The 8 Tastiest Cupcake Games of College Football Week 10
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After a couple of weekends filled with matchups between ranked teams, Week 10 of the 2013 college football season brings a brief hiatus from top programs squaring off.
Though in-state rivalries of Miami vs. Florida State and Michigan vs. Michigan State are slated to kick off, those two battles take a back seat so that this week's cupcake games can enter the spotlight for a few moments.
As it turns out, each listed team won its respective contest last week and currently sits in an extremely favorable position to take home a victory this weekend, too.
And for a few programs, a tilt with a less-heralded team will be a much-appreciated break from top-tier conference opponents.
Northern Illinois vs. Massachusetts
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The 8-0 Northern Illinois Huskies are focused on crashing the BCS party once again, but the Massachusetts Minutemen are just looking for their second win of the season.
Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch leads the nation's sixth-best rushing attack against a UMass team that allows the 11th-most yards per game on the ground.
Against Central Michigan, Lynch broke former NIU quarterback Stacey Robinson's FBS record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with a 316-yard performance.
Throw in running back Cameron Stingily and his 90.8 yards per game, and the Huskies will, quite literally, run all over the Minutemen.
Ohio State vs. Purdue
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If Ohio State beat Penn State 63-14, what on earth will the Buckeyes do to Purdue?
The Boilermakers have managed just seven points over their last two games, and the Buckeyes aren't about to let Purdue find its offensive stride.
On the other side of the ball, the Boilermakers give up nearly 400 yards per contest, and Ohio State has had little trouble moving the sticks this season. Braxton Miller and Co. rank No. 8 in the nation in total offense, and the Buckeyes have not scored fewer than 31 points during any 2013 game.
Purdue may have home-field advantage, but Ohio State clearly holds an upper hand in the skill department.
Southern Miss vs. Marshall
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Look, until Southern Miss actually wins a game, the Golden Eagles will not be granted any benefit of the doubt.
Marshall is the next program in line to extend Southern Miss' bizarre losing streak that now stands at 19 games. For those unfamiliar, the Golden Eagles put together an impressive 12-2 campaign during 2011 but have lost every game since then.
Though the Thundering Herd's record is 4-3, Marshall has lost by three points to Ohio, in overtime to Virginia Tech and on the final play vs. Middle Tennessee.
Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato directs Conference USA's top offense, and the senior gunslinger should have no problem picking apart the Southern Miss defense.
Kansas vs. Texas
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Earlier this season, Texas was left for dead. The Longhorns' defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired two games into the season, and Mack Brown's proverbial seat was practically burnt.
But Texas has turned it around, winning four straight games, including quality wins over No. 12 Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl and on the road against TCU.
Kansas, on the other hand, was supposed to be bad, started bad and has continued to be bad.
The Jayhawks offense gains the seventh-fewest yards and scores the 11th-fewest points per game. And if you can't score, you can't win.
Texas might not blow up the scoreboard, but Kansas will not put up spectacular numbers on the Longhorns' mediocre—yet certainly improving—defense.
Clemson vs. Virginia
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Clemson shook off its beatdown at the hands of Florida State by beating Maryland by 13 points, using a 21-point fourth quarter to seal the game.
Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 304 yards while running back Roderick McDowell shredded the Terps for 161 yards and two scores, so the Tigers' offensive attack is back on track.
And that doesn't bode well for Virginia.
The Cavaliers haven't beaten an FBS opponent since Aug. 31, and Virginia just surrendered 507 yards to Georgia Tech. But that number isn't a single-game lapse; rather, it is part of a trend—Mike London's team has not held its opponent to fewer than 468 yards over its last four contests.
Long story short, Boyd, McDowell and wideout Sammy Watkins will not meet much resistance from the Cavaliers.
Eastern Michigan vs. Toledo
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A 5-3 Toledo squad welcomes a 1-7 Eastern Michigan team to the Glass Bowl, and this game won't be close.
After dropping games to Florida and Missouri, Toledo has posted a 5-1 record, while the Eagles have lost 13 of their last 14 conference matchups.
Eastern Michigan allows the sixth-most yards per game in the nation, and behind quarterback Terrance Owens and running back David Fluellen, the Rockets offense will capitalize on EMU's weakness.
Led by Fluellen's 133.4 yards per outing, Toledo racks up the 18th-most rushing yards per game in the nation. The Eagles are the country's third-worst team against the run, so the Rockets' ground game will have a field day.
UTEP vs. Texas A&M
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The in-state tilt is easily Vegas' biggest mismatch of the weekend, hovering around a 45-point spread (h/t Vegas Insider), and the Aggies will be flirting with that line by time this game hits triple-zero.
Dating back to 2012, Texas A&M has scored 40-plus points in 11 consecutive games. Conversely, UTEP has allowed at least 31 points in 11 of its last 12 contests.
And, UTEP, good luck containing 6'5" wide receiver Mike Evans. The sophomore has caught 16 passes for 364 yards and six touchdowns over the last two games.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel will connect with Evans, Malcome Kennedy and Travis Labhart for a few first-half touchdowns, and this blowout will be wrapped up at halftime.
Fresno State vs. Nevada
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Senior quarterback Derek Carr has led Fresno State to a 7-0 record, but the Bulldogs' threat of crashing the BCS party was nearly terminated last weekend.
Fresno State survived a close call against San Diego State, winning 35-28 in overtime. The No. 16 Bulldogs return home and welcome Nevada—a team mired in a three-game losing streak—to town.
The Wolf Pack concede 36.3 points per game, and Fresno State racks up 44.3 per contest—seventh-best in the nation.
Points will not come at a premium on Saturday night, and the Bulldogs will take full advantage of Nevada's lackluster defense.