news features

PREVIEW: CFB WEEK TWO

Individual matchups to watch on Saturday

Fri, Sep 08, 2017

Week 2

Cincinnati at #8 Michigan, 12pm on ABC
It’s the first ever meeting between the two oldest programs in college football. Michigan’s defense looked the part again despite so many new faces and freshmen last week.
Marquee Matchup: Cincinnati RB Mike Boone vs. Michigan LB Mike McCray
McCray is one of the more instinctive linebackers in the country and can play the pass and the run. Boone will have a battle against this Michigan front.
Other matchups to watch:
Cincinnati OT Korey Cunningham vs. Michigan DE Chase Winovich 

FAU at #9 Wisconsin, 12pm on Big Ten Network
Lane Kiffin sure added some spark to FAU with three lightning delays in the season opener against Navy. Now the Owls travel to Madison for the first ever meeting with the Badgers. Wisconsin has won 38 straight non-conference home games. FAU gets a boost offensively with the return of WR Kalib Woods, who was reinstated this week.
Marquee Matchup: FAU WR Kalib Woods vs. Wisconsin CB Nick Nelson
Woods was FAU’s leading returning receiver with 934 yards last year but missed week 1 while suspended for two felony charges over the summer. Nelson came to Wisconsin from Hawaii and has high expectations at corner.

#17 Louisville at North Carolina, 12pm on ESPN
Marquee Matchup: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson vs. UNC LB Andre Smith
There’s some senior prospect matchups in this game but Jackson vs. Smith just became the marquee matchup after Smith’s bulletin material this week saying “We’re just going to stop anything that he tries to do.” and that Jackson will not beat the Tar Heels.
Other matchups to watch:
Louisville DE Trevon Young vs. UNC OT Bentley Spain
Louisville DT Drew Bailey vs. UNC OG R.J. Prince
Louisville WR Jaylen Smith vs. UNC CB M.J. Stewart

Northwestern at Duke, 12pm on ESPNU
Northwestern and senior cornerback Keith Watkins got dealt a big blow last week when Watkins injured his knee. He is out for the remainder of the season and also missed last season with injury. The two QBs in this game, Clayton Thorson and Daniel Jones, were two big impressive passers at the Manning Passing Academy.
Marquee Matchup: Northwestern DT Tyler Lancaster vs. Duke C Austin Davis
East Carolina at West Virginia, 12pm on Fox Sports 2
ECU needs to bounce back from an opening loss to JMU. WVU lost a good game to Virginia Tech last week but the offense looks like it will be high-powered again with Will Grier at the helm. WR Gary Jennings exploded in his debut of his breakout season with 189 yards on 13 catches.
Other matchups to watch: ECU LB Jordan Williams vs. WVU RB Justin Crawford

Iowa at Iowa State, 12pm on ESPN2
Marquee Matchup: Iowa RB Akrum Wadley vs. Iowa State LB Joel Lanning
This will be a good barometer for the athletic Lanning, who has gone from starting QB to starting Mike. Wadley has the ability to make guys miss in space.
Other matchups to watch:
Iowa WR Matt VandeBerg vs. Iowa State CB Brian Peavy
Iowa CB Joshua Jackson vs. Iowa State WR Allen Lazard 

Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech, 12:30pm on ACC Network
Might be a rare circumstance in this game in which the FCS foe has more NFL talent the ACC team.
Marquee Matchup: Jacksonville State LB Darius Jackson vs. GT QB TaQuon Marshall
Other matchups to watch:
Jacksonville State LB Joel McCandless vs. GT RB Qua Searcy
Jacksonville State CB Siran Neal/Reggie Hall vs. GT Ricky Jeune

Wake Forest at Boston College, 1pm on ACC Network
Marquee Matchup: Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor vs. BC OT Marcell Lazard
Lazard has an opportunity to catch some eyes of the NFL against Ejiofor after grad-transferring from West Virginia for an opportunity to start at tackle.
Other matchups to watch:
Wake Forest TE Cam Serigne vs. BC S Will Harris

Fresno State at #1 Alabama, 3:30pm on ESPN2
Marquee Matchup: Fresno State WR KeeSean Johnson vs. Alabama CB Anthony Averett
Johnson got off to a good start with 7 catches for 120 yards last week.
Other matchups to watch:
Fresno State NT Malik Forrester vs. Alabama C Bradley Bozeman

Pittsburgh at #4 Penn State, 3:30pm on ABC
Can you feel how big of a game this is this year? The collapse against Pitt last year may have been why Penn State was left out of the College Football Playoff. This is business as usual for the Nittany Lions but Pitt has closed off its players to the media leading up to this game. Not having Jermaine Whitehead back yet will be tough for Pitt against TE Mike Gesicki and this offense. Pitt is also breaking in three new starting linebackers against Saquon Barkley.
Marquee Matchup: Pitt WR Jester Weah vs. PSU CB Christian Campbell
Weah is a big body that can run. Coach Narduzzi put him in the same level as Tyler Boyd during our conversation this summer. Campbell is a full-time starter now and his length will be a factor.
Other matchups to watch:
Pitt OG Alex Officer vs. PSU DT Curtis Cothran
Pitt CB Avonte Maddox vs. PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton

#23 TCU at Arkansas, 3:30pm on CBS
TCU is a darkhorse contender in the Big 12 and can really prove it in this game. This game has brought excitement in recent years including last year’s thriller for the Hogs that snapped a 14-game home winning streak for TCU.
Marquee Matchup: TCU OC Patrick Morris vs. Arkansas NT Bijhon Jackson
Both of these players have to prove something as prospects. Morris starts at center after playing left guard last year. Last year’s center Austin Schlottmann moves to left guard. Both will focus on Jackson and Telvin McAgim.

Tulane at Navy, 3:30pm on CBS Sports Network
This will be the 10th home opener for Ken Niumatalolo, the longest tenured coach in Navy history. The Midshipmen have beaten Tulane in three straight. The Green Wave did a nice job of holding Grambling to 3.5 yards per carry last week but Navy’s offense is a different story.
Marquee Matchup: Navy OT Andrew Wood vs. Tulane DE Ade Aruna
Navy senior guard Evan Martin will also likely get snaps against Aruna but it will mostly be on Wood on the outside. Aruna will have to focus on his run assignment more than his specialty of rushing the passer.
Other matchups to watch:
Tulane CB Parry Nickerson vs. Navy WR Tyler Carmona 

Villanova at Temple, 3:30pm on ESPN3
Temple struggled with the running ability of Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush last week. They can’t have a repeat performance against Villanova QB Zach Bednarczyk.
Marquee Matchup: Temple WR Keith Kirkwood vs. Villanova CB Malik Reaves
The speed of Reaves will be tested in this matchup if he’s man-to-man with Kirkwood.

Indiana at Virginia, 3:30pm on ACC Network
Indiana made it clear against Ohio State that the prolific offense is here to stay without Kevin Wilson and the defense is going to continue to be tough and play for Tom Allen. Simmie Cobbs will be a big body difficult for UVA to stop, especially with the injury again to 6-foot-2 CB Tim Harris, who is out for the rest of the season again.
Marquee Matchup: Indiana OT Coy Cronk vs. UVA DE Andrew Brown

Middle Tennessee at Syracuse, 3:30pm on ACC Network
MTSU defensive coordinator Scott Shafer gets a shot at his old team, Syracuse. MTSU’s offense struggled last week against Vanderbilt and Brent Stockstill tries to regain his pre-injury form.
Marquee Matchup: MTSU DE Walter Brady vs. Syracuse OT Jamar McGloster
These two should square off plenty in this game. McGloster has some stiffness that could show against the Mizzou-transfer Brady.
Other matchups to watch:
MTSU RB Shane Tucker vs. Syracuse LB Zaire Franklin
MTSU CB Mike Minter vs. Syracuse WR Steve Ishmael

San Jose State at Texas, 3:30pm on Longhorn Network
What kind of rebound are we going to see from Texas, and in really, its fans as well after they threw objects onto the field and booed in the season opening loss to Maryland. It was not a good debut for Tom Herman but he and his staff knows it and will get it right. They have to with the matchup against USC looming.
Marquee Matchup: Texas WR Collin Johnson vs. San Jose State CB Andre Chachere
Chachere is one of the under-the-radar senior cornerback prospects. Johnson will pose a challenge with his 6-6 frame. 

Louisiana at Tulsa, 4pm on ESPN3
A good gesture by Tulsa as all ticket revenues from this game will go towards Hurricane Harvey revenue in Houston. Chad President made his first career start at QB last week as did Jordan Davis for ULL.
Marquee Matchup: Louisiana OT Grant Horst vs. Tulsa DE Jeremy Smith
Smith is a potential breakout pass rusher for 2017 and got off to a good start with one sack against Oklahoma State last week. 

Nebraska at Oregon, 4:30pm on FOX
Oregon is going to face two of the most talented QBs in the nation in back-to-back weeks with Tanner Lee this week and Wyoming’s Josh Allen next week. Nebraska is still trying to figure out the 3-4 defense under Bob Diaco after 36 points to Arkansas State last week.
Marquee Matchup: Nebraska DE Freedom Akimoladun vs. Oregon OT Tyrell Crosby
Akinmoladun won’t be unleashed as much as an edge rusher this with the switch to the 3-4 but should still have a good battle with Crosby throughout this game.
Other matchups to watch:
Nebraska LB Dedrick Young vs. Oregon RB Royce Freeman
Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan vs. Oregon CB Arrion Springs 

Marshall at NC State, 6pm on ACC Network
These two teams haven’t met since 1995 but played close games in the early 90s. Dave Doeren hasn’t los ta home opener yet at NC State but there’s going to be disappointed fans after last week’s loss to South Carolina. In that game though, Ryan Finley threw for a school record 45 completions as the Pack ran 99 offensive plays. This is going to be a fast-paced game with a lot of throws as neither team has much of a running game yet.
Marquee Matchup: Marshall QB Chase Litton vs. NC State QB Ryan Finley
Another matchup of two tall Manning Passing Academy alums that are leading pass-first offenses at the moment.

#13 Auburn at #3 Clemson, 7pm on ESPN
Even though Clemson University is based off of Auburn University, it’s Clemson that has taken the national stage of late and has three straight wins over Auburn. There’s going to be a load of NFL talent on this field Saturday night and a great test for QB Jarrett Stidham.
Marquee Matchup: Auburn OG Braden Smith vs. Clemson DT Christian Wilkins
Smith is a nasty finisher in the interior while Wilkins moves inside to his more natural position this season. Both of these players are tops in the nation at their respective positions.
Other matchups to watch:
Auburn CB Carlton Davis vs. Clemson WR Deon Cain
Auburn OC Austin Golson vs. Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence
Auburn DT Marlon Davidson vs. Clemson OG Tyrone Crowder 

Toledo at Nevada, 7pm on ESPN3
Toledo takes the Rocket Show and offense out west to Nevada. The Wolfpack hung tough with Northwestern before falling 31-20 last week. Look out for senior LB Austin Paulhus who had 3.5 tackles for loss against the Wildcats.
Marquee Matchup: Toledo OT Elijah Nkansah vs. Nevada DE Malik Reed 

South Carolina at Missouri, 7pm on ESPN2
All Mizzou does is score a lot of points. Damarea Crockett ran for 202 yards last week and now Skai Moore has to try to slow him down. The Gamecocks were impressive offensively last week as well as Jake Bentley grows into year two. This is a very competitive matchup in the SEC East.
Marquee Matchup: South Carolina OT Zack Bailey vs. Missouri DE Marcell Frazier
Bailey kicks out to right tackle from right guard and should have a few snaps at least against Frazier, one of the best pass rushers in the SEC.
Other matchups to watch:
South Carolina LB Skai Moore vs. Missouri RB Damarea Crockett
South Carolina DE Dante Sawyer vs. Missouri OT Tyler Howell
South Carolina CB JaMarcus King vs. Missouri WR J’Mon Moore

#5 Oklahoma at #2 Ohio State, 7:30pm on ABC
This is a huge top-5 matchup with College Football Playoff implications on the line. With the perception of the Big 12, the Sooners can’t afford any setbacks. The Buckeyes won 45-24 in Norman last fall and are 7.5 point favorites. This is going to be a great battle in the trenches between one of the best offensive lines and arguably the best defensive line in the country. Also, Denzel Ward had a little bit of trouble with the size of Simmie Cobbs and now goes against a big WO in Jeffery Mead but Mead is not as strong.
Marquee Matchup: Oklahoma TE/WR Mark Andrews vs. Ohio State LB Jerome Baker
You could pick any individual matchup in this game and get excited about it because there’s so much NFL talent on this field but the Andrews-Baker matchup could be the biggest factor in the end result. Baker’s known for his instincts and coverage ability and he will have to be aware of Andrews, especially in the red zone.
Other matchups to watch:
Oklahoma LB Ogbo Okoronkwo vs. Ohio State OT Jamarco Jones
Oklahoma OT Orlando Brown vs. Ohio State DE Sam Hubbard
Oklahoma OG Dru Samia vs. Ohio State DT
Oklahoma WR Jeffery Mead vs. Ohio State CB Denzel Ward 

#15 Georgia at #24 Notre Dame, 7:30pm on NBC
This is a really cool matchup. These two teams haven’t met since the 1981 Sugar Bowl, which was the only meeting and Herschel Walker ran for 150 yards. The two run defenses will be a key in this game against the UGA RBs and Josh Adams for Notre Dame. This is also a tough environment for a true freshman to make his first start with Jake Fromm taking over for the injured Jacob Eason but the Bulldogs are the much more talented team.
Marquee Matchup: Georgia OLB Lorenzo Carter/Davin Bellamy vs. Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey
Other matchups to watch:
Georgia CB Aaron Davis vs. Notre Dame WR Equanimeous St. Brown
Georgia DT Trenton Thompson vs. Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson
Georgia WR Javon Wims vs. Notre Dame CB Nick Watkins

Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech, 7:30pm on CBS Sports Network
LA Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson, who set the school’s single-season record with 14.5 sacks in 2016, gets to face Mississippi State for the first time after he chose the LA Tech Bulldogs over the Bulldogs of Starkville in recruitment.
Marquee Matchup: Mississippi State OT Martinas Rankin vs. LA Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson
Other matchups to watch:
Mississippi State LB Leo Lewis vs. LA Tech RB Jarred Craft 

Western Kentucky at Illinois, 8pm on Big Ten Network
Both teams need to rebound. Western Kentucky needs to establish a running game to take pressure of Mike White and Illinois was outgained by Ball State last week. The Hilltoppers are 0-6 to Big Ten opponents but this might be the year.
Marquee Matchup: WKU CB Joe Brown vs. Illinois WR Mike Dudek
Other matchups to watch:
WKU DE Derik Overstreet vs. Illinois OT Christian DiLauro
WKU RB De’Andre Ferby vs. Illinois LB Tre’ Watson
WKU WR Lucky Jackson vs. Illinois CB Jaylen Dunlap

#14 Stanford at #6 USC, 8:30pm on FOX
If USC is going to be a true Playoff contender, it has to get over the Stanford hump. The Cardinal have won three straight in this series and 8 of the last 11.
Marquee Matchup: Stanford DT Harrison Phillips vs. USC OG Viane Talamaivao
Phillips power and quickness could pose a problem for Talamaivao as his lateral agility will be tested.
Other matchups to watch:
Stanford RB Bryce Love vs. USC LB Cameron Smith
Stanford TE Dalton Schultz vs. USC S Chris Hawkins
Stanford CB Alijah Holder vs. USC WR Steven Mitchell
Stanford OT David Bright vs. USC LB Porter Gustin/Uchenna Nwosu

Minnesota at Oregon State, 10pm on Fox Sports 1
A Minnesota coach hasn’t started 2-0 in his debut season since 1954. P.J. Fleck has an opportunity to do that. The Beavers escaped Portland State last week 35-32 with a minute to go. The defense is a still work in progress after giving up 520 yards per game through two weeks.
Marquee Matchup: Minnesota RB Rodney Smith vs. Oregon State LB Manase Hungalu
Other matchups to watch:
Minnesota WR Tyler Johnson vs. Oregon State CB Xavier Crawford

Utah at BYU, 10:15pm on ESPN2
It’s a great week 2 slate of games when the Holy War is on it. This is as intense as any rivalry in any sport even though the Utes have won 7 straight. This will be the first road start for Utah’s young QB Tyler Huntley. It might come down to Utah’s defensive line though as the reason why the Utes win an 8th consecutive in this series.
Marquee Matchup: Utah C Tejan Koroma vs. Utah DT Lowell Lotulelei
Koroma has some buzz as one of the best centers in the nation. He’s short and stout with a low center of gravity. He gets another shot at the highly touted Lotulelei.
Other matchups to watch:
Utah S Chase Hansen vs. BYU QB Tanner Mangum 

Boise State at #20 Washington State, 10:30pm on ESPN
While the nation knows about Luke Falk, the nation was supposed to hear about Brett Rypien as he enters his junior season but he struggled so far and was replaced by Kansas-transfer Montell Cozart. Rypien will likely get the start again for Boise State but has to get it together.
Marquee Matchup: Boise State OT Archie Lewis vs. Washington DT Hercules Mata’afa
Lewis is starting at right guard this year but probably projects as a guard in the NFL. With the Cougs getting creative in how to bring Mata’afa with pressure, Lewis will have his hands full.
Other matchup to watch:
Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson vs. Washington State CB Darrien Molton

Houston at Arizona, 10:30pm on ESPNU
This is the first game for the Cougars after week 1 was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey. The strength of the Houston defense is in the front seven and it will have to be stout after watching Arizona rush for 506 yards last week. Houston QB Kyle Allen will have to be aware of where Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, who had 2 picks last week, is.
Marquee Matchup: Arizona OG Jacob Alsadek vs. Houston DT Ed Oliver
The Cougars also have a senior defensive tackle in Nick Thurman but Oliver is one of the best defensive players in the nation and Alsadek has a chance to impress scouts in this matchup.

San Diego State at Arizona State, 11pm on Pac-12 Network
This is a sneaky good game with the Aztecs having never beaten the Sun Devils. This might be the year that changes. Arizona State has struggled up front, giving up 7 sacks to New Mexico last week.
Marquee Matchup: San Diego State CB Kameron Kelly vs. ASU WR N’Keal Harry