No. 2 Texas Longhorns vs. No. 1 the Ohio State Buckeyes The biggest game of week two of the college football season is one of the biggest games of the college football season. The defending National Champions, and No. 2 ranked Texas Longhorns welcome the 2006 Fiesta Bowl Champion and No. 1 ranked the Ohio State Buckeyes. There are several story lines to keep an eye on this game, and one of the biggest will be who covers Ted Ginn? Prior to last weekend, the likely candidate would have been Longhorn Senior Tarrell Brown, but with Brown suspended due to being charged with possession of a firearm and marijuana, the job may fall on Junior Brandon Foster. Foster was the Horns nickel back last week, and was cited as a player who showed a lot of improvement during the Spring. Another option may be moving star safety Michael Griffin to cover Ginn. Look for Troy Smith to throw down the field to number seven early and often until the Horns prove they can stop that connection.
This game also features the tale of two quarterbacks. In last year's game between the Horns and Buckeyes, it was Ohio State that played two quarterbacks, and Texas with a definite leader wearing number 10 under center. This year, the rolls are reversed. Texas comes into this game with Colt McCoy starting, and Jevan Snead as a second option. McCoy looked sharp in his collegiate debut against North Texas last week, hitting 12-of-19 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He will face a much better, although inexperienced Buckeye defense this week. A key to this game for Texas will be the play of their offensive line. If the Horns offensive line gets a good push and opens holes for Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young, then it will be a long day for the Ohio State defense. On the flip side, the Buckeye defensive line will need to get consistent penetration and put pressure on the young Longhorns quarterbacks forcing them to make fast decisions.
No. 15 Oklahoma vs. Washington Viscious Animals
The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off a hard fought win over the UAB Blazers last week. Adrian Peterson carried the ball 24 times for 139 yards and one touchdown. He also caught one pass for a critical 69-yard touchdown. Interestingly, Peterson drew the criticism from offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson following the game despite the fact that he carried the Sooners offense once again. While on the surface this may not seem to make a lot of sense, but there are two reasons why this is a smart move by the Sooners coaching staff. First, as good as Peterson was, he will need to play even better if the Sooners are going to have the type of season expected under Bob Stoops in Norman. Second, by heaping criticism on their All-American tailback, the coaching staff is keeping pressure off a shaky quarterback, Paul Thompson. Perhaps the confidence booster Thompson needs is the arrival of the Husky defense which gave up 323 yards passing to San Jose State quarterback Adam Tafralis.
Offensively the Huskies are coming off a game where both running back Louis Rankin and quarterback Isiah Stanback rushed for over 100 yards. With the Sooners yielding 135 yards rushing to UAB, look for coach Tim Lappano to attempt to establish the run early. Ultimately this game will turn out to be talent miss match. Other than having the better quarterback, there are few positions where the Animals can match up with the Sooners, including coaching staffs where hyper competitive Bob Stoops will look to show that last week's struggles with UAB was not a sign of greater problems for the Crimson and Crème.
Colorado State Rams at Colorado Buffaloes
The Dan Hawkins era got under way in Colorado last week in truly embarrassing fashion, losing at home to Division 1-AA Montana State. The Buffalos gained only 216 total yards against the Fighting Bobcats and committed just one turnover. Quarterback James Cox completed just eight-of-22 passes for 110 yards and no touchdowns and was the victim of several critical drops by CU receivers. Despite the poor performance and a heated pre-season battle for the quarterback spot, Coach Hawkins plans on staying with Cox as his starting quarterback against the Rams.
If there was a bright spot for the Buffs it was that they allowed just 50 yards rushing to Montana State. CSU gained a total of 361 yards in its opening game against Weber State, with junior quarterback Caleb Hanie throwing for 212 yards and contributing 16 yards rushing including a 13-yard touchdown. In his second game on the Colorado sidelines, coach Hawkins must find a way to slow down Hanie as he faces a must-win game against Sonny Lubick's Rams.
Ole Miss Rebels at Missouri Tigers
Quarterback Chase Daniel's first start under center for the Missouri Tigers was an impressive performance against Murray State last week. Daniel completed 23-of-32 passes for 320 yards and five touchdowns in leading Missouri to their first win of the season. This week the Tigers pay host to the Rebels from Ole Miss and a defense that yielded 211 yards passing and a 77 percent completion percentage to Memphis quarterback Martin Hankins last week. A big passing day from Daniel would go a long way to securing a win for the Tigers at home. Defensively, look for Missouri to load up the box in an attempt to stop a potent Ole Miss running game. Ole Miss quarterback Brent Schaeffer is a dual-threat quarterback who contributed 48 yards rushing (including a 12-yard touchdown) as well as 97 yards passing last week. Schaffer completed just 43 percent of his passes last week, so look for the Tigers force him to pass by loading up the box in an effort to stop tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis (127 of Mississippi's 240 rushing yards last week).
Texas Tech Red Raiders at UTEP Miners
Another impressive Big XII passing debut was turned in by Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. Harrell completed 34 of his 49 attempts for 342 yards and five touchdowns as the Red Raiders mauled SMU 35-3. Robert Johnson hauled in 15 of those passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and Shannon Woods rushed for 104 yards on just 15 carries while snagging six passes of his own. Harrell, Johnson and Woods will have a chance to pad their early season stats against a UTEP defense that gave up 275 yards passing and 384 total yards against San Diego State last week. As with most Texas Tech games, this one will be a shootout, and in order for UTEP to stay in the game they will need better play from their quarterback this week. Jordan Palmer was 19-for-28 passing for 205 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions. Palmer spread the ball around to seven different receivers against San Diego State. The Miners rushed for just 38 yards on 20 attempts against the Aztecs. Combine an anemic UTEP rushing game with a visit from pass happy Texas Tech, 100 total pass attempts in this game is not out of the realm of possibility.
Week Two Cream Puffs:
Nicholls State at Nebraska
Northwestern State at Baylor
Louisiana Lafayette at Texas A&M
Louisiana-Monroe at Kansas
Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas State
Florida Atlantic at Kansas State
UNLV at Iowa State
Showdown in Austin Highlights Big 12 Schedule
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