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14 Pac-10 Football Players Primed for Big Games in Week 2

Philip DodsonCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2010

14 Pac-10 Football Players Primed for Big Games in Week 2

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Week 1 of college football is in the books. The Pac-10 provided a blend of blowouts, explosive offense, missed opportunities (Oregon State), and expected outcomes (WSU).

    This weekend Stanford and UCLA open conference play, Oregon travels to Knoxville, and the USC Trojans look to shore up their defense against Virginia.

    Here is a look at 14 Pac-10 players primed for big games during Week 2 of the college football season.

Cameron Marshall, Arizona State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Northern Arizona at Arizona State

    September 11, 2010: 10:00 pm ET

    The Sun Devils scheduled possibly the easiest two games nationally to open the 2010 season. After dismantling Portland State 54-9 last week, they now welcome Northern Arizona to Tempe for another potential Sun Devil blowout victory.

    The offense totaled over 550 yards against the Vikings, with 242 of that on the ground. Possibly the most impressive statistic was Marshall's 104 yards on four carries with three touchdowns. Prepping for next week's contest with Wisconsin, look for Dennis Erickson to run the ball often and ride the feet of Marshall.

    The Sun Devil running back will gain over 150 yards and find the end zone at least two times.

Shane Vereen, California

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Colorado at California

    September 11, 2010: 3:30 pm ET

    The Golden Bear running back was productive with limited touches against UC Davis last weekend. Vereen totaled 67 yards rushing on 14 carries with two touchdowns. He also added two receptions for 28 yards and one receiving touchdown.

    The Buffaloes dominated rival Colorado State 24-3 last Saturday, and the balanced Golden Bear offense will provide a stiffer defensive test. The non-explosive Colorado offense will allow California to take control of the game and ride the feet of Vereen to victory.

    Vereen will top 125 yards rushing against the Colorado defense this Saturday.

John Boyett, Oregon

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Oregon at Tennessee

    September 11, 2010: 7:00 pm ET

    The sophomore safety wasn't much of a factor in the Duck victory over New Mexico a week ago.

    Boyett will be instrumental in leading the secondary, supporting the defensive line, and keeping an eye on Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms.

    The Vols defeated UT-Martin 50-0 last Saturday and will look to keep their offensive momentum in full swing.

    Boyett will record around eight to 10 tackles and one takeaway against the Vols.

Devon Kennard, Malcolm Smith, and Chris Galippo, Southern California

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Virginia at Southern California

    September 11, 2010: 10:30 pm ET

    Since the Trojans defeated Hawaii last Thursday, the bloggers and writers continue to question the 2010 version of USC's defense. The Warriors hung 36 points on a once proud defense. Welcoming Virginia to Los Angeles is a great way to prove critics wrong.

    The Cavaliers defeated Richmond during Week 1 34-13 and gained nearly 500 yards on offense.

    Galippo, Smith, and Kennard are primed to lead the Trojan defense, make big plays, and tackle from sideline to sideline.

    At home against Virginia, the three Trojan linebackers will account for two takeaways, record at least 22 combined tackles, and three tackles for loss.

David Paulson, Oregon

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Oregon at Tennessee

    September 11, 2010: 7:00 pm ET

    In his first collegiate start replacing Ed Dickson, the Oregon tight end caught two passes for 42 yards and one touchdown last Saturday against New Mexico. Chip Kelly is taking Darron Thomas into SEC territory for his first road start and will use short passing routes early to build the confidence of Thomas.

    The Vol defense will key in on Jeffrey Maehl and the explosive stable of Oregon running backs. Paulson runs great routes, has steady hands, and is surprisingly athletic.

    Look for Paulson to catch at least five passes and add another touchdown to his 2010 season statistics.

Nic Grigsby, Greg Nwoko, and Keola Antolin, Arizona

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Citadel at Arizona: 10:00 pm ET

    September 11, 2010

    After Arizona's drubbing of Toledo in Week 1, don't expect the Citadel to provided an increased level of competition for the Wildcats. Quarterback Nick Foles was solid last Thursday, completing 32 of 37 passes for 360 yards.

    While Foles may produce early in the game, once the Wildcats take a solid lead, look for the running game to take full effect. Grigsby ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns against the Rockets, while Antolin and Nwoko combined for another 42 on the ground.

    Look for the three Arizona running backs to combine for over 250 yards on the ground this Saturday in Tucson.

Tyler Gaffney and Usua Amanam, Stanford

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Stanford at UCLA

    September 11, 2010: 10:30 ET

    Together they aren't comparable to former Cardinal Toby Gerhart, but look for Jim Harbaugh to attack the Bruin defense on the ground this Saturday. Against Sacramento State last week, Gaffney and Amanam combined for 83 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown.

    Led by stud safety Rahim Moore, the UCLA secondary will make sure that Andrew Luck doesn't repeat his 316-yard, five-touchdown performance from Week 1. The absence of Brian Price and the mediocre play of Bruin linebackers should make Rick Neuheisel a little nervous after the loss to Kansas State.

    The Stanford coaching staff surely made note of Kansas State running wild over the Bruin defense in Manhattan. The Stanford running game must produce yards on the ground in order to open up the passing game for Luck and company.

    Look for Gaffney and Amanam to combine for over 150 yards on the ground this Saturday in Pasadena.

Chris Polk, Washington

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Syracuse at Washington

    September 11, 2010: 7:00 pm ET

    After a disappointing 23-17 loss to BYU, expect Jake Locker and company to score early and often against Syracuse in Seattle this Saturday. Against the Cougars, running back Chris Polk was productive, averaging nearly six yards per carry in his 92-yard rushing performance.

    The Orange started the 2010 season strong with a 29-3 defeat over Akron last week. Now Syracuse must travel across the country and face a talented team that is still grumbling after another road loss.

    Polk will total over 125 yards rushing while pitching in at least two touchdowns on the ground this Saturday.

Jeff Tuel, Washington State

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Montana State at Washington State

    September 11, 2010: 7:00 pm ET

    The Cougars head home to meet Montana State in the perfect remedy game following another blowout defeat.

    Jeff Tuel and company will easily exceed the 324-yard offensive performance of last week in Stillwater. The Cougar quarterback threw for 212 yards against Oklahoma State and will thrive with a home crowd and a lesser opponent.

    The Bobcats walloped Fort Lewis 59-10 a week ago and could hang with the Pac-10 team for most of the game.

    Regardless of the outcome, look for Tuel to surpass 300 yards passing and throw at least three touchdowns.

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