Tough foes and tough openers | Pac-10 in perspective
Maybe some of the SEC schools have it right. You open with Double Hyphenated U. and coast toward the conference season. On an opening weekend...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Maybe some of the SEC schools have it right. You open with Double Hyphenated U. and coast toward the conference season.
On an opening weekend that didn't do a lot to enhance the Pac-10's football reputation, four schools (UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State) that began with respected opponents all bit the dust.
What we learned
USC will be working on pass defense this week. The Trojans' secondary was believed suspect. That didn't change when it allowed Hawaii 459 passing yards.
Terry Baker appears safe. OK, the Heisman Trophy candidacies of Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers and Washington's Jake Locker aren't dead, but neither exactly fronted himself as a serious prospect. Just as bad, their teams lost. Baker (1962) likely will remain the Northwest's only Heisman winner.
UCLA looks a lot like the league's ninth-place team. The Bruins (313 yards vs. Kansas State) had the expected offensive problems, and quarterback Kevin Prince was just 9-of-26 passing. They also surrendered 235 yards rushing to K-State's Daniel Thomas.
This week: Stanford at UCLA and Oregon at Tennessee in the marquee games.
The Times' players of the week:
Offense: It was a season debut of some smashing statistics: Matt Barkley's five touchdown passes for USC; Andrew Luck's four for Stanford; Nick Foles' eye-popping 32-of-37 passing against Toledo. ASU sophomore back Cameron Marshall packed two long scoring runs into his four carries.
But when a guy has five touchdowns with almost nine minutes left in the half, he's the one. That's Kenjon Barner of Oregon, who was subbing for suspended LaMichael James against New Mexico. (By the way, when have you seen a disparity of 613 yards in two teams' total offense? Oregon had 720, the Lobos 107 in the Ducks' 72-0 victory.)
Defense: In defeat, UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers had a career-high 11 tackles, including a sack, plus two fumble recoveries.
Special teams: Cornerback Cliff Harris of Oregon touched two punts and took both to the house, from 61 and 64 yards out, tying a league record. He was only in the game because the Ducks had removed Barner from punt-return duties with a 42-0 lead.