NCAA Football News

Ameer Abdullah vs. Rutgers: Stat Line, Heisman Impact and Reaction

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah put on a record-setting, all-purpose show in the Cornhuskers' 42-24 win over Rutgers on Saturday. His dominant display will almost surely put his name back in contention for the Heisman Trophy.

Abdullah's 341 all-purpose yards set a school record and are the second-most in the history of the Big Ten, per ESPN Stats & Info:

He ripped off touchdown runs of 53 and 48 yards in the second quarter, setting the tone for what would be an extraordinary day on the ground. Mike Welch of 93.7 The Ticket had this to say about Abdullah's moves:

As if ripping off insanely long gains from scrimmage wasn't enough, Abdullah electrified the crowd with a 76-yard kickoff return during the contest. Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis was in awe of the performance:

This fan, Tunnel Walk of Shame, could hardly fathom Abdullah's video game-style runs:

ESPN provided a look at his third touchdown of the day, which came on a 23-yard burner in the fourth quarter:

The senior halfback seemed deeply appreciative of the opportunity to put on a show in a Cornhuskers jersey.

"Every time I step on the field, whether practice or games, I'm always creating memories here," Abdullah said after the game, via The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "These are always things I'm going to remember, coming here and playing football for this great university."

Abdullah's name has been conspicuously absent from the Heisman discussion as of late, through no fault of his own. Nebraska has underwhelmed at times this season, and the Big Ten has lost its luster in recent years. 

Georgia running back Todd Gurley's suspension opens the door for Abdullah to make his case as the premier tailback in the nation.

He does face stiff competition from Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Indiana's Tevin Coleman, but Abdullah's electric style and ability to hurt teams in every facet of the game give him the edge over these two.

It's quite likely that the trophy goes to a quarterback like Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Mississippi State's Dak Prescott. However, don't be surprised if the words "Abdullah" and "Heisman" appear together in headlines across the nation as the season comes to a close.

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Kansas State's November Schedule Will Make or Break Wildcats in Playoff Race

If you had told people this summer that Kansas State would be the Big 12’s top College Football Playoff contender in late October, they’d probably have looked at you kind of funny.

What about Baylor? Or Oklahoma?

Yet, as we head toward November, that appears to be the case. Following Saturday’s 23-0 whipping of the Texas Longhorns, the Wildcats are in perfect position to make a playoff run. At 6-1 and the only team, they should be the league’s highest-ranked team when the first College Football Playoff Top 25 poll is released Tuesday evening. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Jake Trotter shared their thoughts about Kansas State and the College Football Playoff:

Can they become one of the nation’s top four teams when the playoff bracket is finalized in early December? Yes, but it won’t be easy. Not anywhere close.

The Wildcats’ remaining schedule is brutal, and K-State must improve an offense that has sputtered at times this season.

Following next week’s home date with a dangerous Oklahoma State team, Bill Snyder and Co. must travel to No. 10 TCU. After a bye, K-State will have a treacherous Thursday night trip to No. 22 West Virginia. An in-state rivalry date against hapless Kansas appears to be a gimme, but the Wildcats end the regular season with a Dec. 6 contest at No. 12 Baylor.

For those scoring at home, that's three conference road games against ranked opponents, along with a home meeting versus an Oklahoma State team that was ranked No. 15 in the nation last week. None of those games will be easy, and Kansas State must win out to have any shot at the playoff.

If Kansas State wants to make it through that tough slate of games, its offense will need to be a lot more lethal.

Senior quarterback Jake Waters is a dual-threat and a solid but not spectacular quarterback—especially when compared with the likes of TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. Saturday, Waters completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards with zero interceptions, but he also threw zero touchdowns. The Wildcats also had more field goals (three) than touchdowns (two). ESPN Insider Travis Haney provided historical insight about K-State's shutout of Texas:

Penalties ruined a pair of K-State drives that could have led to more, as a holding penalty wiped out a long Waters pass to Tyler Lockett that would’ve set the ‘Cats up inside the Texas 10.

“I’m not too happy with the offensive execution we had,” Snyder told ESPN's television broadcast afterward. “I’m awfully proud of the guys maintaining possession of the ball, not making mistakes. But we got penalties, and a couple of penalties cost us with gargantuan plays. We took 14 points off the board with penalties.”

K-State’s defense is impressive: Saturday marked the program’s first shutout of a Big 12 foe since 2003, and it was the first time Texas had been shut out in league play since 2004. David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest is impressed with K-State's defense: 

That defense will keep the Wildcats competitive on the road, but they'll need more firepower to survive that incredibly tough stretch and make their unlikely College Football Playoff run a reality.

Should K-State win out, it could have a compelling playoff case. Slip up once and the dream is over. The Wildcats are on the right path, but they have no margin for error.

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Stanford's Christian McCaffrey Spins Free for 42-Yard TD vs. Oregon State

The Stanford Cardinal got on the board early on Saturday against the Oregon State Beavers thanks to a creative move downfield.

After catching a pass from Kevin Hogan, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey spun out an Oregon State defender and ran 42 yards for the opening touchdown. 

Christian is the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who spent 13 seasons in the league, so it's safe to say he made his dad proud with that spin move.

[Vine]

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Rutgers vs. Nebraska: Game Grades, Analysis for the Cornhuskers

After nearly a month away from home, Bo Pelini and No. 16 University of Nebraska (7-1) returned to Memorial Stadium and treated their fans to a 42-24 demolition of Rutgers University (5-3) Saturday afternoon.

The Cornhuskers backfield of Tommy Armstrong and Ameer Abdullah fueled an offense that piled up 455 total yards against a solid Rutgers defense. Pelini's squad is surging after the Michigan State University loss and has re-established itself as a contender in the West Division.

How did the Cornhuskers grade out from their impressive 18-point victory?

Nebraska Cornhuskers Grade Analysis

Pass Offense: Armstrong got off to a slow start, connecting on just six of his first 14 passes for 76 yards and an interception in the first half. He rebounded in the third quarter, through, throwing perfectly placed touchdown passes to Sam Cotton and Jordan Westerkamp on back-to-back drives. He finished with 163 passing yards and those two touchdown passes, completing 63.6 percent of his passes on the day. 

Run Offense: Abdullah paced Nebraska’s offense once again, running for 225 yards on 19 carries, averaging 11.8 yards per carry. He added three touchdowns on the ground, bringing his season total to 17. The Cornhuskers rushed for 292 yards total, completely overwhelming a solid Rutgers defensive front.

Pass Defense: It was a shaky start for Nebraska’s secondary as Gary Nova threw for 129 yards in the first quarter, highlighted by a 71-yard touchdown pass to Leonte Carroo. But the Cornhuskers settled in, allowing just 27 passing yards in the second quarter before Nova was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. Backup quarterback Chris Laviano didn’t have much success through the air, and Rutgers finished with just 205 passing yards Saturday afternoon.

Run Defense: Rutgers running back Desmon Peoples had a big game against Ohio State University last week, rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. But the sophomore struggled against Nebraska, gaining just 32 yards on 12 carries. Laviano provided a spark in the second half, running for 54 yards on five carries. But the Scarlet Knights were largely held in check. 

Special Teams: Nebraska dominated all three phases of the game, including a big edge in special teams. While Drew Brown misfired on a 42-yard field-goal attempt, the Cornhuskers came away with a blocked field-goal kick in the second quarter, and Abdullah busted an impressive 76-yard kickoff return in the second half.

Coaching: Pelini's staff called a good game on both sides of the ball. The defense adjusted nicely to Nova's fast start in the first half by completely shutting him down in the second quarter. The coaches also did a good job of tweaking the defense to limit Laviano's running ability in the fourth quarter. The offense maintained its identity throughout the game, which wisely highlighted Abdullah. 

This team is getting better every week, and that's a credit to the coaching staff.

 

All stats via NCAA.com.

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Penn State Fans Reportedly Use Air Horns at 4 a.m. Outside of Ohio State's Hotel

The Penn State Nittany Lions are hosting a very tough Ohio State Buckeyes team on Saturday night, so in preparation for the game, fans were trying to do whatever they could to give their team an edge.

According to some of the Buckeyes players, Nittany Lions fans brought air horns to the team's hotel and began using them around 4 a.m. Saturday morning. Offensive lineman Patrick Elflein tweeted about the incident.

Linebacker Darron Lee had an understandable reaction.

While it might have been annoying waking up to air horns, the Buckeyes don't have to play until 8 p.m. ET tonight, so they've had plenty of time to get some rest.

[Twitter, h/t Land-Grant Holy Land]

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Kentucky vs. Mississippi State: Live Score and Highlights

Mississippi State 24, Kentucky 17 ; Early 3rd Quarter

An interesting SEC clash takes place Saturday afternoon, as the No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-0) take on the upstart Kentucky Wildcats (5-2). 

The game will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET. It can be seen on CBS.

Odds Shark has Mississippi State as a 13-point favorite. A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com. 

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Michigan vs. Michigan State: Live Score and Highlights

Michigan will have to play its best game of 2014 if it hopes to compete with No. 8-ranked Michigan State this afternoon in East Lansing—plain and simple. 

The defending Rose Bowl champion Spartans (6-1, 3-0) have physically manhandled the Wolverines (3-4, 1-2) since 2008, winning five of the past six series meetings. With exception to Michigan's 12-10 victory in 2012, the games haven't even been close. 

Kickoff's at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.

Keep your browser locked to this live blog for the latest stats, analysis, commentary and news surrounding one of college football's great rivalries. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter: @AdamBiggers81.

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Vanderbilt vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

The Vanderbilt Commodores travel to Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Missouri Tigers at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Vanderbilt is still looking for its first SEC win under first-year head coach Derek Mason while Gary Pinkel and Missouri are trying to continue to rebound after getting shut out by the Georgia Bulldogs in Week 7.

The Tigers handily beat Florida last week after taking advantage of a series of Gators mishaps, including interceptions, fumbles and special teams breakdowns.

Meanwhile, the Commodores are struggling to establish an identity on offense and defense and have struggled with the likes of UMass and Charleston Southern. 

Can Vanderbilt put together its first complete game of the season, or will Missouri continue to claw its way back into the SEC East title race?

Stay tuned right here for live updates and analysis once the game begins.

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Plane Flies over Michigan vs. Michigan State Game with 'Keep Brady Hoke' Banner

The Michigan State Spartans are looking to dominate their in-state rivals at home this Saturday, taking on the Michigan Wolverines.

As a likely joke from some Michigan State fans, a plane flying over Spartan Stadium had a banner that read, "U of M - Keep Brady Hoke - Plzzz."

With a 3-4 record to start the year, the Wolverines head coach could be on his way out after this season. But for the Spartans, they would have no problem with Hoke staying on if it means Michigan continues to struggle in the Big Ten.

[Twitter, h/t SB Nation]

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West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State: Live Score and Highlights

Fresh off an upset victory against Baylor, West Virginia will look to move to 4-1 in conference play with a win over Oklahoma State on Saturday.

On the other side, the Cowboys are in recovery mode after last week's 42-9 meltdown versus TCU. This is a big game for both teams if they want to stay in contention for the conference championship.

West Virginia held Baylor to its lowest offensive total (318 yards) of the season last Saturday while the Cowboys were only able to manage 258 yards of total offense in their game.

The game can be seen on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. ET, but be sure to come back here at kickoff for live updates and analysis.

 

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South Carolina vs. Auburn: Live Score and Highlights

The South Carolina Gamecocks and the Auburn Tigers are getting ready to do battle at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on the SEC Network.

After snapping a two-game losing streak by beating Furman last week, South Carolina will look to finish the SEC part of the season strong with wins over Auburn, Tennessee and Florida. The Gamecocks will be led by Mike Davis, who has 662 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Auburn, who is the No. 5 team in the country, is looking to bounce back after losing to Mississippi State two weeks ago. With an offense that has scored 20 or more points in every game since the start of the 2013 season, the Tigers should have no issues putting points on the board against a defense that is ranked 12th in the SEC.

Be sure to come back to this blog as soon as the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates and analysis.

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Arkansas OL Sebastian Tretola Throws Touchdown vs. UAB

Arkansas Razorbacks junior offensive tackle Sebastian Tretola is a big man at 6'5'' and 350 pounds, but he got a chance to play quarterback for a play on Saturday against the UAB Blazers.

In the second quarter, Arkansas ran this trick play with Tretola finding Alan D'Appollonio on a six-yard touchdown to take a comfortable 28-0 lead.

You can see another angle of the score below.

Former hefty Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jared Lorenzen tweeted to congratulate Tretola on the score.

Offensive linemen rarely get the chance to score touchdowns, so give the Razorbacks some credit for drawing up this play.

[Vine, h/t Twitter]

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Willie Robertson from 'Duck Dynasty' Sings Katy Perry on 'College GameDay'

Willie and Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty appeared on ESPN's College GameDay from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Saturday, and the TV stars got some revenge for Katy Perry's corn dog remarks made earlier this year. 

So how did Willie hit back? He quoted Katy Perry's hit song "Roar" as he picked the Tigers to beat Ole Miss. 

Now that is something you don't see every day—a bearded man quoting Katy Perry. 

College football unites all. 

[YouTube, h/t: The Big Lead]

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College Football Week 9: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction

Week 9 may not have any game-of-the-century type hype, but it still packs a good punch.  

The top showdown of the night pits two SEC West foes against each other. The young and talented LSU Tigers will be out for revenge against the surging Ole Miss Rebels at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

Staying in the SEC, Tennessee will play host to Alabama at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Tide look to prove they can play a complete game on the road, whereas the Vols hope to show the nation their program truly is on the rise. 

In the Big Ten, Brady Hoke will fight to save his job as Michigan takes on rival Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. At 8 p.m. ET on ABC, Urban Meyer and Ohio State will battle James Franklin and Penn State. 

And out west, the USC Trojans hit the road to take on the surprising Utah Utes at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Which team will take the lead in the Pac-12 South? 

Keep it locked right here with Bleacher Report as we provide the latest scores, highlights and more for Week 9.

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Best Signs from ESPN's 'College GameDay' Week 9

This week's edition of ESPN's College GameDay comes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as LSU hosts Ole Miss.

Katy Perry threw a couple jabs at LSU on the October 4 edition of GameDay, and the Tigers faithful haven't forgotten.

Here's a jab at Perry and Bo Wallace. 

He came out of nowhere!

Your friend was probably right.

Well, all right. 

Mississippi isn't that bad!

No. 24 LSU takes on No. 3 Ole Miss at Tiger Stadium at 7:15 p.m. ET.

One can only dream Katy Perry shows up.

[Twitter]

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Maryland vs. Wisconsin: Live Score and Highlights

Wisconsin 31, Maryland 0—Late 3rd Quarter

The first-ever meeting between the Wisconsin Badgers and Maryland Terrapins could also serve to be an elimination game for the loser's Big Ten title chances in 2014.  Both teams already have one loss in conference play, and a second defeat defeat would all but end talk of a divisional title.

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Rutgers vs. Nebraska: Live Score and Highlights

After nearly a month on the road, Bo Pelini and No. 16 Nebraska (6-1) finally return to Memorial Stadium for a matchup against Big Ten newcomer Rutgers (5-2) Saturday afternoon.

With one loss already, the Cornhuskers are hoping to keep pace in a cloudy West Division. The Scarlet Knights, however, are just trying to keep their head above water as they get acclimated to life in the Big Ten.

The game is set to kick off at noon ET and will be televised by ESPN2.

We’ll be watching the matchup, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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Texas vs. Kansas State: Live Score and Highlights

The No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats host the Texas Longhorns in a Big 12 Conference matchup set for a noon ET kickoff at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Texas (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) is teetering on the brink of missing bowl season since it plays two more ranked programs, but a win today helps the Longhorns salvage their frustrating campaign.

Kansas State, led by quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett, hopes to remain the lone undefeated team in conference play.

ESPN will carry the clash. Bleacher Report will provide live scoring updates and in-game analysis. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Bowl Predictions 2014: Updated Projections Before Saturday's Week 9 Games

If you thought the stretch run of BCS seasons were exciting in college football, wait until the final month of the 2014 campaign.

Teams and conferences are vying for superiority with four spots on the line instead of two, and historical underdogs like Ole Miss and Mississippi State are trying to upend the bluebloods like Florida State and Alabama.

With that in mind, here is a look at some updated playoff projections before a full slate of Week 9 games on tap for Saturday.

 

Playoff Projections

Sugar Bowl: Florida State vs. Ole Miss

Rose Bowl: Michigan State vs. Alabama  

Championship Bowl (in Arlington, Texas): TBD (Semifinal winners)

 

Breakdown 

You can argue the offensive pass interference call against Notre Dame until you are blue in the face, but it doesn't change the fact that Florida State got the win in a nail-biter against the Fighting Irish.

With close calls against Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and, to a lesser extent, North Carolina State in the rearview mirror, none of the top teams have a clearer path to an undefeated season than the Seminoles. College GameDay reiterated as much:

Florida State’s remaining regular-season games are against Virginia, Miami, Boston College and Florida.

On paper, none of those teams are remotely talented enough to compete with defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the rest of the Seminoles. The reigning national champs are going undefeated, and that will be more than enough to clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff.

It may also be time for the rest of the country to come to grips with the reality that two SEC teams are getting in.

The SEC champion will certainly be one of the four, especially if that team comes from the loaded SEC West. The thought here is that Ole Miss earns that designation because it already has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Alabama in its back pocket and gets Auburn and Mississippi State at home.

The Tigers have to go to Ole Miss, Georgia and Alabama, which is an absolutely daunting road schedule to say the least, and Mississippi State has to go to Alabama and Ole Miss.

While the Rebels will benefit from the home schedule, so will the Crimson Tide. As mentioned, they get the Tigers and Bulldogs at home, and an 11-1 finish for a national power like Alabama that has as much equity built up as any program in the country will get Nick Saban’s team into the College Football Playoff.

Saban suggested that his team still had a chance after the Ole Miss loss, via Andrew Gribble of Al.com, "Every goal that we have as a team is still in front of us. We must improve and respond the right way to losing."

That leaves the fourth spot, which is truly the one that is wide-open.

A number of one-loss teams are still remaining, and any of them could play their way there.

The thought here is that the Pac-12 cannibalizes itself, especially in the South division. Arizona State, Arizona, Utah, USC and UCLA will all get each other to at least two losses each (the Bruins and Trojans are already there), and the North division winner will also have to deal with the South champ.

The Big 12 is also in the race, with TCU, Baylor and Kansas State all with one loss. However, the Horned Frogs still go to West Virginia and play Kansas State; Kansas State plays Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and West Virginia; and Baylor has Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.

Much like the Pac-12, these Big 12 teams will all beat each other up, and each will end with at least two losses. What’s more, no Big 12 championship game could come into play if a number of teams are contending for one spot and a positive national perception.

That leaves Notre Dame and the Big Ten.

The Fighting Irish will figure out how tough the Pac-12 South is this year with trips to Arizona State and USC down the stretch. One of those games will end in a loss.

As for the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan State are the only two teams with realistic playoff hopes. The eventual conference title and a potential postseason spot will be on the line when they face off in East Lansing.

While the Buckeyes look like a completely different team than they did in September as the young stars develop into legitimate weapons, Michigan State will win at home under the lights. The Spartans defense will pose a problem for J.T. Barrett and company, and the home-field advantage will prove to be the difference in a tightly contested battle. 

With a single loss at Oregon on the season, Michigan State will claim that final College Football Playoff spot.

 

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College Football Rankings 2014: Final NCAA Overview of Week 9 Standings

Remember in school when you had one last cram session with some cliff notes the morning of the test? That is what we are doing here with the Top 25 polls in college football.

There is a full slate of games on tap for Week 9, so make sure you know where everyone stands in the rankings. After all, if you are going to argue with your friends when you are watching the games today about who belongs in the College Football Playoff, you need to understand the overall picture.

With that in mind, here is a final overview of the Top 25 rankings (the Bleacher Report poll can be found here) before we dig into a preview of a potential Saturday upset.

 

Potential Upset to Watch: Arizona State at Washington

Those college football fans who stay up into the wee hours of the morning every Saturday (technically, Sunday) have not been disappointed this year because the Pac-12 is the gift that keeps on giving.

Among the late-night finishes already was a heartbreaking Arizona loss to USC after a missed field goal at the end, an Arizona State Hail Mary touchdown pass to beat USC, a 60-59 shootout between California and Washington State and a 59-56 double-overtime shootout between California and Colorado.

Arizona State is ranked No. 14 in both the Associated Press and Amway Polls and will try to avoid the upset bug in a potentially tricky trip to Washington.

It is important for the Sun Devils to not overlook this one because there are more important things down the line. The defending Pac-12 South champions are in the thick of a tight race with USC, Utah and Arizona and still have to play the Wildcats, Utes and Notre Dame.

Although the tilt with the Fighting Irish doesn’t count in the conference standings, it represents a golden opportunity to make a statement to the selection committee with the group of one-loss teams still hanging around in the playoff race.

Washington is 5-2 in head coach Chris Petersen’s first year, but it lost to Stanford and Oregon and has wins against lackluster competition.

Still, Arizona State head coach Todd Graham compared the Huskies favorably to his last opponent, Stanford, according to The Associated Press, via ESPN.com, "We think it's a very similar game to last week. This is a very, very explosive defensive football team. You look at their ability to rush the passer, they're probably the best we've played to this point." 

If Arizona State is worried about that pass rush, it will have to prepare for quarterback Taylor Kelly, who could return to the field for the first time since he injured his foot on Sept. 13. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see some split-duties at quarterback after three impressive performances from Mike Bercovici, but Kelly did throw for 271 yards, run for 84 yards and score four touchdowns against Washington last year in a 53-24 win.

Doug Haller of azcentral sports believes Kelly is the right quarterback for the job:

This is Kelly's team. More important, Mike Norvell's offense -- at least this season -- works best with a dual-threat behind center. I sat with Norvell over the summer and watched film. It was pretty obvious from the first few plays: When defenses have to account for Kelly - whether though the zone-read or as a runner extending plays -- more one-on-one opportunities are available on the perimeter. This benefits everyone.

The Sun Devils boast an explosive offense and are 11th nationally in passing yards per game at 324. They put up points on Washington last year and will do it again on Saturday night.

The question is whether the Huskies, who have struggled to move the ball against better competition, will be able to keep up on the scoreboard. They are 107th in the country in passing yards per game at 181.4 and 55th in rushing yards per game at 183.1. 

The Sun Devils would be wise to counter with plenty of blitzes, as this graphic, via ESPN Stats & Information, indicates:

Ultimately, the Sun Devils are the more talented team with much more to play for in this one. The reason this is a potential upset, though, is the possible overlook factor as Arizona State gets ready for more marquee showdowns later in the schedule.

What’s more, there should be a raucous Washington crowd underneath the lights in Seattle, which will make life difficult for Kelly, who has not played since mid-September.

Thanks to those factors, this one will stay close for a while, but Arizona State will make enough big plays in the second half to come away with a comfortable win. 

Prediction: Arizona State 34, Washington 21

 

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