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Thursday, 11 September 2008 11:41
NCAAF Headline News

 Friday, Sept. 12
No. 13 Kansas (2-0) at No. 19 South Florida (2-0), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Line: South Florida by 3 1/2.
Series Record: Kansas leads 1-0.
Last Meeting: 2006, Kansas 13-7.
What's At Stake
The Jayhawks and Bulls were major surprises last season, with both teams climbing as high as No. 2 in the country before falling out of contention for the national title. This game - and this season - is about establishing that the non-traditional Top 25 programs are going to be players on a national level for years to come.
Key Matchup
Kansas QB Todd Reesing against the USF pass rush, led by All-American end George Selvie and linebackers Tyrone McKenzie and Brouce Mompremier, and a speedy secondary featuring a pair of first-year starters at cornerback, Jerome Murphy and Tyller Roberts.
Players to watch
ts. Starter Jake Sharp and Jocques Crawford top the depth chart at running back, however Angus Quigley is the team's leading rusher.
South Florida: QB Matt Grothe has the ability to hurt defenses with his legs, as well as his arm. He practically willed the Bulls to their overtime win over UCF last week, scrambling for key first downs to keep drives alive and throwing for 346 yards and three TDs, including the game-winner in OT. Taurus Johnson had six receptions for 143 yards and the winning TD against UCF. RB Mo Plancher has run for three TDs, filling in for the injured Mike Ford the past two weeks.
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Kansas has won 14 of its last 15 games. ... South Florida is facing a Big 12 opponent for the third time. In addition to playing Kansas in 2006, the Bulls lost to Oklahoma in 2002. ... Kansas coach Mark Mangino and USF coach Jim Leavitt worked together for five years as assistants at Kansas State. ... Kansas is 4-7 against ranked teams under Mangino.
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Saturday, Sept. 13
No. 5 Ohio State (2-0) at No. 1 Southern California (1-0), 8 p.m. (ABC)
Line: USC by 10 1/2.
Series Record: USC leads 11-9-1.
Last Meeting: 1990, USC 35-26.
What's at Stake
the loser would likely have to win out to have a realistic chance.
Key Matchup
Ohio State QBs Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor vs. USC's defense. With standout TB Chris ``Beanie'' Wells doubtful because of an injured right foot, the pressure will be on Boeckman and Pryor to produce against a talented and experienced defense led by senior LBs Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing.
Players to watch
Ohio State: TBs Dan Herron, Brandon Saine and Maurice Wells, who figure to share the ball-carrying duties along with Pryor. And LBs James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman and Ross Homan face a difficult task against speedy USC TBs Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable and Stafon Johnson.
USC: QB Mark Sanchez, making his fifth career start, passed for a career-high 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-7 opening victory at Virginia. WR Damian Williams, a transfer from Arkansas, caught seven passes for 91 yards in his debut with the Trojans.
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. Ohio State's last victory over USC was a 42-21 triumph in the Rose Bowl following the 1973 season. The Trojans have won the last five games between the teams. ... The Buckeyes have a 50-23-2 overall record against Pac-10 teams. ---
No. 2 Georgia (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
Line: Georgia by 7.
Series Record: Georgia leads 44-14-2.
Last Meeting: 2007, South Carolina 16-12.
What's at Stake
Georgia's SEC opener and first legitimate test of the season begins a four-game stretch that could determine if the Bulldogs have staying power in the national title race. After the Gamecocks, comes a trip to nationally ranked Arizona State before home games with Alabama and Tennessee. South Carolina's looking to get its season back on track after losing at Vanderbilt, 24-17, a week ago.
Key Matchup
Georgia's running game vs. South Carolina linebackers. Knowshon Moreno went for over 100 yards against the Gamecocks a year ago, but the Gamecocks' defense, led by linebacker Jasper Brinkley, kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone. Brinkley sealed the win at the end, picking off Matthew Stafford's pass on Georgia's final drive. But Brinkley, who is back this season from knee surgery, is coming off his worst college performance with one tackle against Vandy and South Carolina defenders surrendered critical yards in the second half in the Commodores' win.
to watch
Georgia: Moreno has rushed for six TDs in wins over Georgia Southern and Central Michigan, nearly half his total of 14 from a year ago. If he gets going early, it could be a long day for South Carolina.
South Carolina: WR Kenny McKinley, the all-SEC player, is recovering from a hamstring pull. If he's in the game, South Carolina can make strides on offense. If McKinley can't go, the Gamecocks will struggle.
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South Carolina has never beaten a team ranked No. 2 or higher. ... Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier has only started 0-2 in the SEC one before, in 2005, his debut season at South Carolina. ... Georgia last lost consecutive games to the Gamecocks in 2000 and 2001. Both those seasons the Bulldogs finished 8-4. They haven't won fewer than 9 games since.
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No. 3 Oklahoma (2-0) at Washington (0-2), 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Oklahoma by 20 1/2.
Series record: Tied 1-1.
Last meeting: 2006, Oklahoma 37-20.
What's at Stake
Road redemption for Oklahoma. Two years ago, the Sooners had a win at Oregon stolen by shoddy Pac-10 officiating in a 34-33 loss to the Ducks. The Sooners have lost their last two games at Pac-10 teams - Oregon in 2006 and at UCLA in 2005. Washington needs a win to avoid the first 0-3 start since going 1-10 in 2004 and is seeking a bounce back after last week's stinging loss to BYU.
Key Matchup
How about the Pac-10 officials? Both Oklahoma and Washington have been bitten by shaky Pac-10 officiating. For the Sooners, it was two years ago when officials mistakenly awarded a late onside kick to Oregon even though an Oregon player touched it before it went the required 10 yards. The Ducks went on to score the go-ahead TD. For Washington, it came last week when QB Jake Locker was flagged for excessive celebration after scoring with 2 seconds left. The PAT, now from 35 yards, was blocked and BYU held on for a 28-27 win.
Players to Watch
Oklahoma: QB Sam Bradford. How impressive has Bradford been in the first two games? Only 12 of his 60 passes have hit the ground (two were intercepted). The national leader in pass efficiency as a freshman last year now gets to pick apart a Washington defense that has yet to record a sack and allowed six passing touchdowns in two games.
Washington: SS Tripper Johnson. The 26-year-old sophomore spent eight seasons playing minor league baseball before returning to college and chasing a football dream. Now because of injuries, Johnson is expected to start on Saturday, despite showing plenty of rust in Washington's first two games serving as the Huskies nickel back.
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Ohio State on Oct. 4, 1969. The Buckeyes won 41-14. Washington's last home game against a top-10 non-conference team was a 34-29 win over No. 4 Miami in 2000.
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Nevada (1-1) at No. 6 Missouri (2-0), 12:30 p.m.
Line: Missouri by 26 1/2.
Series Record: First meeting.
What's at Stake
Missouri is aiming for its third straight 50-point effort in pre-conference play, maintaining momentum for Big 12 competition in second of three straight home games. Nevada seeks to test second straight high-scoring Big 12 school following 35-19 loss to Texas Tech at home.
Key Matchups
Missouri defense has been vulnerable against pass, surrendering 451 yards passing in opening shootout victory over Illinois. Nevada strength is its run game, although defending WAC rushing leader Luke Lippincott was lost for season with knee injury in Texas Tech loss. Missouri has not allowed 100 yards rushing to either of first two opponents. Nevada limited Texas Tech to 41 percent completion rate.
Players to watch
Nevada: WR Marko Mitchell has 12 catches for 196 yards and had a 48-yard scoring grab against Texas Tech. ... K Brett Jaekle matched a career high with four FGs last week. ... QB Colin Kaepernick had 92 yards rushing last week.
east Missouri State, going 16-for-17 for 245 yards and 3 TDs in 1 1/2 quarters. His QB rating was school record 273.4. ... SS William Moore expected to return after missing game with sprained foot and WR Danario Alexander could make season debut coming off knee surgery in May.
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Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is 3-0 against Nevada coach Chris Ault, though all the victories came while he was at Toledo. ... Nevada outgained Texas Tech 488-421 in total offense last week, but were sorry 3-for-16 on third-down conversions. ... Missouri ranked 4th in NCAA in total offense (570.5 yards) and 7th in scoring with 52 points in each of first two games. ... Nevada ranked sixth in total offense (558.5 yards) and fifth in rushing (325 yards). ... Missouri has not allowed 100 yards rushing in a game yet. ... Nevada is 0-3 against Big 12.
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North Texas (0-2) at No. 7 LSU (1-0), 8 p.m.
Line: LSU by 41 1/2.
Series Record: 3-0.
Last Meeting: 2005, LSU, 56-3.
What's at Stake
LSU needs another tuneup before opening its Southeastern Conference schedule at Auburn the following weekend and wants to see if Andrew Hatch or Jarrett Lee can assert himself as the full-time starter at quarterback. North Texas, already off to a rocky start, needs to avoid injuries as its Sun Belt Conference schedule approaches.
Key Matchup
gainst a North Texas defense that has yielded 726 yards in the air during its first two games. Tigers coach Les Miles has said he wants to see Hatch and Lee attempt more downfield throws to their speedy, big-play receivers, led by Demetrius Byrd.
Players to watch
North Texas: Giovanni Vizza completed 30 of 45 passes for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns against Tulsa last weekend.
LSU: Running back Charles Scott, who rushed for 160 yards and 2 TDs in the Tigers' season opening 41-7 win over Appalachian State. Hatch (7-of-14,77 yards, TD) and Lee (6-of-10, 116 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) both are expected to take snaps.
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LSU has won 15 straight against non-conference opponents. ... LSU's last game against North Texas in 2005 was postponed by Hurricane Katrina. ... LSU is coming off of an unexpected week off after Hurricane Gustav forced the postponement of the Tigers' home date against Troy until Nov. 15. Because of uncertainty about Hurricane Ike, LSU officials did not confirm that this weekend's game would be in Baton Rouge as scheduled until Wednesday afternoon.
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No. 9 Auburn (2-0) at Mississippi State (1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Line: Auburn by 10 1/2.
Series Record: Auburn leads 56-23-2.
Last Meeting: 2007, Mississippi State 19-14.
What's at Stake
t to build momentum in the conference race after a couple of easy nonconference openers. There will be few breathers the rest of the way. Mississippi State must win this game to prove it belongs in the discussion after an inexplicable season-opening loss to Louisiana Tech.
Key Matchup
Auburn's running game vs. Mississippi State's front seven. Turnover and injuries have left the Bulldogs with a freshman at defensive end and a middle linebacker who's 5-foot-8 and 195 pounds. Coach Sylvester Croom believes that revamped front seven will be tested mightily by Auburn's spread offense, which the Tigers have used extremely well to run the ball.
TBs Brad Lester and Ben Tate lead a Tigers rushing attack that is 24th in the nation (226.5 yards per game).
Players to watch
Auburn: Mississippi State has struggled on special teams and Croom is hesitant to kick to PR Robert Dunn. He's sixth in the nation with 24.4 yards per return and snapped a string of 144 games without a punt returned for a touchdown in the season-opening game against Louisiana-Monroe. He had another called back last week against Southern Miss.
Mississippi State: QB Wes Carroll has struggled in his first stint as the Bulldogs' unquestioned starter. The fabulous freshman needs a strong game to wipe away questions about his performance and keep Auburn from stacking the line to stop TBs Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre.
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Mississippi State hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since 2004 (No. 20 Florida) and is 0-11 against top 10 teams since beating No. 3 Florida in 2000. ... Auburn is 13-3 on the road since 2004, 4th best in the nation. ... Lester needs 3 yards and Tate needs 19 to become the 22nd and 23rd backs in Auburn history to rush for 1,500 yards.
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No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0) at No. 21 Fresno State (1-0), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Line: Wisconsin by 1 1/2.
Series Record: Tied 1-1.
Last meeting: Wisconsin, 23-21.
What's at Stake
Fresno State gets a rare shot at home against a ranked team, just the fifth time a ranked team has come to Bulldog Stadium in the Pat Hill era. Wisconsin doesn't want to falter in its final tuneup before the start of the Big Ten season.
Key Matchup
LB Ben Jacobs and Fresno State will have their hands full with Wisconsin's smash-mouth running game led by P.J. Hill. The Bulldogs don't see many offenses like the Badgers. Few do it better than Hill and Wisconsin. He has rushed for 117 ypg, with 33 TDs in 26 contests.
Players to watch
Wisconsin: Star TE Travis Beckum is expected to return after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury. He had 75 catches for 982 yards and six TDs last season. QB Allan Evridge threw for 308 yards in his second career start, becoming the eighth Badgers QB to top the 300-yard mark.
Fresno State: RB Ryan Mathews ran for 163 yards and three TDs in the opener against Rutgers, giving him 17 TDs in 12 career games. WR Seyi Ajirotutu is a big-play threat, catching a 77-yard pass against Rutgers.
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Wisconsin is the only school in the country this season to have rushed for at least 400 yards (404 against Akron) and passed for at least 300 yards (329 against Marshall) in a game so far. ... Fresno State has lost seven straight games to ranked teams, starting with a 50-42 loss at USC in '05. ... Badgers have won 18 straight nonconference games in the regular season. ... Bulldogs have played 35 teams from BCS conferences since Hill came on board in 1997, but only six of those games have been at home.
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No. 11 Alabama (2-0) vs. Western Kentucky (1-1), 6 p.m.
Line: Alabama by 28.
Series record: First meeting.
What's at Stake
For Alabama, a chance to fine-tune its offense before opening Southeastern Conference play. For Western Kentucky, a chance to pull off a huge, attention-getting upset.
Key Matchup
WKU quarterback David Wolke against an Alabama defense that hasn't given up a touchdown through two games. Wolke replaced an injured K.J. Black in last weekend's win at Eastern Kentucky. The Tide is allowing only 43 yards rushing a game, so Wolke will have to be able to open up the defense some through the air.
Players to Watch
Alabama: Freshman RB Mark Ingram, a hard-nosed runner who leads the team in rushing with 159 yards and 5.7 yards per carry.
Western Kentucky: Wolke, a senior who led the Hilltoppers on five of their six scoring drives against Eastern Kentucky.
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Western Kentucky is 0-11 against teams currently in the SEC. Alabama is 15-1 against members of the Sun Belt Conference. ... Tide has played 12 freshmen, fourth-most in the country. WKU redshirt freshmen Ryan Beard and Trent Calhoun are coming off their first career starts in the secondary.
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SMU (1-1) at No. 12 Texas Tech (2-0) 7 p.m. (Fox Regional)
Line: Texas Tech by 36 1/2.
Series Record: Texas Tech leads 30-16.
Last Meeting: 2007, Texas Tech 49-9
What's at Stake
Tech ground game has scored more TDs (8) rushing than passing (3). The Red Raiders need to amp up their aerial attack heading into Big 12 season.
Key Matchup
Tech's Michael Crabtree had 27 catches and five TDs by the third game of 2007. With 16 catches and two TDs in the first two games this year, SMU's defensive backs Derrius Bell and Bryan McCann could be in for a long day as last season's national leader looks to add a few more TDs.
Players to watch
two interceptions and a touchdown. It was his worst game since Sept. 2006 when he completed just 23 of 47 passes for 204 yards in a loss at TCU.
SMU: SMU receiver Emmanuel Sanders' stats are better than Crabtree's. Sanders has 16 catches for 259 yards and four TDs.
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M in 1994. ... SMU is looking to break a 12-game losing streak against Tech that dates back to 1986 when both played in the Southwest Conference.
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No. 14 East Carolina (2-0) at Tulane (0-1), 3 p.m.
Line: ECU by 13.
Series Record: East Carolina leads 7-2.
Last Meeting: 2007, East Carolina, 35-12.
What's at Stake
opening performance at No. 13 Alabama last week.
Key Matchup
Tulane's defense, which frustrated Alabama QB John Parker Wilson last weekend, will be tested by East Carolina's highly efficient passing game. ECU QB Patrick Pinkney has completed 80 percent of his passes for 447 yards this season.
Players to watch
East Carolina: WR Dwayne Harris has been Pinkney's favorite target with 12 receptions for 136 yards. Jon Williams leads ECU in rushing with 117 yards on 27 attempts and has three touchdowns.
Tulane: Tulane QB Kevin Moore moved the ball effectively in his first college start at Alabama last weekend, going 28-of-49 for 225 yards. He led four drives into field goal range, but Tulane converted only two of those in a 20-6 loss.
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not return to New Orleans until after the Alabama game.
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UNLV (1-1) at No. 15 Arizona State (2-0), 7 p.m.
Line: Arizona State by 23.
Series Record: First meeting.
What's at Stake
With a game against No. 2 Georgia looming on Sept. 20, the 15th-ranked Sun Devils will try not to overlook the Rebels, who will be aiming for one of the bigger upsets in school history.
Key Matchup
ASU will try to work on its goal-line offense, which sputtered in a 41-17 victory over Stanford last week. With tailback Keegan Herring slowed by a hamstring injury, Dimitri Nance is shouldering much of the rushing load.
Players to watch
UNLV: P Dack Ishii averaged 44.4 yards per punt against Utah and booted a 63-yarder. A former walk-on at Tennessee, Ishii averages 42.4 yards per punt, 23rd in the nation.
Arizona State: QB Rudy Carpenter has completed 49 of 64 passes (76.6 percent) for 733 yards, the highest two-game total in school history. He has thrown four touchdown passes and one interception.
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freshman last season, Weber won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker.
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No. 16 Oregon (2-0) at Purdue (1-0), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Line: Oregon by 8.
Series Record: Purdue leads 1-0.
Last Meeting: 1979, Purdue 13-7.
What's at Stake
Oregon has breezed past Washington and Utah State, but faces its first road test of the season. Purdue hasn't beaten a ranked team since 2003. Purdue coach Joe Tiller could break the school record for wins. He's tied with Jack Mollenkopf with 84. Bragging rights always are at stake when the Pac-10 meets the Big Ten.
Key Matchup
Purdue's passing game vs. Oregon's defensive backs. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti believes he has one of the nation's best secondaries. Purdue coach Joe Tiller believes he has one of the nation's best quarterbacks in Curtis Painter. Oregon is allowing just 182.5 yards per game through the air. Painter passed for 286 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win over Northern Colorado.
Players to watch
Purdue: OT Sean Sester is expected to play this week after sitting out last Saturday with a back injury. Sester, an intense 6-foot-7, 325-pounder, had started 38 straight games for the Boilermakers.
tiff-arm at the end of a 37-yard run on the second play against Utah State.
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Painter is 0-7 as a starter against ranked teams. ... Purdue defensive back David Pender played against Oregon quarterback Justin Roper in the 2004 Georgia Class 8-AA state championship game. Pender's Charlton County team beat Roper's Buford squad 35-20. ... Purdue gained 402 yards against Northern Colorado, despite only having the ball for 22:40 and running 54 plays. ... Oregon leads the nation in total offense.
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No. 17 Penn State (2-0) at Syracuse (0-2), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Line: Penn State by 27.
Series Record: Penn State leads 40-23-5.
Last Meeting: 1990, Penn State 27-21
What's at Stake
A 3-0 start for Penn State. For reeling Syracuse, 0-2 this year and 7-30 in three-plus years under coach Greg Robinson, it's a chance to shine in front of a host of stars from yesteryear, including running backs Jim Brown, Floyd Little and Art Monk, and 40 members of the 1959 national championship team. All are in town to celebrate the world premiere of ``The Express,'' a biographical film about former Orange running back Ernie Davis, who in 1961 became the first black to win the Heisman Trophy.
Key Matchup
points, third in the nation, and rank eighth in rushing at 334 yards per game.
Players to watch
Penn State: QB Daryll Clark and TB Evan Royster. In last week's 45-14 win over Oregon State, Clark had 276 yards of total offense (215 yards passing with two TDs and 61 yards rushing on five carries) and Royster ran for a career-high 141 yards on 17 carries.
Syracuse: QB Cam Dantley, a former walk-on who in the second start of his brief career threw for three TDs in last week's 42-28 home loss to Akron. TB Curtis Brinkley rushed for a career-high 143 yards and scored once against the Zips.
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The Nittany Lions are 23-7 against the Big East since the conference began playing football in 1991. ... Penn State coach Joe Paterno is tied with Florida State's Bobby Bowden for most career wins by a major college coach (374). ... Syracuse is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, more than double its total of 2 from 2007, which was the worst in the country. ... In 1994, Paterno became the first coach to receive the Ernie Davis Award, which honors players and coaches who actively serve mankind and strive for academic and athletic excellence. The award is given by the Leukemia Society of America. Davis died of the disease at age 23.
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UCLA (1-0) at No. 18 BYU (2-0), 3:30 p.m. (The Mtn.; Versus)
Line: BYU by 8
Series Record: UCLA leads 7-2.
BYU 17-16.
What's at Stake
BYU has a chance to stay on track for a potential BCS berth - AND make people forget about the ending of the Cougars' 28-27 win at Washington last week. The Cougars blocked an extra-point attempt to win it, but the touchdown celebration penalty on the Huskies that pushed the kick back 15 yards got much more attention. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel is trying to become the first to start his tenure with two straight wins since Terry Donahue opened 3-0 in 1976.
Key Matchup
BYU's offense vs. the UCLA defense. The Bruins held BYU to a season-low 265 yards in the Las Vegas Bowl, which the Cougars won 17-16 on a blocked field goal at the end.
Players to watch
BYU: QB Max Hall, who has completed 64 of 82 passes for 824 yards and five touchdowns with one interception in two games and has never lost in Provo.
UCLA: QB Kevin Craft, who followed a dismal first half in the season opener against Tennessee with a nearly flawless second half. Craft settled down after throwing four interceptions and led the Bruins to a 27-24 overtime win, completing 12 of 14 passes in the fourth quarter.
Figures
denhall. ... The Cougars have turned the ball over six times in two games, including five fumbles.
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No. 22 Utah (2-0) at Utah State (0-2), 8 p.m.
Line: Utah by 24 1/2.
Series Record: Utah leads 75-28-4.
Last Meeting: 2007, Utah 34-18.
What's at Stake
Utah is looking for its first 3-0 start under coach Kyle Whittingham. But a poor showing against the struggling Aggies could damage the Utes' BCS hopes down the line. For Utah State, any victory would be huge and pulling an upset against one of the state's highest-profile programs could make the season for the Aggies, who haven't won more than two games since going 3-8 in 2004.
Key Matchup
Utah's spread offense against the porous Aggies defense. Oregon gained 688 yards on Utah State last week.
Players to watch
Utah - RBs Matt Asiata and Darrell Mack. Neither has had a 100-yard game this season, but they are going against a defense that has allowed 540 rushing yards in two games, including 408 last week in a 66-24 loss at Oregon.
Utah St. - S Caleb Taylor leads the Aggies with 18 tackles and one interception. He could have another busy night in the secondary if the Utes get rolling.
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ng unbeaten in 2004.
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No. 23 California (2-0) at Maryland (1-1), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: California by 14 1/2.
Series Record: First meeting.
What's at Stake
California gets a chance to move up in the poll and remain unbeaten. Maryland seeks to rebound from last week's loss to Middle Tennessee State and earn a significant win over a Top 25 team.
Key Matchup
The Golden Bears are averaging 52 points per game, which does not bode well for a Maryland defense that last week yielded 21 first downs and more than 400 yards against a team that lost to Troy.
Players to watch
California: RB Jahvid Best last week ran for 200 yards on only 14 carries in a 66-3 rout of Washington State. He scored three touchdowns and twice scored on runs of at least 80 yards.
Maryland: QB Chris Turner, thrust into the starting role for injured Jordan Steffy, is seeking to rebound from a poor performance against Middle Tennessee State (three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter).
Figures
.
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Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1) at No. 24 Illinois (1-1), noon (Big Ten Network)
Line: Illinois by 24 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
What's at Stake
Illinois has a week off after this one, and coach Ron Zook would love nothing more than a solid, injury-free win before opening Big Ten play Sept. 27 at Penn State. Louisiana-Lafayette is looking for its first win, and to build on the success - wins and surprisingly close losses - Sun Belt teams have had the past two seasons against bigger programs.
Key Matchup
Illinois' running game - basically QB Juice Williams and RB Daniel Dufrene - against Louisiana-Lafayette's shaky run defense. Southern Mississippi ran for 427 yards in the Ragin' Cajuns' only game so far, making them statistically the worst in the country so far. Williams ran for 174 yards and two TDs last weekend in a 47-21 win over Eastern Illinois, and Dufrene had 99 yards on the ground.
Players to watch
Illinois: QB Williams thrown for six touchdowns and 575 yards.
Louisiana-Lafayette: Quarterback Michael Desormeaux, who ran for 146 yards against Southern Miss, and running back Tyrell Fenroy, who added 56 and a touchdown.
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cornerback Miami Thomas, who injured his ACL last week and is out for the season. ... Zook and Louisiana-Lafayette coaches together in 1987 at Virginia Tech. ... Illinois linebackers Brit Miller and Martez Wilson are the top tacklers in the Big Ten, with 23 and 20 tackles, respectively. ... Fenroy needs 9 more yards rushing to pass Brian Mitchell's 3,335 and become the top back in Louisiana-Lafayete history. ... The Ragin' Cajuns have only played one other Big Ten school, Minnesota, losing to the Gophers in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
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Michigan (1-1) at Notre Dame (1-0), 3:43 p.m. (NBC)
Line Michigan by 1 1/2.
Series Record: Michigan leads 20-14-1.
Last Meeting: 2007, Michigan 38-0.
What's at Stake
Momentum and confidence. Both teams are coming off shaky victories and in desperate need of a win, especially against a name opponent.
Key Matchup
Notre Dame's offensive line, which gave up an FBS-record 58 sacks last season, didn't dominate as expected last week against an injury-depleted San Diego State defensive line. The Irish rushed for just 105 yards. Michigan's defense has nine sacks through two games and is giving up just 41.5 yards rushing a game.
Players to watch
d Dorrestein starting for the first time will be tested by Notre Dame's blitzing defense.
Notre Dame: TB Armando Allen rushed for 59 yards on 17 carries against San Diego State. The Irish need to establish a running game against a Wolverines defense that held Notre Dame to minus-6 yards rushing last season.
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It's only the second time the two winningest football teams have met when neither was ranked. The first time was last season, when both were 0-2. ... Michigan has beaten the Irish two straight. The last time the Wolverines beat Notre Dame three straight was 1900, 1902 and 1908. ... Michigan coaches are 7-1 in their first games facing Notre Dame. Only Gary Moeller in 1990 lost. ... Ratings for Notre Dame's season-opener against San Diego State on NBC were a 2.7, compared with a 3.0 last year against Georgia Tech.
 

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