Call the Pac-10 anything you want, but don't dare call it boring
Let Florida State, Penn State and Virginia Tech set the standard for college football this fall. Let the talking heads and the poll voters mock the Pac-10 as badfootball.com. The league may be the worst since the League of Nations, but it's also fun. "You can't see a game where you know who's going to win," says Washington coach Rick Neuheisel, whose Huskies (5-3, 4-1) are alone in second place after beating first-place Stanford (5-3, 5-1) last Saturday, 35-30.
Huskies junior quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo became the first Division I-A player ever to throw for 300 yards and rush for 200 in a game, but not without some anxious moments. A shot from Cardinal linebacker Sharcus Steen early in the first quarter sent the 6'2", 215-pound Tuiasosopo ass over tea kettle, and the tea kettle didn't land first. Tuiasosopo limped into the locker room for treatment—giving new meaning to the term backside help—and didn't miss any snaps, though in the second quarter the pain in his left hip and buttock was so severe that he thought he might not be able to continue.
Lourdes hasn't healed as many quarterbacks as has the chance to play against Stanford's defense. Once the Huskies discovered that the Cardinal had no clue of how to stop the option, Tuiasosopo went into high gear. "They like to 'stem,' adjust, after we line up," Tuiasosopo said after the game, "so we snapped on [my first] sound to keep them from adjusting." Washington finished with 670 yards of offense as Tuiasosopo threw for 302 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 207 yards and two TDs. He's the second quarterback in as many weeks to set a school single-game record against Stanford, which ranks last nationally in total defense, having given up 497.9 yards a game. USC's Mike Van Raaphorst had thrown for 415 yards in a 35-31 loss to the Cardinal. Worse, Stanford gave up 69 points in a loss at Texas and then was humbled 44-39 by San Jose State.
That the Cardinal continues to lead the Pac-10 has made both Stanford and the conference laughingstocks. "We're getting used to it," Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak says. "You can still sense that people are waiting for the wheels to fall off." Actually, every team in the conference is searching for lug nuts. Mention the Rose Bowl to Neuheisel and he recoils. "We can't afford to get caught up in January 1," he said last Saturday. "Let's get caught up in November 6."
Amen. The Pac-10 is Saturday-afternoon junk food, the trashy novel that everyone reads. Speaking of which, Arizona State lost 20-17 at Oregon without star tailback J.R. Redmond, who was serving a one-game suspension after being caught in a scheme in which he says he tried marriage as a way to avoid being nailed for an NCAA violation. The Sun Devils' loss created a four-way tie for third place in the Pac-10, which means that six teams entered November with title hopes. One scenario has Stanford losing its final three games, finishing 5-6 and winning all tiebreakers for the Rose Bowl berth. Sounds like a must-read.
Colorado's Gutty Quarterback
Back with a Vengeance
There's no need to stroke the ego of Colorado senior quarterback Mike Moschetti. Even after his tour de force against No. 24 Oklahoma last Saturday—Moschetti threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a team high 64 yards and another touchdown in the Buffaloes' 38-24 upset victory—he deflected credit. "It's a team game, 11 guys out there," he said repeatedly. So, as far as Moschetti is concerned, save the kudos, except when it comes to acknowledging his toughness.
In the second quarter of Colorado's 31-10 loss at Texas Tech on Oct. 16, Moschetti's head bounced hard on the artificial turf after a tackle. For the rest of the game he played with blurred vision. In the following days, he suffered from migraines and grogginess, and the Buffaloes announced that he would sit out the Oct. 23 game against Iowa State because of the migraines. "When the migraine thing came out, some buddies started calling me, giving me s—, saying, 'You can't play with migraines?' " Moschetti said after beating Oklahoma. "Look, I could play with migraines. I've always played with injuries." History supports him: Last year at various times he took the field despite a severely sprained left ankle, a separated left shoulder, a broken rib, torn rib cartilage and a concussion.
In fact, Moschetti was certain that his most recent ills were not mere migraines but the result of another concussion. "I went to two doctors in the week between Texas Tech and Iowa State, and they both said I had a concussion," Moschetti said. In his mind Colorado made him seem timid by calling his condition migraines. Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett says, "Looking back on it, Mike probably did have a concussion. But—and I told Mike this—he's got to stop worrying about what other people think of him."