Western Kentucky at Alabama ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala. SURFACE: Grass TV: SEC Network SERIES: Alabama leads 1-0 (last meeting, 2008, Alabama 41-7) RECORDS: Western Kentucky 1-0; Alabama 1-0 POLLS: Alabama (No. 1 AP, No. 1 USA Today) PREDICTION: Alabama 45-7 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Western Kentucky: Make some first downs. The Hilltoppers need to shorten the game by moving the ball and avoiding turnovers that could lead to cheap scores for the Crimson Tide. Getting the Tide to turn the ball over would be a huge plus. -- For Alabama: Don't fool around. Will the Tide attack this game with the same focus that they did the Michigan game? If it does, the starters will probably get to take the last quarter and a half off for good behavior. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Western Kentucky QB Kawaun Jakes had a record night in the first game, throwing for 296 yards and four touchdowns - both of which were a career high. The senior did throw an interception, but perhaps more importantly showed WKU can move the ball on offense without RB Bobby Rainey. Rainey set all sorts of offensive records for the Tops as a senior in 2011. If Jakes, who found four different receivers on four different TD passes and also ran for another score, can continue to lead the offense in this manner WKU will fare well. ? Coach Willie Taggart was not pleased with the Hilltoppers' defensive efforts, but the numbers say WKU was pretty stout against Austin Peay. The Hilltoppers held Austin Peay to 154 total yards, seven total first downs, recovered a fumble and intercepted one pass, and 68 of the vistiors' total yards came on one touchdown run. Eight different players also registered at least three tackles for the Hilltoppers. Not much figures to change on offense for Alabama, other than increasing QB AJ McCarron's completion percentage. His 52.4 rate against Michigan was lower than normal, although he did average 18.1 yards per completion. Otherwise, things shouldn't change until someone offers enough resistance against the Crimson Tide's terrific, experienced offensive line. Western Kentucky isn't likely to be the team to stop Alabama's ground game. Alabama's task defensively this week isn't necessarily to scheme against the Hilltoppers, but to do fundamental things a bit better and cut down on the big plays. Michigan did convert long-yardage plays in the air and that rankled coach Nick Saban, who blamed the pass rush for not getting to Denard Robinson and the secondary for allowing double moves to beat them. Western Kentucky will be creative and empty the playbook, but it's not likely to do much good on the scoreboard. QUICK NOTES: Hilltoppers: Coach Willie Taggert started the week off by calling Alabama the next expansion team in the NFL. ... Junior RB Antonio Andrews had 228 all-purpose yards in the season's opening game. Andrews started the scoring off with a 70-yard punt return before finishing the night with 39 yards rushing, 59 yards receiving, 54 yards on kickoff returns and 76 yards on punt returns. ... Western Kentucky held APSU to 154 yards of total offense and just 11 yards through the air. ... PK Garrett Schwettman, a true freshman walk-on, has been promoted to a starting job after sophomore Jesse Roy missed both his field goal attempts against Austin Peay. Schwettman missed his lone try but was 5-for-5 on extra point tries. ... Senior DE Quanterus Smith will return to the lineup against Alabama after being suspended for the opener against Austin Peay for a violation of team rules. Crimson Tide: CB Dee Milliner was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance against Michigan. Milliner finished with five tackles, four pass breakups and an interception. He also earned Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week honors. ... RB T.J. Yeldon earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors after rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries against Michigan. Yeldon also caught a pass for 26 yards as he helped take up the slack for the injured Eddie Lacy. ... The Crimson Tide has been ranked in 66 consecutive Associated Press Top 25 polls, the longest streak in the nation and one which will stretch to 67 as of Tuesday. Boise State was second with 61, dropped out after its loss at Michigan State. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Hilltoppers: DB Jonathan Dowling -- The sophomore safety transferred from the University of Florida in 2010. In his second career game, he will get to face SEC competition once again. Dowling made seven tackles and registered his first WKU interception against APSU. That helped him earn a starting role going into this weekend.? WR Austin Aikens -- In an area that is extremely thin in terms of age and experience, the true freshman proved he is ready to contribute. Aikens had two grabs for 72 yards and also saw time in the return game against Austin Peay? DE Gavin Rocker -- A redshirt freshman recorded three tackles - two for loss, recovered a fumble and also earned a sack last week. Still not at the level of starter, Rocker gives WKU depth on the defensive front. Crimson Tide: QB AJ McCarron -- There were no mistakes last week, but his 11-of-21 completion percentage concerned some. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Tide came out throwing this week, as Western Kentucky probably will load the tackle box and force the passing game into action. RB Jalston Fowler -- After showing his versatility as a blocker and ball carrier last week, Fowler could get more action in this one. The 6-1, 242-pound Fowler has the power to grind out tough yards between the tackles, but also offers a surprising burst and also has the size to serve as a lead blocker for other tailbacks. FS Vinnie Sunseri -- The sophomore served as a special teams ace last year and has moved into the starting lineup this season, although Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is right there with him. Sunseri was productive against Michigan with four tackles, including one for a loss, and a pass breakup. INJURY WATCH: Hilltoppers: RB Keshawn Simpson (knee, out). Cirmson Tide: RB Eddie Lacy (ankle, questionable), NB Jesse Williams (concussion, day-to-day), LB Reggie Ragland (ankle, questionable). ============================================== Southern Cal at Syracuse ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford N.J. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: ABC SERIES: USC leads 3-0 (last meeting, 2011, 38-17 USC) RECORDS: USC 1-0; Syracuse 0-1 POLLS: USC (No. 2 AP, No. 2 USA Today) PREDICTION: USC 38-21 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For USC: Buck up the pass defense. The Trojans need to play better in the secondary and make more plays on the ball, against a hot quarterback like Syracuse's Ryan Nassib. USC took advantage last week of the inexperience of Hawaii QB Sean Schroeder, who threw two interceptions, but Nassib, in his third season as a starter, is a different story. -- For Syracuse: Eliminate mistakes. The Orange is going to have to figure out a way to slow down the Trojan offense. Getting pressure on QB Matt Barkley so its secondary has a fighting chance to make plays is a must. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: USC has as many (more?) weapons than anyone in the country with QB Matt Barkley, RB Curtis McNeal, RB Silas Redd, WR Robert Woods and WR Marqise Lee. What can't the Trojans do? They left some points on the field against Hawaii last week, but nothing that's a major cause of concern. Syracuse gave up 42 points at Northwestern last week, but that's a bit deceiving. The Orange held the Wildcats to 337 yards and wasn't helped by its defense. Northwestern scored twice on defense and scored two more touchdowns on short fields. USC has a challenge on defense this week in trying to stop Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, who earned Big East Player of the Week honors after completing 45-of-66 passes for 482 yards and four touchdowns against Northwestern. Nassib last year against USC was 25-of-37 for 230 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. The Trojans' defensive line looked good last week despite a potential season-long injury to DE Devon Kennard and a week-one injury to DE Wes Horton. USC recorded five sacks and 12 tackles for loss vs. Hawaii. The Syracuse offense last week was almost unrecognizable compared to what coach Doug Marrone has used in the past. The aggressive, air-based attack overwhelmed Northwestern, but it will face a difficult challenge doing the same to a faster, more athletic USC squad. Syracuse's secondary will face its biggest challenge of the season against USC QB Matt Barkley, a Heisman Trophy favorite whose top wide receiver, Robert Woods, is one of his top challengers for that honor. In addition, Marqise Lee is one of the best No. 2 wideouts in the country. The Orange defensive backs have their work cut out for them this week. QUICK NOTES: Trojans: USC dropped from No. 1 in the AP poll to No. 2, falling behind Alabama, which clobbered Michigan in its season-opener. ... The Trojans might need to draw up some new two-point conversions. USC has made only 1-of-7 attempts in the past 13 games, including whiffing on three attempts last week vs. Hawaii when PK Andre Heidari was ailing with a leg injury. ... With its scholarships limited to 75, instead of 85, because of NCAA sanctions, USC is going to need help from true freshman to supply depth and special-teams help. Eight true freshmen played in the opener: OT Max Tuerk, DT Leonard Williams, LB Scott Starr, CB Kevon Seymour, CB Ryan Dillard, FB Jahleel Pinner, TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and WR Nelson Agholor. ... CB Isiah Wiley was ruled academically ineligible about a week before the season-opener. Wiley started the final six games of last season, making 39 tackles and breaking up four passes. Orange: Look for Syracuse to expand its rotation on the defensive line this week. Dean Goggins, Jay Bromley and Eric Crume got the bulk of the workload against Northwestern, but look for more snaps from the reserves to keep everyone sharp down the stretch. ... QB Ryan Nassib knew he had rewritten the Syracuse passing record book when he left the stadium last week, only to see his totals added to long after the final whistle. A 12-yard toss to Marcus Sales was reclassified as a pass instead of a run, giving Nassib 45 completions in 66 attempts for a total of 482 yards. In addition, that extra completion ties him for the top spot in the Big East record books with former Louisville QB Brian Brohm. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Trojans: QB Matt Barkley -- He had a Heisman-worthy first week vs. Hawaii and now will be looking to duplicate last season's effort vs. Syracuse. He passed for five TDs against the Orange last season, including scoring throws of 31, 44 and 43 yards. RB Silas Redd -- The Penn State transfer had a solid USC debut last week with nine carries for 56 yards and one reception for 41 yards. His lost fumble, however, was a sore spot. LB Dion Bailey -- Bailey tends to be right in the middle of the action. Thing is, he was reportedly on crutches after the Hawaii game last week. He had a team-high nine stops vs. the Orange last season. Orange: QB Ryan Nassib -- It's safe to say that, after his record-setting performance a week ago that Nassib has USC's attention. Repeating those numbers isn't realistic, but he'll have to play another excellent game. Being aggressive without being careless will be key, since it will take touchdowns instead of field goals to beat the Trojans. S Shamarko Thomas -- Thomas is the leader of a secondary that's probably the weak link in the Orange defense. He's an excellent tackler, but he's going to have to be on top of his game to keep big plays from dooming Syracuse's chances at the upset. WR Marcus Sales -- Sales lost no time making his presence felt after sitting out the 2011 season because of a suspension. He caught 12 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern, a performance that surely caught the attention of the USC coaching staff. INJURY WATCH: Trojans: DE Wes Horton (undisclosed, questionable), LB Lamar Dawson (calf, questionable), De Devon Kennard (chest, out). Orange: TE David Stevens (leg, probable), WR Alex Lemon (leg, questionable), R Adrian Flemming (ankle, doubtful). ============================================== Washington at LSU ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La. SURFACE: Grass TV: ESPN SERIES: LSU leads 2-0 (last meeting, 2009, LSU 31-23) RECORDS: Washington 1-0; LSU 1-0 POLLS: LSU (No. 3 AP, No. 3 USA Today) PREDICTION: LSU 34-10 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Washington: Win the turnover battle. The Huskies did that against San Diego State (3-1) and that proved critical in producing 14 points in the 21-12 victory. The Huskies must come out even in the challenges at the line of scrimmage. -- For LSU: Prevent big plays in the passing game. LSU was cruising with a 24-0 lead in the second quarter of its opener when North Texas hit on an 80-yard touchdown pass play. Washington is capable of such big plays as well. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Washington was not quite the electric offense many expected against San Diego State and was held scoreless offensively the last three quarters. UW was particularly conservative, with no plays longer than 20 yards. Some of that may have been by design, but the Huskies also said they tried to hit some longer plays and simply couldn't. The Huskies had only 106 yards rushing. As was hoped, given the massive coaching overhaul, UW's defense looked a lot better against San Diego State, showing more pressures and disguise and mixing up of fronts. It worked especially well against SDSU's passing attack, as the Aztecs threw for just 128 yards. But the Aztecs got the running game going in the second half and finished with 199 on the ground, which is a particular concern this week against an LSU team that could have one of the best running games in the country. LSU's offense is supposed to be less heavily tilted toward the run this season, but that wasn't the case in the opener. The Tigers ran for 316 yards and passed for 192. QB Zach Mettenberger wasn't real sharp, especially after being knocked from the game for a series on a hard hit. The Tigers will again focus on the running of Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard, but look for Mettenberger to be more aggressive in the passing game. The Tigers will come at Keith Price from all angles and try to disrupt the timing of the Huskies' passing game. DEs Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery can pressure the quarterback with their one-on-one skills, but defensive coordinator John Chavis will bring reinforcements from a variety of angles. LSU hopes to force Price to hurry, giving its young secondary some help. QUICK NOTES: Huskies: Washington's offensive line will sport a new look this week with starting ORT Ben Riva out with a broken forearm. He will be replaced by junior Erik Kohler, who slides over from right guard, where James Atoe will step in. ... Starting TB Jesse Callier is out for the year with a torn ACL sustained in the 21-12 season-opening win over San Diego State. Callier will be replaced by sophomore Bishop Sankey, who will get his first start against LSU after rushing for 66 yards on 22 carries last week. ... UW played seven true freshmen against San Diego State with WRs Jaydon Mickens and Kendyl Taylor, DB Shaq Thompson, RB Erich Wilson II, DL Pio Vatuvei, P Korey Durckee and LS Ryan Masel seeing action. Tigers: LSU coach Les Miles is 28-0 in non-conference regular-season games in his eight seasons with the Tigers, who have won their last 38 non-conference games dating to Nick Saban's tenure. A victory against Washington would tie the longest such winning streak in FBS history. ... LSU has won its last 18 home games and its last 14 regular-season games. ... All-American CB Tyrann Mathieu has enrolled in school and will pay his own way. Mathieu was kicked off the team Aug. 10 for multiple failed drug tests. He will not play football this season. ... LB Tahj Jones missed the opener as he awaited the result of an appeal regarding an academic issue. He won't play unless and until he receives a favorable ruling. ... LSU has returned a punt for a touchdown in three of its last four games dating to last season. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Huskies: QB Keith Price -- The junior was 25-of-35 against San Diego State but said afterward it was one of the worst games he had played in a while, lamenting largely the inability to make big plays -- he had no pass for longer than 20 yards and threw for 222 yards for the game -- and taking three sacks. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- The sophomore proved as advertised in the opener, serving as UW's most consistent offensive weapon with nine receptions for 82 yards. DT Danny Shelton -- The 315-pound sophomore is being counted on to plug up the middle for the Huskies and get some pressure from inside on opposing quarterbacks. The results were mixed against San Diego State, as Shelton had a few good moments but also disappeared at times. Tigers: RB Kenny Hilliard -- Hilliard continued to expand his role in the running game in the opener, running for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns against North Texas. He has eight touchdowns in his last six games and 10 touchdowns in 14 career games. FS Eric Reid -- The leader of the Tigers' otherwise inexperienced secondary was responsible for two breakdowns that allowed North Texas' touchdowns in the opener. Look for Reid, who's trying to help bring freshman corners Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins up to speed, to be better focused on his own responsibilities. DE Sam Montgomery -- One of the Tigers' top defensive players, Montgomery didn't start or record a stat in the season opener. He'll likely be even more excited and aggressive as LSU turns him loose against Price. INJURY WATCH: Huskies: RB Jesse Callier (knee, out), RT Ben Riva (arm, out), DE Hau'oli Jamora (knee, out). Tigers: P Brad Wing (hamstring, probable), LB D.. Welter (undisclosed, questionable), RB Spencer Ware (strained muscle, probable). ============================================== Fresno State at Oregon ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 6:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: Pac-12 Network SERIES: Oregon leads 6-2 (last meeting, 2007, 52-21 Oregon) RECORDS: Fresno State 1-0; Oregon 1-0 POLLS: Oregon (No. 4 AP, No. 4 USA Today) PREDICTION: Oregon 52-17 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Fresno State: Take care of the football. Oregon will get its points, but will Fresno State be able to answer? The Bulldogs must sustain long drives? -- For Oregon: Start fast. The Ducks opened the week as nearly a five-touchdown favorite over Fresno State. Nothing deflates a big underdog than getting hit with a couple of quick scores. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: After running a pro-style offense for 15 years under coach Pat Hill, Fresno State unveiled an effective new spread offense against Weber State under offensive coordinator Dave Schramm. The Bulldogs gained 515 yards of total offense (217 rushing and 298 passing) in the 37-10 victory. The 515 yards is the most by a Bulldog offense in a season-opening game in 10 years. The Bulldogs did not have a turnover and QB Derek Carr completed 20 of 25 passes in the game with seven passes of more than 20 yards with a long of 40. With RB Robbie Rouse, Fresno State has one of the most potent balanced offensive attacks on the West Coast. After allowing 35.2 points and 435.8 yards of offense in a 4-3 defense last season, Fresno State is going in a new direction under coach Tim DeRuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth -- both part of the defensive staff at Texas A&M the previous two years. Fresno State allowed Weber State only 274 yards, which was lower than the Bulldogs allowed in 12 of 13 games last season. DeRuyter vowed to strengthen Fresno State's rushing defense, and the Bulldogs looked solid in that category. Weber State only had 67 yards on the ground and just three plays of more than 20 yards. Oregon scored quickly and spread the ball around while scoring 57 points in its opener against Arkansas State. Oregon's starting offense scored every 7.1 plays while building a 50-3 lead in less than 23 minutes. During that time, QB Marcus Mariota led Oregon to a touchdown on all seven scoring drives. Oregon had 14 different receivers catch at least one pass and seven different rushers carry the ball. The Ducks were 4-of-5 on fourth down and scored on 7-of-8 trips into the red zone. Oregon's starting defense put up a solid effort against Arkansas State before the reserves made the game look closer than it really was. The Ducks allowed three points in the first 26 minutes when the starters got most of their playing time and then gave up 31 in the final 34 minutes. None of Oregon's starting linemen, linebackers or S John Boyett had a tackle in the second half as reserves spent most of the time on the field. QUICK NOTES: Bulldogs: RB Robbie Rouse is tied with Ryan Mathews for the second leading rusher in school history. He is just 194 yards away from passing Ron Rivers to hit the top of the career rushing list. The 5-7 Rouse has played some of his best games against opponents from automatic qualifying BCS conferences. In seven career games, he has rushed for 536 yards and two touchdowns on 119 plays, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. ... The Bulldogs' kicking game received a boost from redshirt freshman PK Quentin Breshears, who converted four extra points and a field goal from 39 yards against Weber State. He missed one extra point because of a low kick. ... Senior RB Milton Knox scored his first career touchdown against Weber State, a four-yard score. Knox had 42 yards rushing on six carries. ... P Andrew Shapiro's 56-yard punt against Weber State tied for the longest of his career. ... Sophomore CB Sean Alston made his first career start. Alston finished the game with three tackles, one pass breakup and an interception. Ducks: Oregon had the ball for 32:33 against Arkansas State. That is just the ninth time in 41 games under head coach Chip Kelly that the Ducks had the advantage in time of possession. Oregon is 9-0 in those games. ... The blowout victory over Arkansas State allowed the Ducks to play 77 of the 105 players on their roster. ... Oregon stretched the nation's fourth-longest sellout streak to 83 straight games, but it may be coming to an end soon. The Ducks needed to sell nearly 1,500 tickets on Saturday to get a crowd of 56,144 for Arkansas State, and Fresno State is not yet sold out. The last non-sellout for UO was Sept. 18, 1999 against Nevada. ... The Bulldogs and Ducks were regular foes for a couple decades, playing eight times between 1981-2007, but they have not played in the last four seasons. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bulldogs: RB Robbie Rouse -- The senior tailback needs 194 yards rushing to pass Ron Rivers for the school record in career rushing yards (3,287). Rouse has only lost one fumble in the 688 times he has touched the ball in his career (638 rushes, 50 receptions). LB Patrick Su'a -- The junior set a career-high with his eight tackles last weekend against Weber State and also recorded his first career sack. WR Greg Watson -- He is a backup quarterback who was used as slot receiver against Weber State. He caught a 32-yard pass in the second quarter. The Bulldogs will use him as a slot receiver this year in addition to backup quarterback in an effort to have him on the field and take advantage of his athleticism. Ducks: RB De'Anthony Thomas -- The sophomore followed up his sensational freshman year by scoring three touchdowns in the opener against Arkansas State. He led Oregon with four catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns and also ran three times for 64 yards and a touchdown. He had a pair of 12-yard touchdown catches and a 33-yard touchdown run. QB Marcus Mariota -- The redshirt freshman ranks among the nation's leaders after one game. He is ninth in passing efficiency and one of only two freshmen in the top 50. His debut left Oregon fans waiting to see what more he can do this week. DB Erick Dargan -- The sophomore equaled his career high with five tackles in the opener. That was one-third of his total tackles as a freshman. He also had a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss. INJURY WATCH: Bulldogs: No injuries reported. Ducks: DT Jared Ebert (leg, out), OT Tyler Johnstone (Achille's heal, probable). ============================================== Florida A&M at Oklahoma ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla. SURFACE: Grass TV: PPV SERIES: First meeting RECORDS: Florida A&M 0-1; Oklahoma 1-0 POLLS: Oklahoma (No. 5 AP, No. 5 USA Today) PREDICTION: Oklahoma 56-0 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Florida A&M: Hope for a miracle. The Rattlers are catching Oklahoma at the wrong time: wanting to make up for the close call at Texas-El Paso. The Rattlers simply don't have the personnel to compete against the Sooners. -- For Oklahoma: Get an early jump. The Sooners want to avoid injuries and build their depth. That means not leaving the Rattlers in the game with penalties, turnovers and the same kind of mistake-prone ineffectiveness that plagued them at UTEP. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Florida A&M managed only 272 yards in total offense in its opener, a 17-14 loss at Tennessee State. Sophomore QB Damien Fleming completed only half of his 30 pass attempts, and six of those went to senior WR Travis Harvey. Senior RB Edie Rocker netted 90 on just 13 rushes. Only two starters are back in the offensive line. Senior LB Brandon Hepburn, FAMU's leading returning tackler, was in double figures in tackles in the opener with 10 stops that included 3.5 for losses (1.5 sacks). He is one of two returning starters at linebacker for the Rattlers. Senior DE Ellie Hyppollite recorded two sacks among his four tackles, but the Rattlers still gave up 263 yards through the air to the Tigers. One game into the season and Oklahoma appears pretty much a mess on offense. At UTEP, QB Landry Jones passed for 222 yards and two scores, but 21-of-36 accuracy wasn't very impressive, and he easily could have thrown two interceptions. Also, the running game did very little until third-teamer Damien Williams was turned to late and finished with 104 yards on nine carries. The Sooners racked up 427 yards of total offense, but 24 points didn't seem like much to show for it. They should be better against FCS competition. How OU performed defensively the first game out is in the eye of the beholder. The Sooner defense allowed no points, though it did allow UTEP's Nathan Jeffery to run for 177 yards on 21 carries. If UTEP had only made its field goals, it would have led for most of the game. All OU can really do against FCS Florida A&M is pitch another defensive shutout (UTEP's points came on a blocked punt). QUICK NOTES: Rattlers: Florida A&M came within inches of rallying from a 17-7 deficit in its opening loss, but QB Damien Fleming was ruled short of the end zone on a quarterback sneak in the closing seconds, and Tennessee held on for the 17-14 victory. ... The Rattlers recorded four sacks in the opener. ... Penalties were a problem for the Rattlers, who were penalized nine times for 70 yards with four of them coming on special teams. One of those came on a missed field goal attempt, and the Tigers, giving a second chance, cashed in with a touchdown. Sooners: Everything points to a huge win for Oklahoma Saturday. In 13 previous Sooner home openers, OU has prevailed by a combined score of 571-179. The only loss in those 13 years was a 17-10 setback to TCU in 2005. ... OU last met an FCS team in 2009, beating Idaho State 64-0. Other Stoops era FCS opponents have included Chattanooga (57-2) and Indiana State (49-0). ... RB Roy Finch, who was a preseason All-Big 12 pick last season, and after losing his starting job still came back with 605 yards and 34 receptions, most of them coming after a season-ending injury to Dom Whaley, did not touch the ball against UTEP and played only on special teams. ... WR Jalen Saunders lost his appeal with the NCAA to play immediately for the Sooners after transferring from Fresno State. PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Eddie Rocker -- Just 5-8, Rocker carried the load in the rushing game in the opener. He had 13 carries for 90 yards and also caught a pass for an 11-yard gain. He rushed for 524 yards last season. WR Travis Harvey -- Harvey led the Rattlers in receiving with six catches for 52 yards. He also had one of FAMU's two touchdown receptions. CB Marvin Ross -- The senior may be a busy man defending OU's passing game. He had the Rattler's only interception against Tennessee State and also had five tackles. Sooners: DTs David King and Jamarcus McFarland -- Generally defensive tackle is a rotation position at Oklahoma, with four guys, though perhaps not equally, splitting time. At UTEP, that meant King and Jamarcus McFarland played all but a very few fourth-quarter snaps. WR Kenny Stills -- He was a bright spot in a season opener without very many, catching six passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 40-yard catch inside the five that was called back on a chop block the Sooners did not need to spring the play. This is a chance to build still more chemistry with QB Landry Jones. RBs Damien Williams -- Whaley ran for 54 yards on 11 carries at UTEP to complement the effort of RB Dom Whaley (11-54). Williams showed his breakaway potential with a 65-yard run. INJURY WATCH: Rattlers: WR Lenworth Lennon (suspension, out), CB Devonte Johnson (suspension, out), WR Dewayne Harvey (suspension, out), OL Daniel Lennon (suspension, out). Sooners: TE Geneo Grissom (suspension, probable), DT Stacy McGee (suspension, out), DT Casey Walker (suspension, out). ============================================== Savannah State at Florida State ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Doak Campbell Stadium at Bobby Bowden Field, Tallahassee, Fla. SURFACE: Grass TV: ESPN3 SERIES: First meeting RECORDS: Savannah State 0-1, Florida State 1-0 POLLS: Florida State (No. 6 AP, No. 6 USA Today) PREDICTION: Florida State 63-0 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Savannah State: Appeal for mercy. The Tigers got all sorts of attention, but the wrong kind, in their opening 84-0 loss at Oklahoma State last week. They better hope Florida State doesn't want to try to outdo that performance. -- For Florida State: Show up. The Seminoles are playing an FCS team that might struggle to win in Division II. FSU's goal will be to score as often as possible in the first half, then rest all the front line players the second half to build depth. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Savannah State had the embarrassment of being on the wrong end of an 84-0 score in its opener at Oklahoma State. The Tigers managed only 139 yards in total offense. QB Antonio Bostwick, who completed only 39 percent of his pass attempts last year, was slightly better in going 12-of-25, but he also had two intercepted. Savannah State's run defense was one of the worst in FCS statistics last year, ranking No. 113 out of 120 teams. The Tigers gave up 395 in the loss to the Cowboys. DB Edward Beatty led the Tigers in tackles with nine. Even with all the points scored against Murray State (69), Florida State's offense left room for improvement. There were two turnovers and some sloppy play in the first seven offensive possessions. One of the dropped passes was from Kenny Shaw, which caromed into an interception. The Seminoles were sharper with their second team in the second half, scoring on all seven possessions. Even with the competition, the Seminoles defense was impressive in their opener. Murray State had a respectable offense, finishing fourth last season among all FCS teams with a 37-point average and 461 yards per-game. But FSU completely shut down the Racers. The defense recorded six sacks, 11 tackles for loss, broke up 10 passes, and the longest play allowed went for just 16 yards. QUICK NOTES: Tigers: An FCS program, Savannah State will be playing only its second FBS opponent when it visits Florida State. The first, of course, was Oklahoma State last week. ... At least the paycheck will be better this time. Savannah State will receiver $475,000 for playing the Seminoles, which is $90,000 more than it got for its trip to Stillwater, Okla. ... The Tigers have won two games or fewer in 11 of the last 12 seasons. ... Savannah State's best drive against Oklahoma State had the Tigers start at their own 20-yard line and end at the OSU 31. Seminoles: Savannah State was a late-minute replacement on the schedule for West Virginia, which broke its contract after moving to the Big East. ... In matching the highest points scored in four seasons, the Seminoles' 69-3 win against Murray State included the offense going 10-for-10 in the red zone with eight TDs and two field goals. ... TB Lonnie Pryor rushed for a career-high three touchdowns vs. Murray State. The last time a Seminole rushed for three touchdowns in a game was Ty Jones against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game on December 4, 2010. ... DE Bjoern Werner had a strong season-opening performance. He recorded a career high five tackles-for-loss for 30 yards. Werner also produced a career-best four sacks which totaled minus-28 yards. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tigers: DL Leroy Cummings -- Cummins led the Tigers in sacks with six as a freshman last year. He had three tackles, one for a loss, at Oklahoma State. TE Kris Drummond -- Drummond was a second-team pick of coaches and league sports information directors for all-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference honors. He had one catch for five yards in the opener. RB Alex Simmons -- Just a freshman, Simmons came off the bench at Oklahoma State to give the offense a little lift. He gained 40 yards on nine runs with a long of 19. Seminoles: QB E.J. Manuel -- He will have a chance to throw for 200-plus yards in the first half and pad stats before ACC play begins. He ran the offense well last week, but the opponent has to be factored into consideration TB James Wilder Jr. -- He had a breakthrough game against Murray State, following a summer where his future at FSU was uncertain. He was likely one more misstep from getting kicked off team, but instead he redeemed himself with a stellar rushing effort and will have a chance to repeat that on Saturday DE Mario Edwards Jr. -- He was supposed to redshirt and did not stand on the sideline last weekend. But with Brandon Jenkins out, it would appear certain the Seminoles will now get him ready to play and hope he can make an impact, at least as a second-team guy at rush end INJURY WATCH: Tigers: No injuries reported. Seminoles: DE Brandon Jenkins (foot, out). ============================================== Georgia at Missouri ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7:45 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: ESPN2 SERIES: Georgia leads 1-0 (last meeting, 1960, Georgia 14-0) RECORDS: Georgia 1-0, 0-0 SEC; Missouri 1-0, 0-0 SEC POLLS: Georgia (No. 7 AP, No. 7 USA Today) PREDICTION: Georgia 24-21 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Georgia: Contain QB James Franklin. A dual threat for Missouri, he ran for 981 yards and threw for 2,865 last season. The Bulldogs need to withstand the early emotional rush the Tigers are likely to feel in playing their first conference game as a member of the SEC. -- For Missouri: Have no lulls. Missouri rolled Southeastern Louisiana, but it went through stretches where the offense struggled to stay on the field. The Tigers don't want to expend the emotions of playing their first SEC contest too early and not have anything left late in the game. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Georgia was impressive in rolling up 45 points against Buffalo in its season debut. The main area of concern going into week two is pass protection after the Bulldogs gave up three sacks. It will be important for Georgia to keep QB Aaron Murray protected so he can spread the ball around. Redshirt sophomore WR Michael Bennett had a nice season debut against Buffalo with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown and remains a solid possession receiver opposite senior WR Tavarres King. Coach Mark Richt said he's concerned how Georgia's secondary will handle Missouri's bigger, physical receivers. Georgia's defense will likely remain depleted against Missouri because of injuries and suspensions. It will be important for Georgia's front seven to get pressure on Missouri QB James Franklin and remain disciplined enough to keep him from getting long gains scrambling downfield. After one game, it doesn't appear that Missouri will attempt to change its balanced attack from a year ago. The Tigers ran the ball 36 times and threw it 26 for a combined 452 yards against Southeastern Louisiana. Against the Bulldogs, Missouri wants to stay balanced to keep Georgia's defense off-balance. QB James Franklin took more of a backseat on Saturday, but he'll need to step into the spotlight against Georgia in Week 2. It's tough to gauge where Missouri's defense stands after playing an overmatched opponent. But, the Tigers forced four turnovers and totaled four sacks, good numbers against any team. Missouri's secondary will get tested early and often against Georgia's three-year starter at quarterback, Aaron Murray, but the front four will be counted on to get pressure and help the back seven in the passing game. QUICK NOTES: Bulldogs: Coach Mark Richt said the expects the running back rotation to be the same this week as it was last week, with Ken Malcome, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall getting the majority of the carries. ... Gurley was named SEC co-freshman of the week with Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon. Gurley rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns and added a third touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return. ... Richt interviewed for the Missouri head coaching job over the phone in 2000 before accepting the job at Georgia a few months later. ... Richt is keeping under wraps whether S Bacarri Rambo and LB Alec Ogletree will remain suspended a second game for violation of team policy. ... CB Sanders Commings will serve the second of a two-game suspension. Tigers: Missouri plays its first SEC conference game on Saturday, and historically the Tigers have fared well against SEC teams. Including new member Texas A&M, Missouri is 24-15-1 all-time against current SEC schools. That includes a 7-2 bowl record. Missouri has losing records to the Aggies, Georgia and Kentucky, and never has played Tennessee. ... After returning two punts for touchdowns and setting a Missouri record with 180 return yards, Marcus Murphy was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week. It's the first individual award a Missouri player has won since joining the SEC. ... Missouri OG Max Copeland was among three linemen making their first start for the Tigers, but the former walk-on from Billings, Mont., graded out as Missouri's top offensive lineman on Saturday. He received a 92 percent from Missouri's staff, making the scholarship he received a few weeks before the season began seem well worth it. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bulldogs: RB Todd Gurley -- Gurley was terrific in his Georgia debut with three touchdowns. He ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns and added a 100-yard kickoff return for another score. QB Aaron Murray -- Murray got off to a strong start for the Bulldogs, finishing with 258 yards passing and three touchdowns against Buffalo. His completion percentage (15-of-26, 57.7 percent) wasn't great, but some of that could be attributed to some first-game rust. It will be important for Murray to get in better sync with his receivers if the Missouri game becomes a shootout. LB Jarvis Jones -- Jones is already off to a strong start with 1.5 sacks. He will be counted on to make big plays and lead Georgia's defense until the injured and suspended starters return. Tigers: QB James Franklin -- Franklin was OK against Southeastern Louisiana, passing for 131 yards and a touchdown, and running for 39 yards. He will be the focal point of the offense against Georgia, and he has to be a consistent threat on the ground and, more importantly, in the air. DT Sheldon Richardson -- Richardson has done plenty of talking and needs to back it up. He is Missouri's most talented defensive tackle and will play a huge part in stopping Georgia's run game, particularly talented freshman RB Todd Gurley. CB E.J. Gaines -- After a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2011, Gaines received little respect in preseason SEC voting. Now, he has a chance to prove he's among the nation's elite at cornerback. He has a tall order in stopping QB Aaron Murray and Georgia's passing attack. INJURY WATCH: Bulldogs: RB Ken Malcome (wrist, probable), WR Marlon Brown (hamstring, questionable), RB Richard Samuel (hip, questionable), CB Malcolm Mitchell (ankle, questionable), OL John Theus (ankle, probable), OL Watts Dantzler (ankle, probable). Tigers: OL Jack Meiners (knee, questionable), LB Will Ebner (stinger, probable). ============================================== Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock, Ark. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: ESPNU SERIES: Arkansas leads 9-0 (last meeting, 2010, Arkansas 31-7) RECORDS: ULM 0-0; Arkansas 1-0 POLLS: Arkansas (No. 8 AP, No. 10 USA Today) PREDICTION: Arkansas 42-17 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Louisiana-Monroe: Avoid mistakes. Typically, teams are susceptible to making enforced errors -- false starts, unforced turnovers, missed assignments -- in openers, but the Warhawks can't afford any of those things against the Hogs. The defense must not give up big plays to the Arkansas passing game. -- For Arkansas: Stay focused. The Warhawks have some playmakers on offense and could break off some big plays. The Razorbacks don't want to set up cheap touchdowns with turnovers as they did last week with Jacksonville State. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Louisiana-Monroe returns starters at quarterback (Kolton Browning), running back (Jyruss Edwards), wide receiver (Brent Leonard, Colby Harper, and Tavarese Maye), tight end (Keavon Milton), and the interior line (Joseph Treadwell, Ben Risenhoover, and Jonathan Gill). That should help them establish a more reliable running game. The Warhawks average over 150 yards a game rushing last year but were inconsistent. Only four starters return for UILM on defense, and one of them, Kentarius Caldwell, is moving to a new position (to end from nose tackle). All three linebackers are seniors, however, with Cameron Blakes a returning starter. Redshirt freshman Mitch Lane is slated to start at the hawk position, a combination strong safety/linebacker and critical spot in the unit. Senior QB Tyler Wilson makes the Arkansas offense go with his passing, but with the return of RB Knile Davis from an ankle injury that sidelined him all of 2011, the Razorbacks now have a potent running attack. The Hogs had two 100-yard receivers in WR Brandon Mitchell and TE Chris Gragg in the season-opening win over Jacksonville State. The Razorbacks look to be improved on defense under new coordinator Paul Haynes, though giving up 24 points to Jacksonville State wasn't all that impressive in the opener. The defensive line has five players who have recorded starts in their careers, and the linebacking corps added strength when LB Tenarius Wright was moved from end. Senior S Eric Bennett is the veteran in the secondary with 14 consecutive starts. QUICK NOTES: Warhawks: ULM has yet to beat Arkansas in nine opportunities, but came close in 2008. The Warhawks led the Razorbacks 10-6 at halftime and 27-14 early in the fourth quarter before giving up two touchdowns, the last with just 1:22 remaining. The Hogs got the 28-27 victory when Jeremy Gener's 45-yard field goal attempt with just seconds remaining was short and to the right. ... -- Two former Razorbacks likely will see action for the Warhawks in Little Rock. Senior RB Mitchell Bailey, a backup, was an invited walk-on at Arkansas in 2008. He redshirted in 2009, then transferred to ULM and sat out the 2010 season. Last year he rushed for 212 yards on 64 attempts. Junior LB Austin Moss played 11 games for Arkansas in 2009, sat out the 2010 season, then played at Navarro (Texas) College in 2011 before coming to ULM. ... ULM is opening against a ranked opponent for the fifth consecutive year Arkansas. Last year, the Warhawks opened at Florida State (No. 5). In 2010, it was No. 14 Arkansas, in 2009 No. 2 Texas and in 2008 No. 10 Auburn. Razorbacks: Arkansas had success in the red zone on both sides of the ball in the opener. The Razorbacks recorded five touchdowns in five trips inside Jacksonville State's 20-yard line and allowed the Gamecocks to come away with points only three times on their six trips. All were touchdown as well. ... Senior QB Tyler Wilson is now 12-2 as a starter in his career. ... Junior RB Knile Davis has some pleasant memories of his last trip to play in Little Rock. He rushed for 152 yards against LSU two years ago as the Hogs beat the Tigers 31-23. ... Senior CB Darius Winston started against Jacksonville State but is in a competition with senior CB Kaeion Kelleybrew for the starting nod against ULM. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Warhawks: QB Kolton Browning -- Now a seasoned veteran with two years as a starter, Browning is a running threat as well as a passer. He threw for 2,483 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 443 yards as a sophomore last year after passing for 2,552 and running for 385 as a redshirt freshman in 2010. RB Centarius Donald -- A knee injury cut short his season last year, but he returns to share the rushing load with RB Jyruss Edwards. Donald ran for 414 yards in seven games. DE Kentarius Caldwell -- Caldwell moves into a new position after recording 3.5 sacks at the nose tackle spot in 2011. Razorbacks: RB Knile Davis --Davis rushe for 70 yards on 18 carries in his first gam back from an ankle injury that cost him all of the 2011 season. He also had a reception for 19 yards. WR Brandon Mitchell -- The former backup quarterback had a nice effort in his new position with four receptions for 122 yards. His longest covered 40 yards. S Ross Rasner -- The senior made his fourth career start and was the only Razorback in double figures in tackles with 11 stops (1.5 for losses). He also was credited with breaking up a pass and forcing a fumble. INJURY WATCH: Warhawks: S Khairi Usher (lower body, out). Razorbacks: WR Cobi Hamilton (neck/head, probable), OL Jason Peacock (suspension, probable). ============================================== East Carolina at South Carolina ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, noon ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C. SURFACE: Grass TV: SEC Network SERIES: South Carolina leads 11-5 (last meeting, 2011, South Carolina 56-37) RECORDS: East Carolina 1-0; South Carolina 1-0 POLLS: South Carolina (tied for No. 9 AP, No. 9 USA Today) PREDICTION: South Carolina 35-24 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For East Carolina: Slow Carolina's running game. The Pirate defense is also going to have its hands full with the potent USC offense. But if it can hold the Gamecocks out of the end zone, its own offense is powerful enough to make things interesting. -- For South Carolina: Start strong. Against East Carolina last season, in a game played in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, the Pirates jumped to a 17-point advance before South Carolina got it together. Whether QB Connor Shaw plays or not, the Gamecocks must establish their running game. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: East Carolina QB Rio Johnson had a strong game under center, and the passing game got the job done against Appalachian State. The Pirates are still working out the running back breakdown, but it was encouraging to see the unit look so smooth against the Mountaineers. The Pirates must cut down on turnovers after losing fumble and throwing an interception against Appalachian State. Defensively, ECU's 3-4 scheme gives the Pirates flexibility and the ability to adjust to offensive changes. They held Appalachian State to 119 yards rushing but gave up 300 in the passing game in their 35-13 win in the opener. DB Lamar Ivey had an interception and LB Jeremy Grove forced two fumbles, but the Pirates failed to record a sack. Under the leadership of QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina's rushing attack began where it left off last season, picking up 205 yards on 47 carries in the opener at Vanderbilt. Junior TB Marcus Lattimore looked as good as before his knee surgery, picking up 110 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries. The team was unable to get anything going through the air, however, completing 7-of-14 passes for 67 yards. The unit will be tested against East Carolina if Shaw is unable to play. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was true to his word, as the Gamecocks blitzed more than in recent years. That led to nine tackles for losses, including five sacks. Sophomore DE Jadeveon Clowney lived up to billing, picking up two tackles for losses with one sack. The Gamecocks' pass defense allowed 214 yards, including a long second quarter touchdown pass. South Carolina managed only one turnover, an interception by LB Shaq Wilson. QUICK NOTES: Pirates: East Carolina is looking for a better performance away from home than it got last year. It lost three of its final five road games in 2011, not to mention its neutral-site loss to South Carolina. ... Weather was a factor for everyone at the East Carolina-Appalachian State game, with numerous Pirate fans leaving early and some requiring medical attention because of the heat. The players seemed to be fine, however, with just a few suffering minor cramping. ... Three East Carolina players were suspended for the season opener for a violation of team rules. Dayon Arrington, Antonio Cannon and Danny Webster are all back with the team, however, and all three are practicing this week and will be eligible to play on Saturday. ... WR Jabril Solomon was the lone true freshman to play against Appalachian State. Gamecocks: Junior Marcus RB Lattimore played in his first game after sitting out the second half of the 2011 season because of to knee surgery. He picked up right where he left off, rushing 23 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns. That was enough to earn him SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He leads the nation in career rushing yards per game, averaging 101.2 in 21 starts. ... Although the Gamecocks took two punters on the road, Tyler Hull and Patrick Fish, they went with Hull, who did not begin practice with the squad until two weeks into camp. He finished with a 39-yard average on six punts will continue to handle the job. ... South Carolina has won five consecutive games (Florida, The Citadel, Clemson, Nebraska and Vanderbilt) and is looking to go 2-0 for the third consecutive year. The Gamecocks have won 18 of their last 21 home games. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Pirates: QB Rio Johnson -- Johnson looked very good in his debut as starter against Appalachian State. But it's safe to say he'll be more challenged by South Carolina and will have to move the ball without committing the crushing turnovers that plagued ECU a year ago when these teams met. C Taylor Hudson -- Hudson became the seventh different starter at center over the past 26 East Carolina games when he took the field for the opener against Appalachian State. South Carolina can offer a strong push up the middle, so Hudson will have his hands full against the Gamecocks defensive front. DE Lee Pegues -- Of the 12 South Carolina natives on the ECU roster, Pegues is in the best position to make an impact. In addition to starting at defensive end, he may see snaps at nose tackle as well depending on how well Michael Brooks is recovering from his injured knee. Gamecocks: WR Ace Sanders -- After being touted as the team's leading returning receiver, Sanders was a non-factor in last week's victory over Vanderbilt. He caught only two passes for 13 yards. He must put up some big numbers if the Gamecock offense is to reach its potential. LT Brandon Shell -- The redshirt freshman was impressive on run blocking, but struggled when it came to pass blocking. Suffering from a sprained ankle and fatigue, he was lifted from the Vanderbilt game in the fourth quarter. LB Shaq Wilson -- The senior was disappointed with his personal results from the 2011 season, but displayed the form that led former defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to call him the smartest defensive player he ever coach. He not only led the team in tackles with eight against Vanderbilt, but returned a first quarter interception 37 yards, a play that set-up South Carolina's first touchdown. INJURY WATCH: Pirates: NT Michael Brooks (knee, doubtful). Gamecocks: QB Connor Shaw (shoulder, questionable), LB Sharrod Golightly (suspension, out), TB Brandon Wilds (ankle, out) ============================================== Michigan State at Central Michigan ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, Mich. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: ESPNU SERIES: Michigan State leads 5-3 (last meeting, 2011, Michigan State 45-7) RECORDS: Michigan State 1-0; Central Michigan 1-0 POLLS: Michigan State (No. 11 AP, No. 11 USA Today) PREDICTION: Michigan State 31-14 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Michigan State: Lessen the workload on RB Le'Von Bell. Central Michigan could be the perfect opportunity for that as the Chippewas gave up more than 300 yards and 27 points in a season-opening victory over Southeast Missouri State. The Spartans will need another solid effort stopping the run. -- For Central Michigan: Start fast. The Chippewas gave up 24 points in just 23 minutes in their opener before rallying for the 38-27 victory. They aren't going to score that many points against the Spartans, so it's critical for the defense to be on its game at the get-go. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Michigan State's running game was dominant but the passing game had its issues in the opener. QB Andrew Maxwell threw three interceptions but only one was simply a bad pass. Much improvement has to be made, especially before Michigan State faces Notre Dame on Sept. 15, and expect plenty of passing against Central Michigan. The running game won't disappear, but this week sets up perfectly to work out the kinks through the air. Even after the outstanding performance against Boise State, the players and coaches were talking about it being far from what the Spartans expect. Considering a team that recorded 45 sacks a season ago did not record a single one in the opener, Central Michigan QB Ryan Radcliff could be in for a long day as the Spartans try to get rid of the goose egg in that category. Central Michigan's offense showed some life, heart and a running game. All three aspects came only in spurts over the last two years. RB Zurlon Tipton rushed for a career-high 180 yards and scored three touchdowns, while RB Anthony Garland added 102 yards and one touchdown. Tipton's 48-yard scoring run in the second quarter was a major turning point. In all, the Chippewas rushed for 324 yards.? Central Michigan dug an early hole for itself defensively, falling behind 24-10 before putting the clamps on Southeast Missouri State to allow the offense to pull out the 38-27 victory. The Chippewas allowed 24 points in the first 23 minutes. They gave up a total of 308 yards to the FCS opponent. QUICK NOTES: Spartans: Michigan State's defense was as good as advertised against Boise State, giving up only 206 yards and keeping the Broncos' offense out of the end zone. It should be an equally dominating performance against a Central Michigan team that managed only 112 yards total offense in a 45-7 loss to the Spartans last season. ... This will be the Spartans' first trip to Central Michigan. The game is part of a series of games Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis created several years ago that has Michigan State playing home-and-home series with each of the state schools in the Mid-American Conference. ... Michigan State led the Big Ten in sacks last season but did not record one against Boise State. The Spartans did, however, force two turnovers, including a fumble recovery by LB Denicos Allen and an interception by SS RJ Williamson. Chippewas: The Chippewas have won three consecutive season openers, and four of the last five, including six straight home openers. ... The Chippewas made some news by finishing with zero penalties in their opener, accomplishing the feat for the first time since September 17, 2011 against Western Michigan. ... RBs Zurlon Tipton and Anthony Garland became the first CMU duo to top the 100-yard mark since 1999. Tipton rushed for 120 yards in the first half en route to a career-best 180 yards and three touchdowns. Garland ran for 102. ... QB Ryan Radcliff started his 25th consecutive game for the Chippewas. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Spartans: QB Andrew Maxwell -- Aside from the interceptions, Maxwell had decent numbers and ended with 248 yards passing against Boise. He also showed poise in bouncing back from a rough start to play well in the second half and lead a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Saturday's game could prove vital to his maturation at quarterback and will be vital to MSU's overall success. WR Tony Lippett -- The sophomore receiver probably had the toughest day of any Spartan. Maxwell's first interception came when Lippett bobbled a perfect pass and had it snatched away by a Boise defender. Later in the game, Lippett lost a fumble in Boise territory and was sacked for a 10-yard loss on a reverse-pass. Lippett has plenty of athleticism but must bounce back or he could get squeezed out at a crowded position. LB Denicos Allen -- The junior had 11 sacks a season ago and the fact Michigan State did not get a sack last week did not sit well with him. Allen played well, recovering a fumble, but had only three tackles. Chippewas: RB Zurlon Tipton -- A junior, Tipton rushed for a career-best 180 yards against Southeast Missouri State, the most for a CMU player since Paris Cotton ran for 209 yards against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 18, 2010. Tipton added three touchdowns and helped engineer CMU's comeback with 120 yards in the first two quarters. QB Ryan Radcliff -- Radcliff's right arm wasn't needed with the Chippewas emphasizing the run. The senior moved into second place on the all-time school career passing attempts list with 963. WR Cody Wilson -- Wilson was back in his old form, catching two passes to extend his streak to 30 straight games with at least one reception. Wilson moved into sixth place on CMU's all-time career receptions list with 158. INJURY WATCH: Spartans: WR Aaron Burbridge (knee, questionable), WR Monty Madaris (ankle, probable), OL Skyler Burkland (hand, day-to-day), OG Blake Treadwell (leg, day-to-day). Chippewas: CB Anthony Young (knee, questionable). ============================================== Ball State at Clemson ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 12:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Memorial Stadium/Frank Howard Field, Clemson, S.C. SURFACE: Grass TV: ACC Network SERIES: Clemson leads 2-0 (last meeting, 2002, Clemson 30-7) RECORDS: Ball State 1-0, Clemson 1-0 POLLS: Clemson (No. 12 AP, No. 12 USA Today PREDICTION: Clemson 45-14 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Ball State: Be sharp. Ball State typically finds itself overmatched in size, strength and speed when it plays teams from automatic qualifying BCS conferences, The Cardinals can't be sloppy and have to score a fair amount of points to stay in the game against the Tigers. -- For Clemson: Endure. With two up-tempo offenses, the NCAA record for most plays in a game (196) could be in jeopardy. Clemson ran 87 plays against Auburn last week while Ball State ran 96 in a win over Eastern Michigan. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Ball State's offense showed amazing balance last week. Through three quarters the Cardinals had 248 yards rushing and 225 passing. Ball State finished with 329 on the ground and 267 through the air for a total of 596. Ball State showed the ability to be more sound on defense in its opening game than it did most of last season. The Cardinals always seemed to have at least three players around the ball, leading to their ability to hold Eastern Michigan to just 366 yards of offense, a big improvement over the 510 yards the Cardinals gave up a game last year. This will be Clemson's second and final game without star WR Sammy Watkins, who is serving a two-game suspension as punishment for his on-campus arrest last May. But the Tigers are far from bereft of weapons. WR DeAndre Hopkins leads a deep and talented receiving corps and RB Andre Ellington is one of the country's premier running backs. Throw in a leaner and more mature QB Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense has the potential to hit on a variety of cylinders. The offense was impressive in its debut last week against Auburn, amassing 528 yards against a defense that should be one of the better units in the Southeastern Conference. Clemson's defense bent but didn't break against Auburn, allowing just one touchdown and repeatedly turning Auburn back once it entered the red zone. In fact, on 10 red-zone plays, Clemson allowed a net of minus-4 yards. That's encouraging for a unit that had to replace three of four defensive linemen. The secondary showed a few lapses at times, but made plays late in the game when under the gun. And the linebacker play was impressive, in particular the efforts turned in by Stephone Anthony and Tig Willard. QUICK NOTES: Cardinals: Sophomore TB Jahwan Edwards began his second season as a starter by rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns on just 20 carries in the opening game against Eastern Michigan. The bruising Edwards showed some speed by running away from the Eagles on a 75-yard touchdown burst. ... Ball State looked good in so many areas last week, including special teams. P Scott Kovanda kicked three times, with a long of 52 yards, and all three punts were inside the 20-yard line. PK Steven Schott drilled a career-long 52-yard field goal on his first attempt while making 3-of-4 kicks in the game. Tigers: Junior PK Chandler Catanzaro was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts against Auburn and has made 12 consecutive field goals over the past two seasons. His last miss was a 30-yarder against Wake Forest last Nov. 12, but he came back to kick a 43-yard game-winner on the final play of that game and has not missed since. He is just three field goals shy of breaking Obed Ariri's 32-year-old school record for consecutive field goals made. ... Senior RB Andre Ellington's 228 yards in Clemson's opener were the most ever in a season-opening game for a Clemson running back. The yardage also pushed his career total to 2,583 - the eighth-best total in school history. ... WR DeAndre Hopkins' 119-yard receiving effort in Week 1 was the seventh of his career. The junior is now tied for third in Clemson history in that category and is just two shy of the school-record of nine held by Rod Gardner. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cardinals: WR Jamill Smith -- He will be one of the main targets of the Cardinals in their passing game this season. The junior began the year by tying his career high with seven receptions for a career-best 119 yards. TB Jahwan Edwards -- The sophomore tied his career high with three rushing touchdowns Aug. 30 against Eastern Michigan. He ran for 200 yards on 20 carries. QB Keith Wenning moved into sixth place all time in Ball State history in passing yards. The junior threw for 267 yards to reach 4,426 yards in his career. Tigers: WR DeAndre Hopkins -- Hopkins should carry a heavy workload once again, what with Sammy Watkins still suspended. Hopkins came up big in the first week, grabbing a school-record 13 passes against Auburn. Expect more of the same against Ball State. RB Andre Ellington - Ellington kicked off his senior season with a 228-yard effort on 25 rushes. He isn't likely to get 25 carries against Ball State, but he won't need to. Expect a heavier dose of back-ups D.J. Howard and Hot Rod McDowell as running backs coach Tony Elliott seeks to preserve Ellington for the meat of the schedule. LB Stephone Anthony - Just a sophomore, Anthony began showing his immense talents in the opener, leading the team with seven tackles and earning defensive player of the game honors from Clemson's coaching staff. INJURY WATCH: Cardinals: WR Jack Tomlinson (neck/shoulder, probable), QB Kelly Page (ankle, doubtful), S Chris Pauling (thigh, questionable). Tigers: LB Justin Parker (groin, out), CB Martin Jenkins (hernia, out), WR Sammy Wadkins (suspension, out). ============================================== Wisconsin at Oregon State ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 4 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: FX SERIES: Wisconsin leads 2-0 (last meeting, 2011, Wisconsin 35-0) RECORDS: Wisconsin 1-0; Oregon State 0-1 POLLS: Wisconsin (No. 13 AP, No. 13 USA Today) PREDICTION: Wisconsin 28-17 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Wisconsin: Finish strong. The Badgers have a big size and talent advantage over the Beavers. But they nearly let Northern Iowa come back las week before making a key fourth-down stop for the 27-21 victory. -- For Oregon State: Show some semblance of a running game. The Beavers need to keep all of the pressure from falling on QB Sean Mannion. It's the same on the other side of the ball with the defense having to handle Wisconsin's running game. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Junior quarterback Danny O'Brien displayed a good connection with Jared Abbrederis for Wisconsin in the opener. O'Brien threw a pair of touchdown passes to Abbrederis and completed 19-of-23 passes for 219 yards. O'Brien finished his debut in a UW uniform with a pass efficiency mark of 191.3 -- the second-best ever by UW quarterback in his first start. Russell Wilson posted a 292.46 last year in the opener. Wisconsin's defense allowed three late touchdowns in a row against Northern Iowa to mask an otherwise solid performance. The UW defense struggled stopping the pass, but did a solid job containing the run. Northern Iowa finished with 41 yards rushing, averaging 2.0 yards per carry. Oregon Sate's original plan, if the opener had been Nicholls State, would have been to get the running game going and simply overpower the Colonels. Now, the opponent is Wisconsin, and it will take a balanced attack, with maybe some big plays by the receivers to open up the Badgers. But, again, it needs to be balanced. In last year's game, Sean Mannion threw 38 passes while the OSU running backs had a total 15 carries, setting a trend for the season when the Beavers played physically superior defenses. The challenge for Oregon State defensively will be fairly simple in design, if difficult in execution. Can the Beavers limit the damage done by Wisconsin RB Montee Ball? He ran for 118 yards last year in less than three quarters in the Badgers' opener, and the Beavers need to control him early and force some third-down situations. QUICK NOTES: Badgers: Wisconsin owns an impressive streak of winning 33 straight regular-season non-conference games. LSU has the longest streak at 38. ... The Badgers have won their first two games of a season for 10 straight years. ... Wisconsin has won five of its last six meetings with Pac-12 conference opponents. ... Coach Bret Bielema is a master of the non-conference schedule. Bielema is 25-0 in regular-season non-conference games at Wisconsin. ... Bielema didn't send video of Wisconsin's opener against Northern Iowa to Oregon State because the Beavers could not reciprocate. Their opener against Nicholls State was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac ... LB Ethan Armstrong was limited in practices following the opener in order to get some additional rest and limit his wear and tear. Beavers: So how do the Beavers make up the lost game caused by the delayed opener against Nicholls State? It could matter greatly for a team that needs six wins to be bowl eligible and was counting on the opener. The only common opening on the schedules of OSU and Nicholls State is Dec. 1, but only if the Beavers aren't in the Pac-12 title game and Nicholls State isn't in the FCS playoffs. ... OSU did have an offer from Temple to play the Owls in Philadelphia on Sept. 15, but OSU declined giving up its one bye in the season, which falls in front of the beginning of its conference schedule. ... If C Isaac Seumalo starts as expected, he will be the first true freshman at center to open an OSU game since Roger Levasa in 1978. Levasa went on to start 37 games during his career. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Badgers: QB Danny O'Brien -- The spotlight gets brighter with a road game against Oregon State. O'Brien put up big numbers in the opener, but they got lost in the close game. O'Brien's leadership skills will be tested. RB Montee Ball -- The Heisman Trophy candidate should get a steady stream of carries. Ball finished with 151 all-purpose yards in the opener. LB Mike Taylor -- Led the Badgers with 13 tackles against Northern Iowa. It was the 12th-most of any player in the nation in the opening week. Beavers: DT Castro Masaniai -- Against that mammoth offensive line of the Badgers, OSU's biggest player needs to stand his ground. The 354-pound Masaniai will be given an early test on his fitness and ability in his return to game action after missing half of last season due to a broken leg. LB Feti Unga -- OSU's defensive plan is to funnel an opponent's running game to the middle linebacker, which promises to be a busy afternoon for the OSU senior. He led OSU with nine tackles against Wisconsin last season when he shared snaps at the position, and he'll need to hold up when put to the test this time. CB Jordan Poyer -- The acknowledged leader of this OSU team needs to come up with some big plays to ignite his teammates. That could come with an interception, or a return of a kickoff or punt, but in a game like this against Wisconsin, OSU's best player needs to be a big factor. INJURY WATCH: Badgers: LB Chris Borland (undisclosed, probable), WR Jeff Duckworth (ankle, probable). Beavers: TE Colby Prince (shoulder, probable), WR Obum Gwacham (foot, probable), S Anthony Watkins (shoulder, questionable). ============================================== Central Florida at Ohio State ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, noon ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: ESPN2 SERIES: First meeting. RECORDS: UCF 1-0, Ohio State 1-0 POLLS: Ohio State (No. 14 AP) PREDICTION: Ohio State 24-7 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For UCF: Get off to a good start. That means weathering the first few possessions in each half, when the energy and crowd noise are likely to be at their highest. Turnovers are never a good thing, but they will be a killer for the Knights in this environment. -- For Ohio State: Monopolize the football. The Knights have an explosive and potent offense, and the best way for the Buckeyes to neutralize that unit is to hold on to the football and let their spread pick away at UCF while the clock rolls. Takig away UCF's running game is the goal on defense. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: UCF's passing game looked sharper during last week's 56-14 victory over Akron than it has in quite some time. WR Rannell Hall became the first Golden Knight to make multiple touchdown catches in a game since Jamar Newsome against Memphis on Nov. 27, 2010. QB Blake Bortles, in his first start, threw three touchdown passes, the first UCF quarterback to have that many in one game since Nov. 24, 2007. UCF showed plenty of aggression on defense against Akron, recovering three fumbles as part of four total turnovers. The back end of the defense looked sharp, especially now that CB A.J. Bouye is back from the major knee injury that truncated his 2011 season. QB Braxton Miller was expected to find his comfort zone -- eventually -- with Ohio State's new spread offense. That comfort level seemed to arrive quickly as Miller led the offense to a dominant performance in the season-opener. Meyer was quick to point out that his offense was not all Miller using his athleticism and running the football, and that he expects this offense to grow as the young quarterback gets more relaxed as its leader. Ohio State's approach defensively against Miami in the opening game was to run a lot of players out there and see who could perform against a pass-oriented offense. The unit looks to get tested in run defense this week. QUICK NOTES: Golden Knights: Heading into this week's game at Ohio State, UCF has an 0-6 record against members of the Big Ten. The Golden Knights have played Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin in the past. ... Beating Akron in the opener gave the Knights their first road victory since 2010, when UCF went 6-1 away from home en route to winning the Conference USA title and beating Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. ... RB Storm Johnson, the ballyhooed transfer from Miami, will start in RB Latavius Murray's place. Senior RB Brynn Harvey moves into the No. 2 role. ... Deion Green and Thomas Niles notched their first career sacks during last week's victory over Akron. ... CBs A.J. Bouye and Jordan Ozerties, and DE Cam Henderson recovered fumbles against Akron. Ozerties was making his first college start. ... Sophomore WR Rannell Hall had two touchdown catches in his four receptions. Buckeyes: The Buckeyes passed for 244 yards in the win over Miami, their highest total in a 21-game stretch going back to the 348 yards passing they had in a 2010 win at Indiana. Six different Ohio State players had multiple receptions against the RedHawks. ... Part of the mantra of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is that he recruits players to play, not to redshirt. Meyer used 14 true freshmen in the opener. ... QB Braxton Miller left the Miami game with leg cramps on two occasions. Miller's history of struggles with minor injuries has to be a concern going forward. ... DE Adam Bellamy, a starter during his career with the Buckeyes, has left the team for personal reasons. He started 10 games last season and was considered a leading candidate to start in 2012. ... OT Jack Mewhort, who has been kept from the media since his minor run-in with police this summer and his subsequent suspension before fall camp, was a dominant force in the opener against Miami. The junior from Toledo provides the blind side protection for sophomore QB Braxton Miller. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Golden Knights: QB Blake Bortles -- Bortles played good football in his first start at the college level. However, he also took a few too many hard hits for coach George O'Leary's liking. Bortles has been tasked to start getting rid of the ball more quickly, and he'll need it going against the Buckeyes' defensive front. RB Brynn Harvey -- A former 1,000-yard rusher, Harvey has struggled to find his place in the rotation since missing the 2010 season because of a torn ACL. He'll be the No. 2 man in the backfield against the Buckeyes. TE Chris Martin -- The converted offensive tackle got some early work against Akron and even caught a pass. Martin should bolster the blocking up front, and if he can fine-tune his receiving skills, he gives UCF another potential weapon, especially in the red zone. Buckeyes: DE Nathan Williams -- After missing all of last season and going through two surgeries, Williams returned to the field against Miami for about 30 plays. That knocked off any rust and he is ready to go QB Braxton Miller -- The sophomore exploded out of the gate in the season-opening win over Miami of Ohio, with 161 yards rushing and 368 yards of total offense. His rushing total set a single-game Ohio State record for a quarterback. DB Travis Howard -- The Florida product had a pair of interceptions in the season-opener against Miami (Ohio) and now has six on his career. Howard seems to have adjusted well to the more attacking style of defensive play that Ohio State has employed -- an approach designed to create more turnovers. INJURY WATCH: Golden Knights: RB Latavius Murray (shoulder, doubtful). Buckeyes: No injuries reported. ============================================== Austin Peay at Virginia Tech ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 1:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, Blacksburg, Va. SURFACE: Grass TV: ESPN3 SERIES: First meeting RECORDS: Austin Peay 0-1, Virginia Tech 1-0 POLLS: Virginia Tech (No. 15 AP, NO. 18 USA Today) PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 42-0 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Austin Peay: Have a great kicking game. The Governors want to force Virginia Tech to go as far as possible when they get the ball. The defense must gang tackle Tech QB Logan Thomas, who has the size (6-6, 260) of a tight end. -- For Virginia Tech: Get off to a good start. The Hokies could use some success in the passing and running game to build confidence for their young offense. Establishing a big lead would give Tech's inexperienced reserves a chance to get some real-time game action. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Austin Peay managed only 154 yards in total offense in losing its opener to Western Kentucky 49-10, mostly because of a popgun passing attack. The Govs managed only 11 yards passing against the Hilltoppers. They have three new starters in the offensive line. Austin Peay's defense couldn't handle Western Kentucky's running game, surrendering 244 yards on the ground. But the pass defense was porous as well. The Hilltoppers threw for 352 yards for sum of 596 yards in total offense. Virginia Tech struggled to run the ball against Georgia Tech, accumulating only 96 yards on the ground, and QB Logan Thomas was erratic at times throwing the ball. The offense got better as the game progressed, however, and came through with some big plays in the fourth quarter and overtime. Thomas accounted for 230 yards passing and two touchdowns, and he was the team's second-leading rusher with 40 yards. Virginia Tech's defense wants to be dominant this season, and it got off to a great start against Georgia Tech's potent spread option attack. The Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to 288 total yards and 192 yards rushing, well below their 2011 season averages of 458.8 and 316.5. Virginia Tech allowed only one touchdown in the first 59:14, and that came after a special teams snafu gave Georgia Tech the ball at the Hokies' 24-yard-line. QUICK NOTES: Governors: Austin Peay will be playing its second straight FBS opponent when it goes to Virginia Tech. The Govs lost 49-10 to Western Kentucky in their opener. ... Austin Peay will get into Ohio Valley Conference play its next game when it takes a jaunt down I-24 to Nashville to play Tennessee State o Sept. 15. ... The Govs will be looking to keep alive their streak of games with at least one score when they take on Virginia Tech. It's at 74 going to Blacksburg. Hokies: PK Cody Journell's clutch field goals at the end of regulation and in overtime masked an otherwise poor performance by the Hokies' special teams. Virginia Tech had a costly miscue in the first quarter when freshman P A.J. Hughes misplayed a snap and had to fall on the ball for a 22-yard loss deep in Hokies' territory. That led to a Georgia Tech touchdown. And before his heroics, Journell missed a 38-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game, 10-10. ... Virginia Tech won on the last play of the game for the first time since 1999, when Shayne Graham kicked a 44-yard field goal to beat West Virginia. ... Before Monday, the Hokies had never played an overtime game at Lane Stadium. They improved to 3-2 all-time in overtime games. Virginia Tech's last two games, including its Sugar Bowl loss to Michigan in January, were decided on field goals in overtime. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Governors; RB Wes Kitts -- Kitts had 104 yards rushing on just 10 carries, mostly because of his 68-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. It was the senior's first collegiate start. S Jeremy Ross -- Ross provided his team with one of its few bright spots in the game at Western Kentucky with his interception. FS Antwaun Majors -- Majors led Austin Peay in tackles with 10 stops, including a sack. He also was credited with breaking up a pass. Hokies: LB Jack Tyler -- The former walk-on has answered the call every time the Hokies have needed him. He has come up big as an injury sub the last three seasons, but he saved his biggest performance to date for Monday night's opener against Georgia Tech. He posted a career-high 17 tackles and earned ACC linebacker of the week honors. OT Vinston Painter -- Painter had a memorable first career start Monday. He graded out at 84 percent and had six knockdown blocks in his debut. WR Corey Fuller -- The lesser-known Fuller brother could become a more recognizable name this season. The former track standout had five catches for 82 yards in the opener and recovered a critical fumble in the fourth quarter to keep a touchdown drive alive. His brother, Kyle, also had a big game against Georgia Tech with an interception during the Yellow Jackets' overtime possession. INJURY WATCH: Governors: LT Julian Virgo (leg, questionable), OT Kyle Harrison (undisclosed, questionable). Hokies: WR D.J. Coles (knee, probable), DT Luther Maddy (undisclosed, probable) ============================================== Nebraska at UCLA ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. SURFACE: Grass TV: Fox SERIES: UCLA leads 3-2 (last meeting, 1994, Nebraska 49-21) RECORDS: Nebraska 1-0; UCLA 1-0 POLLS: Nebraska (No. 16AP, No. 14 USA Today) PREDICTION: UCLA 24-21 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Nebraska: Contain Bruin redshirt freshman QB Brett Hundley. Hundley ran for 79 yards in his debut, and coach Bo Pelini's teams have historically struggled against running quarterbacks. The Huskers hope the no-turnover, two-penalty performance from the season opener can carry over to a road game. -- For UCLA: Get the running game going. RB Johnathan Franklin broke two long touchdown runs last week, but those gaping holes in the middle of the line might not be there this week against Nebraska. UCLA is going to have to grind against Nebraska's front and get reasonable chunks of yardage to keep the chains moving. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Nebraska had 10 different receivers catch passes in the opener, a number that didn't surprise most players or coaches. While the number might not be that high every game, it will be plentiful, as offensive coordinator Tim Beck wants (and appears to have) as many weapons as possible to keep running his up-tempo style It's comparable to a running, pressing basketball team that sends in another wave of players in hopes of wearing down the opponent. Early reviews are so-so on Nebraska's defense. The Cornhuskers allowed 13 points and 260 yards to Southern Miss -- numbers a defensive coordinator can certainly live with -- but still looked hesitant at times, especially when trying to stop running QB Anthony Alford, who rushed for 84 yards. Redshirt freshman QB Brett Hundley gives this new UCLA offense a shot of adrenaline and hope for a bright future. He completed 21-of-28 passes for 202 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception, in his first start last week, and he raced 72 yards for a touchdown on his first play. The issue for UCLA against Nebraska -- big and physical up front, as usual -- is a young offensive line that features redshirt freshman LT Torian White, redshirt freshman C Jake Brendel. and true freshman RT Simon Goines. UCLA posted seven sacks against Rice last week, and it was encouraging to see two sacks by DE Datone Jones, who is trying to put it all together after missing 2010 because of injury and having a subpar season in 2011. It will be much more difficult for the Bruins to corral the quarterback this week, though, as Nebraska's Taylor Martinez is a dynamic running threat who is showing more poise in the pocket. The Bruins will want to make him pass into a talented secondary that includes big cornerbacks and FS Tevin McDonald. QUICK NOTES: Cornhuskers: For only the second time since 2000, Nebraska has a road game within the season's first two weeks. ... Nebraska played four true freshmen against Southern Miss -- DE Avery Moss, DT Aaron Curry, RB Imani Cross., and CB Charles Jackson. Cross had the most action of the group. He rushed 11 times for 62 yards. ... QB Taylor Martinez, who's made a name for himself to this point with his running ability, says he considers himself a throw-first quarterback. That was evident in the opener when he was 26-of-34 passing for 354 yards and five touchdowns. ... Senior PK Brett Maher missed field goal attempts from 41 and 44 yards in the opener, only the second and third misses from under 50 yards in his career. Bruins: Senior RB Johnathan Franklin was selected the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after his 214-yard performance against Rice. Franklin compiled that yardage -- as well as three touchdowns -- on only 15 carries. He had scoring runs of 74 and 78 yards, making him the first Bruins to record two runs of at least 72 yards in the same game. ... UCLA is planning on fireworks at the Nebraska game -- well, at least after the game. School officials are promoting their postgame fireworks show, an enticement to bring out the fans who have been staying away from UCLA football in recent years. ... UCLA has won eight of its past 15 home games against teams ranked in the AP top 25. The Bruins were 1-1 in such games last season, losing to No. 24 Texas and beating No. 20 Arizona State to kick off a late-season slide for the Sun Devils. ... -S Dietrich Riley, who missed the final six games of last season because of a neck injury suffered in a collision, could soon return to workouts. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cornhuskers: QB Taylor Martinez -- He made headlines and raised eyebrows with his 354-yard passing performance. A repeat is unlikely, but can Martinez continue to display the same poise, pocket presence and overall management in Nebraska's first road game, when he's not likely to take a defense by surprise with his arm? RB Ameer Abdullah -- Rex Burkhead isn't ruled out, yet, but it's unlikely he'll play only seven days after his MCL sprain, meaning Abdullah, a sophomore, will get the call. He doesn't have to do it all -- fellow sophomore Braylon Heard is nearly equal with him on the depth chart -- but Abdullah will shoulder a bigger responsibility. K Brett Maher -- Two missed field goals and a 21-yard punt isn't what anyone expected from last year's Big Ten kicker and punter of the year. Everyone believes that performance was an anomaly. He doesn't have to wait long to prove it. Briuns: LB Anthony Barr -- Converted from offense, the former running back/receiver had six tackles, including a sack, in his first game at linebacker last week. PK Ka'imi Fairbairn -- UCLA had three PATs blocked by Rice, with blame going to the low height on his kicks and poor blocking up front. Coach Jim Mora tweaked the protection personnel this week, and Fairbairn got some post-practice work in with former UCLA standout Kai Forbath. QB Brett Hundley -- Last week, he was able to handle the accuracy needed in coordinator Noel Mazzone's spread offense, and the redshirt freshman's running ability will give any defense pause. If last week's game was considered a breakout, then a big game in a win over Nebraska definitely will put Hundley on the national radar. INJURY WATCH: Cornhuskers: RB Rex Burkhead (knee, questionable), WR Tim Marlowe (collarbone, out), TE Ben Cotton (ribcage, probable). Bruins: DE Sam Tai (knee, out), DT Ellis McCarthy (knee, probable). ============================================== New Mexico at Texas ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 8 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Darrell K.Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium/Joe Jamail Field, Austin, Texas SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: Longhorn Network SERIES: Texas leads 2-0 (last meeting, 1988, Texas 47-0) RECORDS: New Mexico 1-0, Texas 1-0 POLLS: Texas (No. 17 AP, No. 15 USA Today) PREDICTION: Texas 37-7 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For New Mexico: Stay error-free. Wyoming grabbed a 9-7 lead on Texas last week through the early minutes of the second quarter, but back-to-back interceptions dashed the Cowboys' hopes for a comeback. New Mexico's defensive line has to put more pressure on the Texas backfield for the Lobos to extend the game. -- For Texas: Correct mistakes. Breakdowns in the secondary and defending against a running quarterback kept the game against Wyoming closer than expected for a long while. Assuming the Longhorns don't beat themselves with penalties and turnovers, they have too much for New Mexico to handle. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: New Mexico had a 100-yard rusher for the first time in three years when junior Demarcus Rogers finished with 103 yards against Southern. Any one of four players could have gone over the century mark had the coaching staff not opted to keep rotating fresh players. If junior RB Kasey Carrier returns, New Mexico could be effective against a Texas run defense that allowed only 69 yards to Wyoming. The Lobos didn't have to show a whole lot in the passing game in beating Southern U. 66-21. New Mexico's big worry is in the passing attack afetr allowing Southern to make some big plays. And if the Jaguars receivers could have hung onto the football, Southern would have had a lot more than the 241 yards passing that it put up against the Lobos last week in Albuquerque, N.M. The Lobos have to find a way to cover man-to-man better or not allow so many seams against the zone defense. Texas didn't really try to go after the Wyoming secondary, finishing with 156 yards passing from QB David Ash. Texas kept things pretty bland offensively in the opener, but QB David Ash and the Texas offense will have to be ready for a New Mexico unit that moves around a lot to disguise its intentions. Texas is bigger, faster and stronger, however, and if it executes as it is capable of doing, the team should be able to move the ball down the field. The Texas game plan will be very different this week from what it was against Wyoming. New Mexico runs a modified triple option that will require the Longhorns to stay disciplined and make the play on the initial hit. The Longhorns held Wyoming to just 69 yards rushing in the opener but gave up 276 passing. SS Kenny Vaccaro and CB Carrington Byndom had an interception each, and DE Alex Okafor had the only sack for the Longhorns. QUICK NOTES: Lobos: The Lobos' quarterbacks have to do a better job of presenting themselves as well-rounded players. Senior B.R. Holbrook didn't get a lot of opportunities but threw the ball well in the season opener. Coach Bob Davie commented, however, that Holbrook's timing appeared to be off in the running game. True freshman backup Cole Gautsche looked the part of a strong running quarterback, but he struggled to throw the ball the two times he let it go last weekend. ... The offensive line deserved a lot of credit for the win over Southern. The Lobos' 347 rushing yards were the most since a 70-7 win over San Diego State in 2008, when offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier was in his first stint with the team. UNM also allowed zero sacks. The line returns four starters from 2011 and has five players who started at least six games last season. ... Senior NT Rod Davis will serve the second of his two-game NCAA suspension for an improper benefits violation that took place last season. Longhorns: Legendary RB Earl Campbell is the honorary captain for the Longhorns this week. And for all the talk about players today not knowing about the past, this Texas team was thrilled to get the chance to interact with him and has appreciated his involvement in the past. ... Senior S Kenny Vaccaro made his presence felt in the season opener. He was involved in both Texas turnovers, picking off one pass and pressuring the quarterback to help provoke the second. ... Texas allowed Wyoming to convert on just one of its 11 third-down opportunities in the opener. ... DT Desmond Jackson is listed as a starter this week, replacing Brandon Moore. Moore is now listed as the backup. ... WR Daje Johnson is on the depth chart after being suspended for the opener. He's listed as a backup to Jaxon Shipley at wide receiver. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Lobos: WR Lamaar Thomas -- He didn't have a big role in New Mexico's rout of Southern last week, nor did he have to have a big role. Thomas had one carry for 15 yards and one reception for 10 yards. But the transfer from Ohio State is going to have to command a much bigger role this week to keep his team within shouting distance of Texas. QB Cole Gautsche -- The true freshman showed tremendous running skills during his eight-carry, 88-yard performance against Southern. Gautsche met some defenders head on and didn't get pushed back. Don't expect that to happen against Texas run defense. Gautsche has to learn how to protect himself when he runs the football, not to mention work on his accuracy in the passing game. NT Reggie Ellis -- The senior, who had one tackle against Southern, has to figure out how to plug up the middle against the Texas offensive line. He didn't have a lot of playing time against Southern but the Lobos need him to force Longhorns RBs Joe Bereron and Malcolm Brown to run east and west instead of north and south. Longhorns: QB David Ash -- Ash had a solid, albeit boring, game against Wyoming. He did what he was supposed to do, but rarely stretched the defense. New Mexico might be a repeat performance, but at some point he'll have to demonstrate that he can go deep as well as check down. RB Johnathan Gray -- Grey had five carries for nine yards in his Texas debut last week. Now that he's gotten his feet wet, look for his workload to expand as the coaches add the freshman phenom to the backfield rotation. DE Alex Okafor -- Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat form one of the best defensive end tandems in the country. They should be able to wreak havoc in the New Mexico backfield. INJURY WATCH: Lobos: RB Kasey Carrier (hamstring, day-to-day), DL Payton Hightower (undisclosed, probable), DL Gerron Borne (undisclosed, probable). Longhorns: PK Anthony Fera (groin, doubtful). ============================================== Oklahoma State at Arizona ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 10:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Arizona Stadium, SURFACE: Grass TV: Pac-12 Network SERIES: Oklahoma State leads 5-3 (last meeting, 2011, Oklahoma State 37-24) RECORDS: Oklahoma State 1-0, Arizona 1-0 POLLS: Oklahoma State (No. 18 AP, No. 16 USA Today) PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 42-24 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Oklahoma State: Handle Arizona's multiple offense. Forcing a couple of early turnovers and cashing in with quick scores could pay big dividends. QB Wes Lunt wants to keep his poise in his first road test. -- For Arizona: No turnovers. The Wildcats had three costly giveaways last week, in addition to a myriad of other self-inflicted mistakes against Toledo. The Cats can't afford to be giving anything away as it tries to keep pace with the high-scoring Cowboys. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: So far, so good for QB Wes Lunt. The Oklahoma State true freshman launched his college career by completing all 11 passes he attempted against Savannah State. He directed the Cowboys to four quick touchdowns over a span that barely exceeded four minutes of game time. Whatever command of the offense Lunt has gained will be tested by a faster defense and in an unusual environment when Oklahoma State travels to Arizona. Expect the Cowboys to ask a lot from their running backs, namely Joseph Randle, to alleviate some pressure. Again, Savannah State offered little resistance on either side of the ball, so it was not surprising Oklahoma State posted an outcome (84-0) that reflected dominance on both sides of the ball. Essentially it was a chance to break in new starters while also welcoming veterans who shape solid units among both the linebackers and secondary. Getting sturdy contributions from inexperienced interior linemen will be key, though the OSU staff praised the work of DT Calvin Barnett, a junior-college transfer, in the opener. Arizona as a mixed bag in offense in its first game, often moving the ball at will in their new fast-paced, no-huddle read-option offense, but much of the yardage went for naught because of three turnovers, two TDs called back because of penalty and two short missed field goals. Arizona can't be so inefficient against Oklahoma State in a game that is going to require a lot of points to win. The Cowboys thrive on creating turnovers, so Arizona must pay extra attention to ball security. Arizona's defense came up with a strong second-half effort in the win over Toledo. The Wildcats become more aggressive with their blitzing, which is a cornerstone of the 3-3-5 scheme -- and getting pressure on Oklahoma State true freshman QB Wes Lunt will be just what Arizona is looking for Saturday night. LB Marquis Flowers should bloom in his new role after converting from safety, giving him even more chances to get into the backfield. He had 1.5 sacks in the opener vs. Toledo. QUICK NOTES: Cowboys: The disparity between Oklahoma State and its season-opening opponent, Savannah State, stirred additional criticism for the decision to schedule the game as preparations began for the Sept. 8 trip to Arizona. OSU coach Mike Gundy indicated Savannah State was roughly the 17th school administrators called while attempting to line up a game after conference realignment left the Cowboys with an opening to fill. ... Oklahoma State had nearly 100 players take the field against Savannah State, including 19 non-scholarship players. Among long-time practice contributors Gundy was pleased to see play were DLs Taylor May and Jarid King, and WR Christian Schroeder. ... WR Tracy Moore was suspended from the opener against Savannah State after receiving a police citation for supplying alcohol to a minor. The citation was the third for Moore in a six-month span. He is expected to play at Arizona. ... CB Devin Hedgepeth returned for Oklahoma State from a torn Achilles he suffered in the third game last season. Wildcats: Junior LB Jake Fischer was selected the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, an honor that had extra meaning for him considering it was his first game back since tearing an ACL in the 2011 spring game. ... Arizona's 624 yards against Toledo were the second-best total in school history and the the sixth-best figure from college football's opening week. The team that had the most yards last week? Arizona's opponent, Oklahoma State, which put up 682 vs. Savannah State. ... A new tradition at Arizona Stadium features the Wildcats signing the school fight song with the band in the southeast corner of the end zone. ... Senior DE Willie Mobley is listed as a co-starter with Reggie Gilbert, who started in the first week. ... Redshirt freshman RT Jacob Arzouman suffered a torn ACL in fall camp and is out for the season. He was likely to be in the rotation if healthy. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cowboys: QB Wes Lunt -- In essence, the Arizona game serves as a debut of sorts for the true freshman since Savannah State was no match. He went 11-for-11 passing in that game, but now faces a much more athletic defense with a skilled secondary. RB Joseph Randle -- Randle needed just six rushing attempts to crack the 100-yard mark against Savannah State. His versatility is required to take pressure off Lunt as both a rusher and an outlet receiver. When dialed in, Randle is the Cowboys' top threat. PK Quinn Sharp -- Could it be that Sharp is, well, rusty? He missed his only field-goal attempt, from 46 yards, against Savannah State. He only punted once, and that 53-yarder sailed into the end zone for a touchback. The Cowboys need Sharp to be solid. Wildcats: PK John Bonano -- He missed two short field goals last week (a 24-yarder and a 25-yarder that would have won the game at the end of regulation), but Arizona doesn't have another good option right now, so he'll be back out there vs. Oklahoma State. QB Matt Scott -- He showed a solid grasp of the read-option offense in his first game in the system, mostly making the right run-pass decisions and never looking flustered. He'll try to follow up on his big day vs. Toledo that featured 387 passing yards and 74 rushing yards. WR Dan Buckner -- The 6-4 senior receiver provides a big target, and he's not bad after the catch, either. He made 10 catches for 116 yards in the opener against Toledo and will embrace the bigger spotlight this week vs. Oklahoma State. INJURY WATCH: Cowboys: WR David Glidden (ankle, probable). Wildcats: LB Hank Hobson (shoulder, questionable), LB Rob Hankins (concussion, day-to-day), LB Dakota Conwell (foot, questionable), LB Greg Nwoko (hip, questionable), C Addison Bachman (concussion, day-to-day), DE Dan Pettinato (kne, questionable), TE Drew Robinson (concussion, day-to-day), OL Trent Spurgeon (ankle, questionable). ============================================== Air Force at Michigan ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: ABC SERIES: Michigan leads l-0 (last meeting, 1964, Michigan 24-7) RECORDS: Air Force 1-0; Michigan 0-1 POLLS: Michigan (No. 19 AP, No. 19 USA Today) PREDICTION: Michigan 27-14 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Air Force: Win the turnover battle. If Air Force has any chance of pulling off the upset, it has to get some takeaways. The defense does have the talent to make some plays, and a couple big plays could keep the Falcons in the game. -- For Michigan: Forget about the opening loss to Alabama. The only way to repair the damaged egos on the Michigan sideline is for the Wolverines to put on a dominant performance in front of the 100,000-plus who will pack The Big House. Getting off to a good start could pay dividends. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Air Force needs WR Ty MacArthur back sooner than later. MacArthur went down on a scary hit in Saturday's game, and although the Falcons said they don't believe he has a concussion, his status for this week's game is up in the air. MacArthur is one of the best playmakers on the offense, a versatile player who can beat a defense on reverses, deep pass routes or underneath catches. There isn't a lot of proven experience behind him. Air Force's cornerbacks will be put to the test this week. Chris Miller and Steffon Batts are inexperienced but talented. Those two stood out throughout camp, making plays just about every practice. They are competitive players who will be excited to perform on a big stage against elite competition. Michigan QB Denard Robinson got beat up in the opener against Alabama, and that is just the thing the Wolverines need to avoid. Robinson has taken too many hits over the past three seasons, and if Michigan wants him to be most effective, his runs should be fewer. With the Wolverines getting RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, their top rusher from 2011, back this week, the offense should get an immediate jolt of energy. Just having Toussaint available should take some of the heat off Robinson. Michigan took just the kind of hit the Wolverines could least afford when veteran DB Blake Countess went down early in the Alabama game. The news was pretty grim -- Countess tore up his knee and will be lost for the season. Michigan coach Brady Hoke is concerned with the Air Force speed. Michigan's defense returns the top three tacklers from the 2011 season -- LB Kenny Demens (94 stops), S Jordan Kovacs (75), and S Thomas Gordon (67). QUICK NOTES: Falcons: Saturday's game at Michigan could produce the largest crowd Air Force has ever played in front of. The Falcons' record is 105,466 at Tennessee in 2006. Michigan Stadium has a capacity of almost 110,000. ... PK Parker Herrington missed just three field goals last season, but he missed his first and only attempt in last week. The attempt was from 43 yards out, and the snap from Harrison Elliott, who was making his debut, wasn't great. ... Sophomore WR Colton Huntsman made the conversion from quarterback last season, and he had a good camp. Then in the season opener he had a 12-yard touchdown run on his first career carry. The receiver position was entirely new to him, but he has the ability to be a significant contributor for Air Force the next few years. ... C Austin Hayes will replace Michael Husar (knee) in the starting lineup. Husar is out for the season. Wolverines: Despite its struggles against Alabama, Michigan did manage to create four offensive plays that produced 20 yards or more. Three were pass receptions (71, 44 and 20 yards), plus the 22 yard run by RB Vincent Smith. ... The Wolverines took 17 freshmen to Texas for the Alabama game, giving them the ultimate baptism into big-time college football. ... RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, the 2011 starter who was suspended for the Alabama game and did not make the trip to Texas, has been reinstated and will play for the Wolverines against Air Force. ... Also, DL Frank Clark has been reinstated and is expected to play against Air Force this week. ... OL Elliott Mealer, a fifth-year senior, made the first start of his career in the Alabama game. Mealer had been listed at guard but ended up starting at center for the Wolverines. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Falcons: QB Connor Dietz -- Dietz had a good overall game in Week 1, but that was against a FCS team that doesn't have nearly the speed on defense that he'll see this week at Michigan. Dietz needs to keep the defense honest with some long passes and not turn the ball over. RB Cody Getz -- After his huge performance in the opener, Getz is already drawing comparisons to Chad Hall, the last Falcons player to have a 200-yard game back in 2007. Getz is quick and also showed his straight-line speed. LB Alex Means -- Means is Air Force's best defensive player, and he will have a huge responsibility against Michigan. He, and fellow LB Jared Jones, will be primarily responsible for making sure Michigan QB Denard Robinson doesn't break contain on runs and make big plays on the perimeter. Wolverines: WR Jeremy Gallon -- With four catches for a career-best 107 yards in the 41-14 loss to Alabama, Gallon collected the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. He also had a career-long 71-yard catch on Michigan's first scoring drive. C Elliott Mealer -- After working most of fall camp at guard, Mealer got the start at center against Alabama. It was the first start of his career for the fifth-year senior. WR Devin Gardner -- The career of this former Michigan high school star quarterback might have taken an interesting turn when Gardner lined up at receiver against Alabama. Michigan coach Brady Hoke made the move to get the athletic Gardner on the field, and it paid off with a 44-yard touchdown catch in the game. INJURY WATCH: Falcons: WR Ty MacArthur (head, day-to-day), RB Jon Lee (leg, questionable). Wolverines: CB Blake Countess (knee, out). ============================================== Grambling State at TCU ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 7 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas SURFACE: Grass TV: Fox Sports SERIES: First meeting RECORDS: Grambling 0-1; TCU 0-0 POLLS: TCU (No. 20 AP, No. 17 USA Today) PREDICTION: TCU 49-7 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Grambling: Eliminate mistakes. The Tigers had some special teams' miscues that helped Alcorn State to some easy scores. The Tigers have to take advantage of whatever mistakes the Horned Frogs make in making their season debut. -- For TCU: Pay attention to detail. Do so and the Horned Frogs should win handily. The one snag is Grambling State already has played a game and knows what to work after surrendering a comfortable margin and falling 22-21 against Alcorn State. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: The line is Grambling's most experienced group on offense with a graduate student (Ashton Green), a senior (Sanford Banks) and a junior (Clint Marsh) among the starters. The other two starters (LT Anthony Cherry and C Andre Gunn) are sophomores. QB D.J. Lawrence starts as a sophomore. Junior Dawrence Roberts ran for 1,102 yards last year. Grambling's defense couldn't hold onto a 12-point lead late in the game, giving up the final score with just 1:33 left. The defensive line is young and includes a freshman, Trae Ford, starting at nose tackle. The secondary is young as well and may be without one of its returning veterans, Edward Patterson. Patterson injured his ankle against Alcorn. The admission by QB Casey Pachall that he tried marijuana, a popular subject after a campus drug sting led to three dismissals among TCU players, may do nothing more than leave the junior even more focused to engineer the Horned Frogs against Big 12 defenses. Pachall enjoyed a record-setting season as a first-time starter a year ago and looked sharp throughout fall camp while attempting to build on his 67-percent accuracy as a passer. He has experienced targets returning among WRs Skye Dawson, Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter. WR LaDarius Brown is a redshirt freshman capable of a breakout season. Linebacker is a spot that causes some concerns defensively for TCU, though the Horned Frogs should be improved in the secondary, which is a relief considering the ability of Big 12 opponents to throw the ball. Pressure applied by DE Stansly Maponga will be the featured strength of this unit, which will struggle to attain anything resembling the yardage allowances that enabled TCU to lead the country in total defense three consecutive seasons from 2008-10. Still, the defense figures to be formidable as long as newcomers fulfill their potential. QUICK NOTES: Tigers: Of their 22 starters on offense and defense against Alcorn State, half were sophomores and one was a freshman. ... The opening 22-21 loss to Alcorn snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Tigers. ... After losing a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, Grambling had one last shot at getting a win i the opener but PK Fabian Carter's 42-yard field goal attempt was short as time expired. Horned Frogs: TCU carries the nation's longest winning streak (eight games) into the season, part of a .784 winning percentage posted at the school by 12th-year coach Gary Patterson. Patterson will become TCU's all-time winningest coach with a victory in the opener. It will be his 110th. He currently is tied with legendary coach Dutch Meyer, whose Horned Frogs won national titles in 1935 and 1938. ... Starting WR Skye Dawson has been suspended for Saturday's season opener for violating school policy. Dawson, who also returns kicks, was the Frogs' second-leading receiver last year with 45 catches for 500 yards and five touchdowns. ... Among the new amenities at refurbished Amon Carter Stadium will be a sculpture of a Horned Frog, which will sit in a plaza outside the entrance where players and coaches arrive on game day. The frog, which will weigh 1,200 pounds and measure almost eight feet long, will be touched for good luck. ... LB Antonio Graves returned to practice after missing most of the August workouts because of academic issues. ... OT James Dunbar is no longer on the team because of academics. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tigers: RB Dawrence Roberts -- Roberts was well on his way to a 100-yard rushing night against Alcorn State when cramps forced him to the bench with 98 yards in just the first half. He is a strong candidate for Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year. WR Anthony McGhee -- McGhee showed he not only is a threat in the receiving game but can run as well. He scored on a 33-yard sweep in the loss to Alcorn State. RB Jeremy Runner -- Runner (Is there a better name for a running back in college football?) took over when Roberts was forced to the sideline and rushed for 76 yards on 12 carries in the second half. Horned Frogs: QB Casey Pachall -- The most critical view of TCU as a member of the Big 12 will be shed on Pachall, who set TCU passing records with 2,921 yards and 228 completions last season. Yet those marks are considered almost pedestrian in his new conference. TCU cannot get sidetracked by comparisons, however. Maintaining offensive balance is critical for Pachall to succeed. DT David Johnson -- Although he does not receive the same acclaim as the other returning starters on the TCU defensive front, DEs Stansly Maponga and Ross Forrest, Johnson plays a key role providing push in the middle. WR Josh Boyce - After falling just two receiving yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark a year ago, the junior pushed himself during the offseason. Boyce emerged as a leader in the experienced receiving corps, which is experienced, but includes just eight scholarship players. INJURY WATCH: Tigers: CB Edward Patterson (ankle, questionable). Horned Frogs: No injuries reported. ============================================== Miami (Fla.) at Kansas State ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, noon ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan. SURFACE: AstroTurf Gameday Grass TV: FX SERIES: Kansas State leads 1-0 (last meeting, 2011, Kansas State 28-24) RECORDS: Miami 1-0; Kansas State 1-0 POLLS: Kansas State (No. 21 AP, No. 20 USA Today) PREDICTION: Kansas State 21-17 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Miami: Stop the run. The K-State QB Collin Klein rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown and passed for 133 and two touchdowns and RB John Hubert bulled is way to 116 yards rushing and a touchdown last year. Miami's wideouts can't have the drops they did against Boston College against the Wildcats' stingy defense. -- For Kansas State: Run a balanced offense. The Wildcats powered their way to last year's victory with their running game but Miami is likely to be ready for that. The defense must be ready for Miami's fast-paced offense when the Hurricanes go to a no-huddle. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Miami junior QB Stephen Morris had a solid debut against Boston College after winning the starting job in the fall camp, going 28-of-45 passing with one interception (on a deflection) and one touchdown pass. The big story, however, was the breakaway threat the Hurricanes got from freshman RB Duke Johnson, who had touchdown runs of 54 and 56 yards. Junior WR Allen Hurns and freshman WR Malcolm Lewis combined for 12 catches with Lewis recording a touchdown reception. BC shredded Miami's defense on its first two series in establishing an early 14-0 lead, but the Hurricanes shut down the Eagles after until giving up a couple of late scores. Sophomore LB Denzil Perryman is solid in the middle, and junior S Kacy Rodgers led the Hurricanes in tackles against the Eagles. The Hurricane held BC to just 98 yards rushing but face a big test in Kansas State, which ran for 265 yards in last year's meeting. The return of QB Collin Klein meant Kansas State would feature a potent rushing attack, even if Klein was the primary threat. Against Missouri State in the opener, however, the Wildcats were intent on involving other rushers and eventually gained 324 yards, their best output on the ground since a 373-yard effort at North Texas in 2010. Although he did not start, TB John Hubert gained 152 yards. A 95-yard touchdown burst by Hubert was just one yard shy of a Kansas State record set in 1948. Difficulty defending the pass was evident in the opener for Kansas State's defense. Some of the breakdowns were attributable to the inability of the Wildcats to make the correct reads and get into proper coverages. Missouri State used a quick-strike attack to minimize any rush Kansas State applied, though pressure remains a concern, as does the interior push generated by inexperienced tackles. Better play from the secondary, however, is a must, particularly after CBs Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman looked shaky in coverage. QUICK NOTES: Hurricanes: Of the 58 players who got into the game for Miami at Boston College, 14 were freshmen, 12 of them in their first season on campus and two of them redshirts. Two of them, RB Duke Johnson and WR Malcolm Lewis, scored touchdowns, Johnson getting two. RT Ereck Flowers, also a true freshman, started up front on offense. Redshirt freshman LB Eddie Johnson is expected to start at Kansas State. ... Johnson's 135 yards rushing is the third-highest for a true freshman at Miami since 1980. Javarris James ran for 148 against Houston in 2006 and Clinton Portis went for 147 against East Carolina in 1999. ... Miami is looking to start 2-0 for the first time since 2009. The Hurricanes lost their opener last year to Maryland and their second game (Ohio State) in 2010 after opening with a win over Florida A&M. Wildcats: After announcing four sellouts thus far, Kansas State was approaching another capacity crowd for the game against Miami. Just 1,200 tickets remained early in the week, though they were priced at a premium rate ($75-85) for the visit from the Hurricanes. In contrast, tickets for the opener against FCS member Missouri State were priced at $25 and $35. ... This series was forged when Ron Prince was coaching at Kansas State and intent on changing the dynamics of non-conference scheduling. The visit last year to Miami was openly questioned by Bill Snyder after he was re-hired to coach the Wildcats, yet his team prevailed 28-24 with a goal-line stand in the final minute. ... Kansas State's defense allowed visiting Missouri State, which plays on the FCS level, 418 yards of total offense. The one saving grace was keeping the Bears out of the end zone on their four trips inside the 20-yard line. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Hurricanes: RB Duke Johnson -- The true freshman had a spectacular collegiate debut, scoring on runs of 54 and 56 yards and totaling 135 yards rushing in Miami's win at Boston College. Johnson also is a receiving threat out of the backfield. LB Denzel Perryman -- A sophomore, Perryman returned an interception for a touchdown, stemming BC's momentum and tying the score. He had seven tackles with one for a loss. WR Allen Hurns -- The leading returning receiver, Hurns had eight receptions for 81 yards in the opener and showed an ability to make the tough catch over the middle in key situations. He had 31 receptions as a sophomore last year. Wildcats: QB Collin Klein -- The first game was pedestrian as far as generating much offense through the air. Klein did go 5-for-5 passing on the first series before that bogged down and the Wildcats settled for a field goal. He finished with 169 yards passing against Missouri State. WR Chris Harper -- The senior made a pitch for being a 1,000-yard receiver this season, yet still experiences trouble at times getting open as Kansas State attempts long-developing pass routes. Harper averaged 9.3 yards on three receptions against Missouri State. PK Anthony Cantele -- Supplied 15 points in the opener by going perfect on field goals (3-for-3) and PATs (6-for-6). All of his attempts were chip shots, with the longest going 25 yards. INJURY WATCH: Hurricanes: DT Curtis Porter (appendix, out). Wildcats: OG Boston Stiverson (foot, quesitonable), OG Nick Puetz (foot, doubtful). ============================================== Purdue at Notre Dame ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend. Ind. SURFACE: Grass TV: NBC SERIES: Notre Dame leads 55-26-2 (Last meeting, 2011, 38-10 Notre Dame) RECORDS: Purdue 1-0, Notre Dame 1-0 POLLS: Notre Dame (No. 22 AP, No. 22 USA Today) PREDICTION: Notre Dame 28-17 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Purdue: Avoid the early mistakes. Last year, QB Caleb TerBush threw an interception on the game's first play and two plays later, the Irish led 7-0 en route to a 38-10 victory. Notre Dame has a suspect secondary the Boilermakers need to take advantage of. -- For Notre Dame: Keep mixing it up. If they maintain the offensive pace and mix they displayed against Navy, the Irish may be tough to stop even with a relatively inexperienced quarterback. The secondary must step up. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: In the Purdue's opener, QB Robert Marve filled in for projected starter Caleb TerBush, throwing for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns in the Boilermakers' win over Eastern Kentucky. TerBush, who was serving a one-game suspension, will start at Notre Dame. Marve and backup quarterback Rob Henry distributed the ball to the receivers and tight ends effectively, but also committed a combined four turnovers. Purdue held Eastern Kentucky to only 190 yards, including 70 on three plays. The competition, though, increases this week at Notre Dame, which scored 50 points and had its way with Navy in the opener. The Boilermakers' defensive line will have to control the line of scrimmage in order for Purdue to stay in contention. Notre Dame's offensive line, led by T Zack Martin and C Braxston Cave, played with cohesion against Navy, helping the first-team offense go a perfect seven-for-seven on third downs. WR Tyler Eifert had four catches for 22 yards and a touchdown and has receptions in 21 straight games. RB Theo Riddick helped picked up the slack with 107 yards in 19 carries and two touchdowns while RB George Atkinson III added 99 on nine carries and also scored twice. The Irish switch gears from Navy's option to Purdue's more traditional spread offense. Coach Brian Kelly says the Irish are well-prepared to contend with a conventional passing attack and gave it plenty of focus in spring and summer practices. Notre Dame's defense forced four turnovers, the first time since it has had that many since the 2010 Sun Bowl, and recovered three fumbles. The Irish had only six fumble recoveries in 2011. Notre Dame's defense has allowed two offensive touchdowns or fewer in 13 of its last 18 games. QUICK NOTES: Boilermakers: One area coach Danny Hope has focused on is improving Purdue's play in the third quarter. Last season, the Boilermakers didn't score in the third quarter during six straight games. Although Purdue scored one touchdown in the third quarter of last Saturday's game, it generated 129 yards and held EKU to 29. ... DB Frankie Williams earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after sharing team-high honors with six tackles, including four solos, and a tackle-for-loss in the win. His tackles were the most of any freshman in the conference. He also broke up a pass. ... LB Joe Gilliam earned the start against Eastern Kentucky following the dismissal of starter Dwayne Beckford. Gilliam is expected to start again this week. Irish: Coach Brian Kelly said his team suffered no aftereffects from a lengthy 7,300 round trip through five time zones. ... QB Tommy Rees, who started all but one game for the Irish last year, returns from a one-game suspension this week, but won't start against Purdue. Kelly gave the nod to Everett Golson, who engineered a 50-10 victory over Navy. ... RB Cierre Woods will serve the second in a two-game suspension this week against Purdue. ... DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, NG guard Louis Nix III and DE Stephon Tuitt have started a combined 46 games over their careers. Tuitt had a fumble recovery that he returned 77 yards for a touchdown against Navy. ... LB Dan Fox had seven tackles in his 14th consecutive start. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Boilermakers: QB Caleb TerBush -- All eyes on the fifth-year senior who returns from a one-game suspension. He can't make mistakes early to put the Boilermakers in a hole. DE Kawann Short -- Short must help slow down Notre Dame's run game or it will be a long day for the Boilermakers. TE Gabe Holmes -- Holmes is Purdue's biggest target in the receiving game. He could be a matchup problem for Notre Dame's linebackers. Irish: LB Manti Te'o -- The Irish senior was named defensive player of the week among independent major programs as he collected eight tackles, including four solos, against Navy. He also had a fumble recover and interception, both career firsts. RB Theo Riddick -- He has successfully transitioned from slot receiver to running back and rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns last week. TE Tyler Eifert -- Eifert who caught a five-yard touchdown pass from QB Everett Golson last Saturday, is the only tight end on the 2012 Maxwell Award Watch List, presented to college football's Player of the Year. INJURY WATCH: Boilermakers: RB Ralph Bolden (knee, doubtful). Irish: No injuries reported. ============================================== Missouri State at Louisville ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky. SURFACE: FieldTurf TV: Local (WHAS, Louisville) SERIES: First meeting RECORDS: Missouri State 0-1, Louisville 1-0 POLLS: Louisville (No. 23 AP, No. 24 USA Today) PREDICTION: Louisville 31-13 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Missouri State: Go for broke. The Bears were competitive for three quarters before going up 35 points in the fourth at Kansas State. The defense must keep QB Terry Bridgewater in the pocket. -- For Louisville: Be ready for anything. Missouri State, which might empty the playbook in an attempt to make this a competitive game. Offensively, Louisville simply needs to block and execute as it did against Kentucky, and it will score early and often. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Missouri State managed only 95 yards rushing in its 51-9 loss to Kansas State, but the Bears burned the Wildcats with 323 yards in the passing game. Had the Bears been able to get the ball into the end zone it might have made for an interesting affair. WRs Julian Burton and Cadarius Dotson combined for 13 receptions for 196 yards. The Bears' defense stayed with Kansas State for three quarters before giving up five touchdowns in the final 15 minutes. They ended up surrendering 324 yards to the Wildcats on the ground and 169 passing. They run a 3-4 scheme with three seniors and three juniors starting in the front seven. A smashing success in the season opener, Louisville's offense should be able to carry it over into Week 2 against Missouri State, which can't compare in terms of size, speed or depth. As long as the Cards execute and block, they should keep the scoreboard operator busy and be able to flood the field with fresh faces sometime early in the second half. If QB Terry Bridgewater continues to make good decisions, it will be hard for anyone on the schedule to stop Louisville. The best thing one can say about the Louisville's defense in the opener is that the Cards bent-but-didn't-break. Kentucky moved the ball pretty easily for most of the game and could have easily scored more than 14 points if it had taken advantage of several chances inside the Louisville 25-yard line. With North Carolina's potent offense coming to town on Sept. 15, this week is one where the Cards have to iron things out and become more fundamentally sound or else they might place the offense in the position of having to win a shootout against the Tar Heels. QUICK NOTES: Bears: With an enrollment of 22,866, Missouri Sate is the second-largest university in the state of Missouri. ... The Bears didn't give up a sack at Kansas State but got to Wildcats QB Collin Klein once (LB Nate Davis). ... P Chris Sullens had a strong debut at Kansas State, averaging 47.2 yards on six punts with three of them traveling over 50 yards. ... Louisville is the last FBS team on Missouri State's schedule. The Bears play Murray State nest week and then begin Missouri Valley Conference play. Cardinals: QB Teddy Bridgewater set a school record for completion percentage against Kentucky, connecting on 19-of-21 passes for 232 yards and hitting nine different receivers in the process. While Bridgewater was barely rushed most of the day, he was still amazingly accurate and could have been 20-of-21 if a first half pass hadn't been dropped. ... RBs Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright became the first duo of Louisville backs to rush for more than 100 yards each in the same game in two years, finishing with 108 and 105, respectively. The last time it happened was in 2010, when Bilal Powell (162) and Victor Anderson (109) did it to Arkansas State. ... WR Charles Gaines, who didn't play against Kentucky for disciplinary reasons, will play against Missouri State, although it's not known if he'll start. ... FS Calvin Pryor forced a fumble, broke up a pass and notched eight tackles in the win over Kentucky. Pryor's forced fumble in the second quarter was the third of his career. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bears: QB Ashton Glaser -- The transfer from Missouri was 22-of-47 passing in his Missouri State debut. His completions were good for 257 yards, and he added 10 rushing for a total offense total of 267. LB Nate Davis -- Davis got the game's only sack and led all tacklers with 11 stops. In addition to the sack, he had one other tackle-for-loss. WR Dorian Buford -- Buford led the Bears in receptions with seven and receiving yards with 114. He had a long reception of 56 yards. Cardinals: QB Will Stein -- The backup to Teddy Bridgewater looked shaky in a quarter and a half of work against Kentucky, which makes one think that an injury to Bridgewater might be real trouble. Stein is likely to see plenty of action in this game and he could use a good outing, if for no other reason to quell fans who might worry about what would happen if Bridgewater goes down. RB Jeremy Wright -- He ran with purpose and passion against Kentucky, especially around the goal line, and looked like a workhorse back. There's no reason he can't enjoy another big day against an FCS foe like Missouri State, especially if the offensive line continues to block with the kind of malevolence it showed in the opener. CB Terrell Floyd -- Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford was displeased with the coverage his cornerbacks offered against Kentucky as Maxwell Smith completed 35-of-50 passes. Floyd, along with Andrew Johnson and Adrian Bushell, must challenge receivers more often to become a more effective cover guy. INJURY WATCH: Bears: No injuries reported. Cardinals: RB Dominique Brown (knee, questionable). ============================================== Florida at Texas A&M ============================================== GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas SURFACE: Grass TV: ESPN SERIES: Tied 1-1 (Last meeting, 1977, Texas A&M, 37-14) RECORDS: Florida 1-0; Texas A&M 0-0 POLLS: Florida (No. 24 AP, No. 23 USA Today) PREDICTION: Florida 24-14 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Florida: Protect the passer. Texas A&M led the nation in sacks last season with 51 and returns its top two pass rushers, LB Sean Porter and DL Damontre Moore. The Gators look to bring pressure on Texas A&M redshirt freshman QB Johnny Manziel, who is making his first college start. -- For Texas A&M: Remain calm. The Aggies don't want to be overly hyped playing their first conference game as members of the SEC, but they don't want to be blase about it either. The defense needs to contain RB Mike Gillislee, who rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns in Florida's victory over Bowling Green. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: Florida finished its opener against Bowling Green averaging 5.2 yards per carry. But Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease would like to see the Gators execute better in the red zone. The Gators converted only two of their three trips inside the 20-yard line with one of the conversions a field goal. The Gators kept the game plan conservative in the opener, throwing for only 145 yards and rushing for 220. QB Jeff Driskel, who split time with Jacoby Brisset in the first half, will get the start at A&M after playing the entire second half against Bowling Green. Both are sophomores. Florida coach Will Muschamp counted 10 missed tackles on the Bowling Green game tape and wasn't pleased. One good thing, however, was that the defense gave up only three big plays out of 24 completions in the passing game. Florida held Bowling Green to 4-of-17 on third-down conversions. The defense, however, lacked big plays with only one turnover and no sacks. Florida finished the game with two turnovers, but one was a muffed punt. CBs Jaylen Watkins and Cody Riggs each dropped potential interceptions in the first half. Aggies: Texas A&M expects to play with the up-tempo pace that coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury used last season at Houston, which led the FBS in most offensive statistics. The pressure won't all be on freshman QB Johnny Manziel, who has the luxury of an experienced offensive line and star receiver Ryan Swope and veteran running back Christine Michael. Major questions remain as to how Texas A&M's new-look defensive line will hold up against an SEC offensive line that is "extremely, extremely physical," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. While A&M digested the Bowling Green-Florida game last week, coaches are expecting surprises from new Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who came from Boise State. QUICK NOTES: Gators: Coach Will Muschamp was disappointed in his team's effort on special teams against Bowling Green. The lowlights included a field goal attempt that was partially blocked and getting caught napping on a fake punt that resulted in a first down. ... Florida will be playing in Texas for the first time since a 1982 loss to Arkansas in the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. The Gators are 1-7-1 in games in the Longhorn state. Florida's only win in Texas was a 48-3 victory at Rice on Sept. 17, 1977. ... Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said that it didn't bother him that coach Will Muschamp over-ruled some his play calls on third-and-short yardage. Muschamp admitted after the game that he handcuffed Pease a bit by insisting on so many running plays on third-and-short, even with eight and nine men in the box. ... CB Loucheiz Purifoy lined up at wide receiver on some plays against Bowling Green and will play both ways going forward. Aggies: Starting LB Steven Jenkins and backup DB Howard Matthews are expected to play Saturday. Coach Kevin Sumlin had suspended them for the first game of the season, but said last week that the punishment would still apply for the Louisiana Tech game, which was moved to Oct. 13 because of Hurricane Isaac. ... Redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel is the first freshman to open the season at quarterback for Texas A&M since 1944. A Texas prep star at Kerrville Tivy, Manziel graduated early to go through the spring season in 2011. He made the traveling squad while redshirting last season. He didn't earn the starting job until fall camp. ... New defensive coordinator Mark Snyder arrived in College Station from South Florida. The Aggies switched to a 4-3 from a 3-4. The top two pass-rushers return in Sean Porter and Damontre Moore, who moved from outside linebacker to defensive end. ... Driven by necessity, coach Kevin Sumlin said, Texas A&M's two-deep includes 17 players who are new to the team or redshirted last season, including 10 true freshmen. Among those projected to start are WR Mike Evans, QB Johnny Manziel and DB De'Vante Harris. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gators: RB Mike Gillislee -- Gillislee had an impressive season-debut for the Gators, rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry. He'll be counted on again to provide production in the running game. WR Frankie Hammond Jr.-- Hammond came up with the biggest play of the Bowling Green game with a 50-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Hammond was Florida's leading receiver last week at 62 yards on three catches. CB Marcus Roberson -- Roberson got his first career interception and picked up where he left off last season as Florida's best cover corner. The Gators will need a solid game all-around from their secondary to counter a pass-oriented offense installed by new Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. Aggies: QB Johnny Manziel -- He's known for his competitiveness and confidence, but he'll be making his college debut in a pressure-filled situation and against a strong Florida defense. RB Christine Michael -- Michael makes his return after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Game 9 last season. He had rushed for 889 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry to that point. DE Damontre Moore -- He recorded 8.5 sacks last season and will be challenged to make an impact from the defensive line, instead of at outside linebacker. INJURY WATCH: Gators: OL Matt Patchan (chest, out), LS Drew Ferris (broken clavicle, out). Aggies: No injuries reported. ============================================= Duke at Stanford ============================================= GAME SNAPSHOT KICKOFF: Saturday, 10:30 ET GAMEDATE: 9/8/2012 SITE: Stanford Stadium/Foster Field, Stanford, Calif. SURFACE: Grass TV: Pac-12 Network SERIES: Stanford leads 2-1 (last meeting, 2011, Sanford 44-14) RECORDS: Duke 1-0, Stanford 1-0 POLLS: Stanford (No. 25 AP, No. 21 USA Today) PREDICTION: Stanford 42-35 KEYS TO THE GAME: -- For Duke: Protect the passer. QB Sean Renfree and WR Connor Vernon had big nights when the offensive line kept Renfree from being sacked in the win over Florida International. The defense must do a better job against the run. -- For Stanford: Get a pass rush going. Stanford had six sacks in last season's 44-14 victory over Duke, with Sean Renfree being the victim of five of them. The Cardinal needs to establish its running game against Duke, which may not be able to handle Stanford's offensive line. SCOUTING THE TEAMS: QB Sean Renfree had Duke clicking offensively in the opener and continues to close in on some school records. The rushing attack wasn't overwhelming, but there were signs that good things can get done in that area. The offensive line's maturity is something the Blue Devils count on. The Blue Devils stood up to most of the challenges in the first game, keeping pace with some of Florida International's speedy players after surrendering a long touchdown on the first series. Duke will need to show the ability to stop the run against Stanford, and that was an issue in the opener. Progress in that area is necessity. It looks like S Brandon Braxton fits in on the unit after converting from a wide receiver. Stanford's offense looked great on its first two possessions against San Jose State as the Cardinal used the power running game to good effect in scoring two early touchdowns. But after that, the Cardinal offense did little. TB Stepfan Taylor was expected to be the team's star, and he did have 116 yards rushing. But more than half of those came on the Cardinal's opening drive, and San Jose State does not have a great rushing defense. QB Josh Nunes also started well, completing five of his first six passes. But he was just 4-for-10 in the second half, and he did not complete a pass longer than 14 yards. The offensive line did not dominate the game as expected. The Cardinal defense, with an outstanding front seven and questions in the secondary, figured to be very good against the run and vulnerable against the pass. That proved to be accurate against San Jose State, which rushed for just 72 yards but passed for 219 yards. Certainly the Cardinal's suspect secondary helped San Jose State QB David Fales have a big game, but the pass rush Stanford usually applies was noticeably lacking. The Cardinal did sack Fales three times, but he generally had plenty of time to throw. QUICK NOTES: Blue Devils: Duke hasn't won on the road against a ranked opponent in its last 41 opportunities. ... Duke should receive a version of a scouting report from Mike MacIntyre, a former Duke assistant now the head coach of San Jose State, which played Stanford in the opener. ... Teammates WR Conner Vernon and WR Jamison Crowder combined for 282 receiving yards in the opener. Both of them topped the 100-yard mark, something that has happened in the same game only 16 times in the Duke program. ... The Blue Devils registered three sacks against Florida International, a good sign, particularly with the need to pay attention to the rushing attack as well. Last season, the Blue Devils had three sacks in a game only twice. Cardinal: LB Shayne Skov is expected to play for the first time since tearing his anterior-cruciate ligament in the third game last season. He was suspended for the 2012 opener because he was arrested for DUI last January, and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to provide the emotion and big-play capability he brought before the injury. He is listed as a starter on the depth chart for the game against Duke. ... Stanford entered a new age with iPad playbooks for the 2012 season. With the start of the Cardinal's fall training camp, each Stanford player and coach received an iPad outfitted with a digital playbook. ... Stanford played 10 true freshmen in the season-opener. Four true freshmen played last season, six in 2010 and six in 2009. ... The Cardinal lists 12 positions on its defensive two-deep, including a nickel back. Against San Jose State, the Cardinal started two defensive linemen, four linebackers and five defensive backs. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Blue Devils: WR Jamison Crowder -- He proved he could handle a heightened role by racking up 102 receiving yards in the opening game of the season. He's also active as a return specialist for kickoffs and punts, so his impact is well-rounded. S August Campbell -- The Blue Devils are counting on him stepping into a bigger role with the departure of standout Matt Daniels, who had directed the defense from his safety position. Campbell, a redshirt junior, matched his career high with five tackles in the first game of the season. LB Kyler Brown -- He played as a reserve linebacker in the opener, making six tackles against Florida International. He shouldn't be confused with older brother LB Kelby Brown, who is out following offseason knee surgery. Cardinal: LB Chase Thomas -- Thomas had half a sack against San Jose State, but was seldom able to apply pressure on San Jose State's quarterback. Pass rushing is Thomas' forte, and he needs to get in the face of Duke QB Sean Renfree. TB Stepfan Taylor -- Taylor had 116 yards rushing in the opener, but he was not particularly effective in the second half, which typically is when he does his best work. The Cardinal will use a number of tailbacks, but Taylor is the one who sets the tone. He needs to produce some big runs. LB Shayne Skov -- A lot of eyes will be on Skov to see whether he will play with the same abandon and effectiveness that characterized his play before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the third game last season. This will be his first game since the injury. INJURY WATCH: Blue Devils:? DE Kenny Anunike (leg, probable). Cardinal: FB Ryan Hewitt (ankle, doubtful), FB Geoff Meinken (knee, doubtful).
By The Sports Xchange September 5, 2012 5:40 PM