Pac-10 Notebook: Cougars Edge Trojans, Lead Pac-10 Standings





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Though Pac-10 conference play began two weeks ago, the schedule for this Saturday marks the first full slate of intra-conference matchups. The race for the roses is no longer a stroll-it's a winding, difficult sprint.

The four conference games over the weekend saw the higher-ranked team winning three times. Cal's defeat of No. 22 Washington prevented a sweep from the favorites.

No. 12 Washington State pulled out its second dramatic win in a row to take an early lead in the standings.

In one of the most thrilling games of the early conference season, the Cougars (5-1, 2-0 in the Pac-10) pulled out a 30-27 overtime win over No. 20 USC.

WSU kicker Drew Dunning, the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week, nailed a 35-yard field goal in the first extra frame to finally thwart the Trojans.

Thirty-five was the lucky number for Dunning, who had kicked another 35-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in regulation to tie the game.

USC kicker Ryan Killeen, whose legwork two weeks ago against Oregon State earned him Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, was the goat Saturday.

Killeen botched an extra point in regulation and missed a 52-yard field goal in the Trojans' only overtime possession.

The Cougars and USC will both battle Bay Area opponents over the weekend, with the Trojans trying to rebound against the Bears (4-2, 1-1) in Los Angeles and WSU traveling to Palo Alto to battle Stanford.

Cal's duel with USC features teams with two of the strongest schedules in collegiate football. The Bears' opponents have a combined 21-10 record, while the Trojans have played teams who have totaled a 20-7 mark. In 11 total games between the two teams, eight of the opponents have been ranked.

The Cardinal (1-3, 0-1) received a rude welcome last Saturday in South Bend, Ind., where No. 8 Notre Dame scored 31 unanswered points to beat Stanford 31-7.

Stanford QB Chris Lewis threw interceptions on three consecutive second-half possessions, and had two of those returned for touchdowns.

UCLA (4-1, 1-0) takes on No. 7 Oregon (5-0, 1-0) at the Rose Bowl. Both teams are coming off hard-fought road wins, with the Bruins beating OSU (4-2, 0-2) 43-35 and the Ducks defeating Arizona 31-14.

Though UCLA owns a 37-19 edge in the all-time series, Oregon has won the last two meetings.

Oregon's 10-game winning streak is the second-longest in the nation, only trailing Miami's 27.

A win against the Bruins might give the Ducks an edge for the rest of the Pac-10 season, as Oregon returns home after this weekend to play consecutive home games against Arizona State, USC and Stanford.

Washington (3-2, 0-1) will try to clean up all of the broken streaks left on the field after last week's game against Cal, taking on Arizona.

The Wildcats (3-2, 0-1) kept it close against Oregon last weekend, but could generate no offense in the second half to break the Ducks' winning streak.

ASU (4-2, 1-0) also suffered a crushing home defeat last Saturday against North Carolina, losing 38-35 to the Tar Heels. Sun Devils quarterback Andrew Walter threw for 474 yards, but could not generate any touchdowns in the air. ASU will look to rebound against OSU, who also suffered a tough home loss last weekend.

After starting the season 4-0 and breaking into the top 25, the Beavers are in danger of falling out of the Pac-10 race early. They are the only 0-2 team in conference play.

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