Trojans at Huskies
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m., Husky Stadium
Records: Washington (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12), USC (6-3, 4-2)
TV/Radio: Fox 28/107.1-FM
Overview: ESPN’s “College GameDay” is in town, a sellout crowd is expected at Husky Stadium and many eyes in the college football world will be watching when the No. 4 Washington Huskies host the No. 20 USC Trojans. Against Pac-12 teams only, the Trojans allow 4.16 yards per rush. That figure ranks third in the conference, five spots ahead of the Huskies at 4.80. So this could be a difficult matchup for UW running backs Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, both of whom have been efficient and productive throughout this season. Gaskin needs only 48 yards to crack the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season, but he’s going against a USC defense that held Oregon’s Royce Freeman to 38 yards on 10 carries last week and has allowed only two 100-yard rushers this season. USC’s top three tacklers are linebackers Cameron Smith and Michael Hutchings and defensive end Porter Gustin. That trio has also combined for 18 tackles for loss and five sacks. The Huskies currently rank sixth nationally in yards per rush at 5.92.
Christian Caple, TNT
Vandals at Bobcats
Kickoff: 1 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, Texas
Records: Idaho (5-4, 3-2 Sun Belt), Texas State (2-6, 0-4)
Overview: Think of each week as a one-game championship. That’s what Idaho coaches have drilled into their players all season, and every week it becomes clearer: The Vandals have embraced the process that Paul Petrino preaches. “It’s the way we’ve done things and the way we’ll always do them,” he said, “and it’s just a lot easier for everyone to believe in it now.” If Idaho beats Texas State, the last-place team in the Sun Belt, it will hit the magic six-win mark needed to become bowl eligible – a goal that UI players and coaches have been fixated on since the bitter end to last season. The Vandals, eight-point favorites, have won three of their last four games. The surge has been fueled by a defense that’s suddenly pressuring opposing quarterbacks (13 sacks in the last three games) and a methodical, sometimes explosive offense. “I think it starts with the guys up front,” Petrino said, when asked about the defensive improvement. But he could have just as easily been talking about the offensive line. In last week’s win at Louisiana-Lafayette, QB Matt Linehan wasn’t sacked and UI running backs, led by Isaiah Saunders, rushed for 157 yards. That was without starting tackle Jordan Rose, who is expected back this week. Texas State is looking for its first conference win under first-year coach Everett Withers, whom Petrino has been familiar with and respected for years. Withers was the defensive coordinator at Louisville from 1995-97, just before Petrino joined the Cardinals staff under John L. Smith in 1998.
Josh Wright, Correspondent
Pirates at Pioneers
Kickoff: 1 p.m. at Griswold Stadium in Portland
Records: Whitworth (7-2, 5-1 Northwest Conference), Lewis & Clark (0-8, 0-6)
Overview: The Pirates face the ultimate trap game by traveling to take on a Pioneers team trying to do anything it can to notch its first win of the season. If Whitworth has its typical day on offense, the Pirates should break another round of records behind quarterback Ian Kolste, who has become the first player in program history to surpass 3,000 in total yards and passing yards. He leads all of NCAA Division III in passing yards per game (382.2) and completions per game (35.4). The Pirates will face a defense that is allowing 43 points and 515.3 yards a game. Unless it wins the turnover battle, Lewis & Clark will likely extend its 31-game losing streak. When the Pirates score their first touchdown, they will have set team records for points and total yards per game. Kolste also needs 22 completions to pass Bryan Peterson’s record of 34 completions per game. The team has set marks for total offense (4,723) and points (406). Duke DeGaetano had a record day last Saturday when he ran for 197 yards and three touchdowns to give him 20 for the season, breaking the record of 18 touchdowns set by Adam Anderson in 2008. DeGaetano needs 65 yards to pass 1,000 for the season.
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