Here are some things to watch in Week 8 of the Pac-12 Conference football season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State. This is a key game in determining who will remain alive for the North Division title. The Ducks (5-1, 2-1) feature running back CJ Verdell, who has rushed for 100 yards or more in three straight games, while the Cougars (5-1, 2-1) lead the nation in passing offense at 410.4 yards per game behind the arm of Gardner Minshew. The game will have a festive atmosphere as ESPN’s “College GameDay” makes its first appearance at Washington State.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK: Colorado at No. 15 Washington. Both teams are looking to bounce back from road losses. The Buffaloes (5-1, 2-1) have yet to allow a touchdown during the fourth quarter but face a tough challenge in containing Huskies QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin. Washington (5-2, 3-1) probably saw its College Football Playoff hopes dashed last week but the winner of this game will become the conference’s first team to become bowl eligible this season.
NUMBERS GAME: The tradition of waving Washington State’s Ol’ Crimson in the background on ESPN’s GameDay has reached 216 consecutive appearances. . Utah QB Tyler Huntley last week became the ninth conference player since 1996 to throw, rush and catch a touchdown in the same game. . UCLA RB Joshua Kelley is the first Bruin to have three straight 100-yard games since Jordon James in 2013.
UPSET WATCH: USC at Utah. The Utes are favored by seven at home, but the Trojans have won three straight and are 15-1 against the Pac-12 South during coach Clay Helton’s tenure.
IMPACT PERFORMER: Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson. The freshman leads the conference in rushing and is fourth in the nation, averaging 144.2 yards per game. He needs 135 yards to become the first Beavers running back to reach 1,000 yards since Jacquizz Rodgers (1,440) in 2009.
Source: The Associated Press