University of Washington

Power Index: Our Pac-12 rankings for Oct. 7

USCwide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster makes his way for a touchdown Sept. 5 against Arkansas State. Schuster leads the Pac-12 Conference with 537 total receiving yards and averaging 134.2 yards per game.
USCwide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster makes his way for a touchdown Sept. 5 against Arkansas State. Schuster leads the Pac-12 Conference with 537 total receiving yards and averaging 134.2 yards per game. The Associated Press

1. Utah (1): Big home game against Cal this week will decide Pac-12’s final unbeaten team.

2. Stanford (3): The Cardinal’s offensive recovery from that six-point performance in opener at Northwestern has been truly remarkable.

3. USC (4): Steve Sarkisian storylines aside, Trojans badly need to beat Huskies on Thursday to keep pace in Pac-12 South.

4. California (5): Hard to argue with a 5-0 record, but something about Bears’ strong start feels like fool’s gold: namely, the schedule.

5. Arizona State (7): Huge win for the Sun Devils at UCLA last week injected some life back into ASU’s season.

6. UCLA (2): Jim Mora’s squad looked like the South favorite a couple weeks ago. Now, Bruins are banged up and looking very mortal.

7. Oregon (8): Regained some measure of dignity after Utah debacle by handling Colorado in Boulder.

8. Arizona (6): Games against Oregon State, Colorado are exactly what Wildcats need after 0-2 start in Pac-12.

9. Washington (9): Run game, pass protection must improve for Huskies to have a chance this week in Los Angeles.

10. Washington State (11): Seems as if the Cougars are masters of creating opportunities to win … and then squandering them.

11. Colorado (10): Hanging with the Ducks for a half constitutes progress for the Buffaloes, however incremental.

12. Oregon State (12): Will week off help Beavers regroup and compete with Arizona?

christian.caple@thenewstribune.com

CURRENT TOP THREE PAC-12 RECEIVERS

3. Gabe Marks, Washington State

Stats: 35 receptions, 414 yards, 3 TDs (4 games)

Comment: It makes sense that a WSU receiver ranks among the Pac-12 leaders in catches and yards, but Marks has been particularly impressive, at times making difficult catches against tight coverage. He has resumed his role as the Cougars’ most talented receiver after redshirting last year. (Also considered: Nelson Spruce.)

2. Kenny Lawler, California

Stats: 27 receptions, 399 yards, 8 TDs (5 games)

Comment: Lawler ranks third in the conference in receiving yards per game (79.8) but leads the league with eight touchdowns. That’s an average of just less than one touchdown every three catches. And many of them end up on highlight reels, such as the one-handed grab he made against WSU.

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

Stats: 27 receptions, 537 yards, 6 TDs (4 games)

Comment: The sophomore looks every bit the part of the Pac-12’s top receiver, leading the league in receiving by 123 yards over the next-closest player (Marks). Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said of Smith-Schuster last week: “As talented as he is, when he’s not getting the ball, he’s going 100 percent. When he’s blocking, he’s going 100. That guy is a football player that happens to be very talented.”

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