Game of the week
UCLA at Oregon
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Washington walked the Stanford-Oregon path, got knocked from the polls and then got clobbered by Arizona State. UCLA, a loser to the Cardinal last week, looks to avoid a similar fate. But winning at Eugene is a tough task. And the Ducks are getting stronger with the return of De’Anthony Thomas, who has missed the last four games because of an ankle injury. Oregon didn’t miss a step with Byron Marshall rushing for 746 yards and nine touchdowns and Thomas Tyner going for 360 and seven scores.
Oregon State over Stanford
Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion is hot, hot, hot. He leads the nation in passing yards, touchdowns and total offense. Oregon State had to recover from an opening game pratfall against Eastern Washington but has won six straight. Stanford brings an excellent defense and has outscored Oregon State 103-36 in the teams’ last three meetings, but the atmosphere in Corvallis will be crazy as the Beavers pull out a squeaker.
Others to watch
The Buckeyes have been in tussles throughout Big Ten play, but they’ve worn down Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa in the second half behind a big offensive line and power running back Carlos Hyde. Ohio State is averaging 280 rushing yards per game. The Nittany Lions haven’t played since their four-overtime victory over Michigan, and they’re not eligible for a bowl game. So, the program savors big moments like this. “No offense to the bowl system, (but) I don’t know too many bowls that are better,” Lions coach Bill O’Brien said.
Nebraska at Minnesota
Taylor Martinez has returned to practice after missing a month because of a toe injury, but will he play? Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III have taken the snaps, but the offensive star since the UCLA loss has been running back Ameer Abdullah, who has averaged 8.9 yards per carry over the last three games. Minnesota broke a two-game losing streak with a victory over Northwestern last week, but because the Gophers don’t have a good passing offense, Nebraska can line up to stop the run.
On the horizon: Nov. 2 games
Miami, Fla. at Florida State
The Sunshine State rivalry is back
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Pokes have won four straight in series
Michigan at Michigan State
Big Ten Legends lead likely at stake