Nov 26, 2021; Carson, California, USA; San Diego State Aztecs wide receiver Jesse Matthews (45) is defended by Boise State Broncos cornerback Kaonohi Kaniho (14) in the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 SDSU rallies past Boise State to make MWC title game

Jordan Brookshire came off the bench to pass for one touchdown and rush for another and No. 21 San Diego State clinched a spot in the Mountain West conference championship game with a 27-16 victory over Boise State on Friday morning at Carson, Calif.

Brookshire entered late in the second quarter and led San Diego State to 24 consecutive points to overcome a 13-point deficit. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 192 yards and rushed for 46 yards on nine attempts for the Aztecs (11-1, 7-1).

San Diego State tied the program’s Division I mark for victories, also accomplished under legendary coach Don Coryell in 1969 and twice under Rocky Long (2015, 2016). The program is in the Mountain West title game for the first time since 2016.

Jesse Matthews had a season-best 133 receiving yards and matched his career high of nine catches, with one going for a score. Greg Bell tacked on a rushing touchdown, Jonah Tavai recorded three sacks, Patrick McMorris intercepted two passes and Dallas Branch picked off one for San Diego State.

Hank Bachmeier completed 21 of 40 passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Boise State (7-5, 5-3). Khalil Shakir and Kurt Rafdal caught touchdown passes for the Broncos, who were eliminated from Mountain West title game consideration.

The Aztecs outgained Boise State 408 to 319.

Brookshire replaced ineffective Lucas Johnson with 3:04 left in the second quarter with San Diego State trailing 16-3. The offense immediately emerged from hibernation.

The Aztecs traveled 78 yards on five plays with Brookshire connecting with Matthews on a 29-yard scoring pass with 1:30 left. San Diego State got the ball back and drove for Matt Araiza’s 37-yard field goal with three seconds left to trail 16-13 at the break.

The Aztecs continued the momentum on the first drive of the second half as Bell scored on a 2-yard run for a 20-16 lead. McMorris then intercepted Bachmeier for the second time and Brookshire cashed in with a 16-yard scoring run to boost the lead to 11 with 7:46 left in the third quarter.

Johnson was 9-of-20 passing for 98 yards before being pulled.

Boise State struck first on Bachmeier’s 20-yard scoring pass to Rafdal with 6:08 left in the opening quarter.

San Diego State got on the board on Araiza’s 31-yard field goal with 1:10 left in the period. But the Broncos tacked on nine second-quarter points on Bachmeier’s 13-yard scoring pass to Shakir and Jonah Dalmas’ 22-yard field goal to lead 16-3 with 8:39 remaining in the half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Provo, Utah, USA; Boise State Broncos wide receiver Octavius Evans (1) is tackled by Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Chaz Ah You (3) during the first quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State halts No. 10 BYU’s unbeaten season

Hank Bachmeier passed for 172 yards and Boise State forced four turnovers to upset No. 10 BYU 26-17 in a nonconference matchup on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

Cyrus Habibi-Likio rushed for a season-high 75 yards and Andrew Van Buren added a season-high 60 rushing yards for the Broncos (3-3). Each player added a touchdown as Boise State snapped a two-game losing streak in the series with BYU.

Jaren Hall threw for a career-high 302 yards with one touchdown and one interception for BYU. Tyler Allgeier added 73 rushing yards and a touchdown.

The Cougars (5-1) outgained Boise State 413 to 312 in total yards, but finished minus-4 in the turnover margin.

Hall returned to action for BYU after sitting out a pair of games with a rib injury. He looked sharp in the opening quarter, tallying 100 yards and a touchdown in that 15-minute stretch.

The Cougars opened up a 10-0 lead after scoring on each of their first two drives. Hall capped the second scoring drive with a 14-yard strike to Samson Nacua with 6:55 remaining in the opening quarter.

Boise State rallied to take a 20-10 halftime lead. The Broncos capitalized on a pair of fumbles deep inside BYU territory and became the first opponent to lead BYU at any point this season.

Scott Matlock recovered a fumble by Allgeier at the BYU 24-yard line to set up an 11-yard sprint by Habibi-Likio for Boise State’s first touchdown and a tie at 10. Then, the Broncos recovered a second fumble by Lopini Katoa at the BYU 23 on a kickoff return. That takeaway set up a 1-yard scoring plunge by Van Buren with 34 seconds left in the half.

Boise State led 20-10 at the break as Jonah Dalmas booted a 20-yard field as time expired.

A 59-yard catch by Gunner Romney set up a 1-yard plunge from Allgeier that cut the Broncos’ lead to 23-17 midway through the fourth quarter.

Dalmas nailed his fourth field goal of the game — from 22 yards — to extend Boise State’s lead to 26-17 with 3:27 left. He also connected from 41 and 28 yards.

Kaonohi Kaniho picked off a pass from Hall at the Broncos’ 11-yard line with 1:59 left to seal the win.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2021; Logan, Utah, USA; Utah State Aggies linebacker Cash Gilliam (5) tackles Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) during the third quarter at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 BYU hosts struggling Boise State

Can BYU make a run all the way into the College Football Playoff?

That’s suddenly a feasible question for the No. 10 Cougars (5-0) heading into Saturday’s rivalry clash with Boise State in Provo, Utah. BYU has won seven straight games dating back to last season and 16 of its last 17 overall.

The Cougars aren’t just winning. They are staying in control of each game: BYU has yet to trail this season.

Yet, they contend they have only scratched the surface of what they can accomplish this season.

“We need to stay hungry and keep working,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “There’s still a lot more opportunities for us to shock people, and there’s still more for us to do. We’ve got to keep that edge.

“I love that these guys are willing to learn and trying to get better.”

Quarterback health will be a determining factor in how high the Cougars can climb this season. Jaren Hall started the first three games before missing two contests with a rib injury. Baylor Romney started against South Florida and Utah State, but he played one half against the Aggies before sitting out the second half with a concussion.

Jacob Conover, BYU’s third-string quarterback, finished out the game against Utah State, helping to secure the 34-20 victory.

“I have faith in any one of those quarterbacks,” BYU tight end Isaac Rex said. “Whichever one’s healthy, I know they’re gonna play great and we’ve got their backs. We’ll be ready to help them.”

As long as Tyler Allgeier remains healthy, the Cougars will present problems for opposing defenses. Allgeier rushed for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns against Utah State. He ranks eighth nationally with 564 rushing yards through five games.

Stopping Allgeier is one problem among many facing the Broncos (2-3), who are off to their worst start in two decades. Not since 2001 has Boise State carried a losing record five games into the season.

Boise State has lost back-to-back home games while struggling to contain the run. Nevada back Toa Taua ripped off 124 yards on the ground to help power the Wolf Pack to a 41-31 victory. Taua’s performance came on the heels of a 218-yard effort from Oklahoma State runner Jaylen Warren, who lifted the Cowboys to a 21-20 victory a week earlier.

Boise State is surrendering an average of 191.2 yards on the ground – 106th among 130 teams in major-college football, which has played a huge determining factor in the team’s slow start.

“We all know what the standard is here, and that’s not it,” first-year Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “We’ve got to take a deep dive and examine what it is.”

The Broncos hold a 7-4 lead in the series with BYU. The Cougars have won the past two games, including a 51-17 victory last season for BYU’s first ever win in Boise.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA;  Boise State Broncos safety Rodney Robinson (4) gets a stiff arm from Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Jaylen Warren (7) during the first half of play  at Albertsons Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

RB Jaylen Warren, Oklahoma State rumble past Boise State

Jaylen Warren rushed for a career-high 218 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Oklahoma State to a 21-20 victory over Boise State in a nonconference game Saturday night at Boise, Idaho.

Jason Taylor II tipped a 36-yard field goal attempt by Boise State’s Johan Dalmas to protect the victory. Taylor’s right hand caused the low attempt to go wide to the left with 2:05 remaining.

Spencer Sanders added a rushing score for the Cowboys (3-0). Malcolm Rodriguez forced a key fumble to set up Oklahoma State’s go-ahead touchdown late in the first half.

Sanders completed 6 of 13 passes for 87 yards and rushed for 40 yards on 14 carries as the Cowboys won for the 19th time in their last 20 nonconference games.

Hank Bachmeier was 22-of-34 passing for 242 yards, one touchdown and one interception for Boise State (1-2). Cyrus Habibi-Likio rushed for a touchdown and Davis Koetter had a scoring reception.

The Broncos gained just 64 yards in the second half and were outgained 333-303

Warren lost a fumble at the Oklahoma State 41-yard line and Boise State’s JL Skinner recovered with 3:22 left. The officiating crew blew the play dead while Skinner was running toward the end zone and asserted Warren was down before he fumbled but a replay review showed that his knees weren’t down when he lost the ball.

A short time later, Dalmas’ field goal was blocked.

Boise State led 20-7 after a Dalmas’ 36-yard field goal with 6:26 left in the first half. At that point, the Broncos had run 46 plays to Oklahoma State’s 13.

But the Cowboys drove 60 yards on 10 plays with Warren scoring from 6 yards out with 2:10 left in the first half. Rodriguez then forced Boise State’s George Holani to fumble and Oklahoma State’s Devin Harper recovered at the Broncos’ 21-yard line with 1:58 remaining.

Five plays later, Sanders scored on a 1-yard keeper with six seconds left as the Cowboys led 21-20 at halftime.

At the outset, Dalmas booted a 40-yard field goal and Bachmeier tossed a 27-yard scoring pass to Koetter for a 10-0 Boise State lead with 5:10 left in the first quarter.

Warren exploded for a 75-yard touchdown run on Oklahoma State’s next play from scrimmage. Warren rushed for 150 yards in the first half.

Habibi-Likio scored on a 5-yard run to make it 17-7 with 10:07 left in the second quarter.

–Field Level Media

Apr 10, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; UCF Knights head coach Gus Malzahn looks on during the first quarter of the UCF Knights spring Game. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

New coaches highlight Boise State-UCF season opener

Boise State and UCF both will sport new head coaches when they kick off the 2021 season Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.

Gus Malzahn, who led Auburn to the BCS National Championship Game to cap the 2013 season, is the new man in charge at UCF. He replaced Josh Heupel, who left to become Tennessee head coach.

Andy Avalos, a former player and defensive coordinator at Boise State, returned to his alma mater after two years as Oregon’s coordinator. He follows Bryan Harsin, who moved on to become Auburn’s head coach.

The Boise State and UCF coaching staffs entered the final week of game preparation still getting to know their teams.

“We’ll learn more in the first game, probably the first half, than we have during the fall camp,” Malzahn said.

UCF, of the American Athletic Conference, has ranked among the top eight nationally in both total offense and scoring each of the last three seasons. The Knights finished 6-4 last year.

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel returns to direct UCF’s offense. He started all 10 games as a sophomore last year, completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,570 yards and 32 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

“Dillon’s one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football,” Malzahn said. “It’s been just us getting familiar with each other and a feel for what he likes and what he feels good about.”

Unlike Malzahn, Avalos didn’t know who his starting quarterback would be until late August. Junior Hank Bachmeier beat out redshirt senior Jack Sears.

Bachmeier started five games last season, throwing for 1,150 yards, six TDs and two INTs. When Bachmeier was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19 in late October, Sears started twice.

“We made it very clear that this competition was based on how people are performing right now in all areas,” Avalos said.

New Broncos offensive coordinator Tim Plough, formerly of UC Davis, was expected to employ a fast-paced offense that will showcase versatile senior receiver Khalil Shakir.

Shakir had 52 catches for 719 yards and six touchdowns and ran 17 times for 148 yards in seven games last year.

The Mountain West’s Broncos are coming off a 5-2 season in 2020.

“They’re a team that’s used to winning,” Malzahn said of the Broncos. “They’re a very good traditional, winning program. They got a lot of returners back. They’re used to winning, playing at a high level.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 10, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore with head coach Jason Garrett on the sidelines during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Boise State interviews Moore for head coaching job

Boise State has interviewed former Bronco standout and current Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to be its next football coach, according to multiple reports Saturday.

Reports include Moore and Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos as the top candidates to replace Bryan Harsin, who was hired by Auburn after it fired Gus Malzahn earlier this month.

Moore, 32, had an illustrious career as Bronco. He set the FBS record for wins as the Broncos’ quarterback, going 50-3 from 2008-11.

He spent three seasons with the Detroit Lions and three with the Cowboys before Dallas hired him as its quarterbacks coach in 2018, shortly after he retired as a player. Moore was promoted to offensive coordinator last season and was retained when the Cowboys hired head coach Mike McCarthy this past spring.

McCarthy said earlier this week that he had not discussed the Boise State opportunity with Moore, who also calls plays for the Cowboys.

“I’m sure, if there’s something to talk about we’ll definitely talk about it,” McCarthy said. “I think with anything [involving] career advancement you just handle those opportunities on an individual basis.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; San Jose, California, USA;  San Jose State Spartans quarterback Nick Starkel (17) passes the football during the first quarter against the UNLV Rebels at CEFCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 24 San Jose State finally bests Boise State to win MWC title

Nick Starkel threw three touchdown passes and set a conference title game record with 453 passing yards to lead No. 24 San Jose State to a 34-20 victory over Boise State on Saturday in the Mountain West championship game at Las Vegas.

Tre Walker caught seven passes for 137 yards and a touchdown for the Spartans (7-0), who prevailed in the program’s first-ever championship game appearance. Isaiah Hamilton and Derrick Deese Jr. also caught touchdown passes from Starkel, who completed 32 of 52 passes and surpassed the conference title-game record of 404 yards set by former Fresno State star Derek Carr in 2013.

Matt Mercurio kicked four goals as San Jose State opened a season with seven straight wins for the first time since the school’s 1939 squad went unbeaten in 13 contests. The victory also marks San Jose State’s first win over the Broncos (5-2) in 15 all-time meetings.

Boise State’s Avery Williams returned a punt 69 yards for a score to match the FBS career return touchdowns record of nine that was held by Washington’s Dante Pettis.

Hank Bachmeier rushed for a touchdown and completed 20 of 41 passes for 221 yards for the Broncos.

San Jose State’s domination included a 498-233 edge in total offense. The Spartans held the Broncos to 12 rushing yards and received two sacks from Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Cade Hall.

Boise State trailed 19-6 late in the third quarter when Williams fielded a punt near the right sideline, maneuvered to his left and then jetted up field. He cruised down the sideline with only punter Elijah Fischer to beat and he dove toward the end zone with the ball scraping the pylon for a touchdown that brought the Broncos within 19-13 with 2:48 remaining in the period.

San Jose State answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive in which Starkel threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Hamilton and a two-point conversion toss to Sam Olson to make it 27-13 with 14:17 left in the game.

Bachmeier scored on a 2-yard run on fourth-and-goal to pull Boise State within 27-20 with 10:51 left. The Spartans boosted their lead back to 14 when Starkel threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Deese with 3:48 remaining en route to finishing off perhaps the biggest win in school history.

Mercurio kicked all four of his field goals in the second quarter to help the Spartans take a 19-6 lead.

San Jose State struck first when Walker caught a short pass from Starkel and eluded Boise State safety JL Skinner and raced down the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown with 8:36 left in the opening stanza.

Jonah Dalmas booted a 51-yard field goal with 3:31 left in the quarter. Mercurio connected from 24, 36, 26 and 32 yards to give the Spartans a 19-3 advantage before Dalmas kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; Boise State Broncos wide receiver CT Thomas (6) makes a catch for a touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Air Force Falcons  at Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Sears powers No. 25 Boise State past Air Force

Jack Sears passed for 280 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for one score during a surprise starting assignment to lead No. 25 Boise State to a 49-30 victory over Air Force on Saturday in Mountain West play on the academy grounds just outside Colorado Springs, Colo.

Sears completed 17 of 20 passes while starting in place of Hank Bachmeier, who didn’t make the trip with the team. Safety JL Skinner also didn’t travel. Boise State confirmed there was a player sidelined due to a COVID-19 positive test but didn’t reveal the identity.

Andrew Van Buren rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and CT Thomas caught two passes for 101 yards and two scores for the Broncos (2-0, 2-0 MWC). Avery Williams recorded his second career kickoff return for touchdown — and sixth total return score — for Boise State.

Matthew Murla rushed for two touchdowns and Brandon Lewis gained 112 yards and one score for Air Force (1-2, 0-2). Elija Robinson added 90 yards on 10 carries for the Falcons, who picked up 415 of their 484 yards on the ground.

Air Force starting quarterback Haaziq Daniels departed the game in the first quarter with a left shoulder injury. Warren Bryan replaced Daniels and rushed for 87 yards on 19 carries and was 3-of-6 passing for 38 yards.

Boise State totaled 459 yards on just 49 plays. The Falcons ran 73 while controlling the ball for 37:31.

Sears wasted little time in his second career start — the other came for Southern California in 2018.

He dropped back to pass on the first offensive play of the game and chucked a deep throw down the center of the field. Thomas hauled it in at the Falcons’ 30-yard line and raced in for a 75-yard score just 10 seconds into the contest.

Air Force answered with back-to-back touchdowns as Lewis scored on a 7-yard run and Murla scored from the 1 as the Falcons took a 14-7 lead with 3:23 left in the quarter.

Boise State tied the score at 14 on Van Buren’s 4-yard run with 13:14 left in the half before Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl booted a 31-yard field goal to push Air Force back ahead with 6:53 remaining. Van Buren scored from the 1 with 2:27 left and Sears tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Octavius Evans with 47 seconds left to make the score 28-17 at the break.

Sears connected with Thomas on a 26-yard scoring pass with 54 seconds left in the third quarter to boost the Boise State lead to 18.

Murla scored on a 7-yard run to pull the Falcons within 35-24 with 11:24 remaining. Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a score and Sears scored on a 1-yard sneak as the Broncos closed it out.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Boise, Idaho, USA;  Boise State Broncos quarterback Hank Bachmeier (19) celebrates a touchdown run with teammates during the first half versus the Utah State Aggies at Albertsons Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Boise State visits Air Force for first road mission

Boise State is a late entrant to the current season but the No. 25 Broncos are intent on making up for lost time.

Boise State opened with a strong performance and looks to notch another impressive victory when it visits Air Force on Saturday at the academy grounds just outside Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Mountain West initially postponed the 2020 conference season due to the COVID-19 pandemic before relenting and beginning conference play last weekend.

Still, the Broncos looked like they were near midseason form last week in trouncing Utah State 42-13.

The opening victory was on the blue turf in Boise. Now the task of preparing for and playing a game gets tougher with the Broncos taking the show on the road.

“It’s a new challenge,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. “There’s more adversity we’re going to have to face by traveling and having to worry about the things that come with that.”

Boise State beat Air Force 48-38 on its last visit in 2018.

The Falcons (1-1, 0-1 Mountain West) will be playing their third game of the season. Air Force routed Navy 40-7 on Oct. 3 but stumbled last week in a 17-6 loss at San Jose State.

Air Force junior fullback Timothy Jackson doesn’t want the disappointing result to linger.

“Quick mindset,” Jackson told reporters. “We’re on to the next one and thinking about Boise now.”

Based on Boise State’s dominance against Utah State, Air Force could be facing quite a chore, as the Broncos cracked the national rankings.

“That’s where we want to be, and not because of the ranking, but because we’re one of the better teams,” Harsin said. “You always want to be one of the better teams in the country.

“I’m proud of our program. That’s important for Boise State and our brand and all the people that are part of the program. I do appreciate the recognition that we get for getting a chance to be in one of those polls or whatever it is. It’s appreciated. Now we have to keep finding ways to win so we can stay.”

Broncos sophomore quarterback Hank Bachmeier enjoyed a strong season debut by passing for 268 yards and accounting for four touchdowns (three passing, rushing) versus Utah State.

Sophomore running back George Holani rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and caught a scoring pass. Junior receiver Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for career highs of 123 yards and two touchdowns.

The play of senior outside linebacker Sam Whitney (seven tackles) was one of the highlights of the defense’s performance. He missed the entire 2019 season due to an ACL tear.

Meanwhile, Falcons coach Troy Calhoun (99-70 in 14 seasons) is looking to join College Football Hall of Famer Fisher DeBerry (169-109-1 from 1984 to 2006) as the only coaches to win 100 games at the academy.

Air Force will run, run and run some more against the Broncos and is averaging 287.5 rushing yards a game, fifth most on the country.

Jackson has a team-high 178 rushing yards. He ran for 118 during the rout of Navy but had just 60 against San Jose State.

Sophomore quarterback Haaziq Daniels has passed for 133 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 121 yards and one score.

Senior defensive tackle George Silvanic leads Air Force in tackles (13), tackles for loss (three) and sacks (1.5).

The Falcons are allowing just 12.0 points per game, so it is the offense that needs a jump start against Boise State.

“We’ve just got to be a little more stout,” Calhoun said. “We’ve got to block better, and we’ve got to run better, too.”

–Field Level Media

College Football: Week 2 Storylines

UCLA’s unforgettable comeback, (1) Alabama knocking off (3) Florida State, a nail-biter between West Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as the Big Ten thriving early. Week 1 of the 2017 college football season was excellent, and fortunately for those of us at home, we’re just getting started.
As we move into the second week of the collegiate season, there’s once again a bevy of intriguing storylines on schedule for you to keep a close eye on. Here’s what I’m most looking forward to this weekend:
(5) Oklahoma AT (2) Ohio State – September 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The Buckeyes went to Norman and throttled the Sooners on their home turf last season, 45-24. This year, Oklahoma is coming off a more convincing Week 1 offensive performance where Sr. quarterback Baker Mayfield was able to call it a day by halftime. Can OU’s young head coach Lincoln Riley vindicate last season’s bad loss in Columbus? We’ll see.

Tyquan Lewis led the way against Indiana with two sacks.
Tyquan Lewis led the way against Indiana with two sacks.

Ultimately, this game will come down to Oklahoma’s offense against Ohio State’s defense, where the former looked dominant while scoring 35 first-half points and the latter notched five sacks, two interceptions, and one fumble in week 1.
Baker Mayfield will be under heavy scrutiny all season from an NFL evaluation standpoint, as he’s lacking prototype size or ideal physical traits for the next level. However, a signature performance early on would generate a dose of positive momentum for the Austin, Texas native.
Conversely, Ohio State’s defensive edge trio of Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and Nick Bosa are sure to leave a mark on the game. As well, true Fr. running back J.K. Dobbins has Buckeye fans excited after his 181-yard rushing effort in his college debut. Scouts and fans alike will want to get a look at him – he’s wearing No. 2.
(13) Auburn AT (3) Clemson – September 9, 7 p.m. ET
Dabo Swinney spoke highly of Auburn’s balance on both sides of the ball last season and War Eagle is unquestionably superior to its 2016 counterpart. While it’s not impossible for Gus Malzahn’s squad to win ten regular season games this year, it’d require a sizable upset in order to win a night game at Memorial Stadium this Saturday.
However, Auburn boasts a potentially elite running game featuring the trio of Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin, and Kamryn Pettway. Though Johnson is unlikely to suit up due to a hamstring injury, Pettway – last season’s bell cow – returns from suspension this week. Everyone’s favorite sleeper quarterback Jarrett Stidham will have to be a lot more effective this week if Auburn is to stand a chance of outscoring Clemson.
Clemson, last year’s national champion, has an enviable ground game itself with four players rushing for 50+ yards and at least one touchdown against Kent State in week 1. Oh, and the Tigers also completed passes to 15 different receivers as well.
Get ready for a lot of offense. Slam the over on this one.
(14) Stanford AT (6) USC – September 9, 8:30 p.m. ET
“It’s one of those dates you mark on your calendar because you know it’s going to impact your season,” said USC head coach Clay Helton of this tie.
Ronald Jones II rushed for three touchdowns in week one against Western Michigan.
Ronald Jones II rushed for three touchdowns in week one against Western Michigan.

We may be getting an early preview of the Pac-12 title game here and the contest is likely to be a tale of two star rushers. USC Jr. Ronald Jones II took charge offensively against Western Michigan in week 1 as his quarterback, Sam Darnold, failed to settle into the game. Meanwhile, Cardinal Jr. Bryce Love stepped in nobly in the wake of Christian McCaffrey as Stanford routed Rice in Australia.
As eluded to, Trojan Jr. quarterback Sam Darnold was porous in his season debut, but can quickly extirpate all negativity with a strong game this weekend. Though Josh Rosen carries the lion’s share of the pro buzz after UCLA’s come back, Darnold is still favored by many to be selected No. 1 overall in next year’s draft.
I’m expecting a tight game with a fun conclusion, and it’s possible that this won’t be the last time we see these two teams lock horns in 2017.
Quick Hits…
• (15) Georgia travels to South Bend to take on newly minted top twenty-five ranked (24) Notre Dame, but will do so with true Fr. Jake Fromm under center. Starter Jacob Eason sprained his knee against Appalachian State before Fromm entered and led Georgia on three consecutive touchdown drives. Gametime at 7:30 p.m. ET.
• (20) Washington State looks to avenge last season’s loss to unranked Boise State on September 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Get a good look at the Cougars’ interesting pro prospect Luke Falk, as he’s 101 passing yards away from breaking the school’s career passing record.
• Don’t forget, (16) Miami FL vs. Arkansas State has been canceled outright due to Hurricane Irma despite the game being staged in Jonesboro. ‘Canes athletic director Blake James confirmed it will NOT be replayed at a later date.