Pac-10 teams enjoy home cooking Print
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Wednesday, 15 October 2008 12:06
NCAAF Headline News

 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -When Arizona coach Mike Stoops was asked this week about his team's struggles on the road in the Pac-10, he had a quick answer.
``Does anybody have a good road win this year? Look at it,'' Stoops said. ``We probably have the best one going to UCLA. That's just how it is. That's college football.''
In fact, the Wildcats are the only team this season to win a conference road game outside the state of Washington. While the bottom-dwelling Huskies and Cougars have combined to lose all three home games they have played, the results for the rest of the conference have been pretty consistent.
The other eight teams are a combined 12-1 at home in conference games, with Arizona's 31-10 victory at the Rose Bowl last month being the only exception.
That's a big difference from a year ago when every team won at least one conference road game and road teams went 19-26 over the entire Pac-10 season.
y wins being by USC at Virginia and Oregon at Purdue.
``I don't know what the stats are as far as winning games on the road. I don't get caught up on that,'' California coach Jeff Tedford said. ``I don't care what's happened before or the rest of the season or any other team. It's important for us to focus and try to go get a win.''
The first-place Golden Bears play at Arizona on Saturday, looking to avenge a loss in Tucson in 2006 that cost Cal a possible outright conference title. Cal wasn't any better last year, going 1-4 in conference road games.
``It's challenging to win on the road because the environments are loud and hostile and that type of thing,'' Tedford said. ``You don't have the comforts of home for your fans and so on and so forth.''
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RUNNING IT UP: The issue of running up the score became a heated one after Sean Canfield threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Damola Adeniji with 7:35 remaining for the final score in Oregon State's 66-13 victory over Washington State last weekend.
Cougars defensive back Romeo Pellum said the play showed that ``Oregon State has no class, in my opinion.''
Beavers coach Mike Riley took offense to that comment.
``I was disappointed to hear about that. I'm sorry they feel that way. There obviously was no disrespect,'' Riley said this week. ``We played everybody on our bench. I don't ask them to not do something.''
Oregon State mostly ran the ball in the fourth quarter but Riley wanted to give Canfield a couple of shots to throw the ball in his first game since undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason.
The pass play in question was supposed to be a short corner route, Riley said. But Canfield went to a secondary option when he saw no safety in the middle of the field, leading to the long touchdown pass and anger from the Cougars.
``I think if they're frustrated as players regarding behavior like that, I'm OK with that if that's something they feel is something that happened,'' said coach Paul Wulff, who declined to say whether he was upset about the play.
This was the first time the Cougars had publicly complained about a team running up the score even though they were on the short end of a 66-3 loss to California and a 63-14 loss to Oregon earlier this season.
Golden Bears coach Jeff Tedford sympathized with the Beavers, saying sometimes big plays just happen even when you're not trying to hit a long pass.
``If it pops, then it pops and the quarterback is doing what they're giving him,'' Tedford said. ``Knowing Coach Riley, I'm sure he would not do something like that to try to rub things in. I just wouldn't believe that is in Mike's makeup.''
Ducks coach Mike Bellotti said it's a difficult balancing act to avoid running up the score while still giving rarely used players a chance to play.
``They're working just as hard as anybody else,'' Bellotti said. ``When they get the opportunity to play, I know if I have taken a knee with our team, the guys that are in say, 'Coach let me run the ball. Let me play.'''
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HALFWAY POINT: With most Pac-10 teams right about the midpoint of the season, the conference race remains wide open.
California (2-0) is the only team without a conference loss, with five teams close behind with only one Pac-10 defeat.
``I think we're in the middle of a big batch of soup,'' Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. ``It really will be a very interesting last half of the season. It truly is about who gets better and who improves and who plays better on Saturdays. That's really exciting for everybody.''
Riley's Beavers have been one of the tougher teams to pin down the first half of the season. They opened the year with losses at Stanford and Penn State before upsetting USC at home late last month.
They are tied for fourth in the league with USC and Arizona at 2-1, just a half-game behind a pair of 3-1 teams in Stanford and Oregon.
. The defending conference co-champion Sun Devils opened the season ranked 15th nationally but have lost four straight games and are in deep trouble heading into their bye week.
``There are a lot of different things offensively that we have to address and continue improve,'' coach Dennis Erickson said. ``There's no magic wand in any of this stuff you have to get done in a five-day period during a bye week.''
 

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