ESPN College GameDay visits the Pac-12 this weekend for the highly-anticipated No. 4 Washington at No. 17 Utah game. But for those who are a fan of #Pac12AfterDark, you know there’s a lot more than just the Huskies and Utes on the docket this weekend. Here’s what to watch:
No. 17 Utah vs. No. 4 Washington, 12:30 p.m. PT, FS1
Though the Huskies have won eight of the nine meetings between these two teams, it was Utah that won the match up a year ago behind a powerful rushing performance from Devontae Booker. This season the Utes have Joe Williams, who’s coming off a four-touchdown, 332-yard performance against UCLA a week ago. His speed (with an assist from the Utah offensive line) has been dangerous for opponents since he has been back, tallying 419 of his 511 rushing yards before contact. On the other side of the ball Washington quarterback Jake Browning will look to continue his impactful play. Browning leads the FBS in touchdown rate (15.1) and he has done it by targeting a diverse group of pass-catchers. The Huskies are one of just three FBS teams to have had at least 10 players catch a touchdown pass this season.
Oregon vs. Arizona State, 2:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks
In the third start of his career, freshman quarterback Justin Herbert will face a heavy-blitz Todd Graham defense. The Sun Devils rank 15th in the FBS in sacks (23) but they also rank dead last in 20-plus yard pass completions (39), so it’ll be a unique challenge for the freshman. Arizona State will employ running back Kalen Ballage, who hasn’t had any huge performances since his seven-touchdown game against Texas Tech in Week 2. But with an Oregon defense that has given up 249 rushing yards per game (120th in FBS) and has allowed opponents to convert on 73.1 percent of their third-down rushing attempts (worst in FBS), Ballage could be in store for a big afternoon.
Oregon State vs. Washington State, 7:45 p.m. PT, ESPN2/WatchESPN
Oregon State running back Ryan Nall is listed as questionable for this weekend’s match up but his presence in this game could be huge. Nall averages 4.6 yards per rush after contact, the second-best average of any Power 5 running back. The rushing prowess doesn’t stop there for the Beavs. Oregon State has gained five-plus yards on 45 percent of its carries (seventh-best among Power 5 teams). And while Washington State is best known for its passing game, the run game on the other side of this matchup is important to watch, too. The Cougars are the most balanced squad of any Mike Leach-coached team in the last decade. Washington State has thrown on 64 percent of its downs and rushed on 36 percent, but the scoring is nearly split 50-50 with 19 passing touchdowns and 17 rushing touchdowns.
Arizona vs. Stanford, 8:00 p.m. PT, FS1
Stanford will start quarterback Keller Chryst against the Wildcats. Chryst has only attempted 18 passes this season, throwing for 63 yards (3.5 yards per attempt) and one interception, but coach David Shaw believes he could jump start this Stanford offense that has mostly stalled out this season. He’ll face a big test with Arizona. The Wildcats have blitzed on 41 percent of opponents’ dropbacks, the second-most of any Pac-12 team this season. For the Wildcats, their starting quarterback remains a mystery. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said that Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins will be ready to go, but you’ll have to tune in for some #Pac12AfterDark action to see which one gets the nod.