Pac-12 Week 3 Breakdown

Pac-12 Week 3 Breakdown

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Game of the Week:

Washington @  #5 Nebraska

After playing twice last season, with each team winning one, Washington and Nebraska have formed a bit of a short-term rivalry. Both teams have active and athletic quarterbacks in Taylor Martinez (NE) and Keith Price (WA). Martinez leads the Huskers in passing and rushing at this point and should continue that through this weekend. Washington’s defense has not looked great so far; although last week’s Pac-12 defensive and special teams PoW belong to the Huskies in linebacker Cort Dennison and Everrette Thompson. With a healthy Chris Polk (RB), Washington adds more balance to a recently pass-heavy offense. Expect a high-scoring affair with a big day from Price and Polk, but ultimately, this will culminate a late, heroic performance from Martinez to give Nebraska a win in Lincoln.


Honorable Mention:

Syracuse @ #19 Southern California

Both of these teams have played their opponents close in weeks one and two. USC has stated that their goal for the season is to play spoiler to the rest of the FBS, but they may need to play at a higher level if that is to come to fruition.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley has only four passing touchdowns in the first two games, and three of them have gone to wide receiver Robert Woods. They will need to spread the scoring around more if they expect to fool Syracuse’s defensive unit, coached by former Michigan and Stanford Defensive Coordinator, Scott Shafer.

Southern Cal should have no trouble putting pressure on Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, and force poor decisions from whistle to whistle. A low scoring game should be expected, with USC coming out with a home victory and a 3-0 start.


Do Not Overlook:

Washington State @ San Diego State

Considering the preseason outlook for the Cougars, they have been quite impressive so far. WSU currently ranks number one in the FBS with 61.5 points per game. In addition, they are only allowing 14 points per game defensively. Quarterback Marshall Lobbestael has seven touchdowns with no interceptions, and a passer rating of 217.1. Lobbestael has spread the ball around evenly with four different receivers scoring two touchdowns each.

San Diego State is led by star running back, Ronnie Hillman. The sophomore is averaging 153 and two touchdowns per game. The Aztecs are coming off of a 9-4 season and a bowl win over Navy in 2010, and have much bigger goals this season. They go to Michigan and host TCU and Boise State this season and that will make or break their run for a prestigious bowl game.

Expect Washington State to come back to earth against the Aztecs powerful rushing attack. Hillman will look to deflate the Cougars sense of self-worth by rushing for 150+ yards and two touchdowns. The Cougars season begins its downward turn this weekend in San Diego.


Upset Alert:

#9 Stanford @ Arizona

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has been unstoppable in the first two weeks. Although the Wildcats have taken a loss to Oklahoma State, which many teams will do this season, Foles has over 800 yards passing with six touchdowns. Wide receiver Dan Buckner has surprised defenses by hauling in 14 passes. Juron Criner is due to have a big game, with great athletic ability and superior route running.

Andrew Luck is the talk of the FBS and the Heisman front-runner. He has thrown for 461 yards and six touchdowns, but shared the workload with running back Stepfan Taylor who had two touchdowns in week one.

If Arizona can continue to spread the ball to his secondary receivers and keep the Stanford defense on its toes, Arizona could give the Cardinal all the offense it can handle. The Wildcats home field advantage could come into play if the game stays close into the second half. Don’t be surprised to see Stanford take two losses this year, and one of them is against Arizona this weekend.


Players to Watch:

QB Brock Osweiler, ASU: Off to an amazing start for the up-and-coming Sun Devils. Illinois has less to offer defensively than Missouri, and Osweiler threw for 353 yards and three  touchdowns against them.

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford: Has three sacks in two games for total loss of 35 yards. Will be crucial in stopping the Wildcats’ Nick Foles.

K Will Oliver, CO: Freshman has made five field goals in two games, with four (22,27,32,52) against Cal. Field goals could prove the difference in a state rivalry against Colorado State

CB Desmond Trufant, WA: Has shown that he is ready to make plays against strong passing teams. Amassed four defended passes, two interceptions, and 12 tackles so far this season.


Football Week 3 Breakdown