This week may not feature the greatest matchups, but there is still going to be a lot of good football played. Here are five things to watch this weekend:
1. Lamar Jackson vs. NC State’s Defense
Lamar Jackson has had another great start to the season and leads a Louisville team that still has just one loss. They travel to Raleigh to take on the NC State Wolfpack on a tricky Thursday night game.
Jackson has 1,636 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He has also been completing passes at a higher rate this season with a mark of 64%. While he got knocked off the Heisman race a little bit with his early loss to Clemson and other players stepping up, he is still an electric player. If Jackson is on, he is hard to stop.
NC State’s defensive line boasts one of the best players in the country Bradley Chubb. Chubb already has 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks on the season. He will be a lot to deal with for the Cardinals’ front. The Wolfpack have only given up 428 yards on the ground and with there good pass rush, should create a pretty good challenge for Jackson.
A lot is on the line for both teams, as Louisville still only has one loss and NC State just jumped into the AP rankings this week.
2. Big 12 Shootout
Two of the most high powered offenses will be facing off against each other this weekend. TCU and West Virginia are both trying to make the Big 12 Championship Game this season and this game could have a lot to say about it.
The Horned Frogs have Kenny Hill at quarterback who has had a bit of a resurgence this season. He is the main reason that TCU is averaging 47.8 points per game. He has dual-threat abilities and a completion percentage of 76.2%. They bring a solid balance of running and throwing the ball that can make any defense struggle.
West Virginia does most of its damage through the air. They are seventh in the country in passing yards per game and second in points per game. Quarterback Will Grier is deserves some thanks for that. Grier already has 1,374 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. He spreads the ball around well, making the offense difficult to stop.
With two offenses like this going at it, look for turnovers to be the key factor in the game. Be careful when changing the channel on Saturday, because if you hop off of this game, you may miss a couple scores.
3. Rivalry Games
While rivalry week is still a long ways off, there are a few rivalries that are going on this weekend. The extra emotion that comes with these games can make the games closer than they should be. Never underestimate any result when it comes to rivalries.
Florida State versus Miami was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma and will now take place this weekend. Miami is on a roll, having just come off a big win over Duke. Florida State got their first win of the season over Wake Forest. The Seminoles have owned Miami in recent years, but this year it could change. Florida State hasn’t looked particularly well since losing starting quarterback Deondre Francois for the season. With all that being said, this could be Miami’s year to do some damage.
This weekend also features the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry that has produced some crazy finishes in the past. Michigan State still looks like a team that needs some work, but are already doing better than last year. Michigan looks shaky on offense, but the defense has some real playmakers. John O’Korn will get the start at quarterback, while Wilton Speight is injured. This game might end up being low scoring, but the intensity will be there as always.
4. Can Bryce Love keep it up?
Bryce Love has had a fantastic start to the season and could win the Heisman if he keeps it up. He is averaging 11.1 yards per carry on the season and is a force to be reckoned with. No one has been able to contain him thus far.
This week Stanford has a tough road game at Utah. If the Cardinal want to make it to the Pac-12 Championship Game, they likely need to win out. The Utes have a good defense that allows just 17.8 points per game and 87 rushing yards per game.
Love will have to bring his “A” game for Stanford to win because the quarterback play hasn’t been great. If he keeps up at this pace, he could break a lot of records.
5. Washington State in their first road game
The Cougars are 5-0 and up to 11 in the AP rankings. With a weird schedule this season, Washington State hasn’t had to play a road game yet. A lot is known about the Cougars, but they can’t be true competitors for the CFP until they prove they can win on the road.
On Saturday they travel to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Ducks. Oregon was looking like a much improved team, but then starting quarterback Justin Herbert got injured. He is out four to six weeks with a broken collarbone. This game might not be as good as a result, but with the Cougars not having proven anything on the road yet, it could still be close.
This game gives Washington State a chance to be 2-0 in Pac-12 play and get on a roll before they have to face the likes of Stanford and Washington.
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