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Seven Pac-12 football teams prepare for postseason


Sat., Dec. 15 

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas, Nev.
ARIZONA STATE vs. No. 21 Fresno State Sam Boyd Stadium 12:30 p.m. PT – ABC
Series: ASU leads, 3-0. Last: ASU, 26-7 (1941)

Wed., Dec. 26 
Cheez-it Bowl Phoenix, Ariz
CALIFORNIA vs. TCU Chase Field 6:00 p.m. PT – ESPN
Series: First Meeting

Fri., Dec. 28 
Valero Alamo Bowl San Antonio, Texas
No. 13 WASHINGTON STATE vs. No. 24 Iowa State Alamodome 6:00 p.m. PT – ESPN
Series: First Meeting

Mon., Dec. 31 
Hyundai Sun Bowl El Paso, Texas
STANFORD vs. Pittsburgh Sun Bow 12:00 p.m. MT – CBS
Series: Pittsburgh leads, 2-1. Last: Pittsburgh, 7-0 (1932)

Redbox Bowl Santa Clara, Calif.
OREGON vs. Michigan State Levi’s Stadium 12:00 p.m. PT – FOX
Series: Tied, 3-3. Last: Michigan State, 31-28 (2015)

San Diego Country Credit Union Holiday Bowl San Diego, Calif.
No. 17 UTAH vs. No. 22 Northwestern San Diego County Credit Union Stadium 4:00 p.m. PT – FS1
Series: Tied, 1-1. Last: Utah, 42-0 (1981)

Tues., Jan. 1 
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual Pasadena, Calif.
No. 9 WASHINGTON vs. No. 6 Ohio State Rose Bowl 2:00 p.m. PT – ESPN
Series: Ohio State leads, 8-3. Last: Ohio State, 33-14 (2007)
*All times local to site 

Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year – Gardner Minshew II, QB, Washington State: Minshew, from Brandon, Miss., not only led the Pac-12 in passing, but the FBS as well, averaging 373.1 yards per game. He completed 433 of 613 pass attempts for 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns, with just nine interceptions. He threw for 300 or more yards in 11 games, including a season-best 473 yards in Washington State’s 69-28 win over Arizona, where he tied a Pac-12 record with seven touchdown passes in regulation play. His 4,477 passing yards are third-most in a single season at Washington State and fifth-most in Pac-12 history. With a bowl game remaining, he needs 243 passing yards to set the Pac-12 single-season mark of 4,719 set in 2015 by California’s Jared Goff. This marks the seventh time Washington State has claimed the conference offensive player of the year honor, and first since Jason Gesser in 2002. Minshew joins former WSU QBs Gesser (2002), Ryan Leaf (1997) and Drew Bledsoe (1992) as Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.

Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year – Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington: Burr-Kirven, a senior from Menlo Park, Calif., anchored the Husky defense that led the Pac-12 and was 12th in the nation in total defense (301.8 yards allowed per game), led the Pac-12 in pass defense (185.4 yards allowed per game), and second in rush defense (116.4 yards allowed per game). He led the Pac-12 with 165 tackles and his 12.7 tackles per game ranked third-best in the FBS. He recorded 10 or more tackles in 12 of 13 games. It’s a repeat honor for the Huskies, following DL Vita Vea’s award-winning season last year. Burr-Kirven is the sixth Husky to garner the honor and the first Pac-12 player to earn both Conference Player of the Year and the Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year – Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State: Jefferson, a freshman from Harbor City, Calif., topped all FBS freshmen in rushing with 1,380 yards (5.8 yards/carry) and an average of 115.0 yards per game (7th overall in the FBS). His 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for second most in the Pac-12. Jefferson’s 1,380 rushing yards set an Oregon State true freshman rushing record and is the sixth-best single-season total. He twice rushed for 200 or more yards in a game, including a Pac-12 freshman single-game record 254 yards vs. Arizona State. Jefferson also picked up 25 receptions for 147 yards during the season. He’s the second Oregon State running back tabbed Freshman of the Year, joining RB Jacquizz Rodgers who won the award in 2008.  Honorable Mention Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: CJ Verdell, RB, Oregon; Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC; Max Borghi, RB, Washington State.

Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year – Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona State: Robertson, a freshman from Gardena, Calif., ranked 20th in the Pac-12 with 6.4 tackles per game, while his team-leading 77 total tackles led all Pac-12 freshmen. Named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week after he tallied nine tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 16-13 win over Michigan State. Posted a season-best 11 tackles at Washington. In all, Robertson had 77 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks and an interception. Robertson’s play kept the Sun Devils in every game as their five losses were by seven or fewer points. He’s the third Sun Devil to earn Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, joining LB Vontaze Burfict (2009) and DE Junior Onyeali (2010), and the fifth Sun Devil overall to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors, along with TE Zach Miller (2004) and DE Terrell Suggs (2000). Honorable Mention Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Paulson Adebo, DB, Stanford; Jay Tufele, DL, USC.

Pac-12 Coach of the Year – Mike Leach, Washington State: Guided the Cougars to their sixth 10-win season, and first since 2003. Washington State won seven straight Pac-12 games and finished tied atop the Pac-12 North Division standings with a 7-2 league record, 10-2 overall. Under Leach, the Cougars climbed to No. 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings where they sat for four weeks (Oct. 30 – Nov. 20). The Cougars led the Pac-12 in scoring (38.3 ppg), total offense (461.8 ypg) and passing offense (379.8 ypg). In seven seasons at Washington State, Leach’s record stands at 48-40. Over the last four seasons, his record is 36-15, with at least eight wins in each of those four seasons. It’s the second time Leach has earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors (Co-Coach with Stanford’s David Shaw in 2015).

RECORD CLIMBERS: Washington QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin are climbing the Pac-12 career charts and are among the all-time top ten in several categories.

Career Passing Yards 
4. 12,200 Jared Goff, CAL, 2013-15
5. 11,983 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18

Career Total Offense
3. 12,796 Sean Mannion, OSU, 2011-14
4. 12,229 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18

Career Touchdown Passes
4. 99 Matt Leinart, USC, 2003-05
5. 96 Jared Goff, CAL, 2013-15
6. 94 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18

Total Touchdowns (Rushing, Passing, Receiving)
2. 123 Luke Falk, WSU, 2014-17
3. 122 Matt Barkley, USC, 2009-12
4. 110 Jake Browning, WASH, 2015-18

Career Rushing Yards
1. 6,245 Charles White, USC, 1976-79
2. 5,621 Royce Freeman, ORE, 2014-17
3. 5,202 Myles Gaskin, WASH, 2015-18

Career Rushing Touchdowns
1. 60 Royce Freeman, ORE, 2014-17
2. 59 Ken Simonton, OSU, 1998-2001
3. 55 Myles Gaskin, WASH, 2015-185

PAC-12 RUSHING ATTACK: The Pac-12 has five running backs listed among the FBS top 20 in rushing yards per game.
4. Eno Benjamin, ASU (127.0)
6. J.J. Taylor, ARIZ (119.5)
7. Jermar Jefferson, OSU (115.0)
8. Joshua Kelley, UCLA (113.0)
18. Myles Gaskin, WASH (107.6)

Note: The list does not include UTAH RB Zack Moss, who rushed for 1,092 (121.3) in nine games but did not play in 75 percent of Utah’s games to qualify for statistical rankings.


First Team
Justin Herbert, QB, ORE*
*Team Member of the YearSecond Team

Timmy Hernandez, WR, OSU
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, WASH

First Team
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, WASH

Second Team
Eno Benjamin, RB, ASU
Calvin Throckmorton, OL, ORE
Chase Hansen, LB, UTAH
Paulson Adebo, DB, STAN
Matt Gay, PK, UTAH

First Team
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, WASH

Second Team
Byron Murphy, CB, WASH
Taylor Rapp, S, WASH
Mitch Wishnowsky P, UTAH

Third Team
Eno Benjamin, RB, ASU
Andre Dillard, OL, WSU
J.J. Taylor, AP, ARIZ
Matt Gay, K, UTAH


Second Team
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, WASH
Mitch Wishnowsky P, UTAH


Second Team
Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
Chase Hansen, LB, UTAH
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, WASH
Byron Murphy, CB, WAS
Taylor Rapp, S, WASH


  Offensive Defensive Special Teams
Sept. 4 JJ Arcega-Whiteside, STAN Nate Landman, COLO Chase McGrath, USC
Sept. 10  Laviska Shenault Jr., COLO Chase Hansen, UTAH Brandon Ruiz, ASU
Sept. 17 Gardner Minshew II, WSU Ben Burr-Kirven, WASH Travell Harris, WSU
Sept. 24 J.J. Taylor, ARIZ Ben Burr-Kirven, WASH Jay Tufele, USC
Oct. 1 Eno Benjamin, ASU Ugochukwu AmadI, ORE Marvell Tell III, USC
Oct. 8 Laviska Shenault Jr., COLO Jaylon Johnson, UTAH Matt Gay, Utah
Oct. 15 CJ Verdell, ORE Keisean Lucier-South, UCLA Mitch Wishnowsky, UTAH
Oct. 22 Tyler Huntley, UTAH Chase Hansen, UTAH Matt Gay, UTAH
Oct. 29 Jake Luton, OSU Evan Weaver, CAL N’Keal Harry, ASU
Nov. 5 N’Keal Harry, ASU Merlin Robertson, ASU Ugochukwu Amadi, ORE
Nov. 12 Colby Parkinson, STAN Luc Bequette,CAL Matt Gay, UTAH
Nov. 19 Joshua Kelley, UCLA Jahad Woods, WSU Matt Gay, UTAH
Nov. 26 Myles Gaskin, WASH Ashtyn Davis, CAL Steven Coutts, CAL

 On Oct. 22, the Utah trio of Huntley, Hansen and Gay became the fourth set of teammates to sweep all three weekly awards. It was accomplished by Oregon State twice (Nov. 20, 2004 and Oct. 14, 2006) and once by USC (Sept. 24, 1988) … Colorado’s Lavisk Shenault is just the fifth receiver to earn Offensive Player of the Week twice in the same season … Washington’s Ben Burr-Kirven is the first player to repeat as Defensive Player of the Week since Arizona State LB Antonio Longino in 2015 (Nov. 16, 23), and the first Husky defender to repeat since CB Derrick Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002 (Nov. 9, 17).

POLL NOTES: WASHINGTON’s preseason AP No. 6 ranking was its highest preseason ranking in the AP poll since 1997 when the Huskies opened the year at No. 4 … STANFORD has appeared in the AP preseason Top 25 for the eighth consecutive year. The Cardinal are one of eight teams to have appeared in the preseason AP poll in each of the last eight seasons, joining Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Oklahoma, LSU and Georgia … USC has appeared in each of the last 17 presesaon AP polls and 58 preseason polls overall. Only Ohio State (65) and Oklahoma (60) have appeared in more preseason AP Top 25 polls.

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