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After taking on dire rebuilding jobs last year, Washington's Tyrone Willingham and Greg Robinson of Syracuse are seeing signs of progress. The Huskies, 2--9 in Willingham's first season, are 2--1 after a 21--20 upset of Fresno State last Saturday. Quarterback Isaiah Stanback (above) produced 242 total yards and had a hand in all three touchdowns. "It's so important to have that trust factor with your coach," says the fifth-year senior, whose class went through two coaches ( Rick Neuheisel and Keith Gilbertson) before Willingham arrived following his ouster from Notre Dame. "You can tell our team has a lot closer bond." Meanwhile Syracuse, 1--10 a year ago, snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 31--21 win at Illinois. A week earlier the Orange took No. 14 Iowa to overtime before falling 20--13. Syracuse, which struggled in its transition to the West Coast offense last season, ran for 202 yards against the Illini. "I could see us improving," says Robinson, a first-time head coach who served as Texas' co--defensive coordinator in 2004. "The players watch film--they could see it too."
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sun Devils and the Golden Bears hope to contend with USC for the Pac-10 title. Carpenter (right), the sophomore whom ASU coach Dirk Koetter promoted to starter over senior Sam Keller (who has since transferred to Nebraska), hasn't looked like the freshman who led the country in pass efficiency last season; he threw for only 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in last week's 21--3 win over Colorado. Meanwhile, Hughes, an All-- Pac-10 selection last season, and Thompson, a redshirt freshman thrown into the fire early due to injuries, will be looking to redeem themselves after their opening-week debacle against Tennessee, whose receivers caught four passes of 40 or more yards against them.
THREE AND OUT