Pac-10 Notebook: Shootout Awaits Cougars in the Horseshoe





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Rebels, Vandals, Cowboys and Buffaloes. This isn't a history lesson of the Old West, but it is a sampling of the opponents the Pac-10 will face this weekend.

With eight of its 10 teams in action last weekend, the Pac-10 improved its overall record to 14-3. The competition gets tougher this weekend, as the conference's opponents include three top-25 teams.

No. 10 Washington State had no problems with Idaho over the weekend, beating the Vandals 49-14. The Cougars, currently the highest ranked team in the Pac-10, will travel to Columbus this Saturday to face No. 8 Ohio State in the Horseshoe in what figures to be one of the marquee matchups of the week.

Both teams are 2-0 and have averaged over 400 yards of offense per game to open the season, making this game somewhat of a Rose Bowl in September.

Cougar quarterback Jason Gesser will try to build from his momentum gathered in the first two games, in which he has thrown for 462 yards and four touchdowns.

After suffering a heartbreaking loss to Michigan the week before, it almost seemed like No. 14 Washington would open the season with two losses after a horrible first half against San Jose State on Saturday. The Huskies trailed 10-0 after 30 minutes to the Spartans, who were heavy underdogs.

But Washington coach Rick Neuheisel rallied his bunch in the second half, scoring 34 unanswered points and winning 34-10, giving the Huskies a 1-1 record going into a bye week.

Another Pac-10 team having some difficulty over the weekend was No. 13 Oregon. Fresno State led the Ducks 24-22 deep into the fourth quarter, but a late touchdown drive orchestrated by Oregon quarterback Jason Fife put the Ducks up 28-24 and prevented a devastating upset.

This weekend, Oregon faces Idaho, who has the unpleasant task of facing the Pac-10's two highest ranked teams in consecutive weeks

No. 17 USC, who perhaps has the toughest nonconference schedule of any Pac-10 team, will play No. 18 Colorado on Saturday.

Colorado will be without starting QB Craig Ochs, who suffered a concussion last weekend against San Diego State.

No. 23 UCLA entered the rankings for the first time this season by virtue of a 30-19 victory over No. 24 Colorado State. The Bruins' offense was stagnant until the fourth quarter, when they erupted for 23 points.

Running backs Akil Harris and Manuel White Jr. combined for 146 yards and three touchdowns on only 24 carries. UCLA will battle Oklahoma State this weekend.

Oregon State looks to remain undefeated when they take on UNLV on Saturday.

The Beavers have one of the most potent offenses in the Pac-10, averaging 514 yards of offense in their first two games.

An opening thrashing at the hands of Nebraska has only lit a fire under Arizona State.

After losing to Nebraska 48-10 on Aug. 24, the Sun Devils have won their last two games by a combined total of 84-15, including a 46-13 win last weekend against Central Florida. Arizona State takes on San Diego State this weekend.

While most Pac-10 teams enjoyed success over the weekend, Stanford was not so fortunate.

Boston College beat the Cardinal 34-27 on a late touchdown by running back Derrick Knight. The loss spoiled the debut of new Stanford coach Buddy Teevens, who will look for his first win Saturday against SJSU.

Arizona returns to action this weekend after a bye week. They will face Mountain West foe Utah in Tucson.

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