A look at Week 6 of the Pac-12 football seasonPosted: Updated:
Two undefeated teams met Thursday night when Arizona faced No. 2 Oregon to kick off Week 6 in the Pac-12. Here are a few other things to watch after that game:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 14 Stanford at No. 9 Notre Dame. A non-conference game, but one that could end up affecting the first year of the College Football Playoff. The Cardinal (3-1) are still in the mix for the Pac-12 title and a potential playoff spot despite losing to Southern California. The Irish are 4-0, but have yet to face anyone as physical or formidable as Stanford after facing four teams with a combined 7-11 record. Beating the Cardinal could look awfully good in the eyes of the playoff selection committee - as long as the Irish don't follow up with a slip-up somewhere else on the schedule.
BEST MATCHUP: UCLA's kick-coverage teams against Utah return specialist Kaelin Clay. UCLA coach Jim Mora was adamant that his team would kick to Clay or any other returner, saying the Bruins have one of the best kickoff and punt coverage teams in the nation. He's right. UCLA has yet to allow a single return yard in 23 punts this season and is 11th nationally on kickoff coverage, allowing 16.5 yards per game. But they also haven't faced anyone like Clay. Though small - 5-foot-10, 183 pounds - Clay is fast and has already tied Utah's single-season record with three punt-return touchdowns.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Oregon State leads the FBS in kickoff returns, averaging 32.5 yards per game. Senior Ryan Murphy helped that average last week with a 97-yard return for a TD against USC. ... Washington State QB Connor Halliday broke Alex Brink's school record with his 78th career TD pass against Utah last week and still leads the nation with 2,318 yards passing, nearly 500 more than Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty. ... USC's Cody Kessler has yet to throw an interception in 132 pass attempts this season.
IMPACT PLAYER: Arizona State QB Mike Bercovici. The junior waited three years to get his shot and had some spectacular moments in his debut. Playing in place of injured starter Taylor Kelly, Bercovici broke school records for attempts (68) and completions (42) while throwing for 488 yards and three TDs. He also had three turnovers - two interceptions and a fumble - which helped lead to a 62-27 blowout loss to UCLA last week. He will start again this week at No. 16 USC with Kelly still out.