Things heat up with in-conference play
Brad Curnow | Sports Writer | @jojocornrow
The second week of the college football season brought a lot of near misses and a few upsets for big programs across the country. Virginia hung around with Notre Dame until the last minute at home. Jacksonville State forced Auburn into overtime before falling by a touchdown. BYU won a thriller by putting up 21 points in the fourth quarter, including another Hail Mary and a pick six in the last minute against Boise State Saturday night.
The rocky road to the College Football Playoff is beginning for a lot of teams this weekend with big matchups and tough road tests. Saturday has a full day of games including Auburn versus LSU, Georgia Tech at Notre Dame, Ole Miss visiting Alabama, and BYU wrapping up the night against UCLA. Let’s take a closer look at the games for the day.
Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers
Auburn will travel to Death Valley to face LSU in a clash of SEC heavyweights. Running back Peyton Barber is the strength of the Auburn offense averaging 120 yards per game. Auburn has outscored their opponents by just two touchdowns this season.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette is the workhorse for these Tigers and looks to continue his strong start. LSU is looking for revenge after getting blown out by Auburn 41-7 last year.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Yellow Jackets will visit South Bend, IN for their first real test of the season against the Fighting Irish in a battle of top-15 teams. The Yellow Jackets will attempt to continue to have success running the ball against a good Irish defense.
Notre Dame redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer will start in place of quarterback Malik Zaire who is done for the season with a broken ankle. Kizer led the Fighting Irish the length of the field for the game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds to play last week. Notre Dame’s balanced offensive attack will keep the Georgia Tech defense on their heels for the entire game.
Utah State Aggies at Washington Huskies
The Aggies will make the trip to Seattle, WA to face the Huskies. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton made a solid showing against Utah and will need to play at a high level again if Utah State is going to knock off Washington. The Aggies are still an unknown after struggling against FCS opponent Southern Utah and then going toe-to-toe with the big boys at Utah of the PAC-12.
Washington is looking to find a groove after an offensive no-show against Boise State two weeks ago. The Huskies have yet to show any offensive identity and could be in for a long day against the Aggies.
Stanford Cardinal at USC Trojans
In a matchup of Pac-12 powers, Stanford will take on USC at the Coliseum as they try to take control of the Pac-12 North. The Cardinal bounced back from a bad loss to Northwestern opening weekend by dominating Central Florida in Week 2.
USC is looking to return to the top of the Pac-12 South with the leadership of quarterback Cody Kessler. Kessler has shown that he can lead the Trojans offense and run up the score on any team that challenges them.
Ole Miss Rebels at Alabama Crimson Tide
Ole Miss makes a trip to take on Alabama in an early season SEC contest. Ole Miss got off to a hot start in 2014, but couldn’t carry momentum through their conference schedule. They’ll be tested for the first this season and look for a strong start to conference play with a win over the Crimson Tide.
Alabama puts a great offense on the field that is led by running back Derrick Henry. Henry has run for six touchdowns in two games for the Crimson Tide.
BYU Cougars at UCLA Bruins
UCLA will play host to BYU at the Rose Bowl for a Saturday night matchup. The Cougars look to continue to ride the hot hand of quarterback Tanner Mangum to victory. The struggling secondary will need more strong play from safety Kai Nacua, who grabbed three interceptions against Bosie State.
Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen will test BYU’s defense by spreading the ball all over the field. UCLA has a strong ground game to compliment the aerial attack with running back Paul Perkins, who ran for two touchdowns in a win over UNLV in week two.
As we get into the meat of the season, games will get tighter and powers will fall. Be sure to keep your eyes on the scoreboards and a hand on the remote. We’re just getting started.
I’m a Pacific Northwest guy who loves his Pacific Northwest sports. An amateur movie buff who prefers the disc to digital. Chasing the sports writing dream while I geek out on Assassin’s Creed.