Oregon’s woes on defense continue, and the progress of Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey has slowed

Christian McCaffrey
Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (5) is stopped by a group of Washington State defenders during the first half Saturday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Each week during the season, visit the Huddle for the latest in college football news, notes, conversation and opinion. 

This is notable

Duck hunting has become the Pac-12 Conference’s favorite pastime. Oregon is 2-4 overall and 0-3 in conference play after consecutive losses to Colorado, Washington and Washington State. Mark Helfrich hired former San Diego State and Michigan coach Brady Hoke to repair the Ducks’ broken defense from last season, when it ranked last in the Pac-12. But Hoke seems to have made it only worse. Last season, the Ducks allowed an average of 37.5 points and 485.5 yards per game. This season, opponents are averaging 41.8 points and 522 yards. The Ducks have an open date Saturday. Maybe they can fluff those tail feathers. 



A season after Christian McCaffrey was the runner-up in voting for the Heisman Trophy, the Stanford running back seems forgotten on the Farm. McCaffrey did not play in the second half of last weekend’s 42-16 loss to Washington State after he “got banged up,” Coach David Shaw said, and he could be sidelined for Saturday’s game at Notre Dame. McCaffrey rushed for 436 yards in his first three games of the season — victories over Kansas State, USC and UCLA — but he was held to a combined 84 yards in lopsided losses to Washington and Washington State. McCaffrey has scored four touchdowns: two against Kansas State and two against USC.


Quarterback Brad Kaaya lost a tooth and Miami lost a heartbreaker to Florida State, 20-19, last weekend after missing a game-tying extra point. But the former West Hills Chaminade High standout should bounce back this week against North Carolina  from an apparent shoulder issue he encountered on the first play of the Florida State game when he was sacked. Miami, ranked 16th, is 4-1. Kaaya has passed for 1,149 yards and 10 touchdowns, with four interceptions.

That was tweet


The Michigan coach and his wife enjoyed a juicy steak dinner for a big discount after the Wolverines defeated Rutgers, 78-0. Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor, Mich., offered a promotion that would allow customers to receive a percentage off their total food bill that was equal to the Wolverines’ margin of victory. Here’s to guessing that Harbaugh could afford the dinner at full price.


The Virginia running backs coach didn’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo of Mizzell, from Virginia Beach, Va., riding a horse at Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s ranch in Charlottesville. Mendenhall, in his first season as coach, hosted players at his family’s home and said that several of them overcame a fear of riding horses and that smiles and fun were shared by all. Not a bad way for the 2-3 Cavaliers to spend a Saturday when they didn’t have a game.


The former Heisman Trophy winner is the latest star to recognize USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson’s talent. Jackson made an acrobatic interception, his second pick of the season, in the Trojans’  21-17  victory over Colorado last weekend. Earlier this season, it was NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders who gave Jackson a shout-out on social media. 


Hot off the presser

“I feel like we haven’t changed in so long. It’s been the same antiquated system for 30-40 years and, obviously, as people make their decision earlier, they should have the ability to sign that agreement.”

— Jim Harbaugh

Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer recently said he was against an early signing period for football recruits, so of course Michigan’s Harbaugh said that he was all about it. Recruits must wait until the first Wednesday of February to sign a letter of intent, but there’s now a proposal for two early signing periods — in June and December. 


“We don’t want to have a quarterback controversy, but we need to have more production. That’s what led to this. Need to throw the ball down the field more effectively. That’s play-calling and that’s execution and route running, things of that nature.” 

— Mark Dantonio


After losing three consecutive games for the first time since 2009, the Michigan State coach has decided to open the quarterback competition between starter Tyler O’Connor, junior Damion Terry and redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke. O’Connor, a backup for three years, has passed for 976 yards and eight touchdowns, completing 60.9% of his passes, but the offense has sputtered and the Spartans are 2-3. 

Fresh out the Pac

Something is brewing in the Pacific Northwest and it isn’t just coffee.

Fifth-ranked Washington and Washington State are the only teams undefeated in Pac-12 play. The Huskies are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12. The Cougars are 3-2 and 2-0, with losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State.

Both teams have defeated Oregon and Stanford this season, a feat unheard of in the state of Washington since 2003. 

The Cougars play host to UCLA on Saturday and the Huskies have an open date before hosting Oregon State on Oct. 22. 

My Thiry

Just play the game.

There’s not an ideal date and there’s no perfect location, but the Florida-Louisiana State game that was postponed because of Hurricane Matthew must be made up.

The Gators said they are in. Now it’s on the Tigers. 

It might not seem fair for Louisiana State to end the season with three consecutive Southeastern Conference road games in the span of 12 days, including a Thursday night regular-season finale at Texas A&M, but that’s what must be done.

Florida hosts Presbyterian on Nov. 19 when Louisiana State hosts South Alabama. So that’s the date, and the SEC has plenty of money — and then some — to pay those teams off. 

What the SEC doesn’t have is a fair way to settle any conference standings dispute — and there likely could be one with Tennessee and possibly even Auburn — if the Gators and Tigers are short a conference game.

Follow Lindsey Thiry on Facebook and Twitter @LindseyThiry

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