leads the FBS with a plus-14 turnover differential.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Jayden de Laura, Arizona. The Wildcats' new quarterback has been solid since transferring from Washington State. He's second in the Pac-12 and 22nd nationally with 287.3 yards passing and has accounted for seven touchdowns. De Laura threw for 401 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against Cal.

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UPSET WATCH

California at Washington State, Saturday. The Cougars (3-1, 1-0) are 3 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but the Bears (3-1, 1-0) are coming off a 49-31 win over Arizona. Jaydn Ott had a monster game against the Wildcats, running for a Pac-12 freshman-record 274 yards and three TDs, including two over 70 yards. Washington State is coming off a 44-41 loss to Oregon after blowing a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. Cal has not won in Pullman since 2014.

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