Last season, Notre Dame used an early-season victory over Michigan to help catapult it to a run at a national title.
Six Wolverines' turnovers helped the Irish earn the victory. Gone, however, are two of the key players from that game. Denard Robinson, who had torched the Irish the previous two seasons in Michigan victories, threw four first-half interceptions and lost a fumble in the second half. Meanwhile, Irish linebacker Manti Te'o recorded two interceptions on a night when ND fans honored him by wearing leis.
Irish backup quarterback Tommy Rees replaced an ineffective Everett Golson and ran for a touchdown and converted a key third-down pass late in the game to seal the victory.
The two Midwest foes revive their rivalry on Saturday night with both teams entering their showdown at 1-0 after home victories. the Irish were a 28-6 winner over Temple and Michigan destroyed Central Michigan, 59-9.
Time: 8 p.m., ET
Place: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Spread: Michigan by 3
Prior to May, Notre Dame's Louis Nix was just another good player at a rival school.
On Sept. 7, the historic—yes, it's historic, coach Brian Kelly—matchup will be played for the final time at The Big House in Ann Arbor.
Coming off a 59-9 victory over Central Michigan, Hoke has yet to lose at home. Kelly's Irish defeated Temple, 28-6, and were ranked at No. 14 in the latest AP poll, three spots ahead of Hoke and Co.
Will Hoke be the meat chicken or will it be Notre Dame?
Much of that depends on how well the Wolverines contain Nix, a former 4-star prospect.
The Ole Miss Rebels went on life support after Vanderbilt QB Austyn Carta-Samuels hooked up with a wide-open Stephen Scheu to take the lead with only one minute and 30 seconds left in the game last Thursday. In a true "do or die, put up or shut up" scenario, Rebel RB Jeff Scott took a handoff 75 yards into the heart of the Commodore student section for a game-winning score.
Having escaped Music City with a thrilling victory over its SEC East foe, Hugh Freeze's squad now hosts FCS school Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) Saturday night in the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
It'll be just what the doctor ordered for the Rebs, as difficult road trips to Texas (September 14) and Alabama (September 28) await Ole Miss in its two games following SEMO.
The SEMO Redhawks are 1-17 all time against FBS opponents, and that number should drop to 1-18 come Saturday night. Before looking ahead to the matchup, let's take a minute to look back at last week.
Reviewing Game 1
Bo Wallace looked solid in his return from shoulder surgery. Not only did the junior starter go 31-of-47 for 283 yards through the air, but by and large he made sound decisions when in trouble. Sure, a pass or two could have been picked off by the Commodores, but none were.
Well done, Bo.
As for No. 2 QB Barry Brunetti, he did exactly what he was supposed to do when his number was called: move the ball across the goal line.
RB Jeff Scott
Senior running back Jeff Scott carried the ball fewer times throughout the first three quarters, providing him with pretty fresh legs down the stretch. Before he took his 12th carry 75 yards for the game-winner, he had only carried the ball 11 times for 63 yards.
A continued modest workload for Scott, particularly in the first half of games, could yield similar returns late in contests this season.
The Fab 4 (or 5)
The Rebel "Fab Four (or Five)," comprised of freshmen WR Laquon Treadwell, DE Robert Nkemdiche, OT Laremy Tunsil and S Tony Conner, had an outstanding college debut.
Not only did Treadwell's nine receptions for 82 yards set a single-game reception record for a Rebel freshman, but they also were enough to earn him the label of SEC freshman of the week.
Not to be forgotten is extremely talented freshman tight end Evan Engram, who pulled in five passes for 61 yards. He could easily be the surprise of the entire class.
While Nkemdiche only made two official tackles, his physical presence was felt throughout the game. And certainly don't forget about the big man's first-down carry on the punt fake last week.
Conner pulled in a timely interception, while Tunsil provided some quality minutes on the offensive line.
The more time and experience these young stars can gain in these first few games, the better they'll become.
After only one game, they're off to a damn fine start.
Vandy came away with three touchdowns in each of its three trips inside the red zone against Ole Miss. Had the Rebel defense been able to force the Commodores to even one field goal instead of a touchdown, the Rebels would have had more breathing room in the game.
Now, minus LB Denzel Nkemdiche, the defense will really need to develop some confidence this week before taking on the Longhorns.
Keep an eye on linebackers Keith Lewis and Serderius Bryant against SEMO.
Playing from Ahead
While the Red and Blue took an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter, they also allowed Vandy to storm back with 21 unanswered points in the second quarter.
In order to truly compete with the likes of Texas, Bama and the rest of the SEC later this season, Ole Miss must keep the pedal to the metal the entire game.
The injury bug struck in the first game of the season. In fact, it took out two very meaningful Rebels in LB Denzel Nkemdiche (meniscus) and OG Aaron Morris (ACL).
Fortunately, Nkemdiche should be back on the field in four to six weeks, but Morris is now lost for the entire year.
Looking Ahead to SEMO
Last weekend, SEMO fell to Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) by a score of 45-7. This week, things could get even worse for the Redhawks.
In four games against SEC opponents all time (0-4), SEMO has been outscored 147-10. With 11 players having made their first career starts last week, facing an SEC opponent on the road this weekend will present more than a few challenges.
In 2012, SEMO finished with a record of 3-9. The three wins came against the likes of Mars Hill, Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay.
Those aren't exactly "quality" wins.
The strength of the Redhawk offense lies in its rushing game, as SEMO has rushed for 200-plus yards in eight of its last nine games (including 206 against ULL). Having surrendered only 126 yards on the ground to Vandy in the opener, look for the Rebels to hold SEMO to a similar figure.
The Redhawk passing game was another story last weekend, as it only managed to amass 88 yards passing on 19 attempts. Expect the Rebel "Landshark Defense" to look much better this weekend, with blitz packages coming early and often. Denzel Nkemdiche may be out, but little brother Robert should have quite the coming-out party Saturday night in front of the home crowd.
As for the SEMO defense, there just isn't a lot there. (At least it doesn't seem so through one game.)
In the season opener, SEMO gave up 309 yards on the ground to ULL. Through the air, ULL was 12-of-18 for 185 yards. With as high paced and up tempo of an offense as the Rebels will run against SEMO Saturday night, the scoreboard operator best not leave his seat for long.
All of that being said, Ole Miss will never take a team "too lightly" after the debacle against FCS opponent Jacksonville State in 2010.
Freeze will have his kids ready to go.
If the Rebels take care of business early and don't let up once a solid lead is established, the game should provide younger and less experienced players with the real-game experience they need to develop.
Keep an eye on the younger stable of running backs like Jaylen Walton, I'Tavius Mathers, Mark Dodson, Kailo Moore and Jordan Wilkins in the second half against SEMO. Also keep an eye on the play of the backup quarterback spot, if Wallace is able to rest for any significant time.
The Johnny Rebs will move to 2-0, and The Grove will be in its full glory all day and night.
Prediction: Ole Miss 57, SEMO 13
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The first full week of college football is in the books. Many teams looked good, but several had bad Week 1 outings. These programs missed golden opportunities to not only get off to a great start this season, but to also generate a good surge on the recruiting trail.
As with everything in college football, recruiting was impacted by these teams' bad outings. Failure to gain momentum by winning on Saturdays can be severe for teams to keep the attention of their top recruiting targets.
A Big 12 team lost its opening game, which could help nudge its top commitment to another school. A pair of SEC teams missed their chance to show the country they are for real. Also, a school looking for a reboot on the trail will be stalled for awhile after its bad loss this past weekend.
College football is back, and after a ho-hum 66-3 victory over Nicholls, it's time to grade Oregon's new starters.
How much can you really take from a game that pitted an offensive juggernaut coming off of a second straight BCS bowl win against an FCS team that had compiled just two victories in the past two seasons?
Oregon racked up a school-record 772 yards in the victory, including a whopping 500 on the ground. Marcus Mariota, De'Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall each eclipsed the 100-yard mark in rushing.
For fans, it was simply a chance to see the Ducks take the field for some meaningful action. But for coaches, players and everyone else looking to get a little more out of Saturday than a nonchalant beatdown, it was about getting a chance to see what this year's crop of young talent can accomplish.
Let's take a look at the new starters on the Oregon Ducks and grade their Week 1 performances.
All defensive and kicking statistics via cfbstats.com.
In these early stages of the college football season, teams can make big impressions in the minds of voters. There are still question marks and a wealth of uncertainty concerning the way in which the balance of power in the college football landscape falls, and voters are still impressionable.
Feel free to view the Week 2 rankings for both major polls at ESPN. I've looked them over along with the matchups for the top teams and came away with three teams that are going to prove they will be a factor all year.
Here are three schools from the Top 25 that will leave massive impressions on voters.
No. 12 Florida
Week 2 Opponent: Miami
Florida was rock solid in Week 1, but this is not the kind of team that is going to light up the scoreboard.
The Gators used their punishing defense and an efficient offensive attack to handle Toledo, 24-6. Toledo mustered just 205 yards of offense in that game.
Meanwhile, Miami flashed some nice explosiveness in a 34-6 win over Florida Atlantic in its opener. However, the Hurricanes also flashed some sloppiness.
For instance, the Hurricanes received a delay of game penalty before they got a play off from scrimmage.
The Hurricanes did most of their damage on the ground in that game by racking up 303 rushing yards. That isn't going to happen against this Gators defense, and Florida will control this one from start to finish.
Prediction: Florida 20, Miami 10
No. 23 Baylor
Week 2 Opponent: Buffalo
Unlike Florida, Baylor does have the kind of offense that will light up the scoreboard. The Bears put up numbers in the opener that would make their basketball team jealous by beating lower-division Wofford, 69-3.
Meanwhile, Buffalo fell to Ohio State in its opener, 40-20. That game wasn't as close as the score suggested, either. The Buckeyes were up 23-0 at the end of the first quarter.
I'm not expecting the Bears to let off the gas pedal in this one, and that will lead to a commanding victory.
Junior quarterback Bryce Petty was impressive in his season debut as he threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. I expect him to post another stellar stat line in this matchup.
Prediction: Baylor 55, Buffalo 24
No. 17 Michigan
Week 2 Opponent: Notre Dame
All eyes will be on Ann Arbor, Michigan as the Wolverines host No. 14 Notre Dame in this classic rivalry.
Michigan is coming off their highest-scoring season opener since 1905, as it handed Central Michigan a 59-9 beatdown.
In that game, Michigan bulled its way to 242 rushing yards at 5.1 yards per carry. Meanwhile, quarterback Devin Gardner had an efficient day by going 10-of-15 for 162 yards and a score. However, he did suffer two picks.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame easily handled Temple, 28-6. There is one key number in that game that has me siding towards Michigan in this matchup, though.
Temple ran for 134 yards at 4.6 yards per carry. Those are not huge numbers, and Temple's rushing attack is not on the level of Michigan.
The Wolverines will establish the ground game in this one and consequently will control the flow of this game.
Prediction: Michigan 27, Notre Dame 20
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Defensive tackle Will Sutton is among the Pac-12 Conference's, and college football's, most celebrated defensive talents. Sutton is the undisputed star of the outstanding Arizona State front seven. But in linebacker Carl Bradford, Sutton has a running mate who is every bit as much a part of the Sun Devils' prolific pass rush as the All-America defensive tackle.
Bradford ranked among the nation's leaders in tackles for loss season with 20.5, which put him in the company of ballyhooed stars as Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Barr and, yes, Will Sutton.
At July's Pac-12 media day, head coach Todd Graham sang Bradford's praises.
"Thirteen sacks, that's pretty good. Lot of [tackles-for-loss]," Graham said. "I look for Carl to be the best [linebacker] in the country."
Though Sutton may be more recognized nationally, Bradford is far from a sidekick. Their on-field dynamic is symbiotic.
"One of the things Will will tell you helps him is the surrounding cast he has around him," Graham said.
Sutton expounded on Graham's thoughts during his media day address.
"Coach talks about building relationships and I feel like our relationships are stronger than we ever had," Sutton said. "We believe in one another and we don't have to worry about somebody else doing their job because we know that they're going to get it done."
The entire ASU defense recorded a staggering 52 sacks in 2012, second only to Stanford. Sutton and Bradford together were responsible for more than half.
Opposing offensive lines face a dilemma scheming for the Sun Devils. Doubling up on Sutton on the interior is not an option, because that weakens the edge from where Bradford blitzes. Likewise, designing coverage exclusive to handle Bradford thins the middle for Sutton to dominate.
Indeed, the two feed off one another. Their success is mutual, and in 2013 they are taking that to another level. Each is pushing the other to make history.
The duo told Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic that they both want to eclipse Terrell Suggs' single-season sack record of 24.
Haller calls it a "competition within the competition," an extra motivational tool to push the Sun Devils to work even harder.
Graham said that the team's hard work manifested in the offseason with prolonged efforts in the weight room. Bradford power-cleans over 400 pounds, the head coach said.
Such strength gives the linebacker's tackles an added wallop, which is sure to make opposing quarterbacks aware of Bradford's location on the field at a given time.
Likewise, Sutton bulked up from a year ago, packing on muscle to tip the scale at 305 pounds.
"Our guys are stronger, faster, more explosive," Graham said. "These guys have really bought into our philosophy of studying the game."
While the ASU defense is primarily known for wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks—and rightfully so—there is a facet in which the Sun Devil front seven has room for improvement.
"Our No. 1 goal is...rush defense. That's the thing that has to be elevated," Graham said.
A season ago, ASU surrendered nearly 183 rushing yards per game, and 4.3 yards per carry. While the sack record is a hot topic of conversation coming out of Tempe, how Sutton and Bradford lead the Sun Devil defense in stopping the rush may determine if the program reaches its first Pac-12 championship game.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kensing45.
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The Virginia Tech Hokies opened their 2013 with a daunting task; try and defeat two-time defending national champion Alabama. It didn't happen and the Hokies return to the friendly confines of Lane Stadium this Saturday for a matchup with the FCS Western Carolina Catamounts.
The Catamounts opened their season against Middle Tennessee, losing 45-24.
It should be a tale of two weeks for the Hokies: The Catamounts are one of the worst programs in all of the FCS. They have not won a conference game in the last two seasons and have just nine wins over the last five years.
This will be the first-ever matchup between the schools. They do have something in common, though; they’ve both lost to Alabama in the past calendar year. The Catamounts were defeated by the Crimson Tide 49-0 last November.
- When: Saturday, September 7
- Time: 1:30 p.m.
- Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.
- TV: ESPN3
- Radio: Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network. Here is a complete list of stations by area.
- Spread: There is currently no spread for this game.
It may not be a national headliner, but there will be several eager onlookers when Texas travels to BYU this weekend. Consider it a statement game for the Longhorns. Their performance will tell us a lot about what to expect from them for the rest of the season.
Any in-depth analysis of Texas' 56-7 rout of New Mexico State in Week 1 is overkill. The Longhorns won comfortably, just as they were expected to do.
This week's tilt with BYU is a different animal. Even after the Cougars' disappointing 19-16 loss to Virginia, this matchup presents major challenges for the Longhorns.
The first of them is Jamaal Williams, BYU's star tailback.
After tallying 1,090 total yards as a freshman, the sophomore kicked off 2013 with 144 yards on 33 carries in the loss to the Cavaliers.
With elite receiver Cody Hoffman battling a hamstring issue, expect the Cougars to shamelessly feed Williams the rock. That could spell trouble for the 'Horns, who allowed 192.2 rushing yards per game last season.
Adding to the threat posed by Williams is dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill.
The sophomore quarterback is not a deft passer, but he has the wheels to burn defenses that focus too closely on Williams. Texas had trouble with similarly mobile quarterbacks in losses to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State.
Unfortunately the obstacles do not stop there. Despite losing seven starters, the Cougars run defense is still formidable, which it proved in holding Virginia to 2.6 yards per carry. The 'Horns did not have a 100-yard rusher in any of last season's losses, failing to even reach 100 yards as a team in three of them.
Then there is the environment. The crowd in Provo is one of the more rabid in college football. LaVell Edwards Stadium sits more than 4,500 feet above sea level, which will make defending BYU's hurry-up offense tough for Texas.
Not to mention that the Longhorns are still implementing their own hurry-up attack.
While these obstacles may be difficult to overcome, they provide a great opportunity for some of Texas' question marks to be answered.
The first of those question marks is the offensive line, which underachieved in 2012. The 'Horns return all five starters up front, but they have been pushed around before by bigger fronts. The Cougars are replacing two NFL draft picks on their defensive front, giving the big uglies a chance to show they have it together this year.
On the other side of the ball, this is our first chance to see if experience and the return of Jordan Hicks combine to be the cure-all for the linebackers. Stopping Williams rests largely on their shoulders, and how they handle him will be a strong indicator of how they deal with Baylor's Lache Seastrunk and Oklahoma's Damien Williams this season.
Texas is the more talented team and should win this game thanks to far superior skill players. But if the offensive line and linebackers have strong games, this is easily a two- or three-touchdown win for Mack Brown's squad.
In a tough road environment against a team like BYU, that would be the biggest statement any Big 12 team has made so far in 2013.
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Things don't get any easier this Saturday for the Georgia Bulldogs as they try to shake off a heartbreaking 38-35 loss by rebounding against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina enters the game ranked sixth in both the AP and coaches polls following a 27-10 home victory over North Carolina on Thursday.
Here's what you need to know:
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Place: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Radio Network
Spread: Georgia by 3, via Covers.com
The second edition of Michigan's "Under the Lights" game against Notre Dame involves a plethora of headlines in newspapers and across the web, though the single most prevalent may be the battle of the teams' quarterbacks.
Luckily for Michigan and head coach Brady Hoke, the Wolverines possess the better of the two starting quarterbacks fans will see Saturday evening in Ann Arbor, Michigan—the Wolverines' Devin Gardner and the Irish's Tommy Rees.
What exactly makes Gardner, in his first full season as a starting quarterback at Michigan, a better signal-caller than the veteran Rees?
The answers lie ahead.
With two weeks to prepare for a trip to College Station, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be looking to No. 42, Adrian Hubbard, the Sam linebacker, to be the major cog in stopping Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
It will require a team defensive effort to shut down the Aggies, and Manziel, but Hubbard is going to have to play a critical role. Against the run, against the pass and, most importantly, against the freelancing Manziel, the redshirt junior from Lawrenceville, Georgia will have to play a sound game for the Tide.
This is not about Hubbard being the best candidate to operate as a spy on Manziel; that award would likely go to inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. Mosley is a versatile player who can run well, play against the run and cover.
However, a spy is not going to be what wins this game.
In fact, do not expect a lot of true spy technique from the Crimson Tide. A spy had to shadow Manziel in the pass game. As the quarterback moves laterally, the spy's mirroring will create seams in the defense.
Unlike other run-first quarterbacks, Manziel can take advantage of these seams with his arms. So with that in mind, expect more team defense from Nick Saban's squad. Especially since the spy not only is a coverage liability, but also takes away a possible rusher.
The reason Hubbard is the key is his versatility.
He is a big-bodied kid at nearly 250 pounds. He can run and play multiple positions. Hubbard can line up on the line at defensive end, he'll stand up as an outside backer, and in smaller packages, he can slide inside to linebacker and play coverage. Look for him also to start inside standing up before looping outside for stunts to show different looks.
In the run game, Hubbard will be tasked with Manziel responsibilities against the zone-read. As Tra Carson and Ben Malena bring power to the interior, the first step for Hubbard will be to avoid crashing down inside, playing responsible football to ensure that Manziel does not keep the ball and get loose on the edge.
For Hubbard, that will also mean staying under control in checking for Manziel on the keeper. Flying to the quarterback out of control, when that quarterback is as elusive as Manziel, is as big a misstep as the Sam 'backer flying down inside to the running back.
Control will be the key for Hubbard in the pass game as well. Versus a stationary quarterback, the key to the rush is running the hump, hoping to beat the tackle to the edge and get to the quarterback at the top of his drop.
Against a quarterback like Manziel, the key to the rush is squeezing him into the pocket, constricting him from all sides, and not flushing him up or out of the pocket. That means Hubbard, along with Jack linebacker Xzavier Dickson and the entire defensive line, will have to work in concert to close the defensive fist around Manziel.
The Tide has to get pressure on Johnny Football, but that pressure has to come under control. Hubbard, when added to the rush, cannot get deeper than the quarterback or overrun the play. Maintaining his outside leverage and keeping containment will be paramount.
A controlled pass rush and responsibilities in the run game all are created to avoid the third and most critical element of Manziel's game, improvisation.
His improvising is what has hurt opponents in big spots. It hurt Alabama in 2012.
Alabama is going to work to limit the opportunities for Manziel to improvise. That is the reason for the controlled rush and playing sound fundamental football. However, when Manziel does see daylight, the most important thing for Alabama to do is tackle the ball-carrier.
Certainly it is easier said than done, as defenses showed on Johnny's campaign to the Heisman.
Tackling has to happen when Manziel breaks or is about to break contain. That means coming to balance, securing the tackle by wrapping up, and driving the quarterback to the ground. More importantly, it means not diving at legs, lunging for a big hit or ducking the head in the process.
Johnny Football is slippery, and Hubbard is going to play a big role in reducing the opportunities the quarterback has to get loose.
The junior Sam 'backer likely does not have the stat game people look for to identify someone as playing a quality game. In fact, if Hubbard does his job, he won't be the one making the tackles; it will be his teammates. And that is a good thing.
The junior needs to make Manziel hand off in the run game, squeeze him in the pocket in the pass game and limit the scrambling opportunities for the reigning Heisman winner.
If Hubbard can do those things, Alabama will be in good shape.
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The USC Trojans are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight meetings with the Washington State Cougars, which is important to consider when making your Week 2 college football picks Saturday, as the two teams prepare to meet at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Sports bettors will find that the Trojans are 15-point home favorites in the NCAA football odds, with the betting total sitting at 53 in the market.
Let's take a closer look at this Pac-12 Conference matchup from a betting perspective while offering up a prediction along the way.
All gambling stats via SBR Forum.
While Johnny Manziel became a superstar following Texas A&M’s 29-24 upset of Alabama last season, Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron’s performance against the Aggies was one of the low points of his storied career.
Although McCarron threw for a season-high 309 yards, he also had two costly interceptions—one in the first quarter that led to a score, and one on the Tide’s final drive that sealed A&M’s victory.
With the Week 3 showdown against the Aggies looming, what adjustments must McCarron make to help his club leave College Station with a huge division win?
Just on the horizon are a number of early-season Southeastern Conference battles that will help decide not only the league champion, but the BCS national champion as well.
With the anticipation building for monumental games like Texas A&M's Sept. 14 tilt with Alabama, it is easy for teams to overlook opponents in early nonconference action.
That is the definition of a trap game.
Find out what the Aggies can expect with the Crimson Tide one week away and which other SEC teams might be caught looking ahead in college football's second week of action.
The quarterback competition between Max Wittek and Cody Kessler is still ongoing—at least, according to Lane Kiffin's statement during Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches teleconference.
"I don't think anything is certain," Kiffin said. "We'll go out there [Saturday against Washington State] and see what happens."
Kessler started the Trojans' 30-13 Week 1 win over Hawaii, and Wittek appeared throughout the second half.
Kiffin reiterated his stance that the two are much closer in ability than some might think.
"They've become more similar over time, [because] they've worked on weaknesses in game," Kiffin said. "There's not much difference when the guys are in there."
Kiffin is tabbing a starting quarterback for the first time in his USC tenure, and the decision has been followed with watchful eyes.
The FOX College Football Twitter account tweeted on Tuesday that Kiffin made a choice on Saturday's starter, and would again open with Cody Kessler under center.
Kiffin said in his fourth season as head coach, he has "gotten over frustration" with media scrutiny, though he lamented questioning after the Trojans' Week 1 win.
"There were no questions about brand new freshmen making plays," he said, citing defensive back Su'a Cravens' interception, the first of four for the Trojans, as well as running back Justin Davis rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown.
"It is what it is," Kiffin said.
Bye week before Nebraska benefited Bruins
UCLA head coach Jim Mora said an additional week of preparation before his No. 18-ranked Bruins travel to face No. 22 Nebraska on Sept. 14 will help his coaching staff fine-tune its game plan.
"[The schedule] really lays out nicely for us," he said.
The off-week also benefited UCLA in its preparation for Week 1 opponent Nevada, Mora said.
"Had the Nebraska game been this week, way too much focus would have been Nebraska and not Nevada before last Saturday," he explained.
A focused Bruin bunch had no trouble in dispatching the Wolf Pack, 58-20.
Colorado coach wants to build off Week 1 "joy"
Colorado snapped an eight-game losing streak and recaptured the Rocky Mountain Showdown's Centennial Cup trophy in head coach Mike MacIntyre's debut.
MacIntyre said during Tuesday's teleconference that beating Colorado State 41-27 gives his Buffaloes a tangible building block moving forward from the worst season in program history.
"To see the joy on [the CU players'] faces, and all their hard work paying off, it was a great win," MacIntyre said. "But it's just one."
CU hosts Central Arkansas, a Championship Subdivision team coming off a 2012 playoff appearance and ranked No. 7 in the FCS poll. CU is after its first win streak since beating Iowa State and Kansas State consecutively in November 2010.
Sarkisian impressed with young Huskies
Several first- and second-year Huskies made impacts in Washington's 38-6 rout of No. 19 Boise State, said head coach Steve Sarkisian.
"I was really impressed with the maturity of some of our players," Sarkisian said. "Jaydon Mickens, a true sophomore...[true freshman] John Ross."
Mickens and Ross, along with freshman Kevin Smith, were the top three targets for UW quarterback Keith Price. Mickens hauled in nine passes for 109 yards, while Ross and Smith each caught four.
They were crucial to Price's all-around solid outing, which earned high marks from Sarkisian. The UW coach commended Price's "distributing [of] the ball to a variety of people." Indeed, Price found seven different targets for 324 yards.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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