College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2015

College Football Picks: Week 3 Predictions for Every Game

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    A wild and wacky second week of the 2015 college football season produced only a few upsets but also plenty of games that went down to the wire, leaving us on the edge of our seats until the final whistle. Not bad for a slate that, on paper at least, didn't look too promising.

    What's in store for this weekend looks pretty darn good, too.

    Conference play is almost fully upon us, and there are league games on tap in seven of the 10 FBS conferences. Six of those games involve ranked teams, including two of the four games that pit ranked foes against each other.

    There are also another 17 games featuring FCS schools. That group went 0-25 against the upper level last week, but one of them (Jacksonville State) nearly pulled off the upset of the year by going to overtime with Auburn before losing.

    All in all, it's a quality lineup, and we've made a prediction for all 69 matchups.

    Check out our picks for Week 3's games, then give us your selections in the comments section.

    Note: Rankings used are from the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.

    Last week: 60-16 (.789)

    Season: 136-25 (.845)

Savannah State at Akron

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    Nick Cammett-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Savannah State (0-1) was off last week after opening the year with a 65-13 loss at Colorado State. The Tigers have lost 22 straight games and are winless in eight tries against FBS schools.

    Akron (0-2) has scored 10 points in two games, and its 168 yards per contest are last in FBS after two weeks. The Zips have faced a pretty tough slate to this point, opening at Oklahoma and then hosting a Pittsburgh team anxious to avenge a surprise home loss to Akron in 2014, so the results weren't that surprising.

    Savannah State is possibly the worst team in Division I football, having been outscored 273-29 by its last four FBS opponents. Akron should no longer be winless after this one.

    Prediction: Akron 45, Savannah State 17

    FINAL: Akron 52, Savannah State 9

South Florida at Maryland

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    G Fiume/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: Wes Brown threw two touchdown passes to Marcus Leak in Maryland's 24-17 win at South Florida last September.

    What to watch for

    South Florida (1-1) held its own for a good portion of its 34-14 loss at Florida State last week, but the Bulls didn't have enough offense to keep up once the Seminoles got going. Sluggish offense has plagued this team throughout Willie Taggart's two-plus seasons, as it has failed to amass 300 yards in 17 of 26 games. 

    Last year, the Bulls managed just 257 yards and 17 points at home to the Terrapins (1-1), which allowed 400-plus yards to eight of their 12 other opponents in 2014.

    Maryland's biggest problem in 2015 has been a very leaky defense, one that was scorched for 48 points and 692 yards in a home loss to Bowling Green last week. The Terps offense hasn't been much better, though, and coach Randy Edsall has benched quarterback Perry Hills in favor of Caleb Rowe, according to Josh Stirn of 247Sports

    The Terps' best weapon has been their special teams thanks to electric return man William Likely. He has already returned two punts for scores, and his 315 punt return yards put him on pace to destroy the FBS single-season record of 791 set by Vanderbilt's Lee Nailey in 1948. 

    South Florida has already punted 15 times this year, so Likely will probably get plenty of chances to pad his numbers and help Maryland get back on track. 

    Prediction: Maryland 38, South Florida 23

    FINAL: Maryland 35, South Florida 17

UNLV at Michigan

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Since taking a 20-17 lead midway through the third quarter of its opener at Northern Illinois, UNLV (0-2) has been outscored 58-13. That includes a 37-3 loss to UCLA in coach Tony Sanchez's first home game. 

    The Runnin' Rebels are allowing 535.5 yards per game and have let their opponents dictate the tempo over the last six quarters. Sanchez doesn't have much talent to work with, and after that fast start, this is being exposed. 

    Michigan (1-1) scored 35 unanswered points after falling behind 7-0 at home to Oregon State last week, giving Jim Harbaugh his first victory with the Wolverines. They held OSU to two yards over the final three quarters, while their own offense is using an old-school approach that focuses on De'Veon Smith's strong running and tight end Jake Butt's clutch receiving skills. 

    This figures to be the easiest game on Michigan's schedule, so expect a romp. 

    Prediction: Michigan 44, UNLV 14

    FINAL: Michigan 28, UNLV 7

Air Force at No. 4 Michigan State

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    Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Air Force (2-0) is averaging 411 rushing yards per game, but a big part of that production has been lost after quarterback Nate Romine tore his ACL and MCL in last week's home win over San Jose State, as reported by Brent Briggeman of the Gazette. Romine ran for 116 yards and a touchdown in that game, and without him the Falcons will need more production from junior backs D.J. Johnson and Jacobi Owens.

    Michigan State (2-0) scored a huge resume-building win over Oregon last week, the 31-28 victory fueled by hard running from Madre London and LJ Scott. The Spartans also stifled the Ducks ground game and kept their quarterback from getting loose, and they'll take a similar approach to shut down the Air Force option attack. 

    Air Force has not won against a power-conference team since downing Georgia Tech in the 2010 Independence Bowl. It was going to have a hard enough time against MSU with Romine in the fold, but without him it's next to impossible. 

    Prediction: Michigan State 41, Air Force 16

    FINAL: Michigan State 35, Air Force 21

Kent State at Minnesota

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: Minnesota opened the 2006 season with a 44-0 win over Kent State.

    What to watch for

    Kent State (1-1) made headlines during its 45-13 win over Delaware State last week when April Goss kicked an extra point to become just the second woman to score in a Division I game. It was a great moment for her and the Golden Flashes early on in what could be a rough season, one where they're picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference's East Division by the media. 

    The Flashes lost 52-3 at Illinois in their opener and have lost six straight road games as well as five in a row against power-conference teams.

    Minnesota (1-1) scored an overtime win at Colorado State last week, rallying from an early deficit behind the duo of quarterback Mitch Leidner and running back Rodney Smith. The Golden Gophers lost by six to TCU in their opener and in two games have held opponents to less than 400 yards per game. 

    The Gophers usually feast on these kind of teams, with their last regular-season loss to a non-power opponent coming in 2011. 

    Prediction: Minnesota 41, Kent State 14

    FINAL: Minnesota 10, Kent State 7

Buffalo at Florida Atlantic

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Buffalo (1-1) lost 27-14 at Penn State last week, though offensive stars Joe Licata and Anthone Taylor still had decent numbers. That quarterback/running back combination is what the Bulls have to lean on to perform this season. 

    Florida Atlantic (0-2) has allowed 91 points in two games, including 44 at home to Miami (Florida). In that game, the Owls lost quarterback Jaquez Johnson to an ankle injury, though redshirt freshman Jason Driskel showed flashes in a relief role. The younger brother of ex-Florida and current Louisiana Tech passer Jeff Driskel could make his first career start if Johnson can't go. 

    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 30, Buffalo 23

    FINAL: Buffalo 33, Florida Atlantic 15

Nevada at No. 17 Texas A&M

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: Texas A&M logged a 48-18 win over Nevada in September 1950.

    What to watch for

    Nevada (1-1) gave up 570 yards and 44 points to Arizona in a home loss last week and now sets out on a long road trip that begins in Texas and continues on to Buffalo the following Saturday. The Wolf Pack were 4-3 outside of Reno last season, but none of those games came against a team as hot as their next opponent.

    Texas A&M (2-0) is following a similar path to how it began last season, with a big opening win (at South Carolina last year, against Arizona State in Houston this year) and then a bunch of victories in its home state. Thanks to neutral-site games, the Aggies don't leave Texas until Oct. 24.

    A&M's offensive production isn't surprising, since Kevin Sumlin's teams have been juggernauts in that area since he arrived in 2012. It's how the defense has looked that's most promising, with 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in two games. 

    Prediction: Texas A&M 53, Nevada 20

    FINAL: Texas A&M 44, Nevada 27

Illinois at North Carolina

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: North Carolina earned a 34-14 win over Illinois in September 1987.

    What to watch for

    Considering the turmoil that Illinois (2-0) faced heading into the season, including the firing of coach Tim Beckman six days before the opener, to be unbeaten and have done so in such dominant fashion is quite surprising. The competition (Kent State, FCS school Western Illinois) hasn't been much to rave about, but the Fighting Illini have avoided any of the early-season hiccups they'd often had in such games under Beckman.

    Wes Lunt has looked great at quarterback, completing 67.7 percent of his throws with five touchdowns, but Illinois' defense has been even more impressive. It's allowed three points and 386 yards, forcing six turnovers along the way.

    North Carolina (1-1) got a walkover win last week against FCS North Carolina A&T, helping to wipe out the bad taste of a sloppy loss to South Carolina in the opener. The Tar Heels got a much more efficient game from quarterback Marquise Williams after he threw three interceptions in the first outing. Running back Elijah Hood is averaging 6.69 yards per carry but has only 29 rushes so far.

    Defensive improvement has been noticeable for a UNC team that was abysmal in that area last year, and further strides on defense will be key to how this season goes. It's also how the Tar Heels will bring Illinois back to earth.

    Prediction: North Carolina 34, Illinois 17

    FINAL: North Carolina 48, Illinois 14

Connecticut at No. 22 Missouri

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    Gareth Patterson/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Connecticut is 2-0 for the first time since 2008 after narrow home wins over FCS Villanova and Army, winning each by five points. The Huskies aren't doing it with anything flashy, as they average just 361 yards and 21 points per game.

    Missouri (2-0) won its 11th straight road game, a sloppy affair at Arkansas State, and some of the old problems that plagued quarterback Maty Mauk in 2014 have resurfaced. He had three touchdown passes but two interceptions and completed only 16 of 36 passes.

    The defense has remained the Tigers' strength, allowing 23 total points and 418 yards so far with 25 tackles for loss. Look for some nice stat-padding from that unit against a UConn offense that doesn't have the weapons to win this game. 

    Prediction: Missouri 33, Connecticut 13

    FINAL: Missouri 9, Connecticut 6

Wake Forest at Army

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: John Wolford threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns in Wake Forest's 24-21 home win over Army last September.

    What to watch for

    Wake Forest (1-1) led Syracuse at halftime but was shut out in the second half of that ACC opener. The Demon Deacons should have just booked some rooms in upstate New York instead of coming back to campus, since West Point is only 220 miles from where they last played.

    Quarterback John Wolford has already thrown for 696 yards and four touchdowns in two games, completing 69.4 percent of his passes, but his three interceptions at Syracuse did him and Wake in.

    Army (0-2) lost at home to FCS Fordham and at Connecticut by a combined seven points. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw has looked very good running the ball but struggles when he has to pass, and poor defense has caused the Black Knights to play from behind too much already.

    Wake should have won last week but will redeem itself this time around. 

    Prediction: Wake Forest 26, Army 21

    FINAL: Wake Forest 17, Army 14

Tulsa at No. 16 Oklahoma

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; noon ET

    Last meeting: Trevor Knight threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in Oklahoma's 52-7 win at Tulsa last September.

    What to watch for

    Tulsa is 2-0 for the first time since 2009, and after playing not much defense for six quarters to start this season, it dug in and slowed New Mexico's option run game in the second half of a road win last week. Combined with an electric offense that new coach Phil Montgomery has churning out 609 yards per game, the Golden Hurricane look vastly improved from last year's 2-10 team. 

    But there's a difference between playing teams from the bottom half of Conference USA (Florida Atlantic) and the Mountain West (New Mexico) and playing in-state power Oklahoma (2-0).

    The Sooners scored a big double-overtime win at Tennessee, looking horrible for three-plus quarters and then unstoppable in almost the blink of an eye. Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and ran for another on Oklahoma's final four drives on offense, which paired up with a defense that shut down Tennessee's offense after a 17-0 start. 

    Oklahoma has won the last eight games in this series by an average of 38.3 points, with three shutouts. Tulsa won't get blanked, but it also won't get close. 

    Prediction: Oklahoma 54, Tulsa 19

    FINAL: Oklahoma 52, Tulsa 38

Central Michigan at Syracuse

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    Nick Lisi/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Terrel Hunt ran for three touchdowns and threw a TD pass in Syracuse's 40-3 win at Central Michigan last September.

    What to watch for

    Central Michigan (1-1) scored a 31-10 home win over Monmouth last week thanks to 328 passing yards and three touchdowns from Cooper Rush. He's completing 68.8 percent of his passes this year, but the Chippewas need a run game to be more balanced on offense. Through two games, they've gained 152 yards on the ground and averaged 2.45 yards per carry. 

    Syracuse (2-0) is halfway through a season-opening four-game homestand that gets increasingly tougher each week. The Orange have beaten Rhode Island and Wake Forest and host LSU next week, and a win here would make for the program's first 3-0 start since 1991.

    Defense has paced Syracuse to this point, particularly against the run, as it has yielded only 50 rushing yards in two games. It's also forced seven turnovers, returning two interceptions for touchdowns. 

    Prediction: Syracuse 24, Central Michigan 14

    FINAL: Syracuse 30, Central Michigan 27 (OT)

No. 23 Northwestern at Duke

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    Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Tyrell Sutton's two rushing touchdowns helped Northwestern post a 24-20 win at Duke in September 2008.

    What to watch for

    Northwestern (2-0) is ranked for the first time since October 2013, when it was unbeaten and set to host Ohio State before losing 14 of its next 20 games. This year, though, the Wildcats have held their first two opponents to six total points and 378 yards, while their offense has avoided making mistakes.

    Duke (2-0) gave up a touchdown at Tulane in its opener, but that's been it, and at 228.5 yards allowed per game the Blue Devils rank seventh in FBS. The defense could have done it all on its own to this point, but that unit hasn't had to, because Thomas Sirk has been masterful so far with 758 total yards and six total touchdowns.

    Because it has been able to produce more offensively and is at home for this one, Duke has a distinct advantage in this game. Duke hasn't won a nonconference game against a ranked team since 1971, as noted by Jeff Gravley of WRAL, a streak it is primed to end. 

    Prediction: Duke 29, Northwestern 20

    FINAL: Northwestern 19, Duke 10

Georgia State at No. 12 Oregon

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    Ryan Kang/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Georgia State (1-1) claimed its first road win since moving to FBS in 2013, as well as its first victory over an FBS program in that span, winning 34-32 at New Mexico State last week to open its Sun Belt Conference schedule. The Panthers are now 2-24 since moving up from the FCS ranks. 

    Oregon (1-1) lost 31-28 at Michigan State, and if not for some mistakes by quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. on the final drive, it probably would have pulled out the victory. Adams overthrew a wide-open receiver sprinting toward the end zone, then took a sack to knock the Ducks out of field-goal range in the final seconds. 

    It's since been revealed that Adams might have struggled because of a broken finger on his throwing hand suffered late in Oregon's first game against Eastern Washington, according to Aaron Fentress of Comcast SportsNet Northwest

    Adams could just hand off to Royce Freeman all game on Saturday, and Oregon would still win easily. 

    Prediction: Oregon 55, Georgia State 16

    FINAL: Oregon 61, Georgia State 28

Southeastern Louisiana at Ohio

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Southeastern Louisiana (2-0) is ranked 17th in the FCS Coaches Poll after its 28-17 win over Division II Florida Tech. The Lions average 302.5 rushing yards per game but are 5-19 all-time against FBS teams, with their last win coming in 1981.

    Ohio (2-0) is off to its best start since opening the 2012 season with seven straight wins after knocking off Marshall at home last week. The Bobcats have rotated quarterbacks J.D. Sprague and Derrius Vick quite effectively so far, though each got hurt against Marshall and neither may be available on Saturday.

    That will put the onus on Ohio's defense, which was key against the Thundering Herd and will be tested by SE Louisiana's run game. 

    Prediction: Ohio 27, Southeastern Louisiana 20

    FINAL: Ohio 35, Southeastern Louisiana 14

Rice at North Texas

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    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 2:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ryan Pollard's 60-yard interception return touchdown helped Rice secure a 41-21 home win over North Texas in October in Conference USA play.

    What to watch for

    Rice (1-1) lost 42-28 at Texas but racked up 462 yards and ran 96 plays, operating at the pace the Owls want to this season with quarterback Driphus Jackson in his second full year as starter. He's spearheading a run game that's averaging 314.5 yards per game and has scored nine touchdowns in two games. 

    North Texas (0-1) lost its opener at SMU last week, only gaining 240 yards in the process. The Mean Green have lost seven straight road games but were 4-2 at home last season.

    Jackson figures to be able to run and throw at will in this one, similar to what SMU's Matt Davis did to North Texas last week, and thus give Rice an early boost in Conference USA's West Division. 

    Prediction: Rice 31, North Texas 20

    FINAL: Rice 38, North Texas 24

Temple at Massachusetts

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Temple (2-0) is trying to open 3-0 for the first time since 2010, and so far it's done so with a surprisingly strong run game paced by workhorse Jahad Thomas. The junior has 328 yards on 55 carries, including a 193-yard effort in last week's win at Cincinnati to open American Athletic Conference play. 

    Thomas also returned a kickoff for a touchdown in that game, while the Owls defense has 11 sacks with six takeaways so far.

    Massachusetts (0-1) lost 48-14 at Colorado to open the season last week, giving up 558 yards including 390 on the ground. Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel only threw for 225 yards, his lowest output since last September. 

    The combination of Temple's strength and Massachusetts' weakness isn't a good formula for the Minutemen in their home opener. 

    Prediction: Temple 40, Massachusetts 23

    FINAL: Temple 25, Massachusetts 23

Ball State at Eastern Michigan

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    Blaine McCartney/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Jack Milas accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in Ball State's 45-30 home win over Eastern Michigan in November in Mid-American Conference play.

    What to watch for

    Ball State (1-1) lost 56-23 at Texas A&M last week, a game it didn't have much chance of winning after it had allowed FCS school VMI to gain 547 yards in its opener. The Cardinals yielded only 503 yards to A&M, though, and the run game has looked good so far, with James Gilbert and Darian Green combining for 301 yards and seven touchdowns. 

    Eastern Michigan (1-1) achieved a major milestone last week with its 48-29 win at Wyoming. According to Alex Alvarado of SB Nation, that was the Eagles' first road win over a nonconference opponent since 1988. 

    The Eagles have scored 82 points and tallied 950 yards in two games, but they've also given up 875 yards and 67 points, so expect a lot of wild games this season.

    There will be points aplenty at Eastern Michigan's Rynearson Stadium, which has gray turf and is known as The Factory. 

    Prediction: Eastern Michigan 47, Ball State 42

    FINAL: Ball State 28, Eastern Michigan 17

Memphis at Bowling Green

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Bowling Green earned a 52-35 win over Memphis to win the 2004 GMAC Bowl.

    What to watch for

    With Boise State losing at BYU last week, the race to be the non-power team that gets an invitation to a New Year's Six bowl is wide-open. And while both Bowling Green's and Memphis' first goal would be to win their respective conferences, claiming a victory in this game would go a long way toward helping their chances of getting that major bowl bid.

    Each team is coming off a road win over a power-conference opponent, with Memphis blowing out listless Kansas and Bowling Green overwhelming Maryland in the second half. Memphis scored 55 points and racked up 651 yards, while Bowling Green gained 692 yards and scored 42 of its 48 points in the final two quarters.

    Two of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country will square off, with Memphis junior Paxton Lynch ranking fourth in the nation in passer rating and Bowling Green senior Matt Johnson having thrown for an FBS-best 915 yards with eight touchdowns. 

    The difference, though, is that Memphis has managed to fare well defensively while putting up big numbers on offense, while Bowling Green has allowed 86 points and 945 yards, 555 of those on the ground. 

    Memphis is on a nine-game winning streak, but coach Justin Fuente admitted that Bowling Green makes for "a pretty significant step up in competition" via Matt Tait of the Lawrence Journal-World

    Last team to score wins. 

    Prediction: Bowling Green 40, Memphis 36

    FINAL: Memphis 44, Bowling Green 41

Louisiana Tech at Kansas State

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kansas State posted a 40-7 win over Louisiana Tech in November 2001.

    What to watch for

    Louisiana Tech (1-1) lost a 41-38 thriller at Western Kentucky to open Conference USA play last week, despite 357 passing yards from Florida transfer Jeff Driskel and 209 all-purpose yards from running back Kenneth Dixon. Dixon has scored 65 touchdowns in his career, tied for ninth-most in FBS history.

    Kansas State (2-0) has allowed just three points this season, which came on a long field goal during its 30-3 win at UTSA last week. The Wildcats are giving up 247.5 yards per game and are holding teams to 1.61 yards per carry, which is taking all of the pressure off their inexperienced offense.

    Joe Hubener made his first start at quarterback last week and had 301 yards of total offense, more than enough to make for a successful performance. 

    Driskel and Dixon are better than anyone K-State has faced so far, and they'll do some damage, but the Wildcats will move to 3-0 for the fifth time in six seasons. 

    Prediction: Kansas State 31, Louisiana Tech 20

    FINAL: Kansas State 39, Louisiana Tech 33 (3 OT)

Troy at No. 24 Wisconsin

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Troy (1-1) gave new coach Neal Brown his first win with a 28-point home victory over FCS Charleston Southern last week, with the Trojans scoring five touchdowns on only 56 offensive plays. The efficient attack is fueled by quarterback Brandon Silvers' accuracy, as he's completed 70.5 percent of his throws this season. 

    Wisconsin (1-1) shut out Miami (Ohio) at home last week, and with Corey Clement unavailable because of a groin injury that limited him in the opener, the Badgers turned to Dare Ogunbowale and Taiwan Deal to run the ball. They also received solid quarterback play for the second game in a row from senior Joel Stave, who has five touchdown passes so far this season after throwing only nine in 2014.

    Not counting the 2011 Rose Bowl against unbeaten TCU, Wisconsin hasn't lost to a non-power team since falling at home to UNLV in 2003. 

    Prediction: Wisconsin 46, Troy 13

    FINAL: Wisconsin 28, Troy 3

Northern Illinois at No. 1 Ohio State

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ohio State claimed a 35-12 home win over Northern Illinois to open the 2006 season.

    What to watch for

    In winning 59 games and making five straight appearances in the Mid-American Conference title game since 2010, Northern Illinois (2-0) has taken on all comers and made some notable conquests. The Huskies won at Northwestern last year, took down Iowa and Purdue in 2013 and also have wins over Kansas and Minnesota during that run.

    Ohio State (2-0) presents a far bigger challenge, though, akin to when Northern Illinois busted into the BCS and earned a trip to the Orange Bowl after the 2012 season, only to get run over by Florida State. 

    Quarterback Drew Hare has thrown for 718 yards and six touchdowns on 78.1 percent passing so far, but he's not had to do so against the kind of defenders the Buckeyes have. He'll put up some numbers, but the Huskies will be likely playing from behind a lot and might have to force things.

    That's assuming OSU doesn't sleepwalk through the start of this one like it did in its 38-0 win over Hawaii last week. Still recovering from the big win at Virginia Tech a few days earlier, the Buckeyes were very off balance early and had only 17 points in three quarters. Cardale Jones will still be the starter at quarterback, but expect more snaps for J.T. Barrett as well as a far more concentrated effort to get the ball to Ezekiel Elliott.

    Prediction: Ohio State 49, Northern Illinois 21

    FINAL: Ohio State 20, Northern Illinois 13

Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio)

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    Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Gunner Kiel threw four touchdown passes, giving him 10 in his first two games, in Cincinnati's 31-24 home win over Miami last September.

    What to watch for

    The Victory Bell is up for grabs in the 120th meeting between these Southwest Ohio schools, though lately the series has been one-sided toward Cincinnati. The Bearcats have nine straight wins. 

    Cincinnati (1-1) lost at home to Temple last week, falling behind early in the American Athletic Conference East Division standings. Kiel threw for 427 yards but was intercepted four times, negating a strong performance from the defense, which yielded less than 300 total yards. 

    Miami (1-1) was blanked 58-0 at Wisconsin, gaining only 157 yards in the process. The Redhawks have lost 27 of their last 30 games dating back to November 2012. 

    Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Miami 17

    FINAL: Cincinnati 37, Miami 33

East Carolina at Navy

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    Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Navy had 563 total yards in a 56-28 win at East Carolina in October 2012.

    What to watch for

    East Carolina (1-1) lost 31-24 at Florida, getting 333 passing yards and three touchdowns from Blake Kemp. The Pirates' last two losses have been to the Gators, including a 28-20 defeat in January's Birmingham Bowl.

    Navy (1-0) was off last week after opening its season with a home win over Colgate. Senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds had one of the Midshipmen's five rushing touchdowns in that game, giving him 65 for his career. He ranks sixth in FBS history, 12 behind all-time leader Montee Ball of Wisconsin. 

    This is Navy's first league game, as it ends decades of independence this year to join the American Athletic Conference. It will debut in style.

    Prediction: Navy 37, East Carolina 27

    FINAL: Navy 45, East Carolina 21

Norfolk State at Marshall

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    Chris Tilley/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Norfolk State (0-2) wraps up its hellacious start to the season with a third straight game at an FBS team. The Spartans lost 24-10 at rival Old Dominion last week after opening with a 63-13 loss at Rutgers, and they're 0-8 all-time against the upper division.

    Marshall (1-1) is coming off its lowest point total and yardage output in four years, scoring only 10 points and gaining 263 yards in a loss at Ohio. The Thundering Herd haven't gotten the production from the passing game under Michael Birdsong that they would have hoped, which has prevented bruising running back Devon Johnson from being as impactful.

    Expect Marshall's offense to get a major boost by going up against a beaten-up Norfolk State team that's ready to be done with its FBS road tour.

    Prediction: Marshall 45, Norfolk State 14

    FINAL: Marshall 45, Norfolk State 7

UTSA at No. 25 Oklahoma State

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    BRODY SCHMIDT/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Daxx Garman threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns and Desmond Roland ran for two scores in Oklahoma State's 43-13 home win over UTSA last September.

    What to watch for

    UTSA (0-2) lost 30-3 at home to Kansas State, dropping to 0-6 against power-conference teams since moving up to FBS in 2012. The Roadrunners gained more than 500 yards in their season-opening loss at Arizona but had only 229 their last time out.

    Oklahoma State (2-0) breezed to a 32-8 home win over Central Arkansas last week behind 401 passing yards from Mason Rudolph. Since debuting last November in a loss at Baylor, Rudolph has thrown for 1,520 yards with nine touchdowns in less than five games. 

    The Cowboys have allowed only 21 points and 563 yards in two games and should have another chance to post a solid defensive outing before jumping into Big 12 play. 

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 37, UTSA 15

    FINAL: Oklahoma State 69, UTSA 14

William & Mary at Virginia

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kevin Parks ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns in Virginia's season-opening 40-3 win over William & Mary in September 2011.

    What to watch for

    William & Mary (1-0) was off last week after opening the 2015 season with a 34-7 win at Lafayette. The Tribe are 5-40 all-time against FBS competition, with their most recent victory coming in 2009 at Virginia.

    Virginia (0-2) hasn't opened with two losses since 2009—when it began 0-3 and finished 3-9, ultimately firing Al Groh and hiring current coach Mike London—but it's also been a while since the Cavaliers started with such a tough slate. First they had to serve as UCLA freshman quarterback Josh Rosen's first victims on the road, and then they gave up a touchdown with 12 seconds left in a 34-27 home loss to Notre Dame.

    It gets tougher later on, with games coming up against Boise State and then the ACC slate, and this could be Virginia's only shot at a win for a while. Ranked 110th in FBS in rushing yards per game, the Cavaliers should look to focus on developing their run game. 

    Prediction: Virginia 27, William & Mary 13

    FINAL: Virginia 35, William & Mary 29

Virginia Tech at Purdue

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    Cory Seward/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Virginia Tech (1-1) cruised to a 42-3 home win over Furman last week, a game that was perfect for Brenden Motley to make his first career start at quarterback. Motley had 271 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns, looking far better than when he had to sub in for an injured Michael Brewer in the second half against Ohio State. 

    Tech's defense also had a chance to regain confidence after giving up 572 yards on 56 plays to Ohio State, and it did, holding Furman to 254 yards and matching its OSU game takeaway output with three. 

    Purdue (1-1) gained 540 yards in a 38-14 win over Indiana State last week, with Austin Appleby throwing four touchdown passes. That was much better than the game before, when he was picked off four times by Marshall and saw two of those interceptions returned for scores.

    The Boilermakers have shown marked improvement so far this year, and being able to knock off a solid ACC team would bolster their push for a return to respectability after going 4-20 in the previous two seasons.

    Prediction: Purdue 28, Virginia Tech 23

    FINAL: Virginia Tech 51, Purdue 24

No. 14 Georgia Tech at No. 8 Notre Dame

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Tashard Choice ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia Tech's 33-3 win at Notre Dame in September 2007.

    What to watch for

    Georgia Tech (2-0) has absolutely steamrolled its first two opponents, overwhelming them with a run game that has produced FBS bests in yards (915), touchdowns (15) and yards per carry (8.47). Ten different players have scored on the ground, and it seems like no matter whom Justin Thomas hands off to (or if he keeps it himself), the Yellow Jackets are successful.

    But can Tech do so against a defense the caliber of Notre Dame? That depends on whether the Fighting Irish bring forth the effort that stifled Texas in the opener or the one that gave up two rushing TDs and looked vulnerable at times in last week's narrow win at Virginia.

    The last time Notre Dame played an option team, last year against Navy, it allowed 336 yards and three TDs. That was part of a late-season tailspin in which it gave up 251 rushing yards per game with 14 scores over a six-game span.

    The Notre Dame defense has had fewer season-ending injuries since the summer, but not by much. Its offense must now turn to a running back (C.J. Prosise) who was cross-trained at the position this spring after starting his career as a receiver, and a quarterback (redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer) who has been thrust into the spotlight after starter Malik Zaire went down with a broken ankle last week.

    Kizer's game-winning TD pass to Will Fuller with 12 seconds left against Virginia was a beautiful one, and it's a sign he has the talent to be a star. But he's going to lose his first start, as the Irish will try to force things too much on offense to offset an inability to slow down Georgia Tech's running game. 

    Prediction: Georgia Tech 34, Notre Dame 27

    FINAL: Notre Dame 30, Georgia Tech 22

Nebraska at Miami (Florida)

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ameer Abdullah ran for 229 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a three-yard TD pass in Nebraska's 41-31 home win over Miami last September.

    What to watch for

    Nebraska (1-1) temporarily righted the ship with a blowout home win over South Alabama last week, but it will be hard to forget how the previous outing went: a last-second loss to BYU on a Hail Mary pass, spoiling Mike Riley's debut as coach and ending a 29-year streak of winning season openers.

    Now comes the first road game of the year, and the Cornhuskers must face a team that's playing with a lot of confidence right now.

    Miami (2-0) avoided a potentially dangerous situation by wearing down Florida Atlantic on the road last week, doing so thanks to a run game that so far is averaging 210.5 yards per game with seven touchdowns. This has prevented quarterback Brad Kaaya from having to carry the offense, and he's responded by putting up good numbers.

    The Hurricanes were a little porous in defending the run last time out, which could make for a big night for Nebraska's Terrell Newby. He had 198 rushing yards and three total TDs against South Alabama.

    This would be a statement win for both teams, and particularly for their coaches. Riley is trying to prove his debut was an exception and not the rule, while Miami's Al Golden needs every victory he can claim to avoid losing his job.

    Prediction: Miami 38, Nebraska 28

    FINAL: Miami 36, Nebraska 33 (OT)

No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 LSU

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Nick Marshall had 326 yards of total offense and accounted for four touchdowns in Auburn's 41-7 home win over LSU in October in SEC play.

    What to watch for

    Auburn (2-0) heads into its SEC and road opener lucky to be unbeaten after FCS Jacksonville State handed it the game last week. Auburn lost a fumble in the red zone and looked dead to rights, only to see its opponent become conservative and thus allow Auburn to force OT and then win in extra time.

    It can ill afford to do so in Death Valley, where it hasn't won since 1999. 

    LSU (1-0, 1-0) wasn't pretty but was good enough to win at Mississippi State last Saturday. It did so for two reasons: Leonard Fournette carried the offense, and the defense stifled Dak Prescott's mobility and forced him to throw far more than he'd like.

    If LSU can turn Auburn into a one-dimensional team that needs to throw a lot, this could be a blowout, considering how Jeremy Johnson has looked so far. The much-hyped junior has been picked off five times on 53 pass attempts, and many of those interceptions have been right to the defender.

    Auburn has yielded 399 rushing yards in two games, which doesn't bode well when going up against Fournette. He's coming off a career-best performance of 159 yards and three scores and will continue to be LSU's offensive focal point. 

    Prediction: LSU 33, Auburn 21

    FINAL: LSU 45, Auburn 21

Northwestern State at Mississippi State

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Northwestern State (0-2) lost 44-17 last week at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Demons are 17-48 all-time against FBS competition, including a win last year at Louisiana Tech.

    Mississippi State (1-1) wasn't able to come back from a 21-6 hole, losing by two points at home to LSU after a late delay-of-game penalty forced it to attempt (and miss) a 52-yard field goal at the buzzer. The Bulldogs' run game was nonexistent last time out, and that included quarterback Dak Prescott, who couldn't get anything going on the ground but still put up big passing numbers. 

    The Bulldogs need to be as balanced as possible so as not to let defenses key in on Prescott, so watch for Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert to get a lot of touches to build their confidence leading into consecutive SEC road games against Auburn and Texas A&M. 

    Prediction: Mississippi State 56, Northwestern State 14

    FINAL: Mississippi State 62, Northwestern State 13

Austin Peay at Vanderbilt

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Austyn Carta-Samuels threw for 223 yards and a touchdown and added two rushing scores in Vanderbilt's 38-3 home win over Austin Peay in September 2013.

    What to watch for

    Austin Peay (0-2) lost 52-6 last week at Southern Miss for its 13th defeat in the last 14 games. The Governors are 2-21 all-time against FBS competition.

    Vanderbilt (0-2) has lost five straight, and its offense is looking pretty lethargic. The Commodores have scored 26 points in two games despite decent yardage numbers, mostly because turnovers have thwarted their progress. Six giveaways include five interceptions from Johnny McCrary, who has completed only 50 percent of his passes. 

    A quicker tempo could be Vandy's answer. According to Adam Sparks of the Tennessean, "Vanderbilt has produced nine drives of at least 40 yards each, and six of those spent less than three minutes of game clock. Both of its touchdowns [against Georgia] were scored on those hurry-up possessions."

    This is a good game to test this theory, since Austin Peay just got rolled by a bad Southern Miss team and shouldn't pose much of a threat. 

    Prediction: Vanderbilt 41, Austin Peay 19

    FINAL: Vanderbilt 47, Austin Peay 7

Western Kentucky at Indiana

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    Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ben Chappell threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in Indiana's 38-21 win over Western Kentucky in September 2010.

    What to watch for

    Western Kentucky (2-0) already has a road win over one power team, opening with a 14-12 victory at Vanderbilt, and after edging Louisiana Tech 41-38 at home it has an early boost in its quest to win Conference USA's East Division. A second triumph against a power program could put the Hilltoppers in great position to contend for the Group of Five spot in a major bowl game this winter.

    Brandon Doughty has thrown for 650 yards but just two touchdowns on 68 pass attempts this season, Now that top running back Leon Allen is done for the year after injuring his knee against Louisiana Tech, the offense figures to skew even more toward the air attack. 

    That's not good news for Indiana (2-0), which has already yielded 694 passing yards and seven TDs to an FCS school (Southern Illinois) and Florida International. The Hoosiers have been outgained 1,065-1,034 this season but are still 2-0 for the first time since 2012. 

    Western Kentucky has already shown it can win on the road and come out ahead in both low- and high-scoring games. Indiana is the team with much more to lose, since coach Kevin Wilson needs wins to keep his job. 

    Prediction: Western Kentucky 48, Indiana 40

    FINAL: Indiana 38, Western Kentucky 35

Wofford at Idaho

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Wofford (1-1) knocked off Tennessee Tech 34-14 last week after opening the year with a 49-10 loss at Clemson. The Terriers, who are averaging 283.5 rushing yards per game, are 1-19 all-time against FBS competition.

    Idaho (0-2) was overwhelmed at USC last week, but that wasn't very surprising for a team that has now lost 23 straight road games. More troubling was that the Vandals didn't have their best player available in receiver Dezmon Epps, who on Sept. 11 was identified as being involved in an on-campus shoplifting incident, as reported by the Spokesman-Review.

    The 5'10", 175-pound senior had 15 catches for 160 yards in Idaho's opening loss to Ohio, and without him Idaho has no weapons. Michael-Shawn Dugar of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported that Epps is expected to play on Saturday, which is possibly the only thing keeping the Vandals from losing to an FCS team for the third time in the last four years.

    Prediction: Idaho 37, Wofford 31

    FINAL: Idaho 41, Wofford 38

Utah State at Washington

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Washington posted a 53-12 win over Utah State in October 1998.

    What to watch for

    Utah State (1-1) has scored 26 points in two games, winning when it scored 12 (against Southern Utah) and losing when it managed a higher total at Utah. Now the Aggies leave the Beehive State for the first time, hoping all of the duct tape keeping injury-prone quarterback Chuckie Keeton together doesn't unravel.

    Keeton, who has played in only 11 of Utah State's last 28 games since the start of 2013, limped through much of the last game after taking a hit to both knees early on and yet still managed his first game with 300 or more yards of total offense since September 2013. 

    Washington (1-1) shut out Sacramento State in its home opener and in two games has allowed only 16 points. After a woeful offensive performance in the loss to Boise State, the Huskies had 544 yards last time out and saw freshman quarterback Jake Browning throw for 326 yards and two touchdowns on 70.8 percent passing.

    The 146 rushing yards and three TDs from freshman Myles Gaskin were also big, as he'll give Washington the balance that it needs once Pac-12 play starts. 

    Utah State will give Washington a fight and may lead for part of the second half, but Washington looks like it's turned a corner. 

    Prediction: Washington 27, Utah State 19

    FINAL: Washington 31, Utah State 17

South Carolina at No. 7 Georgia

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    Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Dylan Thompson threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns in South Carolina's 38-35 home win over Georgia last September in SEC play.

    What to watch for

    South Carolina (1-1, 0-1) fell behind 24-7 at halftime against Kentucky last week but battled back, scoring a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to pull within two. But then its two-point conversion try went horribly wrong, with Pharoh Cooper losing the ball and Kentucky's Denzil Ware returning it for two points in the 26-22 defeat.

    The Gamecocks also lost quarterback Connor Mitch to shoulder and hip injuries in the loss, and he's out for up to six weeks, according to's David Ching. That means Perry Orth, a former walk-on, is handling Steve Spurrier's offense for the time being. 

    Georgia's quarterback situation is only slightly less muddled, as Greyson Lambert was briefly pulled in favor of Brice Ramsey in last week's 31-14 win at Vanderbilt. Coach Mark Richt will likely stick with Lambert, though, since the Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0) don't need the QB to do much more than hand off to Nick Chubb and others.

    The Bulldogs are averaging 262 rushing yards per game, and Chubb has topped 100 yards in 10 straight games. 

    To this point, Georgia hasn't even remotely resembled the kind of team that will inexplicably lose a game it shouldn't, like in the previous two seasons. Then again, most of those defeats seemed to come out of nowhere.

    Not this time.

    Prediction: Georgia 33, South Carolina 20

    FINAL: Georgia 52, South Carolina 20

The Citadel at Georgia Southern

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    Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia Southern claimed a 28-21 home win over The Citadel in October 2013, when both teams were in the FCS Southern Conference.

    What to watch for

    The Citadel (2-0) opened Southern play with a 28-10 home win over Western Carolina last week. The Bulldogs, which lead the FCS ranks in rushing at 438 yards per game, are 6-39 all time against FBS foes.

    Georgia Southern (1-1) rebounded from a shutout loss at West Virginia to run past Western Michigan at home last week, returning to form on the ground with 413 yards and five touchdowns. And now the Eagles get back quarterback Kevin Ellison, who was suspended for the first two games by the NCAA because of academic issues.

    Favian Upshaw completed only 3-of-17 passes in Ellison's absence, and though passing isn't that big a part of Georgia Southern's option attack, it does come in handy. Ellison threw for 1,001 yards last season along with his 1,082 rushing yards, and the junior's presence will make for far better overall production.

    With two run-heavy teams facing off, this could be the quickest game on the slate for Week 3. Expect a decent amount of points, too. 

    Prediction: Georgia Southern 38, The Citadel 27

    FINAL: Georgia Southern 48, The Citadel 13

Furman at UCF

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Furman posted a 42-6 win over UCF in 1984, when UCF was playing at the Division II level.

    What to watch for

    Furman (0-2) lost, 42-3, last week at Virginia Tech, its 11th loss in the past 14 games. The Paladins have recorded some of the largest margins of victory ever against FBS teams, including by 22 points over North Carolina State in 1985 and by 25 over North Carolina in 1999, but overall, they're 5-27-1 against the upper level.

    UCF is 0-2 for the second straight year, but unlike in 2014, when it rebounded to finish with nine wins, this season has the makings of a rough one. The Knights have scored 21 points in two games, and now starting quarterback Justin Holman is out up to four weeks after injuring his throwing hand in a 31-7 loss at Stanford. 

    The Knights are second worst in the country in rushing at 38 yards per game. Furman allowed 299 rushing yards and three touchdowns to Virginia Tech last week, so expect UCF to try to exploit this area, as it hopes to avoid its first 0-3 start since going winless in 2004. 

    Prediction: UCF 30, Furman 10

    FINAL: Furman 16, UCF 15

North Carolina Central at Florida International

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    North Carolina Central (1-1) lost, 55-0, at Duke last week, making the Eagles winless in seven tries against teams from the FBS ranks.

    Florida International (1-1) led at Indiana early in the fourth quarter last week, but after quarterback Alex McGough left the game with a concussion, the offense disappeared and the defense couldn't hold on in the 36-22 loss. If he can't play, the Golden Panthers will turn to Trey Anderson, who was 3-of-10 for 34 yards in relief.

    FIU has a promising young receiver in sophomore Thomas Owens, who has 19 receptions for 244 yards and two touchdowns this season, but it also needs to get tight end Jonnu Smith back to being a top target like in 2014. This game is a good opportunity for FIU to figure things out. 

    Prediction: FIU 34, North Carolina Central 16

    FINAL: FIU 39, North Carolina Central 14

Charlotte at Middle Tennessee

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Charlotte (2-0) has started off strong in its first FBS season but now plays the real games as part of Conference USA. Beating Georgia State and Presbyterian provided the 49ers with confidence, and they're allowing less than four yards per play.

    Middle Tennessee (1-1) lost, 37-10, at Alabama last week, held to 275 yards after scoring 70 against Jackson State in its opener. Brent Stockstill only averaged 4.1 yards per pass attempt, but the son of head coach Rick Stockstill will remain at the helm of the Blue Raiders offense after showing enough mobility to avoid getting sacked by the Crimson Tide. 

    This is where Middle Tennessee's more experienced roster will give it a noticeable advantage, though don't expect Charlotte to just roll over.

    Prediction: Middle Tennessee 30, Charlotte 17

    FINAL: Middle Tennessee 73, Charlotte 14

Southern Mississippi at Texas State

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    Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Tyler Arndt's 17-yard touchdown run with 2:54 left gave Texas State a 22-15 win at Southern Miss in August 2013.

    What to watch for

    Southern Mississippi (1-1) gained 514 yards in a 52-6 home win over Austin Peay last week, getting four total TDs from quarterback Nick Mullens and the highest team rushing total (239 yards) since November 2011. It was just the fifth win in the past 38 games for the Golden Eagles.

    Texas State (1-1) put up 63 points and 649 yards against Prairie View A&M, its highest totals since last year's season opener. The Bobcats did allow 323 passing yards, though, and in two games in 2015 have allowed opponents to throw seven passes for TDs and complete 70.1 percent of them. 

    For non-power teams that hope to play a 13th game this winter during bowl season, these are the matchups that can swing a year from one side of the six-win barrier to the other. Texas State is 11-8 at home since moving to the FBS level in 2012, while Southern Mississippi is 2-17 outside Hattiesburg in that time frame. 

    Prediction: Texas State 37, Southern Mississippi 20

    FINAL: Southern Mississippi 56, Texas State 50

Murray State at Western Michigan

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    Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Jarvion Franklin ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns in Western Michigan's 45-14 home win over Murray State last September.

    What to watch for

    Murray State (1-1) lost, 57-26, at Northern Illinois last week, dropping the Racers to 3-25-2 all-time against FBS competition.

    Western Michigan (0-2) is ranked last in the FBS in rushing, at just 21.5 yards per game and 0.88 yards per carry. That's partly due to Zach Terrell being sacked nine times, but also a result of Franklin's struggles to get going, with just 81 yards and zero TDs after going for 1,551 yards and 24 scores last season as a freshman.

    Terrell has also been intercepted five times in two games with the Broncos having to throw more, and their defense has allowed 80 points and more than 600 rushing yards. 

    All facets of Western Michigan's game should improve this week, and it will need to do so now if it wants to have any shot against reigning FBS national champion Ohio State next week. 

    Prediction: Western Michigan 47, Murray State 24

    FINAL: Western Michigan 52, Murray State 20

Missouri State at Arkansas State

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    Gareth Patterson/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arkansas State notched a 28-24 win over the school known then as Southwest Missouri State in September 1998.

    What to watch for

    Missouri State (1-1) claimed a 21-13 win last week over Division II Chadron State, bouncing back from a 63-7 loss at Memphis the week before. That dropped the Bears to 1-32 against FBS competition.

    Arkansas State (0-2) has begun with losses to ranked power-conference teams but looked far better in the seven-point home setback to Missouri than at USC (a 55-6 loss) in the opener. Now, the Red Wolves get a good opportunity to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2004.

    Quarterback Fredi Knighten has completed only 41.3 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions, and he's averaging two yards per carry after going for 779 yards and 11 TDs last season. He must get on track for ASU to compete in the Sun Belt this year, and this is when he'll break loose.

    Prediction: Arkansas State 41, Missouri State 20

    FINAL: Arkansas State 70, Missouri State 7

Texas Tech at Arkansas

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    Sarah Bentham/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams combined for 357 yards and six touchdowns to help Arkansas to a 49-28 win at Texas Tech last September.

    What to watch for

    Texas Tech (2-0) has picked up right where it left off last season when it comes to explosive offense, as Patrick Mahomes is lighting it up so far. The sophomore is second in FBS with 786 passing yards and eight touchdowns, and his 857 yards of total offense is also second best in the nation. 

    Most important for him and the Red Raiders, though, is that Mahomes has just one interception. It's the team's only giveaway of the season after turning it over 28 times in 12 games a year ago. 

    That potent passing game has again enabled DeAndre Washington to pick up big yardage when he gets carries, as the senior is averaging 8.48 yards on 25 carries.

    Arkansas (1-1) is coming off a humbling 16-12 loss to Toledo last week in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Razorbacks have suddenly begun to struggle running the ball behind their massive offensive line.

    Brandon Allen has filled the void with 720 passing yards in two games, but the senior has completed only 3-of-16 passes in the red zone. And now his top receiver, Keon Hatcher, is out with a foot injury.

    Last year, Arkansas forced three turnovers and scored seven rushing TDs to overwhelm Texas Tech. Now it will have to win a shootout, which won't be easy.

    Prediction: Arkansas 40, Texas Tech 35

    FINAL: Texas Tech 35, Arkansas 24

Western Carolina at Tennessee

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Western Carolina (1-1) lost, 28-10, at The Citadel last week in its Southern Conference opener. The Catamounts lost games at South Florida and Alabama in 2014 to drop them to 0-48 against FBS opponents.

    Tennessee (1-1) blew a 17-0 lead at home against Oklahoma, falling in double overtime as its defense went from stopping the Sooners on every drive to having no ability to make a play. The Volunteers offense just sputtered throughout, with Joshua Dobbs struggling with his accuracy and when running with the ball.

    Only Jalen Hurd looked good on offense, yet Tennessee didn't turn to him enough late, which contributed to its biggest blown lead ever in Neyland Stadium. It also led to a lot of questions about just how far the Vols have come as a team and whether they can truly compete in the SEC.

    Let's put all that on hold for now, since they'll get a walkover game to build some confidence before beginning the league gauntlet.

    Prediction: Tennessee 58, Western Carolina 12

    FINAL: Tennessee 55, Western Carolina 10

North Carolina State at Old Dominion

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Shadrach Thornton had three rushing touchdowns in North Carolina State's 46-34 home win over Old Dominion last September.

    What to watch for

    North Carolina State (2-0) is coming off a 35-0 home win over Eastern Kentucky, its fifth straight victory, but the schedule this year has been far from challenging, and thus playing on the road against a team in its third season of FBS play constitutes the Wolfpack's toughest 2015 matchup to date.

    Running back Matthew Dayes has rushed for 242 yards and five touchdowns so far, letting quarterback Jacoby Brissett (84.4 percent completion rate) focus on his passing.

    Old Dominion (2-0) has reinvented itself this season on offense and is no longer a pass-heavy team as it was with quarterback Taylor Heinicke from 2011-14. Instead, it's sophomore running back Ray Lawry doing most of the work, to the tune of FBS bests in carries (59) and yards (438) along with six TDs.

    The Monarchs are hosting a power program for the first time and looking for their first win against a power school in six tries. They'll come close, but NC State has too much talent to hang with for long. 

    Prediction: North Carolina State 31, Old Dominion 24

    FINAL: North Carolina State 38, Old Dominion 14

Colorado vs. Colorado State (at Denver)

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells combined for 260 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Colorado State's 31-17 win over Colorado last August in Denver.

    What to watch for

    Colorado (1-1) ran for 390 yards and five TDs in a 48-14 home win over Massachusetts last week, its first game with more than 300 rushing yards since 2007. At the same time, receiver Nelson Spruce became the school's all-time receptions leader with 219.

    The better development was the Buffaloes' ability to slow down Massachusetts' passing game rather than allow their opponents to dictate the pace.

    Colorado State (1-1) fell short of what would have been a huge victory last week, losing in overtime to Minnesota after running back Dalyn Dawkins fumbled on the Rams' first play in the extra period. Coach Mike Bobo switched quarterbacks midway through, turning to freshman Coleman Key after sophomore Nick Stevens struggled.  

    An ankle injury kept top receiver Rashard Higgins from playing against Minnesota, and if he can't go against the Buffs, it will have a major impact on Colorado State's offense. 

    This is the 87th meeting between the rivals, but the first that doesn't kick off each team's season since 2011. With Colorado coming in on a higher note, it has the edge. 

    Prediction: Colorado 34, Colorado State 24

    FINAL: Colorado 27, Colorado State 24 (OT)

Florida at Kentucky

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Matt Jones' one-yard touchdown run in the third overtime gave Florida a 36-30 home win over Kentucky last September in SEC play. It was the Gators' 28th straight win over the Wildcats.

    What to watch for

    Florida (2-0) has managed to produce some good offensive numbers in Jim McElwain's first two games as head coach, using a tandem of quarterbacks to run an attack that's scored 92 points and gained 979 yards. Sophomore Treon Harris started the first game, then redshirt freshman Will Grier got the nod last time out against East Carolina.

    Grier has looked better, and his 182.38 passer rating is 13th in the FBS, but so far, McElwain seems intent on playing both passers.

    Kentucky (2-0, 1-0) ended one long streak last week, earning its first SEC road victory since 2009 by holding on for a 26-22 win at South Carolina. Now comes the chance to vanquish one of its oldest skids, that being the run that Florida has held over the Wildcats since 1986. 

    None of Kentucky's players were alive then, and coach Mark Stoops was a defensive back at Iowa. 

    Florida had a banged-up secondary last week, which resulted in 346 yards and three touchdowns allowed, though Vernon Hargreaves III and Keanu Neal should both be available for the trip to Lexington. The bigger concern will be slowing down Kentucky running backs Boom Williams and Jojo Kemp, who combined are averaging better than 8.8 yards per carry.

    Kentucky is home for its next four games over five weeks and can really start to make some noise. That starts with putting the Florida streak in the past.  

    Prediction: Kentucky 23, Florida 17

    FINAL: Florida 14, Kentucky 9

California at Texas

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    Michael Thomas/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Texas claimed a 21-10 win over California in the 2011 Holiday Bowl in a game that featured only 524 yards of offense.

    What to watch for

    California (2-0) is favored at Texas (1-1), according to Odds Shark, something that seemed unfathomable just two years ago when Sonny Dykes was going through a 1-11 season and the Longhorns were coming to the end of the Mack Brown era but were still rarely underdogs at home.

    But the Golden Bears have been one of the most improved teams since then, while Texas has yet to regain its footing under new coach Charlie Strong, and his team's expected strength—the defense—has given up 989 yards and 66 points so far in 2015.

    We can discount the numbers from the opening loss at Notre Dame, but last week, the Longhorns gave up 462 yards and 28 points to Rice. If not for three interceptions, a fumble-return touchdown by freshman Malik Jefferson and Daje Johnson's 85-yard punt-return score, Texas would have been in much worse trouble.

    Cal's passing game is as good as it comes, with Jared Goff tallying 630 yards and six TDs on 73.2 percent passing. The junior will become the school's all-time leader with 16 more yards, passing Troy Taylor's 8,126 yards from 1986-89. 

    "Our hands are going to be full covering the back end," Strong said, via Ryan Gorcey of "We have to be ready to go play."

    The Bears have also drastically improved their pass defense, going from dead last in 2014 at 367.2 yards per game to 171.5 per game so far this season with six picks. Neither Jerrod Heard nor Tyrone Swoopes has shown much passing acumen to this point, so Texas will struggle to exploit this area.

    A home loss to Cal, despite what the oddsmakers say, would be a step in the wrong direction for Strong's program. He's 4-3 at home with all three losses by at least 21 points, and another setback (timed with the ouster of athletic director Steve Patterson, as reported by Brian Davis and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman) wouldn't bode well for his long-term future.

    Somehow, Texas will get it done. 

    Prediction: Texas 30, California 24

    FINAL: California 45, Texas 44

Rutgers at Penn State

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    Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Rutgers came up short in its first game as a member of the Big Ten, falling 13-10 at home to Penn State last September.

    What to watch for

    Rutgers (1-1) went into the start of its first season of Big Ten play with plenty of hope and positivity, while the second go-around begins amid almost nonstop disorder.

    According to NJ Advance Media's Keith Sargeant, Coach Kyle Flood has been suspended three games by his school for alleged improper contact with a teacher over the grade of a player who's no longer on the team after he and several others were dismissed just before the 2015 opener. The Scarlet Knights easily won that game, then lost at home to a reeling Washington State team to crush any momentum.

    And Rutgers' best weapon, receiver Leonte Carroo, is suspended indefinitely for an incident outside of Rutgers' stadium after the WSU loss. Patricia Alex of the Bergen Record reported Tuesday that Carroo allegedly "slammed a woman with whom he had been romantically involved into the concrete." 

    Penn State (1-1) couldn't ask for a better opponent right now, especially with its own issues related to an offense that has turned quarterback Christian Hackenberg into a punching bag. The junior was sacked 10 times by Temple two weeks ago, and though he remained upright against Buffalo, he threw for only 128 yards and has 231 for the season. 

    Rutgers just gave up 478 passing yards and four touchdowns to WSU, recording only one sack.

    Prediction: Penn State 31, Rutgers 13

    FINAL: Penn State 28, Rutgers 3

UTEP at New Mexico State

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    John Weast/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Aaron Jones ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns in UTEP's 42-24 home win over New Mexico State last September.

    What to watch for

    Separated by fewer than 50 miles along the Rio Grande, New Mexico State and UTEP have played 92 times since 1914. UTEP has won the last six meetings, accounting for 22 percent of its victories in that time frame, while NMSU has lost at least eight other games every season in that stretch.

    In other words, this is the kind of rivalry that can make a winner's year, regardless of what else happens. 

    UTEP (0-2) has spent the entire season on the road so far, first losing by 35 at Arkansas and then by 49 at Texas Tech. NMSU (0-2) lost by 48 at Florida to open the year, then dropped a 34-32 home defeat to Georgia State in its Sun Belt opener last week.

    UTEP ranks third-worst in FBS in total defense at 582 yards allowed per game, with NMSU one slot behind at 594 per game. 

    This is a game meant only for students and alumni (and fans of betting the over). 

    Prediction: UTEP 41, New Mexico State 37

    FINAL: UTEP 50, New Mexico State 47 (OT)

Maine at Tulane

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Maine (0-1) was off last week after opening the season with a 24-3 loss at Boston College. The Bears are 3-14 against FBS opponents in their history, including a 2004 win at Mississippi State.

    Tulane (0-2) has been outscored 102-17 in losses to Duke and Georgia Tech, so the Green Wave shouldn't have any ambitions of being invited to join the ACC anytime soon. Not with an offense that has run for 96 yards in two games and a defense that is giving up 6.14 yards per carry.

    The Wave have seen only one player stand out so far, that being junior receiver Devon Breaux, who has eight catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns. If he and quarterback Tanner Lee can continue to hook up, this could end up being the focus of Tulane's attack.

    Prediction: Tulane 29, Maine 13

    FINAL: Tulane 38, Maine 7

South Alabama at San Diego State

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    South Alabama (1-1) gave up 561 yards in a 48-9 loss at Nebraska last week, its fourth straight road loss. The Jaguars have turned the ball over six times in two games and have managed just two field goals when getting into the red zone this year.

    San Diego State (1-1) lost 35-7 at California, its seventh straight loss to a power-conference team. Running back Donnel Pumphrey has yet to get going this year, averaging 3.68 yards per carry for the Aztecs after posting rates of 6.76 and 6.02 the previous two seasons. 

    This is South Alabama's first trip west of Texas since it moved to the FBS in 2012. Hopefully it will get some beach time to make the trip worthwhile. 

    Prediction: San Diego State 36, South Alabama 21

    FINAL: South Alabama 34, San Diego State 27 (OT)

Pittsburgh at Iowa

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    Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Mark Weisman scored two rushing touchdowns in Iowa's 24-20 win at Pittsburgh last September.

    What to watch for

    Pittsburgh (2-0) won 24-7 at Akron last week but only gained 307 yards. Tennessee transfer Nathan Peterman got the bulk of the snaps at quarterback over Chad Voytik, but coach Pat Narduzzi hasn't decided who will start the Panthers' second straight road game.

    If Pitt is able to play defense like it did last week, when it allowed 110 total yards, it won't matter who's running the offense. 

    Iowa (2-0) broke a fourth-quarter tie with two late TDs to win at Iowa State and reclaim the Cy-Hawk Trophy, and through two games the Hawkeyes have looked much more creative and ambitious on offense than Kirk Ferentz-coached teams have been known to be. They've topped 200 passing and 200 rushing yards in each game, something that happened only three times in 2014. 

    With Narduzzi's history as a defensive coordinator at Michigan State, this game will have the feeling of an old-school Big Ten game and will probably come down to whichever team makes the fewest mistakes. 

    Prediction: Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 17

    FINAL: Iowa 27, Pittsburgh 24

Stanford at No. 6 USC

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    TONY AVELAR/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: USC was outgained 413-291 but still managed to squeak out a 13-10 win at Stanford last September in Pac-12 play.

    What to watch for

    The Stanford-USC series has been one of the best in the country the last decade, including Stanford's 2007 upset win in Los Angeles during the early days of Jim Harbaugh's program turnaround. The last five meetings have been decided by a total of 23 points, the largest margin being Stanford's 56-48 OT win at USC in 2011.

    USC (2-0) has pulled out the last two in the series, however, and is playing much better heading into this matchup. Though it came against a pair of Sun Belt teams, the Trojans have been superb, outscoring foes 114-15 and putting up 1,246 yards in the process.

    Cody Kessler has completed 78.9 percent of his throws with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions, with JuJu Smith-Schuster by far his top target. USC's run game has been multifaceted, with its top three backs averaging 10.2 yards per carry with seven scores. 

    Stanford (1-1) didn't score its first touchdown of 2015 until there was 4:23 left in the first half of its second game. The Cardinal rank 112th in rushing, and Kevin Hogan is averaging fewer than eight yards per pass attempt. 

    Strong defense on both sides will impact each team's ability to move the ball, but with Stanford already struggling to do so on its own, this will be the widest margin in the series since Stanford's 34-point win at USC in 2009. 

    Prediction: USC 34, Stanford 14

    FINAL: Stanford 41, USC 31

San Jose State at Oregon State

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Oregon State claimed a 26-12 win over San Jose State in October 1997.

    What to watch for

    San Jose State (1-1) needs one of its quarterbacks, either senior Joe Gray or junior Kenny Potter, to perform well enough to claim the position as his own. For now, the Spartans are rotating the pair, which has led to mixed results, though last week in a loss to Mountain West foe Air Force it was horrible run defense that caused most of the issues.

    Oregon State (1-1) gained only 138 yards in its loss at Michigan last week, and 136 of those came in the first quarter. The Beavers offense revolves around the plays freshman quarterback Seth Collins can make with his mobility, but after rushing for 152 yards in their opening win, he had 28 yards on 11 carries last week. 

    Collins should be able to get loose much better this time around, though look for OSU to also get its running backs more involved after Chris Brown and Storm Barrs-Woods combined for just 10 carries last week.

    Prediction: Oregon State 34, San Jose State 16

    FINAL: Oregon State 35, San Jose State 21

SMU at No. 3 TCU

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Trevone Boykin had 342 yards of total offense and accounted for six touchdowns in TCU's 56-0 win at SMU last September.

    What to watch for

    The 31 points SMU (1-1) scored in its win over North Texas last week were its most since November 2013 and showed the continued improvement of the Mustangs offense under new coach Chad Morris. They averaged 11.1 points per game last season but so far this year have scored 52 and have gotten 577 yards of total offense from quarterback Matt Davis. 

    The Mustangs will likely score some points this week against an injury-depleted TCU defense, but that's not the problem. The much tougher task is slowing down Trevone Boykin and the Horned Frogs offense, which dropped a 70-spot on Stephen F. Austin last week and are averaging 538 yards per game. 

    Boykin had his fourth game with at least four TD passes in the past year, and with no shortage of weapons around him, he's likely to easily slice through an SMU defense that gave up 56 points and more than 700 yards to Baylor two weeks ago. 

    Prediction: TCU 61, SMU 21

    FINAL: TCU 56, SMU 37

Iowa State at Toledo

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    David Purdy/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Sam B. Richardson had 351 passing yards and three touchdowns in Iowa State's 37-30 home win over Toledo last October.

    What to watch for

    Iowa State (1-1) was tied at home with rival Iowa in the fourth quarter last week before giving up two late scores; otherwise it would be 2-0 for the first time since 2012. Instead, the Cyclones are headed on the road to face a dangerous opponent coming off a big win, despite being without its best player.

    Toledo (1-0) pulled off a shocking 16-12 road win over Arkansas in Little Rock. Though it wasn't pretty, the Rockets managed to shut down Arkansas' run game, while their own offense got by without the use of star running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt missed the first two games (including a weather-canceled affair against Stony Brook) because of a suspension, but now he's back and ready to extend his streak of 100-yard games to 12.

    Hunt didn't play last year when Toledo went to Ames, one of three games he missed because of injury. In the 10 he did play in 2014, though, Hunt ran for 1,631 yards with 16 touchdowns. 

    ISU has allowed 386 rushing yards so far this year, and Hunt should get at least half of that in this game.

    Prediction: Toledo 45, Iowa State 27

    FINAL: Toledo 30, Iowa State 23 (OT)

Wyoming at Washington State

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    Mel Evans/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 8:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Wyoming posted a 34-13 win over Washington State in September 1990.

    What to watch for

    Wyoming (0-2) expected to be 2-0 at this point in the season but instead lost at home to FCS North Dakota and then to an Eastern Michigan team that hadn't won a non-league road game since 1988. The Cowboys have lost nine of 10 since starting 3-1 in Craig Bohl's first season.

    Running back Brian Hill ran for 242 yards and two touchdowns last week, but he's all they have right now.

    Washington State (1-1) has been unpredictable to this point, first losing to FCS Portland State at home and then pulling out a last-second victory at Rutgers. The Cougars very easily could have lost that game thanks to a reprise of the special teams woes that plagued them so much a year ago, as they allowed two return TDs.

    Thankfully, WSU got a masterful game from sophomore quarterback Luke Falk, who threw for 478 yards and four TDs on 47-of-66 passing. He's yet to throw an interception in 107 attempts this year after throwing seven in three-plus games last year.

    Prediction: Washington State 50, Wyoming 30

    FINAL: Washington State 31, Wyoming 14

No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 9:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Senquez Golson intercepted a pass in the end zone with 37 seconds left to preserve Ole Miss' 23-17 home win over Alabama in SEC play last year, its first victory over the Crimson Tide since 2003.

    What to watch for

    Being able to beat Alabama at home last season was a huge boost for Ole Miss, showing it wasn't a pretender and could legitimately compete in the SEC thanks to its defense. This time around, a visit to Tuscaloosa will determine whether the ridiculous offensive pace the Rebels have been on is for real or simply a product of weak competition.

    Ole Miss (2-0) has scored 149 points and gained 1,269 yards in home wins over UT-Martin and Fresno State, with quarterback Chad Kelly (72.5 percent completion rate, six touchdowns) looking great and a slew of running backs contributing nine TDs and averaging 7.79 yards per carry. The defense has been strong as well, despite plenty of new faces, with three interception returns for scores already.

    But Alabama (2-0) is a completely different type of opponent, one that's been wildly efficient on offense and features an ironclad defense that has managed to shut down its foes' best areas so far. The Crimson Tide stifled Wisconsin's run game and then disrupted Middle Tennessee's passing attack.

    "Alabama's defense is geared toward stopping the run and then going after the quarterback," Bleacher Report's Christopher Walsh wrote. 

    On offense, the Tide have been mostly pleased with what Jake Coker has done at quarterback, but so far not much has been asked of him thanks to Derrick Henry's 243 rushing yards and six TDs on 31 carries.

    The matchup of Alabama's line trying to keep Robert Nkemdiche and others from plugging running lanes will be a key area to watch, as last year Ole Miss held Bama to 3.82 yards per carry. The same goes for Ole Miss being able to run against the Tide, especially if offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil remains out of the lineup while the school awaits word from the NCAA on his status. 

    Anything close to last year's classic in Oxford will make this the game of the week, but Ole Miss hasn't won in Tuscaloosa since 1988.

    Prediction: Alabama 30, Ole Miss 16

    FINAL: Ole Miss 43, Alabama 37

No. 19 BYU at No. 10 UCLA

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    David Becker/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Max Hall threw seven touchdown passes in BYU's 59-0 home win over UCLA in September 2008.

    What to watch for

    BYU (2-0) has been the story of the 2015 season so far, winning both of its games on last-second deep TD passes by a quarterback hardly anyone had heard of. Tanner Mangum was co-MVP of the 2011 Elite 11 QB competition (along with Jameis Winston), but he'd been on his Mormon mission the past two years and was mostly forgotten.

    Then starter Taysom Hill suffered what would be his third season-ending injury in the Cougars' opener at Nebraska, and suddenly Mangum was out there slinging the ball all over the place. That included a Hail Mary TD pass to Mitch Mathews to win on the final play.

    A week later, Mangum's 35-yard TD pass to Mitchell Juergens with 45 seconds left came on 4th-and-7 to beat Boise State at home.

    UCLA (2-0) has been led by its own freshman quarterback, but Josh Rosen has performed with far less drama and adversity. He threw for 351 yards and three TDs in his debut against Virginia, then last week had 223 yards and a TD and his first interception, the latter of which made no difference in the Bruins' 37-3 win at UNLV.

    Mangum has had to carry BYU since entering the lineup, as the run game is averaging just 3.14 yards per carry. That hasn't been the case with Rosen, as reigning Pac-12 rushing leader Paul Perkins is there to hand off to, and the Bruins defense has had 10 tackles for loss in two games. 

    The BYU story has been fun, but Mangum can't keep winning with desperation heaves. 

    Prediction: UCLA 41, BYU 30

    FINAL: UCLA 24, BYU 23

No. 21 Utah at Fresno State

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Travis Wilson tossed five touchdown passes in Utah's 59-27 home win over Fresno State last September.

    What to watch for

    Utah (2-0) has won its first two games by a combined 17 points, and neither was ever in hand for very long. That also worked for the Utes last year when they were 5-2 in single-digit outcomes, including wins over Stanford, UCLA and USC, but it probably also helps sell out the antacid in Salt Lake City grocery stores.

    So does seeing senior quarterback Travis Wilson play without regard for his safety, something he's done throughout his career and which caused him to get knocked out of last week's win over Utah State with a shoulder injury.

    It's uncertain if he'll be available for this game, but if not backup Kendal Thompson will be asked to do what he did last time out: take care of the ball and hand off to Devontae Booker.

    Booker is Utah's workhorse, and his 53 carries are fourth-most in FBS. He's averaged 26.2 rushes over his last 12 games, and he's also had 48 receptions in that span. 

    Fresno State (1-1) got demolished last week at Ole Miss, losing 73-21 after falling behind 28-0 in the first quarter. Freshman Chason Virgil threw two TD passes in relief of Zack Greenlee in Oxford and could earn his first career start, though the Bulldogs offense works best when Marteze Waller is running well.

    Utah has had two very emotional wins so far, first against Michigan and Jim Harbaugh and then a rivalry victory, and with a trip to Oregon next week in the Pac-12 opener, this has the makings of a trap. It will be close, but the Utes will score late to remain perfect. 

    Prediction: Utah 30, Fresno State 27

    FINAL: Utah 45, Fresno State 24

Northern Arizona at No. 20 Arizona

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    Cathleen Allison/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 11 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: B.J. Denker threw a touchdown pass and ran for another in Arizona's season-opening 35-0 win over visiting Northern Arizona in August 2013.

    What to watch for

    Northern Arizona (2-0) is ranked 24th in the FCS Coaches Poll following a 41-5 win over Division II New Mexico Highlands. The Lumberjacks, who average 331.5 passing yards per game, are 2-32 all time against FBS teams but won in 2012 at UNLV.

    Arizona (2-0) continues to deal with injuries on the defensive side, particularly at linebacker, where the loss of star Scooby Wright and others has made it so the Wildcats have a redshirt freshman walk-on (Tre Tyler) listed first on the depth chart at middle linebacker this week, as Zack Rosenblatt of the Arizona Daily Star noted. This has the potential to bite them in the butt when Pac-12 play begins next week, but for now the Wildcats are getting by thanks to a potent offense.

    Running back Nick Wilson is sixth in FBS with 291 rushing yards, and Anu Solomon has completed 66.7 percent of his passes with six TDs and zero interceptions.

    NAU could test the weakened defense, but it doesn't have the defensive stars to avoid being in a shootout it can't win.

    Prediction: Arizona 45, Northern Arizona 21

    FINAL: Arizona 77, Northern Arizona 13

UC Davis at Hawaii

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 19; 11:59 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Bryant Moniz threw for 424 yards and seven touchdowns in Hawaii's 56-14 home win over UC Davis in September 2011.

    What to watch for

    UC Davis (0-2) lost 27-17 at home to South Dakota last week, which came after a season-opening 31-17 loss at Nevada. That dropped the Aggies to 2-13 all time against FBS schools.

    Hawaii (1-1) should be commended for holding Ohio State to just 38 points and less than 500 yards on the road last week, since the Rainbow Warriors weren't expected to play anywhere near as close as that against the defending national champions. It might have been even closer had they been able to mount any offense, as they were shut out for the first time in three years.

    Max Wittek was just 7-of-24 against OSU and for the year is completing 41.9 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and four interceptions. And without the ability to throw the ball, Hawaii can't compete, so look for this to be a point of emphasis against an undermanned opponent.

    Prediction: Hawaii 41, UC Davis 21

    FINAL: Hawaii 47, UC Davis 27

No. 12 Clemson at Louisville

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, Sept. 17; 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Clemson used defensive and special teams touchdowns to power a 23-17 home win over Louisville in October in ACC play.

    What to watch for

    Clemson (2-0) hasn't been tested much to this point, with easy wins over Wofford and Appalachian State letting a young defense assert itself, while quarterback Deshaun Watson has eased back into the game following ACL surgery last fall. That has the Tigers confident but not necessarily adequately prepared for their first road game against opponents with their backs against the wall.

    Louisville (0-2) lost at home to Houston last week, unable to make stops on defense or get consistent play from quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson is a tremendous athlete but also very mistake-prone, having thrown three interceptions with only a 55.3 percent completion rate to go with a team-high 122 rushing yards.

    Jackson was benched during that loss in favor of Kyle Bolin, and coach Bobby Petrino hasn't said who will start Thursday night. 

    Clemson has no such uncertainty, as Watson is one of the young stars of college football. He's completed 77.1 percent of his throws with five touchdowns and only one interception, and because of Wayne Gallman (171 rushing yards, three TDs) he hasn't had to do much with his legs, which has helped keep him healthy.

    Louisville hasn't started 0-3 since 1984, but it looks to be headed that way unless Petrino suddenly gets the offense more in sync. 

    Prediction: Clemson 24, Louisville 19

    FINAL: Clemson 20, Louisville 17

No. 9 Florida State at Boston College

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    When: Friday, Sept. 18; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Roberto Aguayo's 26-yard field goal with three seconds left gave Florida State a 20-17 home win over Boston College in November, its 26th consecutive victory.

    What to watch for

    Florida State (2-0) heads into ACC play still disorganized on offense, as transfer quarterback Everett Golson and his young receiving corps are not yet on the same page. To counter this, though, the Seminoles have turned to sophomore running back Dalvin Cook to carry the attack, a move that has been very productive.

    Cook ran for 266 yards and three touchdowns last week against South Florida and has 422 yards (second-best in FBS) with five scores for the year. 

    Boston College (2-0) has only allowed 14 rushing yards in two games, but those came against FCS opponents Maine and Howard. Last week the Eagles destroyed Howard, 76-0, scoring 62 first-half points and then playing 10-minute quarters after halftime. Those numbers need to be thrown out against FSU, since neither of those previous opponents have a player who would make the Noles' depth chart. 

    "So it's a whole different-looking operation right now," BC coach Steve Addazio said of FSU, via the school's website. "It's not like you're going to blow them off the ball. That's not going to happen. That's the elite of college football right there."

    BC has a new offense, but the easy schedule to date has allowed quarterback Darius Wade and some young skill players to gain confidence. And many of the Eagles defenders who played FSU to the wire in 2014 are back, so they believe they can win.

    It will be close, but FSU will pull out its 25th straight game against ACC opponents.

    Prediction: Florida State 27, Boston College 20

    FINAL: Florida State 14, Boston College 0

Idaho State at Boise State

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    Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

    When: Friday, Sept. 18; 9 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Boise State opened the 2008 season with a 49-7 home win over Idaho State.

    What to watch for

    Idaho State (1-1) lost 34-14 to Portland State last week to open Big Sky play. The Bengals, who are set to face FBS teams in back-to-back games with a Sept. 26 trip to UNLV, are 4-44 all-time against the upper level.

    Boise State (1-1) fell victim to BYU's late magic last week, blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and then losing on a desperation heave to the end zone with less than a minute left. The Broncos didn't do themselves any favors by turning the ball over three times, and quarterback Ryan Finley has now thrown four interceptions in two games. 

    Boise's offense has yet to show the kind of rhythm it did last year with Grant Hedrick at quarterback and Jay Ajayi at running back. This is a game it can use to fix that ahead of a tough upcoming stretch that includes games at Virginia, Colorado State and Utah State. 

    Prediction: Boise State 41, Idaho State 19

    FINAL: Boise State 52, Idaho State 0

New Mexico at Arizona State

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    When: Friday, Sept. 18; 10 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: D.J. Foster had 270 all-purpose yards, including 216 rushing yards with a touchdown, in Arizona State's 58-23 win at New Mexico last September.

    What to watch for

    New Mexico (1-1) gave up 600 yards at home to Tulsa last week, a result far more like what the Lobos have been known for defensively than when they blanked Mississippi Valley State in their opener. It was the seventh time since the start of 2014 in which they've yielded at least 500 yards, and while their option run game usually cranks out big numbers, the 4.77 yards-per-carry average last week was subpar. 

    Arizona State (1-1) has been off its game to start 2015, at least based on the team's lofty expectations. Poor play on both offense and defense led to a lopsided loss to Texas A&M, then last week it was tied at 21 with Cal Poly in the fourth quarter before pulling away.

    The Sun Devils have allowed 462 rushing yards and four scores so far this year, including 284 and two TDs to Cal Poly's New Mexico-like attack. 

    Despite how the numbers have trended, though, expect ASU to get plenty healthy by romping on New Mexico's thin defense, which it torched for 621 yards on the road last fall. 

    Prediction: Arizona State 49, New Mexico 20

    FINAL: Arizona State 34, New Mexico 10

    All statistics courtesy of

    Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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