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Wednesday, 21 November 2012 15:42
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 FRIDAY
No. 8 LSU (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) at Arkansas (4-7, 2-5), 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Line: LSU by 12
Series Record: LSU leads 35-20-2
WHAT'S AT STAKE
That depends on the outcome of the Auburn-Alabama game this weekend. LSU can still win the Southeastern Conference West Division with a win over Arkansas, but only if Auburn shocks No. 2 Alabama - and the rest of the country. The Tigers are the highest-ranked two-loss team and could potentially play their way back into the BCS title game, depending on how other conference title games shake out, but a loss to the struggling Razorbacks would put an end to BCS bowl hopes of any kind.
Arkansas' hopes for this game are limited to that of playing the spoiler role. The Razorbacks' bowl hopes vanished with a loss at Mississippi State last week, the final nail in the coffin of a disappointing season in the wake of the Bobby Petrino scandal in April that led to his firing. Interim coach John L. Smith fought back tears earlier this week when discussing the likelihood that this will be his final game at Arkansas. The Razorbacks, ranked in the top 10 to begin the season, must find a way to tap into that emotion if they are to win against LSU for the fourth time in six games.
KEY MATCHUP
Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson vs. LSU's defense. For all of the negatives this season for the Razorbacks, Wilson hasn't been one of them. The senior, last season's first-team All-SEC quarterback, leads the league with an average of 302.8 yards passing and would love nothing more than to win his final college game at home.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are third in the SEC in pass defense - allowing 179.4 yards per game. LSU, whose 29 sacks this season as a team are led by Sam Montgomery's seven, expects to put plenty of pressure on Wilson, who has been hit consistently this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LSU: QB Zach Mettenberger. Opposing quarterbacks have had their way this season with an Arkansas secondary that ranks last in the SEC and 115th in the country, allowing 292.1 yards passing per game. Mettenberger averages 206.5 yards passing, but he's performed well of late - averaging 284.3 yards his last three games. Expect more of the same against the Razorbacks.
Arkansas: WR Cobi Hamilton. The senior, who leads the SEC in catches (80) and yards receiving (1,237), needs just four catches to break the school record for career receptions. He currently has 165 for his career and is also 178 yards short of matching Jarius Wright's mark in career yardage for the Razorbacks.
FACTS AND FIGURES
A win for LSU would give the Tigers double-digit wins for the sixth time in eight years under coach Les Miles ... The school is tied with Boise State for the longest streak with at least eight wins in a season, doing so 13 times in a row ... Miles is 4-3 against Arkansas, pulling above .500 with a 41-17 win last season ... The Razorbacks will miss a bowl game this season for the first time since 2008, Petrino's first season as coach ... Arkansas shocked LSU in its final game that season to finish 5-7.
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No. 17 Nebraska (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) at Iowa (4-7, 2-5), Noon (ABC)
Line: Nebraska by 14.
Series Record: Nebraska leads 27-12-3.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Nebraska will win a spot in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin in Indianapolis with a victory. Iowa won't reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2000, but a win would make things a bit easier heading into what could be a difficult offseason.
KEY MATCHUP
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez vs. Iowa's defensive line. Martinez is the type of dual-threat quarterback that has often vexed the Hawkeyes in the past. Iowa's defense was shredded by Michigan QB Devin Gardner last week and must get pressure on Martinez to avoid a similar fate.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nebraska: WR Kenny Bell: Iowa CB Micah Hyde will likely be tasked with stopping Bell, who has caught eight TD passes this season. No other Husker has more than two receiving touchdowns.
Iowa: RB Mark Weisman: The bruising Weisman has a chance to be one of the Big Ten's best players next season once he gets a healthy line to run behind. But can he do it with a banged up front?
FACTS & FIGURES
Nebraska's last trip to Iowa City was in 1999 for coach Kirk Ferentz's debut with the Hawkeyes. The Huskers rolled 42-7 over an Iowa team that won just one game... Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said earlier this week that he likely won't work in youngsters just to see what he'll have in 2013.Nebraska's current five-game winning streak is its longest in conference play since 2009, when it was in the Big 12.Iowa has lost twice at home this season on a field goal of 45 yards or longer on the final play. ... The Huskers allowed 90 yards passing in last week's win over Minnesota.
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Ohio (8-3, 4-3 Mid-American) at No. 23 Kent State (10-1, 7-0), 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
Line: Kent State by 10
Series Record: Ohio leads 39-23-2
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Kent State clinched the MAC's East title last week and a spot in the Nov. 30 conference championship against No. 24 Northern Illinois. The Golden Flashes and Bobcats were on a collision course to settle the division a few weeks ago, but Ohio has dropped three of its past four. Kent State, ranked in the AP poll for the first time since 1973, is trying to finish off the best season in school history and bolster its bowl resume.
KEY MATCHUP
Kent State RB Dri Archer vs. Ohio's defense. The Golden Flashes average 244.6 yards rushing, and the lightning-fast Archer, who has been timed in 4.21 seconds in the 40-yard dash, can take it the distance from anywhere on the field. Last week at Bowling Green, Archer rushed for a career-high 241 yards and ripped off a jaw-dropping 74-yard TD run that garnered a mention on ESPN's top plays and turned him into a YouTube sensation. He's averaging an astounding 10.3 yards per carry.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio: QB Tyler Tettleton. The junior and son of former major league baseball player Mickey Tettleton has completed 63 percent of his passes with 16 TDs and just two interceptions. A three-year starter, he's approaching 6,000 career yards and has 15 career TDs rushing. He became the school's career leader in completions last week.
Kent State: RB Trayion Durham. Mr. Inside to Archer's Mr. Outside for the Golden Flashes, he's rushed for 1,101 yards and 13 TDs. The 6-foot, 250-pound sophomore is the only player to rush for more than 100 yards against No. 21 Rutgers this season.
FACTS & FIGURES
At 10-1, the Golden Flashes have the most wins in the program's 90-year history. In 1973, Kent State's team, which featured Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert and Alabama coach Nick Saban, went 9-2. ... Archer leads the nation in kick return average, is fourth in all-purpose yards and tied for fifth in scoring. ... Ohio opened the season 7-0, its best start since 1968. ... Kent State has won 11 straight conference games, but Ohio is not part of that run. ... Ohio is 0-15 against ranked opponents. ... Kent State has forced 33 turnovers and leads all FBS schools in turnover margin (1.82). ... Ohio opened the season with a 24-14 win at Penn State. ... Kent State's win at Rutgers this season was the Golden Flashes' first over a ranked opponent in 22 tries. ... Kent State has converted its last 12 fourth-down attempts and is 13 of 17 this season.
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No. 24 Northern Illinois (10-1, 7-0 Mid-American) at Eastern Michigan (2-9, 1-6), 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
Line: NIU by 20
Series Record: NIU leads 26-14-2.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
The visiting Huskies, who already have clinched the MAC West division and a third straight berth in the conference title game, can match the school's single-season wins record with a victory. NIU will face East champ Kent State in the Nov. 30 championship game. The Eagles are simply playing for pride and a second straight win in the MAC.
KEY MATCHUP
NIU QB Jordan Lynch against the EMU defense. Lynch became the first quarterback in FBS history to throw for more than 400 yards and rush for more than 100 in last week's 31-24 win over Toledo. The Eagles allow 486 yards and almost 37 points per game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
NIU QB Lynch. The school is campaigning for Heisman Trophy votes for the junior, who has rushed for 1,504 yards and 16 touchdowns while throwing for 2,582 and 22 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
EMU QB Alex Gillett. The senior is close to finishing his career as one of the school's top five passers and can line up as a wideout when coach Ron English opts for quarterback Tyler Benz.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Huskies have won 15 straight against conference opponents. . This will be the first time a Top 25 team has played at Rynearson Stadium. ... The Eagles are 0-7 all-time against ranked foes. . NIU's 10-game winning streak is the longest since it joined the FBS in 1969. The 1963 team won the College Division national championship after going 10-0. . EMU won its first conference game of the season last weekend at Western Michigan, which fired coach Bill Cubit later that night.
 

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