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All taxonomy terms: College Football, Trevor Knight
Path: /college-football/oklahoma-qb-trevor-knight-out-knee-injury-blake-bell-will-start
Body:

Oklahoma starting quarterback Trevor Knight suffered a knee injury against West Virginia and will miss the Sooners’ Week 3 contest against Tulsa. With Knight sidelined, Blake Bell will be Oklahoma’s starting quarterback on Saturday.

Knight wasn’t off to a good start this year, as the redshirt freshman completed just 21 of 48 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns through the first two games. Knight is a good runner (as evidenced by his 145 rushing yards so far), but he needs some work as a passer.

Bell played in a part-time role last season, rushing for 201 yards and 11 touchdowns. However, Bell has not proven he can be a consistent passer. But with an opportunity to start against Tulsa – and potentially more if Knight is out longer – Bell can claim the starting job for an extended period.

Kendal Thompson suffered a foot injury in fall practice and is expected to return to workouts this week. If Bell and Knight struggle, Thompson may eventually get a look in future games. However, Thompson has some ground to makeup, especially after missing most of fall practice.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/texas-qb-david-ash-questionable-ole-miss
Body:

After a bad weekend in Provo against BYU, things may not get much better for Texas this Saturday.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was canned, and the injury report for the Longhorns is growing.

Quarterback David Ash is dealing with a head and a shoulder injury and is questionable to play against Ole Miss. However, running back/wide receiver (and playmaker) Daje Johnson is out with an ankle injury.

If Ash cannot go, the Longhorns will turn to Case McCoy as the No. 1 quarterback.

With Johnson sidelined, expect to see Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron utilized more against the Rebels.

Considering all that has transpired over the last few days for the Longhorns, Saturday’s game against Ole Miss is a good opportunity to turn things around. However, a blowout loss would be damaging to Texas before Big 12 play starts.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Cheerleaders, College Football
Path: /college-football/2013-college-football-cheerleaders-week-2
Body:

A look at our favorite cheerleaders from week 2 of the college football season. They can cheer for us anytime!

College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections for 2013 http://beta.athlonsports.com/sites/default/files/ToddGurley_7.png?itok=wE7Ya9RI 2013-09-10 08:00:08

College football's bowl season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to take a look at what the matchups might look like. With only two weeks of results in the books, it's hard to make long-term projections about teams, especially with several teams still playing overmatched non-conference games.
With very little data to work with, the post-Week 2 bowl projections are a mixture between preseason projections, how things would look if the season ended today, and a small dose of the results so far this year. Expect more changes over the next few weeks, especially as we see how teams perform in conference games.

A few teams barely missed the projections this week, including Boston College, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Illinois from BCS conferences. And Ohio, San Diego State, Arkansas State and Toledo from the non-BCS ranks.

As the season progresses, it will be easier to project which teams will get to the six-win mark or finish below.

College Football's Post-Week 2 Bowl Projections

BowlDateTie-InProjection
New MexicoDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCOregon State vs. Wyoming
Famous Idaho PotatoDec. 21MAC vs. MWCBall State vs. Nevada
Las VegasDec. 21Pac-12 vs. MWCFresno State vs. Arizona
New OrleansDec. 21Sun Belt vs. CUSARice vs. UL Lafayette
Beef 'O' Brady'sDec. 23American vs. CUSALa. Tech vs. West Virginia*
HawaiiDec. 24MWC vs. CUSAEast Carolina vs. San Jose State
Little Caesars PizzaDec. 26MAC vs. Big TenNorthern Illinois vs. ULM
PoinsettiaDec. 26Army vs. MWCBoise State vs. Notre Dame*
Military Dec. 27CUSA vs. ACCPittsburgh vs. MTSU
TexasDec. 27Big 12 vs. Big TenTCU vs. Indiana
Kraft Fight HungerDec. 27BYU vs. Pac-12BYU vs. USC
PinstripeDec. 28American vs. Big 12Kansas State vs. Rutgers
BelkDec. 28American vs. ACCNC State vs. Cincinnati
Russell AthleticDec. 28American vs. ACCNorth Carolina vs. UCF
Buffalo Wild WingsDec. 28Big 12 vs. Big TenTexas vs. Northwestern
Armed Forces Dec. 30MWC vs. NavyNavy vs. Utah State
Music CityDec. 30ACC vs. SECGeorgia Tech vs. Auburn
AlamoDec. 30Big 12 vs. Pac-12Oklahoma vs. Arizona State
HolidayDec. 30Pac-12 vs. Big 12Texas Tech vs. Washington
AdvoCare V100Dec. 31ACC vs. SECMaryland vs. Arkansas
SunDec. 31Pac-12 vs. ACCVirginia Tech vs. UCLA
LibertyDec. 31SEC vs. CUSAMarshall vs. Tennessee
Chick-fil-ADec. 31ACC vs. SECMiami vs. Texas A&M
GatorJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenMichigan State vs. Ole Miss
Heart of DallasJan. 1Big Ten vs. CUSAMinnesota vs. Tulsa
OutbackJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenNebraska vs. Florida
Capital OneJan. 1SEC vs. Big TenWisconsin vs. South Carolina
RoseJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOregon vs. Michigan
FiestaJan. 1BCS vs. BCSOklahoma State vs. Stanford
SugarJan. 2BCS vs. BCSGeorgia vs. Florida State
CottonJan. 3SEC vs. Big 12Baylor vs. LSU
OrangeJan. 3BCS vs. BCSClemson vs. Louisville
BBVA CompassJan. 4SEC vs. AmericanHouston vs. Vanderbilt
GoDaddyJan. 5MAC vs. Sun BeltBowling Green vs. Western Kentucky
National TitleJan. 6BCS vs. BCSAlabama vs. Ohio State

Related College Football Content

College Football Week 2 Recap
College Football's Coach on the Hot Seat Rankings
Week 2 National Awards
ACC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Amazing Stats from Week 2

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, NFL
Path: /nfl/10-amazing-stats-nfls-week-1
Body:

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of sports. While baseball has long carried the mantle for statistical analysis and overall nerdiness, the NFL appears to be turning more to numbers than ever before. Stat-driven decision-making and overall efficiency ratings are a much bigger part of game plans on the gridiron than ever before.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the NFL through Sunday night's action:

6: Players with 7 TD passes in one game
It feels like ages ago since it happened on Thursday night, but Peyton Manning was the star of the NFL's Opening Weekend because he did something that hasn't been done in over 40 years. He became just the sixth player in NFL history to tie the single-game record of seven touchdown passes when he crushed the defending champion Ravens in Denver. He joined Chicago's Sid Luckman (1943), Philadelphia's Adrian Burke (1954), Houston's George Blanda (1961), New York's Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Minnesota's Joe Kapp (1969) in this prestigious club.

745: Combined passing yards from Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers
The Packers' final image of the 2012 season was Colin Kaepernick streaking all over the field setting an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 181 in the NFC Divisional Round. The 49ers' new franchise quarterback torched the Pack once again but did so through the air this time. He completed 27-of-39 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Most of those passes — 13 for 208 yards and two scores to be exact — went to Anquan Boldin in his SanFran debut. Aaron Rodgers did his best to keep up with Kaepernick with 333 yards of his own through the air and three touchdown passes. Kaepernick rushed just seven times for only 22 yards but the result was the Packers began this season the same way they ended the last, by losing to the Niners.

9: Danny Amendola receptions that went for first downs
The newest member of the Patriots' receiving corps had a big debut in Buffalo. The oft-injured Danny Amendola was excellent in his first game with New England, catching 10 passes for 104 yards in the win over the Bills. More importantly, nine of those 10 catches went for first downs — something Wes Welker only did twice for Tom Brady since 2008 (77 games). The former Ram needs to prove he can stay healthy long-term to be considered a viable replacement for Welker, but so far so good for Amendola.

163: Cam Newton's career-low yards of total offense
The third-year quarterback's previous career-worst tally for total offense in a game was 183 yards last October in a 16-12 loss to Seattle. He set a new personal low on Sunday after posting a career-low 125 yards passing and only 38 yards rushing in yet another ugly loss to the Seahawks, this one 12-7. These two losses were the former No. 1 overall pick's worst two passing games of his career as well — 141 and 125 yards respectively. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson posted his first career 300-yard passing game with 320 yards on 25-of-33 passing.

8: Career game-winning, fourth-quarter drives for Andrew Luck
Since the start of last season, no quarterback in the league has more fourth-quarter, game-winning drives than the Colts' Andrew Luck. After completing his first 11 passes of the 2013 season, the Colts trailed late in the final frame against the upstart Raiders. Luck marched his offense 80 yards on 11 plays in 5:49, capping his afternoon with a game-winning 19-yard touchdown scramble. That's eight comebacks in 17 starts for Indianapolis' emerging superstar.

537: Marques Colston's New Orleans franchise record for career receptions
After five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, Colston passed Eric Martin as the Saints' all-time leading receiver (receptions). He has 537 catches and counting to go with his Saints' franchise-record 59 touchdown receptions. Martin still owns the yardage record with 7,854 career yards but that benchmark should fall in a few weeks with Colston now at 7,462 career yards. More importantly, the Saints defeated NFC South division rival Atlanta for the first time in seven tries in season openers.

34: Seconds left on the clock when the Jets got the ball
Tampa Bay drove the ball 61 yards on nine plays in 1:40 to kick what appeared to be a game-winning field goal in the New Meadowlands with just 34 seconds left on the clock. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith in his first career start worked the ball 50 yards in 32 seconds on five plays to the Bucs' 30-yard line, aided in large part by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Lavonte David's late hit. Nick Folk drilled a 48-yard field goal as time expired and Smith earned his first NFL win on a fourth-quarter comeback.

19: Adrian Peterson's career games with at least two rushing TDs
The Vikings' star tailback scored three total touchdowns, including two rushing scores, in Sunday's loss to the Lions. It was his 19th career game with at least two rushing touchdowns, which leads the NFL by a wide margin since Peterson entered the league in 2007. Unfortunately, the Vikes moved to 13-6 in those 19 games as Reggie Bush stole the running back spotlight from the reigning MVP. Bush totaled 191 yards from scrimmage on 25 offensive touches (21 att., 90 yards, 4 rec., 101 yards, TD) and it was the Lions who started the season with a win.

0.9: Yards per carry for the Dolphins
The Dolphins began the season with a big road win over the Browns but did so with little help from the ground game. As a team, the Dolphins rushed for 20 yards on 23 carries — or 0.9 yards per carry. In fact, neither team could move the ball successfully on the ground as the Browns didn't fare much better. Cleveland mustered only 47 yards on 13 carries, making these the worst and third-worst (Pittsburgh ran for 32 yards) Week 1 rushing performances prior to the two "Monday Night Football" games.

11: Bryan Anger's Jaguars single-game record for punts
The Jaguars didn't do much of anything in Sunday's pathetic 28-2 showing against the Chiefs. The Jags completed 19-of-41 passes and rushed for 71 yards as a team, failed to convert on 14 third-down attempts and didn't score a single offensive point. This led to Jacksonville punter Bryan Anger setting a new franchise record for punts in a single game with 11 boots.

Rapid Fire:

2: Plays run in Kansas City territory by Jacksonville prior to the final drive of the game.

0-5: The Browns record when its quarterback throws at least 50 passes after Brandon Weeden attempted a career-high 53 passes.

6: Turnovers (3 fumbles, 3 INTs) forced by Dallas in Sunday night's win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys had a total of 16 takeaways all of last season.

9: Consecutive season-opening losses for the Cleveland Browns
17: Tony Gonzalez became one of just three players in history to catch a TD in 17 separate seasons (Jerry Rice, 19; Irving Fryar, 17)

35: Quarterbacks with 30,000 yards. Ben Roethlisberger joined the 30K club today.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-washington-redskins-preview-and-prediction-0
Body:

The first Monday night game of the 2013 NFL season will take place in our nation’s capital when the Philadelphia Eagles square off against the Washington Redskins at 6:55 p.m. ET on ESPN. This Week 1 matchup is all about firsts for both teams. Not only is this the first game of the season for both teams, it marks Chip Kelly’s debut as the Eagles’ head coach and Robert Griffin III’s first game back since injuring his knee in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle in January.

These long-time NFC East division rivals have met 158 times with Washington holding an 81-71-6 lead in the all-time series. The Redskins swept both meetings last season, winning by a combined score of 58-26. This will be the first time the Redskins and Eagles have opened the season against each other since 1996. Philadelphia won that game, which was played at RFK Stadium, 17-14 behind 269 yards passing and two touchdowns from Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete.

Four Things to Watch

RG3’s Knee
There has been no more talked about, analyzed and scrutinized body part in the NFL this offseason than the surgically repaired right knee that belongs to Robert Griffin III. He sustained the second significant injury to his right knee late in the Redskins’ 24-14 Wild Card game loss to the Seahawks back on Jan. 6. RG3 has already proven what he can do returning from major knee surgery, as he won the Heisman Trophy two years after tearing his ACL as a sophomore at Baylor, but the degree of difficulty and the stakes have been raised. Everyone, from the player to his head coach to his doctor, are saying RG3 is ready, but no one will know for sure until we see how No. 10 handles his first snap, his first drop back, and, perhaps most importantly, his first scramble out of the pocket.

Can the Eagles’ offense fly like Kelly’s Ducks?
Chip Kelly made his reputation first as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and then later the Ducks’ head coach. In four seasons as the head Duck, Kelly’s Oregon teams piled up the yards and points, finishing in the top five in the nation in both total and scoring offense in each of the past three years. Can Kelly’s immensely successful and equally entertaining offensive system, not only work, but also thrive in the NFL? Only time will tell, but everyone can’t wait to find out.

Washington’s Secretary of Defense
The Redskins’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL last season in yards allowed and fared even worse (30th) against the pass. This unit was impacted greatly by several key injuries, and perhaps no loss was more important than when linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with a torn left pectoral muscle. The injury cost the two-time Pro Bowler 14 games last season, and the results without Orakpo on the field speak for themselves. Having Orakpo back out there is not a cure-all for the Redskins’ defensive issues, but his presence in the starting lineup shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Putting the “D” in Philadelphia?
Compared to Washington’s defense, Philadelphia’s wasn’t near as bad statistically speaking, with the exception of one category. The Eagles were tied for 29th in points allowed (27.8 ppg), although the offense’s propensity to turn the ball over should take some of the blame here. Regardless, Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis basically started over from scratch as free agency brought in five new starters. The secondary alone is pretty much brand new and will be the center of attention considering the Eagles’ surrendered an NFL-worst 33 touchdown passes in 2012. The defense’s performance during the preseason can be characterized as uneven, but all that matters now is how well this unit plays from here out.

Philadelphia Key Player: Michael Vick, QB
As important as running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the Eagles’ two-tight end sets are to Kelly’s offense, the motor that makes everything hum is the quarterback. Kelly’s Oregon teams had productive quarterbacks from Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas to Marcus Mariota. Vick, 33, beat out the younger competition during training camp and wants to prove to everyone that he can still be a productive, reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. Early success running Kelly’s offense would not only go a long ways towards building the Eagles’ confidence, but also improving Vick’s future outlook, especially considering he’s signed for just this season.

Washington Key Player: Fred Davis, TE
The last two seasons have been interesting for Davis. The tight end was on his way to a potential Pro Bowl invite in 2011 before he was suspended the final four games for failing repeated drug tests. Then last season he played in just seven games before a torn Achilles tendon ended things in October. When fully healthy and focused, Davis has shown himself to be a valuable weapon in the passing game. His size (6-4, 247) and athleticism can help open things up for Pierre Garcon and the other Redskin receivers and also give Robert Griffin III even more reason to stay in the pocket, which is a good thing considering this is his first game back from a serious injury.

Final Analysis

With apologies to Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, Chip Kelly's debut on the NFL sidelines tonight is arguably the most anticipated one by a former college coaching superstar since Steve Spurrier did the same for the Redskins back in 2002. Spurrier won his first game, 31-23 over Arizona at FedEx Field, and Kelly will try to do the same on the very same turf, but as the visiting team. While a lot of attention will be paid to how Kelly's offense fares, just as many eyes will be focused on Robert Griffin III and how fluid he is on his surgically repaired knee.

In the end, however, I think it will be another Redskin offensive player, running back Alfred Morris, who will determine the outcome of this one. Morris finished second in the NFL in rushing last season as a rookie, and I believe he will be too much of a load for Philadelphia's new-look defense. With Morris leading the way on the ground, RG3 will be able to stay in the pocket and look for the open man. The Eagles do make a little noise of their own on offense, but the defense can't get enough stops to help Kelly collect his first NFL win.

Washington 27, Philadelphia 21

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 10:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-washington-redskins-preview-and-prediction
Body:

The first Monday night game of the 2013 NFL season will take place in our nation’s capital, as Philadelphia will square off against NFC East rival Washington at 6:55 p.m. ET on ESPN. This Week 1 matchup is all about firsts for both teams. Not only is this the first game of the season for both teams, it marks Chip Kelly’s debut as the Eagles’ head coach and Robert Griffin III’s first game back since injuring his knee in the Redskins’ playoff loss to Seattle in January.

These long-time division rivals have met 158 times with Washington holding an 81-71-6 lead in the all-time series. The Redskins swept both meetings last season, winning by a combined score of 58-26. This will be the first time the Redskins and Eagles have opened the season against each other since 1996. Philadelphia won that game, which was played at RFK Stadium, 17-14 behind 269 yards passing and two touchdowns from Eagles quarterback Rodney Peete.

Four Things to Watch

RG3’s Knee
There has been no more talked about, analyzed and scrutinized body part in the NFL this offseason than the surgically repaired right knee that belongs to Robert Griffin III. Last season’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year sustained the second significant injury to his right knee late in the Redskins’ 24-14 Wild Card game loss to the Seahawks back on Jan. 6. RG3 has already proven what he can do returning from major knee surgery, as he won the Heisman Trophy two years after tearing his ACL as a sophomore at Baylor, but the degree of difficulty and the stakes have been raised. Everyone, from the player to his head coach to his doctor, are saying RG3 is ready, but no one will know for sure until we see how No. 10 handles his first snap, his first drop back, and, perhaps most importantly, his first scramble out of the pocket.

Can the Eagles’ offense fly like Kelly’s Ducks?
Chip Kelly made his reputation first as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and then later the Ducks’ head coach. In four seasons as the head Duck, Kelly’s Oregon teams piled up the yards and points, finishing in the top five in the nation in both total and scoring offense in each of the past three years. Can Kelly’s immensely successful and equally entertaining offensive system, not only work, but also thrive in the NFL? Only time will tell, but everyone can’t wait to find out.

Washington’s Secretary of Defense
The Redskins’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL last season in yards allowed and fared even worse (30th) against the pass. This unit was impacted greatly by several key injuries, and perhaps no loss was more important than when linebacker Brian Orakpo went down with a torn left pectoral muscle. The injury cost the two-time Pro Bowler 14 games last season, and results without Orakpo on the field speak for themselves. Having Orakpo back out there is not a cure-all for the Redskins’ defensive issues, but his presence in the starting lineup shouldn’t be underestimated either.

Putting the “D” in Philadelphia?
Compared to Washington’s defense, Philadelphia’s wasn’t near as bad statistically speaking, with the exception of one category. The Eagles were tied for 29th in points allowed (27.8 ppg), although the offense’s propensity to turn the ball over should take some of the blame here. Regardless, Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis basically started over from scratch as free agency brought in five new starters. The secondary alone is pretty much brand new and will the be the center of attention considering the Eagles’ surrendered an NFL-worst 33 touchdown passes last season. The defense’s performance during the preseason can be characterized as uneven, but all that matters now is how well this unit plays from here out.

Philadelphia Key Player: Michael Vick, QB
As important as running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the Eagles’ two-tight end sets are to Kelly’s offense, the motor that makes everything hum is the quarterback. Kelly’s Oregon teams had productive quarterbacks from Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas to Marcus Mariota. Vick, 33, beat out the younger competition during training camp and wants to prove to everyone that he can still be a productive, reliable starting quarterback in the NFL. Early success running Kelly’s offense would not only go a long ways towards building the Eagles’ confidence, but also improving Vick’s future outlook, especially considering he’s signed for just this season.

Washington Key Player: Fred Davis, TE
The last two seasons have been interesting for Davis. The tight end was on his way to a potential Pro Bowl invite in 2011 before he was suspended the final four games of the season for failing repeated drug tests. Then last season he played in just seven games before a torn Achilles tendon ended things in October. When fully healthy and focused, Davis has shown himself to be a valuable weapon in the passing game. His size (6-4, 247) and athleticism can help open things up for Pierre Garcon and the other Redskin receivers and also give Robert Griffin III even more reason to stay in the pocket, which is a good thing considering his surgically repaired right knee.

Final Analysis


Washington 27, Philadelphia 21

Teaser:
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins Preview and Prediction
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, NCAA football
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-2-power-rankings-2013
Body:

In a league filled with questions in the preseason, Big 12 teams are getting answers, but few of them are satisfactory.

Texas’ run defense is somehow getting worse, much worse. In a sign of desperation, the Longhorns will shuffle their defensive coaching staff after firing Manny Diaz, who was considered a rising star only two years ago.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma and West Virginia have learned they can’t rely on their passing games. TCU has an answer to its quarterback quandary, but that’s only because Casey Pachall’s season was cut short for the second time in two seasons.

For TCU and Texas, there’s little time for recovery after eventful Saturdays as the Horned Frogs catch Texas Tech’s high-powered offense and the Longhorns play host to Ole Miss, a team with SEC talent, if not experience and depth.

Oklahoma State and West Virginia also will deal with off-field concerns as a Sports Illustrated report will allege corruption and violations of NCAA rules (though they are outside of the NCAA’s statute of limitations) in Stillwater. A West Virginia assistant who used to work at Oklahoma State, Joe DeForest, will be named in the report.

Big 12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings

RkTeamLWAnalysis
1.1Oklahoma State (2-0, 0-0): The Cowboys’ defense may be a concern at first blush. Oklahoma State allowed 35 points and 504 yards to UTSA, but much of that was on four long touchdown drives in the third and fourth quarters. Perhaps a bigger concern should be the run game. Oklahoma State averaged only 2.7 yards per carry on 32 attempts. The Cowboys averaged 7.2 yards per carry against Mississippi State, so maybe this was an aberration. This week: Lamar
2.5Baylor (2-0, 0-0): The Bears are running their offense with brutal efficiency despite a starting quarterback in Bryce Petty who was untested to start the season. Baylor has only one TD drive that exceeded two minutes (2:07 against Wofford). The Bears will have a chance to build upon their gaudy numbers against ULM, West Virginia, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas before the Big 12 gauntlet in November. This week: Off
3.2Oklahoma (2-0, 1-0): Oklahoma briefly benched starting quarterback Trevor Knight, who was 10 of 20 for 119 yards with a TD and two third-quarter interceptions. Blake Bell directed to second half possessions, but only accounted for three plays himself (one incomplete pass, two carries for 21 yards), but that may be enough to signal a reevaluation of the quarterback position. This week: Tulsa
4.4TCU (1-1, 0-0): TCU will carry on again with Trevone Boykin as the starting quarterback as Casey Pachall will miss eight weeks with a broken arm. Boykin went 3-6 as a starter last season, but three of those loses were decided by a touchdown or less. Boykin brings athleticism to the position, but now that speed is confined to quarterback. He had been logging time at receiver as well this season. The TCU defense has been vulnerable to the big play in two games this season, an interesting storyline entering the first conference game. This week: at Texas Tech (Thursday)
5.6Texas Tech (2-0, 0-0):  How much do we really know about Texas Tech and quarterback sensation Baker Mayfield? Texas Tech has defeated a mediocre FCS opponent and an SMU team that gutted out a 31-30 win over Montana State the following week. Kliff Kingsbury’s high-powered offense faces its toughest challenge of the year against TCU. This week: TCU (Thursday)
6.3Texas (1-1, 0-0): Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after the debacle in Provo, but Texas’ problems run deeper than one playcaller on defense. The addition of Greg Robinson to the staff is a curious one, but he led a top-25 defense at Texas in 2004 before his failed tenure at Syracuse. The offense could be an issue as well as quarterback David Ash and running back Daje Johnson are evaluated for injuries. This week: Ole Miss
7.7Kansas State (1-1, 0-0): This was the Kansas State we’re used to seeing, if only in the win column. The Wildcats defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 48-27, but they threw an uncharacteristic 34 passes. Kansas State was on the wrong end of the turnover margin (minus-1) and allowed 370 yards. After UMass this week, Kansas State goes on the road for back-to-back games against Texas and Oklahoma State. This week: Massachusetts
8.8West Virginia (1-1, 0-1): West Virginia stuck with quarterback Paul Millard despite an ugly game for the Mountaineers’ offense (three fumbles, one interception). West Virginia averaged seven yards per carry, but that was buoyed by a 75-yard touchdown run by Dreamius Smith in the first quarter. The Mountaineers have a game against Georgia State to work out some issues before a stretch against Maryland, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State and TCU. This week: Georgia State
9.10Kansas (1-0, 0-0): Let’s move Kansas out of the cellar for at least a week after the Jayhawks ended their 11-game losing streak. Despite its high-profile quarterback transfers, KU will be anchored by its run game. James Sims and Darrian Miller led a 280-yard (5.6 yards per carry) effort against South Dakota. Seeking its first FBS win in 21 games, Kansas faces a Rice team that beat the Jayhawks 25-24 in Lawrence last year. This week: at Rice
10.9Iowa State (0-1, 0-0): Iowa State had the week off to prepare for Iowa with hopes of avoiding an 0-2 start against in-state programs. This week: Iowa

 

Big 12 Week 2 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Brennan Clay, RB, Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s 16-7 win over West Virginia wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t anything near the aerial showdown last year’s meeting was. As the Sooners sorted through their quarterback situation, Bob Stoops put the offense on the back of the run game. Brennan Clay rushed for a career-high 170 yards on 22 carries to lead a 316-yard rushing day for the Sooners.

Defensive player of the week: Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State
Kansas State’s mainstay at safety ended any momentum Louisiana-Lafayette hoped to build in the second half. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored a touchdown on a kickoff return and then on a Terrance Broadway run in less than two minutes to cut a 34-3 lead to 17 points. On UL Lafayette’s next possession, Zimmerman took an interception back 32 yards for a touchdown to effectively put the game away in a 48-27 victory.

Freshman of the week: Baker Mayfield, QB, Texas Tech
The Texas Tech walk-on continued his torrid start to the season by completing 21 of 30 passes for 367 yards with three touchdowns in a 61-13 win over Stephen F. Austin. Mayfield’s 780 passing yards and and seven touchdown passes in two games both rank third in the country.

Team of the week: Baylor
In the first two weeks of the season, Baylor has put on a quick-strike spread offense showcase that only Oregon can match. Baylor’s 70 points against Buffalo was the most for the Bears since 1929. With 501 yards in the first half, Baylor extended its streak of 400-yard games to 29 consecutive games going back to the 2010 Texas Bowl against Illinois. First-year quarterback Bryce Petty completed 13 of 16 passes for 338 yards with two touchdowns, averaging an astounding 21.1 yards per pass attempt.

Coordinator of the week: Del Miller, Kansas State
Kansas State’s offense stalled last week against North Dakota State, particularly in the run game. The Wildcats opened things up against UL Lafayette with an uncharacteristic 34 pass attempt to 37 rushing attempts. Kansas State topped 30 pass attempts only four since 2011. All four were either high scoring shootouts or games in which K-State played from behind; all four were losses. Jake Waters completed 22 of 31 passes for 278 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for Kansas State’s first win with at least 30 pass attempts since Nov. 22, 2008 against Iowa State.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/big-ten-post-week-2-power-rankings
Body:

Braxton Miller's sprained left knee will be under the microscope this week as the Buckeyes head west to face Cal. The star Ohio State quarterback left the Week 2 game with San Diego State early after getting sandwiched by a pair of Aztecs defenders. The Heisman Trophy contender never returned to the game after being carted off the field.

While the league posted an 11-1 record this weekend — including a huge rivalry win by Michigan over Notre Dame — the biggest storyline in the Big Ten this week might be the health of Miller's left knee.

Early reports are Miller could return to action this week, but Urban Meyer didn't commit to it. All signs point to Miller returning to the starting lineup next weekend in Berkeley. And due to an excellent backup plan in Kenny Guiton, Ohio State still sits atop the Big Ten power rankings.

More Post-Week 2 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (2-0, 0-0): Scarlet and Gray Nation can collectively exhale. Braxton Miller's left knee wasn't seriously injured, and he should be ready to go in short order. Besides, Kenny Guiton isn't a bad backup option after throwing for 152 yards, rushing for 83 and scoring three times Saturday. The win over San Diego State was a much more complete effort from OSU than the opener against Buffalo, and Urban Meyer should be pleased with his team heading into a long West Coast road trip this weekend — as long as Miller plays. This Week: at Cal 
2.
 
(2)Michigan (2-0, 0-0): No one should ever have to get used to watching a quarterback wearing No. 98 throw pick-sixes to 300-pound defenders wearing No. 7. But Michigan fans should get used to watching their star quarterback run around and make plays. Devin Gardner delivered on big-time preseason hype in the league's first marquee showdown win of the year. Better still, the defense played better than the 30 points on the scoreboard indicate. This Week: Akron 
3.
 
(3)Nebraska (2-0, 0-0): More will be learned about Nebraska's defense next week when UCLA comes to town but, for now, the Blackshirts rebounded in a big way this weekend. Nebraska forced four turnovers, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, and allowed just 284 yards of offense to Southern Miss. Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah had typically outstanding offensive days as the Huskers rolled big, setting up a huge visit from the Bruins in Week 3. This Week: UCLA 
4.
 
(4)Northwestern (2-0, 0-0): Kain Colter returned to the lineup while star tailback Venric Mark watched from the sidelines. Both were injured last week in the opener, but Colter took center stage this weekend. He led the team in rushing and completed 15 of 18 passes while accounting for two total touchdowns. Partnered with Trevor Siemian (259 yards, 3 TD), Northwestern rolled to an impressive and easy win over Syracuse. This Week: Western Michigan 
5.
 
(5)Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0): So far, so good for Gary Andersen. The Badgers have yet to allow a point in 2013 after another dominating performance against an inferior opponent. Wisconsin has had three 100-yard backs in each of the first two games and Joel Stave has accounted for six total touchdowns. That trend will have to continue if UW expects to go into Tempe and beat an impressive — and high-scoring — Sun Devils team.  This Week: at Arizona State 
6.
 
(6)Penn State (2-0, 0-0): Christian Hackenberg started slowly but finished in grand fashion, setting a school freshman passing record with 311 yards. More important, the defense and running game looked improved from a week ago. The Lions rushed for 251 yards and allowed 183 total yards and no offensive points to Eastern Michigan. This Week: UCF 
7.
 
(7)Michigan State (2-0, 0-0): Mark Dantonio has major issues on offense after netting 265 yards and seven offensive points in the win over USF this weekend. Just about every QB on the roster has seen time and none seem to be the answer (is it time for Damion Terry?). But the defense continues be one of the nation's best. The Spartans defense scored two more touchdowns this weekend, bringing its two-game total to four. The offense has scored twice. This Week: Youngstown State 
8.
 
(8)Minnesota (2-0, 0-0): Philip Nelson was, along with Rodrick Williams, productive on the ground again this week, but he looked like a first-year starter through the air. The passing game wasn't needed in the relatively easy win over New Mexico State, but it will be a major factor in the very near future. The Gophers have a Michigan-Northwestern-Nebraska three-game stretch coming up in a few weeks. This Week: Western Illinois 
9.
 
 
(12)Illinois (2-0, 0-0): After a sluggish start to the season in Week 1, Tim Beckman's bunch played excellent football in a big upset win over Cincinnati. Nathan Scheelhaase, who had four total TD passes last year, had four scoring strikes in the win. The embattled quarterback is finally regaining his form after back-to-back 300-yard games at better than 70-percent passing to start the season. This Week: Washington (in Chicago) 
10.
 
(9)Indiana (1-1, 0-0): Kevin Wilson gave Nate Sudfeld the reins to the offense against Navy and he produced (355 yards, 4 TD), but the defense couldn't stop the Midshipmen's triple option. The Hoosiers allowed 444 yards rushing and 41 points without forcing a turnover or a punt. Navy completed just two passes. Next Week: Bowling Green 
11.
 
(10)Iowa (1-1, 0-0): Kirk Ferentz didn't mess around with Missouri State as his gameplan was ground and pound from the outset. The Hawkeyes rushed for 296 yards and four TDs behind a tremendous effort from burly running back Mark Weisman (180 yards, 2 TD). Other than two late scores, Iowa's defense was stifling, as expected against a Missouri Valley team. Next Week: at Iowa State 
12.
 
(11)Purdue (1-1, 0-0): Well, the Boilermakers won, but that's about all you can say about the 20-14 win over Indiana State. Rob Henry wasn't much better this week after a horrendous performance in Week 1 and has yet to throw a TD pass in two games. The running game was held under three yards per carry and the Sycamores out-gained Purdue. A win is a win is a win, but this team has serious issues on both sides of the ball. Next Week: Notre Dame 

Big Ten Week 2 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Aside from one boneheaded play early in the fourth quarter, Gardner played Heisman-caliber football befitting a quarterback wearing No. 98 on his chest. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns and the one bizarre interception from his end zone when he would have been better off taking a safety. He also led the Wolverines in rushing with 82 yards on 13 carries and another score on the ground. The fans may never get used to seeing their dual-threat, new-age quarterback sporting a jersey number in the 90s, but they should welcome his big-play ability. Gardner danced away from a powerful Fighting Irish front seven all night to take advantage of weaknesses down the field in the secondary — especially, with Jeremy Gallon (who gets honorary mention with his 8-184-3 stat line).

Defensive Player of the Week: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
The Spartans emerging star at end has already scored three defensive touchdowns this season after scoring on a four-yard fumble return and a 56-yard interception return this weekend in the 21-6 win over USF. Calhoun finished the game with three tackles, two for loss, a sack and those two huge plays after scoring last weekend on a 16-yard fumble return touchdown as well. He has quickly become a front-runner for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Team of the Week: Michigan
It was one of the best three wins nationally by any team so Michigan's win over Notre Dame gave it the best weekend of any team in the league. Despite being entertaining the entire way, the game wasn't as close as the 11-point score indicates. The Wolverines held the Irish to fewer than 100 yards rushing, and Tommy Rees was lucky to be intercepted only twice. A late gift-wrapped defensive touchdown made the game tighter in the fourth quarter, but Michigan appeared to be the better team right from the kickoff. With a manageable schedule coming up — Akron, UConn, Minnesota, Penn State and Indiana — the hype will begin in earnest now in Ann Arbor.

Coordinator of the Week: Bill Cubit, Illinois
Illinois had to be mentioned somehow. Nathan Scheelhaase was runner-up to Gardner for player of the week and the team's performance was second only to Michigan due, in large part, to Bill Cubit's offense. In just two games with the maligned Illini quarterback, Cubit's offense has scored 87 points and matched last year's win total. Scheelhaase has been transformed into a stat-producing monster in the first two weekends as the Illinois signal-caller threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns (as many as he had all of last season) and a second consecutive week of better than 70 percent passing. More important, a team that had no running game to speak of in Week 1 rolled up 210 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries against a solid Cincinnati defense.

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
It was against lower-tier competition, but the prized freshman had arguably the best day of any Penn State freshman quarterback in school history. He set a school record for a PSU freshman with 311 yards and another long touchdown strike to Allen Robinson. The Lions offense churned out 574 yards of offense and 25 first downs in the lopsided 38-point win over Eastern Michigan. His 589 yards through two games rank him second nationally among all freshmen behind Cal's Jared Goff and second in the Big Ten only to Scheelhaase (728).

Fifth Down

• Michigan State's defense is outscoring its offense with four defensive touchdowns to two on offense this season.

• Through two games, Ohio State backup quarterback Kenny Guiton is 20-of-29 with 173 yards and three touchdowns in the air to go with 89 yards rushing and another TD on the ground. He's played critical minutes in both Buckeyes wins.

• Wisconsin had three 100-yard rushers in back-to-back games to start the year. Melvin Gordon (144, 140), James White (143, 109) and Corey Clement (101, 149) have each rushed for 100 yards twice already. They are first, third and fourth in the league in rushing, respectively.

• The Badgers became the first Big Ten team since 2009 and the first UW team since 1958 with back-to-back shutouts.

• Iowa's Mark Weisman rushed for 180 yards and two scores to carry Iowa to its first win of the year. He trails only Gordon for the Big Ten rushing lead by 4 yards. 

• Kain Colter returned to the field with 15-of-18 passing for 116 yards and a TD to go with 87 yards rushing and another TD on the ground (11 attempts) against Syracuse. Venric Mark didn't play due to a "lower body injury."

• The Cornhuskers defense allowed 318 fewer yards against Southern Miss (284) this weekend than it did to Wyoming (602) in Week 1.

• Minnesota's Philip Nelson has 205 yards rushing on 27 carries and three TDs on the ground through two games.

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Another week, another meaningful slate of games in the SEC.

Georgia wrestled control of the East Division by beating South Carolina 41-30. The Bulldogs got a huge performance from quarterback Aaron Murray and running back Todd Gurley, while the defense delivered with a key fourth-down stop on the goal line.

LSU and Texas A&M picked up solid non-conference victories, but Florida fell to Miami 21-16.

More Post-Week 2 Power Rankings: ACC |Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 

Post-Week 2 SEC Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (1-0, 0-0): The Crimson Tide had the week off, giving Nick Saban and his staff an extra week — plus all the time spent over the summer — to prepare for the Texas A&M offense. Next Week: at Texas A&M.
23Georgia (1-1, 1-0): It’s early, but Georgia took a big step toward its third straight SEC East title with a 41-30 win over South Carolina in Athens. The Bulldogs were outstanding on offense (7.1 yards per play) and good enough on defense. Aaron Murray, who had to answer questions all week about his inability to win the big game, threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns en route to his first victory against South Carolina. Next Week: Bye
34LSU (2-0, 0-0): The Tigers returned home after their impressive win over TCU in Week 1 and disposed of UAB with little trouble. The offense continues to impress under first-year coordinator Cam Cameron. LSU rolled up 445 total yards, led by another stellar performance from quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The fifth-year senior completed 16-of-19 passes for 282 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. Jeremy Hill, who was suspended for the first week of the season, rushed for 50 yards on six carries. Next Week: Kent State
45Texas A&M (2-0, 0-0): Johnny Manziel made his first start of the season in the Aggies’ final tune-up before Alabama comes to town. Manziel threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns to lead an A&M offense that torched Sam Houston State for 714 total yards. Manziel, who is making an effort to improve as a pocket passer, only had seven rushing attempts — the fewest of his career in a game in which he started. Next Week: Alabama
52South Carolina (1-1, 0-1): The Gameocks’ season took a troubling turn on Saturday. Not only did Carolina lose a key SEC East game to Georgia, but two members of the coaching staff had to be separated on the field and the team’s star player, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, voiced his displeasure on how he is being used by the coaches. One early season loss doesn’t necessarily doom an entire season — just ask Georgia — but South Carolina has several issues to deal with (both on and off the field) in the coming weeks. Next Week: Vanderbilt    
66Florida (1-1, 0-0): The box score will tell you that Florida completed 66.7 percent of its passes and rolled up 413 total yards. But in reality, the Gators’ offense struggled mightily and was the culprit in the 21-16 loss at Miami. Florida’s defense did its job, holding Miami to 212 yards and allowing the Canes to convert only 1-of-11 on third down. But the Florida offense, led by quarterback Jeff Driskel, committed six turnovers and accounted for only nine points — with the lone touchdown set up by a blocked punt — until late in the fourth quarter. Next Week: Bye
77Ole Miss (2-0, 1-1): Ole Miss jumped out to a 31-0 lead at the half and cruised to a 31-17 win over Southeast Missouri State in its 2013 home opener. Not much didn’t go well for the Rebels, who outgained SEMO 532-to-252 and converted 10-of-17 on third down and 3-of-4 on fourth down. Bo Wallace only completed eight passes (in 15 attempts), but those eight completions resulted in 188 yards and two touchdowns. Next Week: at Texas
88

Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1): Vanderbilt was a bit sluggish at times on offense but still rolled to an easy 38-3 win over Austin Peay. The Commodores scored all five of their touchdowns in the second quarter and led 38-0 at the half. Austin Peay did not record its first first down until early in the third quarter. Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels did not play in the second half. Sophomore Josh Grady played two series before giving way to redshirt freshman Patton Robinette. Next Week: at South Carolina

913Auburn (2-0, 0-0): Auburn was quietly one of the more impressive teams in the SEC in Week 2. The Tigers easily defeated Arkansas State 38-9, handing the Red Wolves their first loss since last September — when they were led by current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. Quarterback Nick Marshall was efficient (10-of-17 for 147 yards, two TDs, no INTs), but the story was the Tigers’ rushing attack. Junior college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne led the way with 102 yards on 19 carries, while Tre Mason added 99 yards on 14 rushes and Marshall chipped in with 53 yards on eight attempts. Next Week: Mississippi State
1011

Tennessee (2-0, 0-0): So far so good for Butch Jones, who improved to 2-0 as the boss at Tennessee with an impressive 52-20 win over Western Kentucky. The Vols struggled a bit early but took advantage of six Hilltopper turnovers in the first half to seize control of the game. After a slow start, quarterback Justin Worley ended up with decent numbers — 11-of-19 for 152 yards with one TD and one INT. Still, he will have to play better against top competition to give the Tennessee offense its desired balance. Next Week: at Oregon

119Arkansas (2-0, 0-0): It was a little tougher than expected, but Arkansas improved to 2-0 under Bret Bielema with a 31-21 win over Samford in Little Rock. The Razorbacks trailed 21-17 in the third quarter but then seized control thanks to a running attack led by freshman Alex Collins (172 yards) and sophomore Jonathan Williams (126 yards). The Hogs outgained Samford 458-to-231. Next Week: Southern Miss
1212

Missouri (2-0, 0-0): The Tigers pulled away in the final 15-plus minutes to beat Toledo, 38-23, giving Missouri coach Gary Pinkel a win over his former school. James Franklin, who battled various ailments through a disappointing 2012 season, was the offensive star for Mizzou. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 212 yards and one touchdown and added 77 yards on the ground. Next Week: at Indiana

1310

Mississippi State (1-1, 0-0): With Tyler Russell sidelined by a concussion, the Bulldogs turned to Dak Prescott at quarterback. The junior from Louisiana responded, throwing for 174 yards and two touchdowns and adding a score on the ground in the Bulldogs’ 51-7 win over outmanned Alcorn State. MSU held the Braves to two first downs in the first three quarters. Next Week: at Auburn

1414Kentucky (1-1, 0-0): The Wildcats picked up win No. 1 for Mark Stoops, dominating overmatched Miami (Ohio) with ease. Kentucky jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first quarter and was never threatened. With Maxwell Smith (the starter) and Jalen Whitlow sharing time at quarterback, UK accumulated 675 yards of offense on 74 plays for a healthy 9.1 yard average. The Kentucky defense, which gave up 487 yards in a Week 1 loss to Western Kentucky, limited Miami to 122 yards and no offensive touchdowns. Next Week: Louisville

SEC Week 2 Awards

 

Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray delivered on the big stage, completing 17-of-23 passes for 309 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Georgia’s pivotal 41-30 win over South Carolina. The fifth-year senior quarterback, who entered the weekend with a 1-6 career mark against top-10 opponents, had been 0-3 vs. South Carolina. Last year, he completed 11-of-31 passes for 109 yards in a 35-7 loss in Columbia.

Defensive Player of the Week: Brian Randolph, Tennessee
Randolph, a sophomore safety who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, recorded eight tackles and intercepted two passes in Tennessee’s 52-20 win over Western Kentucky. The Vols forced seven turnovers, including five during one amazing six-play stretch in the first half.

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs bounced back from a tough loss at Clemson last week and beat SEC East rival South Carolina 41-30 in Athens. Georgia was brilliant on offense, with Aaron Murray throwing for 309 yards and Todd Gurley leading a rushing attack that picked up 227 yards on 53 carries. For the game, The Dawgs averaged 7.1 yards per play — an impressive number against one of the nation’s elite defense.

Coordinator of the Week: D.J. Durkin, Florida
Georgia’s Mike Bobo deserves a ton of credit for the Bulldogs’ 41-point outburst against South Carolina, but we will give the nod to Durkin in the interest of spreading the wealth. The Gators lost to Miami, 21-6, but Florida’s defense was sensational for the majority of the game. Miami gained a total of 212 yards (with 10 first downs) and converted only 1-of-11 on third down. Standout tailback Duke Johnson was limited to 59 yards on 21 carries, and quarterback Stephen Morris connected on only 12-of-25 passing attempts.

Freshman of the Week, Alex Collins, Arkansas
One of the key pieces in Bret Bielema’s first recruiting class, Collins rushed for 172 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries in Arkansas’ tougher-than-expected 31-21 win over Samford. In two games, the Florida native has rushed for 303 yards on a 6.7-yard average.
 

Fifth Down
• Nick Marshall has yet to throw an interception in 36 passing attempts in his two games as the starter at Auburn. Last year, Marshall threw 20 interceptions at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

• Vanderbilt did not give up a first down in the first half of its 38-3 win over Austin Peay. The Commodores led 38-0 at the half after scoring 35 points in the second quarter.

• Kentucky averaged 9.1 yards on 74 snaps in its 41-7 win over Miami (Ohio). The Wildcats outgained the overmatched RedHawks 675-to-122 in Mark Stoops’ first win as a head coach.

• Zach Mettenberger set an LSU record by throwing five touchdown passes in the Tigers’ 56-17 win over UAB. The senior quarterback completed 16-of-19 passes for 282 yards and did not throw an interception.

• Dak Prescott made his first start for Mississippi State and threw for 174 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 20 yards and one TD to lead the Bulldogs to a stress-free 51-7 win over Alcorn State. Prescott, a junior, stepped in for Tyler Russell, who was knocked out of the Oklahoma State game with a concussion.

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Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

421.3: Aaron Murray's pass efficiency rating on third downs
Murray was brilliant in Athens, completing 17 of 23 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns without turning the ball over. But he saved his best play for the most critical moments by dominating on third downs. He completed 6 of 7 third-down passes for 139 yards, two touchdowns and five first downs for a 421.3 pass efficiency rating, according to PrimeComputing.com. Murray made the biggest play of the game on a 3rd-and-13 with 13:00 minutes to go in the fourth quarter on his own 15-yard line and leading by just four points. He rolled to his left, avoided Jadeveon Clowney, and found a wide open Justin Scott-Wesley for an 85-yard game-clinching touchdown pass. It could end up a career-defining moment for the Dawgs' senior quarterback.

71.2 seconds: Average length of Baylor's TD drives
Through two weeks of the regular season, Art Briles offense looks as dangerous as ever with new quarterback Bryce Petty running the show. According to David Fox, Baylor has scored 17 touchdowns in an average of 1:11 of game time — or 71.2 seconds. Against Buffalo, Petty was 13-of-16 for 338 yards and two touchdowns for an average of 21.1 yards per attempt. The passing game has been aided by the consistency of star tailback Lache Seastrunk, who rushed for his sixth consecutive 100-yard game (150 yards, 3 TD) against the Bulls. It is the longest active steak of 100-yard games in the nation.

935: Nation-leading passing yards by Cal's Jared Goff
Goff has played in two career games, and he already put himself in the Cal record books. The redshirt freshman threw for 450 yards in Week 1 against Northwestern in his debut. He topped himself this weekend with 485 yards, finishing just 18 yards shy of breaking Cal's single-game passing record of 503 yards (Pat Barnes). Goff also became just the second Cal player ever to post back-to-back 400-yard passing efforts (also Barnes). He leads the nation in passing yards by a wide margin with Oregon State's Sean Mannion a distance second after two weeks (794).

9-13: Louisville's opponents 2013 win-loss record
Teddy Bridgewater has been unstoppable in two games for the Cardinals, throwing for another 397 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win over Eastern Kentucky. He will have to keep it up as Louisville needs to crush opponents, however, if it wants BCS national championship consideration. The Cards' schedule has been heavily criticized for a reason as its 12 opponents have started the season a combined 9-13. Houston and UCF are the only teams left on the slate without a loss while UConn, FIU, Temple, South Florida and Memphis have yet to win this year. Cincinnati might be the best team on the schedule and the Bearcats just got smoked by a team that won two games last year (Illinois).

115,109: NCAA attendance record set by Michigan
The Big House in Ann Arbor has long been ahead of its time in terms of seating capacity and it set a new benchmark this weekend against Notre Dame. Brian Kelly can downplay the rivalry all he wants, but the fans in Michigan showed the nation how important this game was to them by showing up in force. The 115,109 that showed up saw Devin Gardner make his case for the Heisman Trophy with a performance that matched the size of the crowd. The old record (114,804) was also held by Michigan when it hosted, shockingly, Notre Dame in 2011.

550: Rushing yards allowed by Texas
BYU bounced back from a Week 1 upset in big way in its home opener this weekend by embarrassing  Texas. The Cougars ran the ball 72 times for a school-record 550 yards and four touchdowns, setting a new school record for rushing yards allowed by Texas in the process. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill led the way with 259 yards and three scores on 17 attempts, nearly breaking the five-decade-old single-game BYU rushing record of 272 yards set by Eldon Fortie in 1962.

26.1: Marcus Mariota's yards per carry in 2013
He is the most effortless player in the nation and, for my money, the most entertaining quarterback in the country. Not two minutes into the game with Virginia, Mariota took the ball 71 yards for the game's first score. He finished with 122 yards on four carries after rushing for 113 yards on just five carries last week. The Oregon signal-caller is 21st in the nation in rushing (235 yards) — just behind the likes Todd Gurley (286), Lache Seastrunk (261), De'Anthony Thomas (252) and Duke Johnson (245). He has three rushing touchdowns, three passing touchdowns and no turnovers in two games.

20: Wins over major-conference teams by Navy since 2003
Since 2003, no team from outside of a BCS automatic-qualifying conference has won more games over AQ opponents than Navy. The Midshipmen topped Indiana for the second consecutive season, this time 41-35 in Bloomington. The Middies rushed for 444 yards, didn't have punt and didn't turn the ball over. Navy needed just two pass completions to defeat the Big Ten squad.

54: Yards passing by USC
Lane Kiffin was booed for a reason this weekend as Washington State gave USC a loss in the home opener for the first time since 1997. Not only did USC lose to the Cougars — a team that failed to score an offensive touchdown — they nearly redefined ineptitude on offense. The 54 passing yards from Cody Kessler (8 of 13, 41 yards, INT) and Max Wittek (3 of 8, 13 yards, INT) was the worst Trojan total since totaling just 23 yards against Florida State in 1998.

5: Consecutive series with turnover for Western Kentucky
And it only took six plays for Tennessee to steal the ball away five times in the first quarter. If not for a three-yard run by Keshawn Simpson, it would have been five consecutive plays with a turnover. The NCAA record for consecutive series with a turnover is seven when Florida forced four fumbles and three interceptions against Florida State in 1972. The Hilltoppers finished with seven total turnovers. Here is what their drive chart looked like from Saturday:

 

 

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No MCL in Big Ten history will be more closely watched than Braxton Miller's this week. The star Ohio State quarterback left the Week 2 match with San Diego State just a few series into the game with a left MCL issue in his knee. The Heisman Trophy candidate never returned to the game after being carted off the field.

So while the league posted an admirable 7-0 record this weekend — including a huge rivalry win by Michigan over Notre Dame — the biggest storyline in the B1G this week will be Miller's left knee.

Early reports are Miller could have returned to action but Urban Meyer didn't want to risk it. All signs point to Miller returning to the starting line-up next weekend in Berkeley. And with an excellent back-up plan in Kenny Guiton, Ohio State still sits atop the Big Ten power rankings.

More Post-Week 2 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC

Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings:

 TeamLWAnalysis 
1.(1)Ohio State (2-0, 0-0): Scarlet and Gray nation can collectively exhale. Braxton Miller's left knee wasn't seriously injured and he should be ready to go in short order. Additionally, Kenny Guiton isn't a bad back-up option, after throwing for 152 yards, rushing for 83 and scoring three times. The win over San Diego State was a much more complete effort from OSU and Urban Meyer should be pleased with his team heading into a long West Coast road trip this weekend. Next Week: at Cal 
2.
 
(2)Michigan (1-0, 0-0): The Wolverines posted its higcomes to town this weekend. Next Week: Akron 
3.
 
(3)Nebraska (2-0, 0-0): More will be learned about Nebraska's defense next week when UCLA comes to town but, for now, the Black Shirts rebounded in a big way this weekend. Nebraska forced four turnovers, returning two interceptions for touchdowns, and allowed just 284 yards of offense to Southern Miss. Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah had typically outstanding offensive days as the Huskers rolled big, setting up a huge visit from the Bruins in Week 3. Next Week: UCLA 
4.
 
(4)Northwestern (2-0, 0-0): Kain Colter returned to the line-up in a big way while star tailback Venric Mark could only watch from the sidelines. Both were injured last week in the opener but it was Colter took center stage this weekend. He led the team in rushing and complete 15-of-18 passes while scoring twice. Partnered with Trevor Siemian (259 yards, 3 TD), Northwestern rolled to an impressive and easy win over Syracuse. Next Week: Western Michigan 
5.
 
(5)Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0): So far, so good for Gary Andersen. The Badgers have yet allow a point in 2013 after another dominating performance against an inferior opponent. Wisconsin has had three 100-yard backs in each of the first two games and Joel Stave has accounted for six total touchdowns. That trend will have to continue if UW expects to go into Tempe and beat a very impressive — and high-scoring — Sun Devils team.  Next Week: at Arizona State 
6.
 
(6)Penn State (2-0, 0-0): Christian Hackenberg started slowly but finished in grand fashion, setting a school freshman passing record with 313 yards. More importantly, the defense and running game looked improved from a week ago. The Lions rushed for 251 yards and allowed just 183 yards and no offensive points to Eastern Michigan. Next Week: UCF 
7.
 
(7)Michigan State (2-0, 0-0): Mark Dantonio has major issues on offense after netting just 265 yards and seven offensive points in the win over USF this weekend. Just about every QB on the roster has seen time and none seem to be the answer (is it time for Damion Terry?). But the defense should be one of the nation's best. The Spartans defense scored two more touchdowns this weekend, bringing its two-game total to four. The offense has two. Next Week: Youngstown State 
8.
 
(8)Minnesota (1-0, 0-0): The all-iring three times. Next Week: Western Illinois 
9.
 
(9)Indiana (1-1, 0-0): Kevin Wilson was out for revenge and his second straight 2-0 start to the season but Navy had other plans. Wilson gave Nate Sudfeld the reins to the offense and he produced (355 yards, 4 TD) but the defense couldn't stop the vaunted triple option. The Hoosiers allowed 444 yards rushing and 41 points without forcing a turnover or a punt. Navy completed just two passes. Next Week: Bowling Green 
10.
 
(10)Iowa (1-1, 0-0): Kirk Ferentz didn't mess around with Missouri State as his gameplan was ground and pound from the outset. The Hawkeyes rushed for 296 yards and four TDs behind a tremendous effort from burly running back Mark Weisman (180 yards, 2 TD). Other than two late scores, Iowa's defense was stifling, as expected against an Missouri Valley team. Next Week: at Iowa State 
11.
 
(11)Purdue (1-1, 0-0): Well, the Boilermakers won, but that's about all you can say about the 20-14 win over Indiana State. Rob Henry wasn't much better and has yet to throw a TD pass through two games. The running game was held under three yards per carry and the Sycamores out-gained Purdue. A win is a win is a win, but this team has serious issues on both sides of the ball. Next Week: Notre Dame 
12.
 
(12)Illinois (2-0, 0-0): After a sluggish start to the season in Week 1, Tim Beckman's bunch played excellent football in a big upset win over Cincinnati. Nathan Scheelhaase, who had four total TD passes last year, had four scoring strikes in the win. The embattled quarterback is finally regaining his form after back-to-back 300-yard games at over 70-percent passing to start the season. Next Week: Washington* 

* -nuetral field

Big Ten Week 2 Awards and Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
The Wisconsin running backs were outstanding, Braxton was Braxton, so was Taylor Martinez and, I can't believe I'm saying this, but Nathan Scheelhaase led his team to victory. But it's about time the nation looked at Allen Robinson as one of the game's best. Bill O'Brien suspended the star wideout for the first half of the neutral field bout with Syracuse without so much as a peep out of the locker room as to why. His absence was felt in a big way as PSU managed only 89 passing yards and a slim 6-3 edge at the half. Robinson caught the first pass of the second half for a first down and the second for a 51-yard touchdown. He was all over the field and turned a true freshman quarterback into a veteran signal caller by catching seven passes for 133 yards entirely in the second half of the 23-17 win. Penn State finished with 296 yards of passing offense, which would've ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten a year ago.

Defensive Player of the Week: Collin Ellis, LB, Northwestern
They may have been on tipped passes but when you score two defensive touchdowns, you are the P.O.W. The first came at a critical time late in the third quarter with Northwestern down by four, when Ellis took a Jared Goff pass 59 yards to paydirt to give the Wildcats the lead. Then again, this time up by three with eight minutes to go in the game, Ellis plucked another Cal throw out of the air and went 40 yards for six points to essentially end the game. This was the best win of the weekend for the league — and for more on that...

Team of the Week: Northwestern
Most of the Big Ten either won easily against over-matched opponents or was disappointed by poor play — and, in Iowa and Purdue cases, lost. But Northwestern lost Kain Colter to an "upper body" injury (it looked like a shoulder to us) on the game's first series and managed to defeat Cal in Berkeley 44-30. Yes, the Cats allowed more than 500 yards of offense but this game was supposed to be much tougher than the 2012 records indicated. Credit Pat Fitzgerald, and possibly one questionable targeting penalty, for the way Northwestern battled adversity in a home opener for a Golden Bears team flush with energy behind head coach Sonny Dykes' debut. This was an important win and likely the best in the conference this weekend.

Coordinator of the Week: Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
The Spartans defensive coordinator is one of the nation's best and few assistants nationally mean as much to their team's success as Narduzzi. Michigan State has what appears to be an anemic offense once again this fall and wins will have to come by way of the defense. Against Western Michigan in Week 1, Narduzzi's bunch pitched a gem. His unit allowed 204 total yards, 4-of-20 third down conversions, forced four turnovers and, oh by the way, scored more touchdowns (2) than the Spartans offense (1). This defense will be nasty once again, but one has to wonder if Sparty can contend in the Legends Division against offensively minded teams like Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern with little to no support from the offense?

Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
By the time it is all said and done, this award might be renamed The Hackenberg. In his first career start in his first career game as a true freshman, Hackenberg led his team to a win over a BCS team in Syracuse (in a pseudo-road environment). He looked, at times, like a freshman, but his overall ability is way too impressive to ignore. He finished 22-of-31 for 278 yards, two key second-half touchdowns and two interceptions. The touted freshman has special upside and has already justified his lofty recruiting status.

5th Down
The Indiana Hoosiers are looking to make it to the postseason for just the second time since 1993 and it was obvious in Week 1 that it's a distinct possibility. Indiana set a school record with 45 first-half points, a Memorial Stadium record with 73 points — just three shy of an all-time school record — and did so with three different quarterbacks. Tre Roberson started the game, threw six passes, carried the ball five times and scored twice. Nate Sudfeld then stepped in to attempt 17 passes, four of which went for touchdowns. And Cam Coffman got seven attempts. Kevin Wilson has a wealth of options under center and a host of talented skill players surrounding them. It appears the quarterback race in Bloomington will be fascinating to watch all season long.

Teaser:
2013 Big Ten Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 06:00
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With a commanding 20-0 lead against Cal Poly on Saturday night, Fresno State decided to have a little fun on offense.

After quarterback Derek Carr tosses a pass to receiver Davante Adams, offensive lineman Austin Wentworth trails and gets the pitch on a hook-and-ladder play.

Wentworth, a senior, is one of the Mountain West’s top offensive linemen, so it’s pretty cool to see the big tackle get a touchdown against Cal Poly.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 9, 2013 - 00:00
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It began with blowouts in Minneapolis and Bloomington on Thursday night. Saturday got started with more one-sided affairs in Madison, Columbus and Ann 

Here are the Big Ten's Week 2 Superlatives:

Offensive Player of the Week: 

Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois: 26/37, 312 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 8 att., 24 yds

Defensive Player of the Week: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
Maybe Heisman voters had the wrong defensive end this summer when talking about if a defensive player could win the coveted stiff-armed award. Because the Spartans emerging star at end has already scored three defensive touchdowns after scoring on a four-yard fumble return and a 56-yard interception return this weekend in the 21-6 win over South Florida. Calhoun finished the game with three tackles, two for loss, a sack and those two huge plays after scoring last weekend on a 16-yard fumble return touchdown as well. He has quickly become a front-runner for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Team of the Week:

likely the best in the conference this weekend.

Coordinator of the Week:
Pat Narduzzi, DC, Michigan State
Bill Cubit, OC, Illinois

Freshman of the Week:
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State: 23/33, 311, TD, INT

5th Down

Michigan State defense scored 4th TD of the season. The offense has 2.
Rob Henry has 0 TD, 2 INT in two games for Purdue
Kenny Guiton is 20-for-29 for 173 yards, 3 TD, INT with 10 att., 89 yards, TD rushing
Wisconsin has had back-to-back games with 3 100-yard rushers
Mark Weisman rushed for 180 yards and 2 TD, leads league

Teaser:
Big Ten Week 2 Recap and Awards
Post date: Sunday, September 8, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /nfl/green-bay-packers-vs-san-francisco-49ers-preview-and-prediction
Body:

One of the marquee Week 1 matchups pits a rematch of last season’s NFC Divisional Round game when the Green Bay Packers pay another visit to the San Francisco 49ers at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX. The 49ers’ 45-31 victory on Jan. 12 was largely memorable for Colin Kaepernick’s NFL single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 191.

As we enter the 2013 regular season, both teams look like surefire bets to make the playoffs once again. For the Packers, life begins without Greg Jennings and the defense looks to regain a swagger that has been missing since 2010. The 49ers are an early Super Bowl favorite with perhaps the most talented roster in the NFL. Despite this, San Francisco does have some holes due to a few offseason injuries. With both teams in competitive divisions, a 1-0 start would go a long way towards building season-long momentum. 

Four Things to Watch

Replacing Michael Crabtree
After an Achilles injury this offseason derailed Michael Crabtree’s season, it became readily apparent that the depth behind new No.1 receiver Anquan Boldin was worrisome. While the now-departed Alex Smith favored Vernon Davis, Crabtree was clearly Colin Kaepernick’s preferred target. In fact, in the 10 games (including playoffs) that Kaepernick started last year, Crabtree caught 61 passes for 880 yards and eight touchdowns. This was, by far, the best such stretch of the Texas Tech product’s career. Now, Kaepernick will be throwing to the likes Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton, Marlon Moore and Jon Baldwin; a group that has combined for just 88 catches and eight touchdowns over their combined eight seasons in the NFL. Williams is coming off of a torn ACL, Moore was a castoff from the Miami Dolphins and Baldwin was all but given up on by the Chiefs just two years into his career. Patton, the49ers’ 2013 fourth-round pick in April, may be the team’s best hope as he looked impressive in preseason action, catching two touchdown passes.

Packers’ rushing game
With the selection of Eddie Lacy in the second round of the 2013 draft it appears the Packers are more committed to a run game now than ever before in Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay. In fact, Lacy is the most talented running back the Packers have had since Ahman Green, but the coaching staff would probably be have 2008-09 Ryan Grant-type production. The addition of a running game would make the Packers offense that much more dangerous and could go a long way to keeping Rodgers healthy and off his back this season.

49ers’ pass rush
After Justin Smith went down with an arm injury in Week 15 of last season, the 49ers accumulated just six sacks in five games without him. Pass-rusher extraordinaire Aldon Smith, who had 19.5 sacks in the season’s first 13 weeks, failed to register a quarterback takedown in his final three regular season games and all three postseason games. Facing an offensive line that game up the second-most sacks in the NFL (51) and a rookie left tackle in David Bakhtiari, this appears to be the perfect time to find out if the 49ers’ pass rush, with a healthy Justin Smith, is ready to reclaim its spot as the nastiest in all of football.

Can the Packers D stop Colin Kaepernick?
Kaepernick’s performance in the playoff win against the Packers last year may have been his official coming out party. The second-year pro was unstoppable, throwing for 263 yards and rushing for 181yards, while leading San Francisco to a 45-31 Divisional Round victory over Aaron Rodgers and company. Kaepernick may not repeat his superb performance but he’s a major threat that coordinator Dom Capers and the Packers defense have yet to figure out how to stop.

San Francisco Key Player: Nnamdi Asomugha, CB
Although he’s slotted as the No. 3 corner on the depth chart, you better believe Asomugha will be on the field for a majority of the snaps. With James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the Packers will spread San Francisco out with lots of four- and five-wide receiver sets. Will we see the same Asomugha that was a major bust in Philadelphia or will a return to the Bay Area result in him recapturing his old Oakland-era form?

Green Bay Key Player: Clay Matthews, LB
Matthews is key for several reasons. He has major passing rushing responsibilities, yet he must also make sure to keep his contain against the athletic Kaepernick. Matthews and the Green Bay defense should see plenty of read option and the effectiveness of that play will likely be the result of how well Matthews plays. Simply put, Matthews didn’t do a very good job of this in the Packers’ playoff loss to the 49ers last season. If the linebacker can put pressure on Kaepernick in the pocket and keep his ground game contained, the 49er quarterback will feel like he’s facing a completely different defense than last January.

Final Analysis

Will Colin Kaepernick rush for 181 yards again? No, but I still don’t think the Packers will be able to stop him. Expect the young signal-caller to break off a big run or two at some point in this game. The Packers offense, replete with playmakers, will keep them in this game for the first three quarters; however, I think the 49ers will take over in the fourth quarter as their lines on both sides of the ball, will begin to wear down the weaker Green Bay units. Aaron Rodgers will have to make quick decisions or he’ll be running for his life all day, while Frank Gore should eclipse the 100-yard mark for the 35th time in his career.

San Francisco 34, Green Bay 24

Teaser:
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, September 8, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/south-carolinas-coaches-fight-sideline
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Even though South Carolina and Georgia played in Week 2, it’s a huge game for positioning in the SEC East title picture.

With everything on the line in Saturday’s game, it was no surprise to see the intensity for both teams at a high level.

In the third quarter, South Carolina’s defensive coaching staff had a disagreement on the sidelines, which nearly came to blows.

Check out defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, linebackers coach Kirk Botkin and line coach Deke Adams get into a confrontation on the sidelines:
 

Teaser:
South Carolina's Coaches Fight on Sideline
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 19:10
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The 2013 NFL regular season is set to kick off tonight with Denver hosting Baltimore, which also means that fantasy football and Athlon Sports' weekly positional rankings are back!

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any website can give you.

2013 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Kickers

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2013 Positional Rankings: Week 1
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 19:00
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Tennessee freshman receiver Marquez North was one of the top recruits in coach Butch Jones’ first signing class on Rocky Top.

North has five receptions through the first two weeks, with his best catch coming against the Hilltoppers.

The freshman made a crazy, juggling catch against Western Kentucky in Week 2:
 

Teaser:
Tennessee WR Marquez North makes juggling catch against Western Kentucky
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 18:46
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Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller left Saturday’s game against San Diego State with a MCL injury. According to the Buckeyes’ sports info department, Miller could return to the game, but coach Urban Meyer is expected to keep the junior quarterback on the sidelines.

Prior to his injury, Miller was 2 of 2 for 30 yards and rushed for five yards on one carry.

Backup Kenny Guiton was solid in relief in the first half and as last year’s performance against Purdue showcased, the senior is a capable option for Ohio State.

Keeping Miller healthy was a priority for Ohio State this season, which was supposed to be easier with a deeper group of weapons. Miller is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and is health is essential to the Buckeyes’ national title hopes.

Ohio State’s upcoming schedule isn’t daunting, but a road trip to California on Sept. 14 won’t be easy and a Sept. 28 matchup against Wisconsin is a huge game for the Leaders Division title race.

Teaser:
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller Injures Knee Against SDSU
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 16:43
Path: /nfl/atlanta-falcons-vs-new-orleans-saints-preview-and-prediction
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The two teams that have ruled the NFC South the past four seasons kickoff their 2013 campaigns against each other as the Atlanta Falcons face the New Orleans Saints at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX. The Falcons are aiming to defend their division title and take another shot at getting to the Super Bowl, while the Saints welcome their head coach back after his one-year absence.

New Orleans’ home opener in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome also serves as head coach Sean Payton’s return to the sidelines following his one-year suspension for the BountyGate scandal. Atlanta has made some personnel changes, most notably the additions of running back Steven Jackson and defensive end Osi Umenyiora, in hopes of returning to the NFC championship game a second straight season, and this time winning it.

The Falcons and the Saints have combined to either win the NFC South or finish no worse than a tie for second in the division in each of the past four seasons. Atlanta is the defending division champion and also claimed the NFC South title in 2010, while the Saints finished first in ’11 and ’09. This game marks the first time since 1986 that New Orleans opened the season at home against Atlanta. The Falcons won that game, 31-10, and are a perfect 6-0 overall against the Saints in season openers, with five of these Week 1 victories coming in the Superdome.

Four Things to Watch

Steven Jackson’s Falcons’ debut
Jackson rattled off eight straight 1,000-yard seasons while in St. Louis and Falcon fans are hoping he makes it nine in a row this season. Atlanta’s offense finished in the top eight of the NFL last season in both scoring and yards gained, and did so with little support from the running game. The Falcons were 29th in the league in rushing in 2012, as the departed Michael Turner averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. Jackson’s career average is 4.2 yards per carry and if he is anywhere near as productive as he was for the Rams last season (1,042 yds., 4.1 ypc), it will make Matt Ryan and the passing game that much more dangerous.

Who Dat on D?
There’s no polite way to say it. The Saints were bad on defense last season, historically bad. New Orleans set the dubious distinction of allowing the most yards in a single season, 7,042 of them. This record-breaking poor performance resulted in the dismissal of Steve Spagnuolo and the hiring of Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. Ryan, who was fired by the Cowboys, has switched the Saints from a 4-3 to a pressure-based 3-4 system. Several key injuries have already impacted the transition, so it will be interesting to see how the Saints’ new look fares against the Falcons’ high-octane offense.

Falcons’ pass defense
Atlanta finished in the bottom half of pass defenses last year, coming in at 23rd in the league after allowing 242 yards per game through the air. The Falcons upgraded their cornerback depth in the draft by taking Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford with their first two picks. The veteran starters are established in cornerback Asante Samuel and safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore, but this unit needs to be at its best if it hopes to slow down Dree Brees and the Saints’ aerial attack.

Can the Saints march down the field?
Everyone knows the Saints love to throw the ball, as Drew Brees has put up back-to-back 5,000-yard seasons. The key to the overall success of the Saints’ offense, however, is the production of the ground game. Last season, New Orleans averaged less than 100 yards rushing per game and head coach Sean Payton has already stated his desire to re-establish the run. A more balanced Saints offense will make Brees’ life in the pocket easier, so it’s now up to Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas to get the job done when the play call is a run instead of a pass.

Atlanta Key Player: Desmond Trufant, CB
Trufant, the Falcons’ first-round pick in April, is expected to start at cornerback opposite Asante Samuel. The former Washington Husky has good size (6-0, 190), and will more than likely be tested by Brees and the Saints’ pass-catchers right out of the gate. Fellow rookie Robert Alford also figures to see plenty of playing time behind Trufrant and Asante Samuel and as the third cornerback in certain packages.

New Orleans Key Player: Keenan Lewis, CB
New Orleans allowed more than 290 yards passing per game last season, a number that was surpassed by only one other team. In hopes of making over their secondary, the Saints signed Lewis, the former Pittsburgh Steeler, as a free agent. Lewis has the size (6-0, 208) and speed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes in his cornerbacks, and it’s up to him and the rest of the defensive backfield to get the job done in coverage to allow the pressure from the front seven to be a factor. Facing off with Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez is as good a test as any for Saints’ new-look secondary.

Final Analysis

These two teams have combined to win the last four NFC South division titles and little is expected to change in that respect this season. The Saints have won their last two home games against the Falcons, including a 31-27 decision last November that gave Atlanta its first loss following an 8-0 start.

The Saints, both the team and its fan base alike, are ecstatic to have head coach Sean Payton back on the sidelines and calling the plays. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is one of the loudest home environments in the NFL and figures to be rocking for this one. The emotional and energy factors seem to favor the Saints, but this is a veteran, tested Falcons team that has its sights focused on one goal – to get back to the playoffs and take care of unfinished business.

As explosive as the Saints’ offense is, the Falcons are one of the few teams that can match their firepower and that was before Atlanta added Steven Jackson to the mix. In the end, Matt Ryan takes full advantage of his newest weapon as the Falcons are able to exploit a Saints’ defense that’s a work in progress just enough to escape the Superdome with a hard-fought, opening road win.

Atlanta 31, New Orleans 28

Teaser:
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, TCU Horned Frogs, Big 12, News
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TCU quarterback Casey Pachall suffered an arm injury in the first half of Saturday’s game against SE Louisiana and won’t return to the game.

Pachall injured his non-throwing arm after starting 8 of 14 for 100 yards.

Backup Trevone Boykin has plenty of experience after taking over for Pachall last year and played extensively in the opener against LSU.

If Pachall is out for an extended amount of time, TCU’s offense will change slightly, as Pachall is clearly a better passer than Boykin. However, Boykin is the better runner and has improved as a passer since last year.

TCU has a short turnaround for Week 3, as they take on Texas Tech on Thursday night. After the game, coach Gary Patterson indicated Pachall would not play against the Red Raiders. However, it's uncertain how long the senior will be sidelined. 
 

Teaser:
TCU QB Casey Pachall Injures Arm Against SE Louisiana
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 14:52
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-2-recap-and-awards
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Fans need to prepare for a wild season out west if the first weekend was any indication. Sure, division contenders Stanford and Arizona State were on bye while Oregon, UCLA and Arizona rolled to typically one-sided wins against over-matched opponents.

Here are your Pac-12 Week 2 Awards and Superlatives: 

Offensive Player of the Week:
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: 14/28, 199 yds, 2 TD, 4 att., 122 yards, TD
Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State: 23/31, 300 yards, 5 TD, 6 att., 25 yards
Travis Wilson, QB, Utah: 14/19, 264 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 att., 93 yards, 2 TD

Defensive Player of the Week:
Mike Honeycutt, Utah: FF, FR, TD
Tenny Polepoi, DL, Utah: 1.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL

Team of the Week:
Utah, Oregon, ASU

Coordinator of the Week:
Dennis Erickson, Utah

Freshman of the Week: Jared Goff, QB, Cal

After throwing for 450 yards in the opener against Northwestern, Goff chucked it around for 485 yards in earning new coach Sonny Dykes' first win at Cal. Goff is the second quarterback in school history to top 400 yards in back-to-back games and was just 18 yards shy of setting an all-time single-game Cal passing record (Pat Barnes, 503). He accounted for three total touchdowns and appears to be a perfect fit in Dykes wide open offensive attack. For those counting at home, that's 114 attempts, 935 yards and five total touchdowns for Goff in his first two collegiate games.

5th Down

Utah scored 70 points, most since 1973 (82 against UTEP) and set school record with 35 second-quarter points. The win pushed Utes record against Big Sky to 36-0.

Oregon has now won 16 straight on the road, the longest streak in the nation.

 

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 2 Recap and Awards
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 14:45
Path: /college-football/pac-12-post-week-2-power-rankings-2013
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Teaser:
Pac-12 Post-Week 2 Power Rankings for 2013
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:18
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Thanks to conference realignment, Michigan and Notre Dame are only scheduled to play one more matchup after this season. The Fighting Irish had to cancel the 2015-17 scheduled games with the Wolverines due to their decision to play five games with ACC members. With the Big Ten moving to nine conference games in the future, Michigan may also have been forced to rethink its non-conference slate – even with an emphasis on schedule strength in the playoffs.

Although new rivalries were created from realignment, it’s a shame these two teams may not play for a significant period of time. But let’s forget about assigning blame and focus on the game this Saturday.

Michigan and Notre Dame cruised to easy victories in Week 1. The Wolverines dominated Central Michigan 59-9, while the Fighting Irish won 28-6 over Temple.

Even though it’s early, this game could play a key role in shaping where these two teams are positioned for bowl bids later this year. Michigan and Notre Dame expect to be in the mix for an at-large BCS spot in December and an early loss certainly isn’t crippling, but it doesn’t leave much room for error the rest of the year.

Three Things to Watch

Michigan’s OL versus Notre Dame’s DL
The Wolverines’ offensive line is in transition this year. Three new starters stepped into the lineup last week against Central Michigan and allowed only one sack to the Chippewas. Left tackle Taylor Lewan is one of the best in the nation, while right tackle Michael Schofield has 24 starts under his belt. But the interior is a concern for Hoke and coordinator Al Borges. Left guard Graham Glasgow, center Jack Miller and right guard Kyle Kalis have just three combined starts – all from last week’s win over Central Michigan. Notre Dame’s defensive line is one of the best in the nation, anchored by 357-pound nose guard Louis Nix III and future first-round pick Stephon Tuitt at end. The Fighting Irish allowed 134 rushing yards in the opener against Temple but should have a better effort on Saturday. How well Michigan’s new starters on the line perform will play a large role in deciding the outcome of this game.

Who steps up at running back?
The Fighting Irish lost Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood this offseason, but replacements George Atkinson III, Amir Carlisle, Cam McDaniel and Greg Bryant combined for 179 yards against Temple last week. Notre Dame may not have a true No. 1 but there are playmakers. Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint returned to action after suffering a broken leg late last year and rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts in the opener. However, the postgame buzz in Ann Arbor last week was all about Derrick Green. The freshman rushed for 58 yards and one touchdown against Central Michigan and is poised to take a bigger role in the backfield this Saturday. It’s not necessarily important for either team to have one rusher get to 100 yards, but both coaching staffs would like to see a back get the hot hand and produce.

Which Tommy Rees shows up?
Rees has experienced a roller-coaster ride in his two extensive appearances against Michigan. In 2011, Rees threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, including a 29-yard score with 30 seconds left. However, Michigan scored on a pass from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree with two seconds left to steal the victory. Last year, Rees came on to relieve a struggling Everett Golson and finished with 115 yards on eight completions. With Golson out of the picture in 2013, Rees is the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback in South Bend. Michigan allowed 144 passing yards to Central Michigan in the opener, but Rees should have opportunities to make plays against this secondary. The senior is coming off a good appearance last week (346 yards) and failed to throw an interception on 23 attempts. Yards are important, but Rees’ No. 1 priority on Saturday will be limiting the turnovers.

Key Player: Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
The Wolverines already lost one key receiver for 2013 with Amara Darboh suffering a foot injury late in fall camp. Senior Jeremy Gallon was Devin Gardner’s favorite target last Saturday, recording 47 yards on four catches. Funchess is a breakout candidate for Michigan in 2013, and the sophomore grabbed two passes for 47 yards in the opener. Although Notre Dame’s back seven is experienced, Funchess needs to be a big part of Michigan’s gameplan.

Final Analysis

The last four meetings in this series have been decided by seven points or less, including the 35-31 thriller in 2011.

Michigan has won three consecutive meetings over Notre Dame in Ann Arbor and should have a slight edge to make it No. 4 on Saturday.

Notre Dame’s defense is clearly one of the best in the nation and should be in midseason form after holding Temple to just six points last year. But Gardner outduels Rees, and the Wolverines create a late turnover to pull off a close victory. 

Prediction: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20

Related College Football Content

ACC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big Ten Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Big 12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Pac-12 Week 2 Preview and Predictions
SEC Week 2 Preview and Predictions
Week 2 Upset Predictions

Teaser:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines 2013 Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/georgia-bulldogs-vs-south-carolina-gamecocks-2013-game-preview-and-prediction
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Georgia and South Carolina have combined to win the last three SEC East titles, and Saturday’s game will play a key role in determining the division champion this year.

After losing to Clemson last Saturday, the Bulldogs have to win against the Gamecocks to keep their national title hopes alive. And while a loss to South Carolina wouldn’t put Georgia out of contention to win the East title, the Gamecocks have a much easier path to the division crown.

South Carolina fared better than Georgia in Week 1, handling North Carolina 27-10 on Thursday night. The Gamecocks allowed the Tar Heels to move the ball some (293 yards), but the defense held North Carolina without a touchdown in the second half.

South Carolina has claimed the last three meetings in this series, including a dominating 35-7 win last year. The last Bulldogs’ victory came in 2009. Dating back to last season, the Gamecocks have won six in a row, while the Bulldogs have claimed seven victories in their last nine games.

Three Things to Watch

Georgia’s offensive line
Even though the Bulldogs have a potential All-SEC quarterback in Aaron Murray and two standouts at running back (Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall), the offensive line holds the key to winning on Saturday night. Clemson recorded four sacks against Georgia’s front five last week and generated consistent pressure on Murray throughout the second half. In last year’s meeting with the Bulldogs, South Carolina had only two sacks, but the defensive line clearly dominated the line of scrimmage. Now that Georgia’s offensive line has a game under its belt, along with the motivation of last year’s performance hanging in their heads, can this unit give Murray time to throw? And it’s not like the Gamecocks are just a one-man show (Jadeveon Clowney). Senior Chaz Sutton and freshman Darius English are two other threats off the edge, while tackles J.T. Surratt and Gerald Dixon will present plenty of problems for the offensive line.

South Carolina running back Mike Davis
In last week’s win over North Carolina, Davis had a breakout performance, rushing for 115 yards and one touchdown on 12 attempts. The sophomore’s 75-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter ended any hope the Tar Heels had of a comeback. Davis will share carries with Brandon Wilds, but he will be the Gamecocks’ feature back. Clemson rushed for 197 yards against Georgia, so there will be opportunities for Davis to have a big performance. The Bulldogs are getting safety/linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons back after a one-game suspension. Will Harvey-Clemons make a big difference in the rush defense? Or will South Carolina’s massive offensive line dominate the line of scrimmage? Georgia needs a better effort from its front seven to win on Saturday.

Field goals
Even though most of the spotlight in this game will be on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, don’t overlook the special teams department. The Bulldogs will be without kicker Marshall Morgan, who is suspended for two games due to an off-the-field incident. With Morgan sidelined, Patrick Beless is expected to attempt field goals and extra points. Beless connected on all five extra points against Clemson but did not attempt a field goal. The Gamecocks broke in a new kicker last week, with Elliott Fry connecting on both of his attempts. With a close game expected, the inexperience at kicker could play a significant role in determining the outcome of this game.

Key Player: Michael Bennett/Justin Scott-Wesley, WR, Georgia
With Malcolm Mitchell sidelined for the rest of the year due to a torn ACL, it’s up to Bennett and Scott-Wesley to emerge as go-to receivers for quarterback Aaron Murray. Bennett returned from a season-ending knee injury in 2012 to catch five passes for 60 yards in the opener, while Scott-Wesley grabbed four passes for 55 yards. Even though Mitchell will be missed, Bennett and Scott-Wesley are a capable duo, and Saturday’s game against South Carolina is a huge opportunity for both players.

Final Analysis

Everything seems to point to a South Carolina win. The Gamecocks have the momentum and own three consecutive victories in this series. South Carolina’s defensive line also has a sizeable advantage over Georgia’s offensive line, especially with last year’s meeting in mind.

However, Georgia didn’t play terrible in the opener and only lost by three points to a top-five team. The Bulldogs will only get better on defense with more snaps for the young players, and Harvey-Clemons’ return will help slow down South Carolina’s offense.

Even though some are down on the Bulldogs after Week 1, the guess here is Murray delivers with a solid performance to knock off South Carolina to take an early lead in the SEC East standings.

Georgia 27-24

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Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks 2013 Game Preview and Prediction
Post date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 09:11

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