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September 27, 2006

Pac-10: Week 5 Breakdown

Fox's Week 5 picks
Rivals.com national writer David Fox's predictions for Week 5 in the Pac-10.
Saturday's games:
USC 31, Washington State 3
Oregon 38, Arizona State 28
Cal 35, Oregon State 10
Washington 14, Arizona 10
UCLA 28, Stanford 7
Last week: 4-1 Season: 24-7

On the road again: All three of the Pac-10's ranked teams will hit the road this week. No. 3 USC goes to Washington State, No. 14 Oregon heads to Arizona State and No. 20 Cal travels to Oregon State. Stanford is probably glad to head out of town after being outscored 73-19 in the remodeled Stanford Stadium.

Best matchup: The trenches in the USC-Washington State game. For each team, a top defensive end will face a top offensive tackle. Washington State's Mkristo Bruce, who had five sacks against Stanford last week, will have a tougher matchup this week against preseason All-American Sam Baker. USC's Lawrence Jackson, who has yet to pick up a sack this year, will be matched up against 6-foot-7 left tackle Bobby Byrd.

Worst matchup: UCLA running back Chris Markey vs. Stanford's rush defense. The Cardinal have been the worst team in the nation at stopping the run, allowing 312 rushing yards per game. Markey, who leads the Pac-10 in rushing at 121.3 yards per game, could have a career day. Markey may be relied on heavily if quarterback Ben Olson struggles for the third consecutive week.

The pressure is on: Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter. A year after being the nation's most efficient passer and forcing Sam Keller out of a job, the sophomore has been anything but efficient. With four picks against No. 20 Cal, his eight interceptions lead the nation. His efficiency rating of 143.82 is 31st in the country. The Sun Devils play host to No. 14 Oregon this week and face No. 3 USC on Oct. 14.

Upset alert: Arizona is favored at home over Washington, but the Huskies have already picked up two upsets in two weeks. Washington and Arizona are well aware of the letdown factor. Last season, the Huskies pounded the Wildcats 38-14 a week after Arizona's 52-14 stunner over UCLA. A third consecutive win for Washington wouldn't be a shocker over the offensively challenged Wildcats.

Most to gain: The winner of Washington at Arizona. The Wildcats were a trendy pick to be a surprise team in the country heading into Mike Stoops' third season. Arizona's two losses to LSU and USC are nothing to be ashamed of, but the Wildcats were outscored 65-6 and outgained 842-306 in those games. Washington, meanwhile, has scored two upsets over Fresno State and UCLA at home.

Most to lose: Arizona State. Even after only one conference game – a 49-21 loss to Cal last week – the Sun Devils could be all but eliminated from the Pac-10 race with a second consecutive loss against Oregon. Arizona State's next game comes on the road against USC.

Who's hot: Cal quarterback Nate Longshore. Since the loss to Tennessee in the opener, Longshore is 55 of 80 for 795 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Who's hot II: UCLA's defense. New defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker has turned around one of the worst defensive units in the country last season. The Bruins are ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and 15th nationally in total defense. Sure, that includes Rice from Week 2, but the Bruins also held Utah to 10 points in the opener.

Who's not: UCLA quarterback Ben Olson. After a standout performance in his first career start, Olson has dropped off dramatically. In the last two games he is 31 of 50 for 259 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Must see TV: Oregon at Arizona State, 3:30 p.m. Eastern, ABC

Backup who could have an impact: USC wide receiver Patrick Turner. The sophomore, who was rated the No. 1 receiver recruit in the country in 2005, will fill in for an injured Dwayne Jarrett. John David Booty will still have a big downfield target with the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Turner subbing for the All-American.

Backup who could have an impact II: Against Cal, Arizona State running back Ryan Torain ran for 191 yards and a touchdown while subbing for Keegan Herring. If Herring is limited and Oregon defensive backs J.D. Nelson and Patrick Chung cause the same problems for Rudy Carpenter that Cal did, look for Torain to play a major role again.

Newcomer who could have an impact: UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner. The freshman could unseat Rodney Van as the starter after Van struggled against Washington last week.

Key stat: 1: Touchdown by Arizona against Division I-A opponents. Anthony Johnson caught a touchdown pass from Willie Tuitama in the opener against BYU.

Take the line: Oregon State is a 10-point underdog at home against Cal, but the Bears should cover the spread. The Bears' defense caused all kinds of problems for Rudy Carpenter last week. Cal now faces Matt Moore, who has 21 interceptions in his last 13 starts. Season: 1-3.

They said it: "He certainly has an impressive résumé of surgeries."- Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter on defensive end Loren Howard, who could seek a sixth year of eligibility after being sidelined with partial tear in his quad muscle this season. Howard missed the 2004 season at Northwestern because of ankle surgery.

Injury update: USC wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett will miss 2-4 weeks with a strained shoulder. Freshman fullback Stanley Havili has missed practice with a cracked fibula. … Arizona State running back Keegan Herring missed all but one play of the Cal game with a hamstring strain but should return for Oregon. Offensive tackle Andrew Carnahan is likely out for the season with a torn ACL. Wide receiver Rudy Burgess should return against Oregon this week after a neck injury sidelined him against Cal. … Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama limped off the field with a calf bruise and missed the Wildcats' last possession against USC. Wide receiver Syndric Steptoe left the game early with a deep thigh bruise. Both should return this week. Defensive tackle Yaniv Barnett is questionable with a heart arrhythmia. … Oregon defensive end Victor Filipe remains sidelined after missing the first four weeks of the season with a dislocated elbow. Receivers James Finley, Garren Strong, Derrick Jones and Cameron Colvin should return after playing limited roles in the Oklahoma game. Colvin's hamstring injury, however, could linger. Linebacker Brent Haberly is likely out for the year with a broken arm.

Worth noting: Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes is tied for the national lead with interceptions with five. Bears wide receiver DeSean Jackson is tied for the national lead in receiving touchdowns with six. … Arizona State tight end Zach Miller is five catches shy of Todd Heap's school record of 115 receptions by a tight end. … Stanford is 0-4 for the first time since 1987. … Arizona senior defensive tackle Marcus Smith moved from defensive end to make his first start at tackle in the absence of starter Yaniv Barnett. … Oregon State's 38-0 win was the Beavers' first shutout since the 0-0 tie with Oregon in 1983 and the Beavers' first shutout at home since a 7-0 win over Washington State in 1975. … Washington's Sean Douglas leads the nation in punting with 48.79 yards per kick. … Washington State's Mkristo Bruce leads the nation in sacks with seven.

Looking back: The biggest statement in the conference has been from Cal. The Bears have recovered from a dismal showing against Tennessee to put up 40 or more points in the last three games – including a 42-point first half against Arizona State. USC was held to fewer than 30 points in consecutive games for the first time since the 2003 Rose Bowl (a 28-14 win over Michigan) and the 2004 season opener against Virginia Tech (a 24-13 win). It's the first time it has happened in the regular season since 2002. Washington showed it is the surprise team in the conference by beating UCLA for its third win of the season. The Huskies won three games in the last two years combined.

Freshman who impressed: Emmanuel Moody. The USC running back solidified his status as the Trojans' feature back with 130 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries against Arizona. He had 11 more carries than junior Chauncey Washington.

More Week 5 Conference Previews: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | SEC

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