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  • Michigan RB Isaac finally fulfilling potential
    September 12, 2017


    Ty Isaac's production has been a major disappointment throughout his college career.

    But the fifth-year senior has suddenly emerged as an unstoppable force for No. 7 Michigan (2-0) as it enters Saturday's game against Air Force.

    Isaac wrestled the starting running back job away from sophomore Chris Evans by rushing for 114 yards in the opener against Florida. He followed up with a career-best 133 yards on 20 carries against Cincinnati.

    The sudden metamorphosis from underwhelming reserve to bona fide bell-cow back has impressed coach Jim Harbaugh.

    "He's progressed, he's capitalized on opportunities," Harbaugh said at a press conference. "He's always been a good football player, now he's better.

    "I thought he had some I would quote as spectacular plays."

    One would be the 53-yard run that Isaac popped in the fourth quarter. But he also displayed consistency with his runs throughout the contest.

    That had been a problem in the past -- first at USC where he began his career as well as during his time with the Wolverines. Isaac gained just 622 yards in his first two seasons at Michigan, including 417 last season.

    Perhaps that is why the former ballyhooed USC recruit doesn't want to feel satisfied about having 247 already this season.

    "As far as a role, I didn't really know just because I know how much we rotate," Isaac said. "I've just got to be prepared for however much they give me."

    His teammates have noticed the raised level of commitment along with his increasing profile as a potential star back.

    "He came from USC and was battling for a spot in the 1 or 2 group," Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight told reporters. "This year, he's really established himself as one of the leaders in the running back room. That's showing on the field, which is really nice to see."

    While Isaac is making the running game go, the Wolverines are still trying to get the passing game on track.

    Speight is completing just 51.9 percent of his passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice and his shaky play has become a subject of heavy fan frustration.

    "Everyone sees it," senior center Patrick Kugler said of the chatter. "It doesn't faze him so it's not going to faze us. As long as he keeps it cool -- and I know he will because he's a great leader, he's poised no matter the circumstances -- he's our quarterback, he's our leader. I'll follow him."

    Comment


    • Purdue's Brohm just wants to have fun
      September 12, 2017


      Two games is far too short to judge a coaching change, but one thing seems clear about Purdue football under Jeff Brohm -- it's a lot more fun, for the players and the fans.

      The Boilermakers followed a close loss to Louisville with a blowout of Ohio University. After the win over the Bobcats, the amount of enjoyment that players seemed to be having popped up in the postgame interviews, and Brohm addressed it again in his weekly press conference.

      "I believe in having fun. I think if you have fun, you're going to want to work even harder," Brohm said. "Without question, I want the atmosphere to be one that our coaches enjoy coaching in, our players enjoy coming over to the building, working hard, getting better. As far as style of play, I want to make it fun and entertaining for anyone who's watching. I think that's what it's all about."

      Purdue's offense, which has roared through the first two weeks, on Saturday will take on a Missouri team that just fired its defensive coordinator two games into the year. The Tigers finished last in total defense in the SEC in 2016, and allowed 43 points to FCS foe Missouri State in the 2017 opener.

      "I think any time you go on the road, it's always a challenge," Brohm said.

      "They can score points. They can challenge our defense. We kind of understand that. We've got to make sure we're doing our part to put them in a great position, but then they've got to go out and play their tails off, execute, try to do the small things."

      Brohm has been pleased with what he's seen through two games, as have the fans. But it's tough not to notice that the schedule gets much more difficult once Big Ten play begins, and there's a long way to go yet in 2017.

      "We're two for two on (showing good effort) with 10 games left. We'll see," Brohm said.

      "I like everything they've done to this point. They've worked extremely hard in practice. They've played hard in the game. They've had good effort. They've been into it. But every week is a new week. We try to emphasize it's a one-game season. You have to re-prove yourself. No one cares what you did last week.

      "You have to try to raise your level of play, make sure you're elevating your game every week. If not, you're cheating yourself and your teammates."

      --RB Tario Fuller had just 29 yards rushing against Louisville in the season opener, but broke out for 142 yards on 16 carries against Ohio. The Boilermakers remain deep in the backfield even with Markell Jones injured, but Fuller should get the first crack at carries this week.

      --DB Josh Okonye has been as advertised in the Boilermaker secondary. The Wake Forest transfer broke up another pass and had four tackles against Ohio. Missouri has one of the most prolific offenses in the country through the season's first two games, however, and Okonye will be tested by Tigers quarterback Drew Lock and the quick-strike, big-play offense he presents.

      --QB David Blough has already had an up-and-down career at Purdue, and he's just two games into his sophomore season. But he came off the bench to complete 11 of 13 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns against Ohio, and may find himself back in the starting lineup this week against Missouri. Regardless of that, both he and Elijah Sindelar will play.

      Comment


      • Rodriguez: No QB controversy for Arizona
        September 12, 2017


        TUCSON, Ariz. -- Before the season started Rich Rodriguez emphatically poked fun at the old adage that if a team has two quarterbacks it has none. He likened quarterbacks to slices of pizza, mentioning that two slices of pizza is always going to be better than one.

        Well, now the Arizona head coach finds himself in an interesting position after playing Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate in a 19-16 loss to Houston last weekend. It was the second consecutive game in which Arizona used more than one quarterback, but in Saturday's game against Houston it was out of necessity rather than preserving health in a blowout win.

        Dawkins was "a little nicked up" as Rodriguez put it after the game so he went to Tate, who himself was battling a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener against Northern Arizona. Tate was intercepted late in the game, and Dawkins came back in to finish off the game on Arizona's unsuccessful last drive.

        Rodriguez wanted to nip any notion that he has a quarterback controversy on his hands.

        "Before anybody asks about a controversy, that's always kind of nice water cooler talk," Rodriguez said.

        "We try to get everybody ready to play, and whoever I feel gives us the best chance to win or succeed on that particular drive or series or half or game that's what I go with. So, it's nothing really controversial it's just having a feel for getting guys in the game."

        Dawkins, who finished the loss to Houston with 17 completions on 29 attempts for 179 yards, is expected to remain the starter heading into Friday night's game at UTEP. Dawkins will get his chance to rebound after having one of his poorest games running the ball. Prior to Saturday's loss to Houston, the redshirt junior never rushed for less than 44 yards in a start. Dawkins ended his night with 26 rushing yards on 13 carries.

        Rodriguez wants to see Tate, an 18-year-old sophomore, make improvements this week.

        "The challenge for him and everyone else is to get better every week," Rodriguez said. "I feel really confident that he has the mindset, as do all of our guys, to take that to heart."

        Comment


        • No. 10 Badgers get Jonathan Taylor-made big plays from RB
          September 11, 2017


          MADISON, Wis. (AP) Running back Jonathan Taylor showed off his potential in preseason camp for No. 10 Wisconsin.

          Two games into his college career, he looks more like a veteran than a freshman.

          Taylor rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start in a 31-14 win in Week 2 over Florida Atlantic, becoming the fourth freshman in program history to rush for 200 yards in a game.

          Fullback Austin Ramesh said Taylor's emergence during a simulation game in fall camp laid the groundwork for his spectacular debut.

          ''Every year it seems like we've got a few freshmen coming in who can make an impact. But what he's done, it's impressive,'' the senior said of Taylor, who ran for 87 yards and a touchdown on nine carries in the season opener.

          ''Having been in those shoes, trying to come in and play big-time football is quite the transition from high school,'' Ramesh said. ''He definitely stepped up and realized he could be a contributor this year.''

          He has contributed a couple big plays already.

          Taylor followed a 64-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes left in the first quarter against Florida Atlantic with a highlight-reel, 29-yarder less than four minutes later. He bowled over three would-be tacklers on that play.

          Wisconsin (2-0) hits the road for the first time this weekend with a trip to Provo, Utah for a game against BYU. Taylor is again listed as a co-starter on the depth chart at running back along with junior Chris James and sophomore Bradrick Shaw, who missed the last game with a right leg injury.

          ''We like Bradrick and I thought Chris took some steps forward in certain areas,'' coach Paul Chryst said. ''When you see Jonathan come in and do what he's doing, I think it gives us depth, and I think he's capable of being a good football player for us.''

          Taylor leads all FBS true freshmen in rushing at 155.0 yards per game. Receiver Jazz Peavy said Taylor's emergence could benefit the Badgers' passing game, too.

          ''He's been very impressive coming in as a true freshman, to be able to make explosive plays like that down the field and break tackles and score touchdowns,'' Peavy said. ''That's definitely huge and that's something defenses are going to have to account for and it opens it up for us on the outside.''

          Chryst said Taylor's big plays have made an impact on his teammates in other ways.

          ''Big plays, you love getting them. But big plays happen when everyone executes together whether it's a run or a pass,'' Chryst said. ''Everyone understands you've got to play through the whistle and then you've got to do your job. If we all do that, then big plays are the byproduct of everyone doing the right thing.''

          NOTES: DE Chikwe Obasih (left leg), a key member of the defensive line rotation, will miss a second straight game. ... Shaw was questionable for a second straight week. ... Starting OGs Beau Benzschawel (right leg) and Jon Dietzen (right leg) were also listed as questionable on the injury report.

          Comment


          • The Dozen: Rematches Galore
            September 12, 2017


            The ACC was set to dominate this week's festivities, packing by far the best 1-2 punch that any league has supplied in the same week this early in the season. Due to Hurricane Irma's vast impact, the annual Miami-Florida State showdown that is undoubtedly the conference's top rivalry and promises to be tremendous this year has been postponed until Oct . 7.

            Georgia Tech's visit to UCF in Orlando was also canceled, so the slate for the third full week of the college football season is a few dollars short due to a heinous storm that interrupted the seasons for four of Florida's top five teams. There will still be plenty to track, beginning with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner looking to cement his favorite status for a second consecutive award.

            Clemson at Louisville: Lamar Jackson topped the latest Heisman odds posted by Westgate SuperBook , coming in at 9/5 ahead of Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who made the jump to 5/1 after helping post an emphatic win at Ohio State. Sam Darnold shined in helping humble Stanford, so he's stepped to the forefront and is considered to be in the top-three at 6/1. While there are a couple standouts at Penn State and others scattered throughout the country, Jackson could make it difficult for anyone to consider another option while he's still working his magic. No one will be able to question his dominance if he's able to lead of the Cards past a Clemson defense that just devastated Auburn by surrendering just 117 total yards and logging 11 sacks. In fairness, although Jackson looks sharper throwing the ball and just as elusive and explosive as he was last season, he's come up with over a thousand yards of total offense against defense is at Perdue in North Carolina that appear to have major issues. Dropping Clemson would leave the 'Ville as the ACC's top-ranked team, leaving only a visit to FSU in Tallahassee as the primary obstacle between it and a berth in the College Football playoffs. Clemson won last season's classic in Death Valley 42-36 after a Jackson pass on 4th & 12 gained just 11 inside the 5-yard line. Louisville has never beaten the Tigers, dropping three straight one-possession games by a combined margin of 15 points. Last year's win provided Clemson its first cover in the series and it has been made a slight road favorite here.

            Texas at USC: The Longhorns getting blitzed by Maryland in Tom Herman's head coaching debut takes some of the shine off of this one, but he did get his new group to respond this past weekend after starting QB Shane Buechele was held out due to a shoulder injury. True freshman Sam Ehlinger and wide receiver Jerrod Heard led the way in a 55-0 annihilation of San Jose State, but the hope is that Buechele can return to give the team a fighting chance in L.A. Darnold brought the goods against Stanford and has everyone in the NFL excited following a first weekend that featured some brutal performances from pros, so he can continue to build a buzz by excelling against a defense filled with elite recruits who were lit up by the Terps to open the month. Texas hasn't played against the Trojans since the Rose Bowl National Championship back in '06, undeniably one of the best college football games ever. For this want to be even a fraction as exciting, Buechele would have to be effective in returning to the lineup.

            Tennessee at Florida: The Gators canceled their home opener against Northern Colorado due to Irma, so there's going to be no dress rehearsal before the lights come on the conference play in a big game for both programs. The days when both were realistically competing for national titles are over a decade old, which is a major reason why the head coaches are on the hot seat entering this SEC opener. The Vols barely survived against Georgia Tech in their opener on a national Labor Day stage, failing to come up with a cover but surviving in OT after rallying in the fourth quarter, so Butch Jones has already bore the brunt of heavy scrutiny this season. Meanwhile, Florida's Jim McElwain has alienated his fan base after running his record to 3-8 against ranked opponents in an embarrassing 33-17 loss to Michigan where they managed just 164 yards of total offense. Neither team has chosen a quarterback they can truly trust, which makes for an interesting atmosphere in Gainesville, where there's just a possibility the Swamp can turn against these Gators if there's an ugly start. Tennessee hasn't defeated Florida in consecutive years since '04 and have won just five of the last 24 meetings between these East Division rivals.

            LSU at Mississippi State: Ed Orgeron's Tigers have made things look easy thus far, beating BYU and FCS member Chattanooga by a combined score of 72-10. If recent history is any indication, the Bayou Bengals will certainly be tested here, even though a 16-1 record in Starkville would appear misleading. Mississippi State lost last year's game 23-20 despite being literally run over by Leonard Fournette, fighting until the final seconds to secure a cover after falling behind 20-3. The comebacks are also a trend since the Bulldogs fell a field goal short of an upset despite trailing 21-6 entering the fourth. Mississippi State won outright in Baton Rouge in '14, so Dan Mullen's team will certainly believe they can take advantage of their cowbells and compete effectively enough to win outright. Dual threat QB Nick Fitzgerald is experienced enough that he shouldn't be overwhelmed by the LSU defense, but he'll need help.

            Kansas State at Vanderbilt: The Commodores went to Middle Tennessee and muffled an offense that produced a win at Syracuse this past weekend, but we'll know just how seriously to take this group after this one. With Alabama coming to Nashville next week, Vandy can put itself in position to be taken into account with the big boys on the heels of a win over and nationally-ranked opponent. K-State has other ideas and will be looking to prove to itself that it can compete for a Big 12 title since the competition level it has experienced thus far can't be taken seriously. Who is legitimate? Both teams are well-coached and feature effective weapons, making this a game that should absolutely be on your radar. If Wildcats QB Jesse Ertz can gain chunk yardage and prove he can beat an above-average SEC defense with his run-pass, ball-control act, it could go a long way into guys buying in against the heavyweights within their own league.

            Stanford at San Diego State:
            The Cardinal followed up last year's loss to USC with an impressive effort at UCLA and seek a similar bounce-back game here. David Shaw's team had major issues stopping the pass against the Trojans, but face a different type of challenge in San Diego since the Aztecs rely heavily on the ground game, although they've proven creative in manufacturing wigs to get running back Rashaad Penny the ball. He scored on a 95-yard TD run and scored on a 99-yard kickoff return and a reception to fuel Saturday's road win at Arizona State, so he won't be catching Stanford by surprise. Is there enough Talent on board at San Diego State to take advantage of the extra attention he'll command? This is a Super Bowl-type game for SDSU, at home and facing the prestigious school from Palo Alto for the first time since 1988. The Aztecs are 24-6 over their last 30 games, which is identical to Stanford's record. They've won 33 consecutive games when rushing for over 200 yards and are 41-2 under head coach Rocky Long when they get that accomplished, so look for what happens at the line of scrimmage to decide this. For obvious reasons,that favors the Cardinal.

            Wisconsin at BYU: The Badgers got a tougher game last weekend than anyone expected, especially since Florida Atlantic QB De'Andre Johnson didn't make the trip to Madison due to medical issue. Despite the absence of their high-profile addition, fresh off serving as one of the driving forces for the latest season of Last Chance U., the Owls managed to be productive against a Badgers defense that had looked especially stingy in holding Utah State to 10 points in their opener. We'll be able to tell whether they just had an off week against FAU since this week's opponent has had an awful time offensively in dropping games to LSU and Utah, managing just 13 points in losing both. The Cougs have gone 5-3 following their last eight "Holy Wars," but have dropped two of the last three and also started slowly under second-year head coach Kalani Sitake last season, dropping three of their first four. These teams will be playing in Provo for the first time. This series is split 1-1, but BYU's last win came in 1980.

            Ole Miss at California: Cal received devastating news when Tre Watson's knee injury was confirmed to be a season-ender, leaving the Bears without a senior running back who accounted for nearly 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns last year as a versatile backfield threat. Considering they struggled with FCS member Weber State after pulling off an upset at North Carolina last week, holding serve against a visitor from the SEC will require the team's most resilient outing of the season and will tell us a lot about the impact Justin Wilcox has had in his first few months since taking over in Berkeley. Cal hosts USC next week before visiting Oregon and Washington in the two weeks after that, so it's going to be interesting to see how they fare here since a win could ultimately make the difference between making or missing a bowl game. The Rebels have defeated South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin in Oxford to open the Matt Luke era as interim head coach, but this one will decide just how successful the transition will be. Win at Cal, you're 3-0 entering a bye week. Lose at Cal, you're 2-1, with road trips to Alabama and Auburn up next.

            Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh: The Cowboys look even more like a national title contender after rival Oklahoma dominated in winning at Ohio State. The Sooners are favored to be undefeated when they travel to Stillwater on Nov. 4, which means that both rivals being perfect offers the Big 12 an opportunity to capture the nation's attendance. Even though Penn State didn't cover against Pittsburgh, they took care of business against a team that has the look of a .50 team, which means Oklahoma State has to shoot for style points here. QB Mason Rudolph has been as good as advertised thus far, and although the Panthers are probably better than they're given credit for defensively, they did lose a ton of talent currently residing on NFL rosters, which means Mike Gundy's team needs to escape this game unscathed if they don't want to forfeit their national title dreams. Oklahoma State held serve against Pittsburgh last year as a 3-point favorite, winning 45-38.

            UCLA at Memphis: The Tigers were unable to play last week after Florida's governor closed schools throughout the state. Memphis arrived in Orlando but then departed quickly following that announcement. If nothing else, they'll be fresh for this matchup against the visting Bruins, who have seen QB Josh Rosen dominate thus far. The Tigers replaed the fantastic Justin Fuente with offensive guru Mike Norvell, who has a pro prospect in place thanks to senior Riley Ferguson, who threw for nearly 3,700 and 32 touchdowns in replacing first-round pick Paxton Lynch. The Tigers defeated Houston in last year's regular-season finale and will be salivating at the thought of pulling off this upset. Conversely, if Jim Mora somehow loses this game against an American Athletic Conference team, he's fried chicken. It remains to be seen whether Memphis can use the fact it has nothing to lose to its advantage since UCLA faces a ton of pressure as it looks to emerge victorious from this one.

            Oregon at Wyoming: Future first-round NFL draft pick Josh Allen had a dreadful first outing against Iowa, but that was on the road against a strong Big Ten defense. Even though the Ducks pulled out a home win over Nebraska last week, they didn't exactly inspire confidence in surving a 42-35 win after leading by 28 at the break. Oregon not only went scoreless in the second half, but also let up far too many big plays in the passing game, so keep an eye on this one as a proving ground for both parties. Willie Taggart's Ducks look formidable, but they'll be playing their first game on the road under his watch and are coming off a near collapse while facing an elite passer. Oregon won the only meeting to date back in 2014, but that was with Marcus Mariota lined up under center. If this is interesting, Allen could solidify his legacy in Laramie.

            Notre Dame at Boston College:
            Brian Kelly is the worst after losses. He berates media and throws players under the bus, so his defensive act after a terrible home setback against Georgia should come as now surprise. The Fighting Irish's head coach has helped lose nine of the last 14 games, but Brandon Wimbush does look like the real deal under center. He just needs polish. The Eagles fell behind Wake Forest quickly last week and have lost five straight against Notre Dame, but three of those games have been decided by four points or less. Don't write off Steve Addazio's BC squad, but they do face an uphill battle personnel-wise.

            Others: Tulsa at Toledo, Kentucky at South Carolina, Arizona State at Texas Tech, Purdue at Missouri, Baylor at Duke; Army at Ohio State; Northern Illinois at Nebraska; Colorado State at Alabama; Tulane at Oklahoma.

            Comment


            • New Mexico at Boise State
              September 12, 2017

              The Mountain West has the Thursday Night spotlight this week in a matchup of two of the three teams that finished tied on top of the Mountain division last season. New Mexico and Boise State both enter Thursday night coming off disappointing losses last Saturday with this being a critical game to keep the seasonís goals on track.

              Match-up: New Mexico Lobos at Boise State Broncos
              Venue: At Albertsonís Stadium in Boise, Idaho
              Time/TV: Thursday, Sep. 14, 7:00 PM ET ESPN
              Line: Boise State -15, Over/Under 58Ĺ
              Last Meeting: 2016, at New Mexico, Boise State (-18) 49, New Mexico 21


              Productive veteran quarterbacks entered the 2017 season leading Boise State and New Mexico with both teams hoping to build on successful 2016-17 seasons though with two of the least experienced teams in the conference. Wyoming went to the MWC title game last season, but Boise State and New Mexico finished with respectable 10 and 9 win seasons going 6-2 in league play for a three-way tie on top of the division. After opening week wins, both teams lost last week in tight games and there are questions at the quarterback position this week on both sides.

              2016 Mountain West first team quarterback Brett Rypien played sparingly in last weekís loss to Washington State. Commentators speculated he was benched but later it was announced he suffered an undisclosed injury after taking a sack. Senior backup Montell Cozart provided a spark for the Broncos with a rushing and passing presence and the Broncos would take a 31-10 lead early in the fourth quarter vs. the nationally ranked Cougars. The lead melted away with a Cozart interception returned for a touchdown with about six minutes to go being a critical play. Rypienís status will likely be unclear until game day and it could change the Broncos offensive look and game plan.

              While Rypien will be the starter if healthy, the situation for New Mexico under center might be less firm. Senior Lamar Jordan started four games last season and rushed for over 800 yards while passing for nearly 700 yards for the Lobos. With the team falling behind last week against New Mexico State, freshman Tevaka Tuioti was given a chance and he led the Lobos to 23 fourth quarter points with the team failing on a two-point conversion that would have tied the game late in a 30-28 home loss to rival New Mexico State. Bob Davie has announced that Jordan will continue to start, but the temptation to give Tuioti another opportunity could be there if there are more struggles with difficult games ahead the next three weeks.

              New Mexico rushed for 350 yards per game last season on 6.6 yards per carry, but this season the numbers are down significantly through two weeks despite what should have been two of the easier games on the schedule, averaging 217 yards on 5.6 yards per carry vs. FCS Abilene Christian and New Mexico State. With road games still remaining after this game at Tulsa, at Wyoming, at Texas A&M, and at San Diego State, it looks very unlikely that the Lobos will be able to improve in wins for a fourth straight season and the opportunity to get to a third straight bowl game will be in the balance the next few weeks.

              In eight of the last 10 seasons, Boise State has won at least 10 games and the program has often been in the conversation about being a top team outside of the power 5 conferences. The Broncos have been surpassed by San Diego State as the Mountain West leaders the past two years and the opportunity for a New Yearís Day bowl game looks slim with difficult games remaining with Virginia, at BYU, at San Diego State, and at Colorado State. Bryan Harsin figures to be mentioned as a candidate for potential openings with a strong track record in three seasons in Boise State as well as a strong season at Arkansas State in 2013, but the program is not in as strong of a position as it was a few years ago.

              While it didnít matter last season, New Mexico figures to have a strong rushing edge in this matchup again. Even with Cozart adding over 100 yards on the ground from the quarterback position, the Broncos have gained just 3.5 yards per rush this season. An offensive line with three new starters appears likely to have a second straight disappointing season as the rushing averages for the Broncos have dropped each of the last two years. Senior Cedrick Wilson is on pace to be one of the top receivers in the conference with 13 catches and 212 yards this season as a big play threat for the Broncos.

              Ultimately this game could come down to which team can handle the emotions of a difficult defeat on a short week. The Broncos always are a threat for an undefeated season and taking an early September loss could be a challenge though the Broncos have actually lost one of their first two games in now five of the last six seasons. For a New Mexico squad with a lot of key players missing from the best team the program has had in a nearly decade, losing twice in a row to a rival will sting. This could be a critical juncture in the season as the Lobos figure to be dogged in each of the next three games as a 1-4 start might become a reality for a program that has made great positive strides the last two years.

              Last Season: A 4-0 nationally ranked Broncos squad that many pegged for a possible undefeated season went to Albuquerque on an early October Friday night and won with ease. After trading scores in the first quarter, the Broncos scored five consecutive touchdowns to take a 42-7 halftime lead. New Mexico added two scores in the final eight minutes to make the final score a bit more respectable and make for a bit of a deceptive box score with the Broncos only posting a 456-421 yardage edge, but with about half of that total for the Lobos coming on their final three possessions with the game out of reach. Brett Rypien had a huge game with nearly 400 yards passing and five touchdowns as the Broncos won and covered easily despite a 382-65 rushing edge for New Mexico with the only turnover of the game not leading to any points on a Hail Mary interception just before halftime.

              Historical Trends:

              -- These teams have met eight times since 1999 and in each of the last six seasons with Boise State winning seven of eight meetings but going just 3-5 ATS.

              -- The last game in Boise featured a monumental upset for the Lobos, winning 31-24 as a +30Ĺ-point underdog and the Lobos had covered in every Mountain West meeting going back to 2011 until last season.

              -- Boise State owns a 137-27 S/U mark at home since 1999 but a once amazing ATS record has deteriorated in recent years with the Broncos 13-29-1 ATS at home since 2010, including entering this game on a 0-9-1 ATS run the past 10 home games.

              -- Since 2011, Boise State is on a 7-24-1 ATS run as a double-digit home favorite despite only losing S/U in four of those games.

              -- Since Bob Davie took over in 2012, New Mexico is 28-37 S/U and 31-31-2 ATS heading into this game. In that span the Lobos are 16-11-2 ATS on the road and 21-18-2 ATS as an underdog, including 14-8-1 ATS as a double-digit underdog.

              Comment


              • Tech Trends - Week 3
                September 12, 2017


                THURSDAY, SEPT. 14

                Matchup Skinny Edge


                NEW MEXICO at BOISE STATE...Boise squeezed out a narrow home cover in opener but still just 1-6 as blue carpet chalk since LY and 12-27 last 39 in role. Lobos have covered last three on blue carpet (with big prices) and Davie 12-7 as road dog since 2013.
                New Mexico, based on team and series trends.

                FRIDAY, SEPT. 15

                Matchup Skinny Edge


                UMASS at TEMPLE...Owls were 21-7 vs. line last two years and 7-2 as home chalk that span but 0-2 TY for Collins. UMass no covers first 3 TY but Minutemen were 4-2 as road dog LY.
                Slight to Temple, based on team trends.

                ILLINOIS at SOUTH FLORIDA...Bulls no covers first two this season as heavy chalk after 7-3-1 mark laying DD past two years. Charlie Strong teams no covers last five.
                Slight to Illinois, based on recent USF trends.

                ARIZONA at UTEP...Kugler just 6-14 as DD dog at UTEP. 2013). Miners 1-3 as home dog LY. But Cats no covers last seven away from Tucson, and 3-9 last 12 vs. line non Pac-12.
                UTEP, based on extended UA negatives.

                SATURDAY, SEPT. 16

                Matchup Skinny Edge


                KENTUCKY at SOUTH CAROLINA...Stoops has won last 3 and covered last 4 vs. SC, which is also 0-4-1 vs. line last five in series. UK 4-1 as road dog LY. Cocks just 5-9 vs. line at Columbia since 2014 (Muschamp 2-2 LY).
                Kentucky, based on team trends.

                NOTRE DAME at BOSTON COLLEGE... Teams donít meet every year but BC 6-1 vs. line against Irish since 2004. Eagles 0-5 as Chestnut Hill dog past two years but overall were 7-7-1 as dog (covered at Fenway vs. Irish in 2015) since 2015. Irish 2-6 as visiting chalk since 2013.
                Boston College, based on series trends.

                UCONN at VIRGINIA...UConn on 3-11-1 spread skid since late 2015 (0-1 for Edsall). Huskies 6-11-1 as visiting dog since 2013. Cavs only 1-8 vs. line last 9 since mid 2016 but did cover LT at Rentsch.
                Slight to Virginia, based on UConn negatives.

                AIR FORCE at MICHIGAN...Harbaugh only 4-5 as Ann Arbor chalk since LY and is 9-10 laying DD since 2015. Force 4-1 as away dog past two years, Calhoun 10-4 overall as dog since 2014, covers last 3 as DD dog.
                Air Force, based on team trends.

                COASTAL CAROLINA at UAB...CC new at this and 1-0 vs. line but 44-11 SU last 55. Blazers 8-6 vs. line since 2014.
                Slight to Coastal Carolina, based on team trends.

                CINCINNATI at MIAMI-OHIO...Cincy on 4-11 spread skid since late 2015. RedHawks have covered last four meetings, and 6-3 last 9 vs. line since late 2016.
                Miami-Ohio, based on team and series trends.

                GEORGIA STATE at PENN STATE...James Franklin 11-1 in last 12 vs. line, 4-1 last five as DD chalk. Though note GSU 18-5 its last 23 as visiting dog since 2013.
                Slight to Georgia State, based on extended trends.

                IOWA STATE at AKRON...ISU 3-0-1 vs. line last 4 and 4-1-1 vs. spread last 6 after facing Iowa. Bowden 1-6 as home dog since 2014.
                Iowa State, based on team trends.

                NORTH CAROLINA at OLD DOMINION...Monarchs just 2-9 as dog since 2015. Fedora 4-2 as visiting chalk since 2015 and was 12-8 as chalk the past two seasons.
                Slight to UNC, based on team trends.

                OKLAHOMA STATE at PITT...Narduzzi just 3-11 vs. line at home with Pitt since 015. Gundy 8-8-1 as chalk since 2015.
                Slight to Oklahoma State, based on Pitt home woes.

                MTSU at MINNESOTA...Fleck 27-15 vs. spread with WMU & Minny since 2014. If Stockstill getting DD note 7-3 mark last ten in role. Blue Raiders covered at Minneapolis in 2014.
                Middle Tennesse, based on team trends.

                FIU at INDIANA...Golden Panthers were 8-4-1 as road dog past three years before UCF loss. Hoosiers only 1-3 as home chalk LY and 2-4 as favorite overall. Also 1-4 as DD chalk since 2015.
                Slight to FIU, based on team trends.

                UCLA at MEMPHIS...Mora now 3-11-1 vs. line last 14 vs. non-Pac 12. Also 5-10-1 last 15 on board. But Memphis just 3-8 last 11 vs. number since early 2016.
                Slight to UCLA, based on team trends.

                NORTHERN ILLINOIS at NEBRASKA...Riley spread marks very middling with Huskers. Huskies 8-2 as visiting dog for Rod Carey.
                Northern Illinois, based on team trends.

                BAYLOR at DUKE...Throw out the Rhule spread marks at Temple, though he was 20-7 as dog with Owls. Baylor 0-2 for Rhule and 2-7 vs. line as visitor past two years. Cutcliffe 22-12 last 34 and 31-15-1 last 47 on board.
                Duke, based on team trends.

                KANSAS at OHIO...Solich battered Jayhawks LY but only 1-5 as home chalk in 2016.
                Slight to Kansas, based on team trends.

                UTAH STATE at WAKE FOREST...Utags 1-10 vs. spread last 11 away from Logan, 5-15 overall last 20 vs. spread. Clawson on 10-4 spread uptick since early LY.
                Wake Forest, based on team trends.

                CLEMSON at LOUISVILLE...íVille now 3-8 last 11 on board. Though the games vs. Clemson have been tough the past three years. Petrino 6-5 as dog with Cards. Dabo on 13-7 spread uptick.
                Slight to Clemson, based on recent trends.

                CENTRAL MICHIGAN at SYRACUSE...CMU 3-9 last 12 vs. line. Also 1-5 vs. line last six away from Mt. Pleasant. Babers 5-2 last 7 as home chalk dating to 2015 at BGSU, also 10-3 last 13 as chalk.
                Syracuse, based on Babers chalk marks.

                VIRGINIA TECH at EAST CAROLINA...Skidding ECU now on 1-10-1 spread slide. VPI has covered four straight away from Blacksburg.
                Virginia Tech, based on team trends.

                WISCONSIN at BYU...Paul Chryst in 13-4-1 spread run since late 2015, 9-1 last ten away from Madison. Cougs were 4-0-1 as dog LY but dropped first two in role for 2017. Sitake only 2-5-1 vs. spread at Provo.
                Wisconsin, based on team trends.

                PURDUE at MISSOURI...Jeff Brohm now on 14-5-1 spread run with his teams since late 2015. Purdue also now 14-3 vs. line its last 17 away from Ross-Ade. Tigers just 9-17 vs. line since 2015.
                Purdue, based on Brohm and team trends.

                NORTH TEXAS at IOWA...Ferentz was just 10-21 last 31 as Iowa City chalk prior to Wyo win. Still just 5-10 last 15 laying DD. Seth Littrell 3-1 as DD dog away from Denton LY.
                Slight to North Texas, based on team trends.

                UL-LAFAYETTE at TEXAS A&M...Sumlin 6-15 last 21 laying DD, 5-15-1 vs. spread at College Station since 2014.
                Slight to ULL, based on Sumlin negatives.

                BOWLING GREEN at NORTHWESTERN...Fitz just 4-9 laying DD since 2013, 7-13 as Evanston chalk same span. BGSU, however, just 1-6 as DD dog for Jinks.
                Slight to Northwestern, based on Jinks jinx.

                TULANE at OKLAHOMA...Tulane 5-2 vs. line away since LY for Willie Fritz, whose teams are 24-15 vs. line since 2014. OU was only 12-12 laying DD the past three seasons.
                Tulane, based on Fritz trends.

                TENNESSEE at FLORIDA...Butch Jones got Gators LY but had lost 1-point decisions previous two years and Vols just 2-5 vs. line last seven in series. Butch just 5-9-1 last 14 vs. line and was 0-3-1 vs. line as visitor LY. McElwain 5-1 vs. spread as SEC host in Swamp.
                Florida, based on team trends.

                SMU at TCU...Road team has covered last 3 in series. Frogs were 0-7 vs. line as host LY. SMU 4-1 as road dog LY.
                SMU, based on team and series trends.

                LA TECH at WESTERN KENTUCKY...Brohm was 8-4 vs. line as host past two years but Sanford 0-2 vs. line to begin 2017. Skip Holtz 8-3 vs. spread as road dog since 2014.
                La Tech, based on Skip marks.

                ARMY at OHIO STATE...Urban is only 5-10 as Big Horseshoe chalk since 2015 (1-6 in 2015). Army 8-2-2 last 12 as dog away from Michie, 4-2-1 last 7 as DD dog.
                Army, based on team trends.

                OREGON STATE at WASHINGTON STATE...Beavs covered 7 of last 8 LY but have dropped first 3 vs. line in 2017. Leach on 2-8 spread skid since mid 2016.
                Slight to Oregon State, based on team trends.

                APP STATE at TEXAS STATE... Mountaineers 8-1 as visiting chalk since 2015. TSU 1-4 vs. spread last five at San Marcos.
                Appalachian State, based on team trends.

                COLORADO STATE at ALABAMA...Nick only 4-14 vs. line hosting non-SEC foes in Tuscaloosa (many of those laying huge points). Bobo was 5-0 as visiting dog LY and 7-1 vs. spread last 8 as visitor.
                Colorado State, based on team trends.

                TULSA at TOLEDO...Tulsa 6-2 as visiting dog for Philip Montgomery since 2015. Also 12-4 vs. line away from home that span. Rockets on 3-7-1 spread skid since mid 2016.
                Tulsa, based on team trends.

                IDAHO at WESTERN MICHIGAN...Vandals no covers first two TY after covering last 8 to end 2016. But Idaho 15-3 as dog away from Kibbie Dome since 2014. Broncos were only 5-5 as Waldo chalk for Fleck past two years.
                Idaho, based on team trends.

                SOUTHERN MISS at ULM...USM dropped last 4 vs. line as visitor LY. ULM 8-4 last 12 as dog (6-4 for Matt Viator).
                Southern Miss, based on team trends.

                OREGON at WYOMING...Bohl was 5-0 as home dog LY as Wyo 7-1 as dog in 2015 though lost first 2017 try at Iowa. Ducks 5-12 last 17 as chalk, Taggart teams are now 12-5-1 as chalk since 2015.
                Slight to Wyoming, based on Bohl trends.

                LSU at MISSISSIPPI STATE...Dan Mullen has covered last three in series, though all of those vs. Les Miles. Mullen 10-5 as dog since 2014. Orgeron, however, now 4-0 vs. line away from home with LSU.
                Slight to Miss State, based on team and series trends.

                GEORGIA TECH at UCF...Scott Frost now 4-1 as home chalk for UCF, but Paul Johnson 4-1 last five as dog away from Grant Field. Johnson 11-5 as dog since 2014.
                Georgia Tech, based on extended Johnson marks.

                KANSAS STATE at VANDERBILT...Bill Snyder 20-9-1 vs. line as visitor since 2011 and has covered last 4 vs. non-Big 12. Vandy, however, 6-1 as home dog past two seasons, and 10-5 last 15 vs. line at Nashville.
                Slight to Kansas State, based on Snyder marks.

                RICE at HOUSTON...Even after UTEP win, Owls just 5-9-1 vs. line last 15 away from Rice Stadium. UH just 5-13-1 as home chalk (Tom Herman and all for two years) since 2014.
                Slight to Rice, based on recent UH woes.

                TROY at NEW MEXICO STATE... Ags crushed last three by Troy but NMSU was 3-1 as Las Cruces dog LY and is 5-2 vs. points last seven at home. Ags 9-4 last 13 vs. line. Troy 4-2 as DD chalk LY.
                Slight to Troy, based on series trends.

                ARIZONA STATE at TEXAS TECH... If Kingsbury chalk note he is 7-1 in role since 2015. Sun Devils 2-9 last vs. points as visitor.
                Texas Tech, based on team trends.

                TEXAS at SOUTHERN CAL... Horns now 2-8 vs. line last 10 as visitor. Herman was 5-0 as dog with UH, however. SC 8-3 vs. line at Coliseum for Clay Helton.
                Slight to USC, based on team trends.

                SAN JOSE STATE at UTAH...Spartans 3-14 last 17 as road dog, and 1-7 last eight vs. spread against Power 5 teams. Utes, however, just 3-5 last 8 as DD chalk.
                Slight to Utah, based on team trends.

                FRESNO STATE at WASHINGTON...Note Tedford was 23-9-1 vs. line his first 33 on board with Cal before things began to flatten a little. Fresno 7-2 vs. line since mid 2016. Petersen only 4-6 laying DD since last season.
                Fresno State, based on team trends.

                OLE MISS at CAL...Ole Miss on 1-8 spread skid since mid 2016 (0-2 for Luke). Wilcox dramatic debut for Cal, though UNC win upped Bears to just 5-9 as dog since 2015 (1-0 for Wilcox, however).
                Slight to Cal, based on Ole Miss woes.

                STANFORD at SAN DIEGO STATE...Rocky Long just 10-10 vs. line at home since 2014 (1-0 as home dog). David Shaw 17-9 as visiting favorite since 2011, 25-14 vs. line away from Palo Alto.
                Stanford, based on team trends.

                Comment


                • UCLA could be without linebackers for tricky trip to Memphis
                  September 12, 2017

                  LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA will have to make adjustments for its road game at Memphis on Saturday, but preparing for a 9 a.m. Pacific start time could be the least of the 25th-ranked Bruins' worries.

                  The Bruins will be without linebacker Josh Woods for the first half because of a targeting penalty against Hawaii, while linebacker Kenny Young's status is not clear after suffering a head injury in the 56-23 win over the Rainbow Warriors.

                  Young was hurt on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Hawaii tight end Metuisela `Unga in the first quarter. No targeting penalty was called, and video replay did not review the play. The Pac-12 issued a statement Monday critiquing both non-calls. Pac-12 director of officiating David Coleman's description of the play during the television broadcast was also rebuked.

                  Sophomore Krys Barnes replaced Young and finished with a game-high 12 tackles. Redshirt freshman Breland Brandt is likely to get the start in place of Woods.

                  ''It's just going to be next man up,'' defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. ''We've got guys that have put their time in and now it's their chance to play. We'll line up with whoever is there, and hopefully they'll do a great job.''

                  Barnes and Brandt will have to help shore up a run defense that is allowing 6.31 yards per carry, worst among Power 5 teams and 124th in the FBS. Hawaii finished with 281 yards rushing, but did much of that damage with the game out of reach. Bradley saw improvement after allowing 382 yards to Texas A&M, but is still troubled by the big plays UCLA is allowing.

                  ''We're still making too many mistakes,'' Bradley said. ''It usually comes down to when you get the big plays it's missed tackles, bad angles, things of that nature.''

                  Stopping the run will be critical as Tigers head coach Mike Norvell has experience against UCLA from his time as Arizona State's offensive coordinator. In UCLA's last game against Norvell in 2015, the Sun Devils ran the ball 46 times for 192 yards and held the ball for 37:47 in a 38-23 win at the Rose Bowl.

                  Bradley is leaning on films of Norvell's previous teams as Memphis has played only one game this season. Their trip to UCF was postponed because of Hurricane Irma and is unlikely to be rescheduled. Memphis rushed for 319 yards in a 37-29 win over Louisiana-Monroe, but the season opener was played in driving rain that altered the game plan.

                  ''I'm sure they'll have new wrinkles,'' Bradley said. ''I think each and every week everybody does. No one just comes out and plays us the same way.''

                  It's just one more thing Barnes will have to account for. The Bakersfield, California, product said he treats every game as if he is starting, and nothing will change with the potential of making his first collegiate start this week.

                  Barnes felt relaxed while replacing Young, but believes he could have been more focused in on his responsibilities and more aggressive.

                  ''Watching film, you know, I can be way more physical, attack the ball more,'' Barnes said. ''Just focus on my job while I'm in there, not try to play other people's positions and help other people out.''

                  As for adjusting his body clock, Barnes might move up his daily routine later in the week.

                  ''But I still do my same things,'' Barnes said.

                  Comment


                  • Kansas tries not to get smacked by MAC
                    September 12, 2017


                    LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas looked lifeless in allowing 24 consecutive first-half points, mounted two quick touchdown drives to begin the second half and then looked spent.

                    In a nutshell, that was how the Jayhawks looked as they dropped the first game against a Bowl Subdivision opponent, falling 45-27 to MAC visitor Central Michigan on Sept. 9.

                    The potential bad news is Kansas (1-1) must continue playing MAC opponents by traveling to Ohio (1-1) last Saturday.

                    But then, virtually anything can be considered bad, especially when the Jayhawks will not be taking any momentum on the road, where they have lost 41 straight and 44 straight counting games at neutral sites.

                    Afterward, players on both the offensive and defensive units shared blame after the Jayhawks were shredded for 590 total yards, including 467 passing.

                    That left Kansas to respond to a 24-6 halftime deficit with a one-dimensional attack. Junior quarterback Peyton Bender, in his second start, threw a school-record 62 passes.

                    Although the Air Raid system is designed to get the most from distributing the ball to multiple targets, more balance is needed to keep opposing defenders honest.

                    Two interceptions Bender threw contributed to touchdowns. The last blunted any comeback bid.

                    "It's a shame because I can't tell you how many things we do when it comes to ball security," Kansas coach David Beaty said. "I mean, it's about half our practice.

                    "So we've got to do a better job of taking care of it. We can't throw it to 'em, we've got to take care of it and we've got to do a better job of creating turnovers."

                    Again, fallout on both sides of the ball led to a defeat against Central Michigan, which needed three overtimes to tip an FCS team, Rhode Island, in its opener.

                    Kansas happened to club Rhode Island by 49 points in its 2016 opener.

                    Bender, who was not told he won the starting quarterback job until the day of the season opener, vowed to improve.

                    His experience with the Air Raid system began at Washington State under Mike Leach before he played at the junior-college level last year and transferred to Kansas in time for spring practice.

                    "We just sputtered," Bender said. "We weren't consistent. It's disappointing. We thought we were prepared, and I think we were prepared.

                    "We just didn't execute for some reason. But we're going to improve on this. We're not going to dwell on it. We're going to be better next week."

                    There is some hope. Ohio dug a 34-point halftime deficit last week before tumbling 44-21 at Purdue. The Bobcats struggled against the rush and also applied little quarterback pressure.

                    Their own quarterback, sophomore Nathan Rourke, passed for 224 yards. Junior wide receiver Papi White caught Rourke's only touchdown pass and finished with 98 yards on six receptions.

                    --TE Ben Johnson caught a career-best five receptions for 57 yards in the loss to Central Michigan and continues to assert himself as a key target in the Air Raid system. The 6-5 Johnson also was used at fullback for blocking purposes.

                    --LB Joe Dineen, who missed all but the nonconference portion of last year's schedule with an injury, led Kansas in tackles for the second straight game by getting in on 12 stops against Central Michigan. Dineen provides a veteran presence with his range and football smarts.

                    --DE Dorance Armstrong, who was named the Big 12 preseason defensive player of the year, has yet to make a sack after being neutralized by Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan. The Jayhawks brought little pressure against the Chippewas and surrendered 467 yards passing.

                    Comment


                    • Wisconsin limping along despite 2-0 start
                      September 12, 2017


                      MADISON, Wis. -- Heading into a key road showdown against BYU, the Wisconsin Badgers' injury report is quite extensive for this early in the season.

                      Wisconsin (2-0) might be without starting guards Beau Benzschawel and Jon Dietzen, both dealing with right leg injuries.

                      Safety Patrick Johnson is slowed by a left arm injury, while running backs Taiwan Deal and Bradrick Shaw both have right leg injuries. Deal will not play against BYU, but Shaw is questionable.

                      With four players already out for the season, including linebacker Jack Cichy, the Badgers will be without several key players in a potential pitfall game.

                      "It'll be probably this way at different position groups at different times," Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. "We'll see how Beau and Jon progress this week, and certainly you've got to keep working with and developing, whether it's (Jason Erdmann) or whoever it may be that has to go, make sure they're ready and confident in what we're doing and in themselves to help our team."

                      The onslaught of injuries will force some shuffling along the offensive line if Benzschawel and Dietzen are unable to man their guard spots.

                      Jason Erdmann is a player to watch, as he might slide into Dietzen's spot. Junior Micah Kapoi replaced Benzschawel in the second quarter of last week's win over Florida Atlantic. He can play both right and left guard.

                      There is some good news on the injury front.

                      Freshman wide receiver Kendric Pryor is cleared to play after sustaining facial injuries from a moped accident early in fall camp. Pryor is a dynamic threat, capable of producing a big play with his speed and athleticism.

                      "I thought KP was having a really good camp," Chryst said. "Last week, he was really able to start going non-contact, but at the receiver position was able to get a lot of routes in. The conditioning was as much as any part of it that he had to get back, so I'm anxious to see how much more he can do this week than last.

                      "It'll be good to get him going because I thought he was playing with confidence. I thought he was in a position to help us, not just on offense but certain areas on special teams. With him fully cleared now, don't know how fast it'll come, but I'm looking forward to it. I know he's anxious to get going, too."

                      --RB Jonathan Taylor was named the Big Ten's Co-Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week after rushing for 223 yards and three touchdowns in Wisconsin's 31-14 win over Florida Atlantic. Taylor leads the conference in rushing yards at 310 yards.

                      --QB Alex Hornibrook will be watched closely to see how he responds to Wisconsin's first road game of the season. BYU is a tough place to play, and how the sophomore leads the Badgers in an hostile environment against a team with countless big wins over the years could set the tone for the conference season.

                      --TE Troy Fumagalli will be Alex Hornibrook's main target with possible injuries on the offensive line hampering the offense. Look for Wisconsin's staff to emphasize short passes due to two starters questionable for the game.


                      Comment


                      • With Pumphrey gone, Penny starts cashing in with Aztecs
                        September 12, 2017


                        SAN DIEGO (AP) Rashaad Penny returned to San Diego State for his senior season because he saw how much fun D.J. Pumphrey had during his final season.

                        Although Penny won't get anywhere near Pumphrey's NCAA career rushing record of 6,405 yards, he won't have any problem in making a name for himself thanks to a rollicking start to the season.

                        After running for 197 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening victory against FCS UC Davis, Penny went off for 353 all-purpose yards in a 30-20 win at Arizona State .

                        He scored on a 95-yard run, a 99-yard kickoff return and a 33-yard reception.

                        Penny leads FBS in rushing yards per game, 206.5, and all-purpose yards per game, 284.

                        ''You only get these chances once,'' Penny said. ''I knew my chance was coming later, so that's why I stayed around. Knowing D.J., he had fun, and I had fun just being behind him, because I was still the second back, I still got carries, I still played. So it was fun and exciting.

                        ''Coming back and being the featured guy is what I wanted, just to show the city of San Diego that I can probably do the same things as D.J. did, and maybe even do them better, because that's something he wanted, me doing it better.''

                        San Diego, of course, lost the NFL's Chargers to Los Angeles. Penny and the Aztecs (2-0) hope to fill the gap. They host No. 19 Stanford (1-1) on Saturday night.

                        Penny's 413 yards rushing through two games are the most to open an SDSU season since Marshall Faulk had 519 in his sophomore season of 1992. Penny is 34 yards ahead of Pumphrey's school-record pace set last season, when he finished with 2,133.

                        ''I thought he showed everybody the kind of ability he has,'' coach Rocky Long said. ''Last year he was the backup so nobody got to see that much of him and now they're getting to see that much of him and they're seeing how good he is.''

                        SDSU snapped a 19-game losing streak against Pac-12/10 teams, and ended a 28-game road losing streak to Pac-12/10 squads.

                        ''He was the difference in the game,'' Long said. ''I think the two teams were evenly matched except we had him and they didn't have Rashaad Penny.''

                        While Pumphrey was garnering all the attention last year, Penny still had a nice season. He rushed for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns, helping SDSU become the first team in FBS history to have a 2,000-yard and 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year for the second straight season.

                        On Monday, Penny became the first Aztecs player to be named the Walter Camp National FBS Offensive Player of the Week. He also became the first player in the MWC's 19-year history to win two of the three weekly awards, for offense and special teams.

                        ''I think my teammates are more excited than I am in getting national recognition,'' said Penny, who's from the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk. ''I'm taking it slowly. I've never been in this situation before so I don't know what to do or expect. These guys are more excited for me. I'm just thankful to have these guys along the way because these are guys that push me and get me better.''

                        Penny is 5-foot-11 and 220. Pumphrey, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, is 5-9, 170.

                        ''There's a big difference in their styles,'' Long said. ''D.J. is a darter; Rashaad is a slasher.''

                        Long said NFL scouts told him last year that had Penny declared for the draft after his junior season, he would have gone higher than any other Aztecs. Guard Nico Siragusa went to Baltimore with the 16th pick in the fourth round and Pumphrey was taken 10 picks later.

                        What's it like for Penny when he breaks those long runs?

                        ''You just always think about running past the guy with a different color jersey,'' he said. ''And when you're running, I look at the Megatron all the time just to see whoever's up there following me. And when I don't see anybody behind me I start to let it down a little bit.''

                        He probably meant Jumbotron, but the point is well-taken.

                        ''It's fun,'' he said. ''You've got to thank the guys who are blocking for you. You can't thank them enough because that's who springs you open. I always tell them it's a race to the end zone. If it's a race and you want to win, you're going to win. That's how I see it.''

                        Comment


                        • Minnesota felt at home on road against Oregon State
                          September 12, 2017

                          After a lackluster 17-7 win over Buffalo at home in the season opener, Minnesota roared back with an impressive and memorable 48-14 triumph at Oregon State.

                          Before moving forward, it's good to look at one of the best road victories, particularly by margin, in recent years for a program headed by first-year coach P.J. Fleck.

                          The Gophers manhandled Oregon State on its home turf with an unrelenting running game. Minnesota threw only eight passes, compared to 58 rushing plays.

                          Quarterback Conor Rhoda impressed Fleck with his leadership and performance. He completed seven of his eight passes for 158 yards, while quarterback Demry Croft did not throw a pass, but he broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

                          "(Saturday) was the first time I watched Conor Rhoda control a football team," Fleck said. "(Rhoda) was going to his offensive line and communicating really well, running the game efficiently. At the end, draining the clock, milking the clock properly, keeping everybody calm."

                          Besides the big win, Fleck emphasized to his players before, during and after the Oregon State game to be more enthusiastic after a subdued showing on the sidelines against Buffalo.

                          Rhoda, in particular, was a big part of the cheering section, greeting players on the sidelines numerous times.

                          "The one thing about our culture: We ignore nothing," Fleck said. "Everything is coached, and nothing is ever slid by, like, 'It's OK,' because that will just fester."

                          The Gophers (2-0) return home to battle Middle Tennessee State (1-1). The Blue Raiders are coming off a 30-23 win over Syracuse after losing to Vanderbilt in their opener.

                          Rhoda, a fifth-year senior, was named the starting quarterback for Middle Tennessee State.

                          "We didn't ask him to do a ton in the pass game, but we needed to run the football," Fleck said of Rhoda. "He executed well. He led better than he ever has."

                          --QB Conor Rhoda played well for the second game in a row and was named the starter for the Middle Tennessee State game. Rhoda is the clear-cut leader in the two-quarterback battle, but nothing is set in stone right now.

                          --LB Jon Celestin had a team-high 10 tackles at Oregon State. His leadership and production is essential for a defense looking for an identity in the back seven.

                          --WR Tyler Johnson, who had a breakout season as a freshman, hauled in six receptions in the opener, and should be a bigger part of the offense as the quarterback situation becomes more settled.

                          --C Jared Weyler left last Saturday's game because of a lower leg injury. His status is unknown for Saturday's game.


                          Comment


                          • Pac-12 Beat: Conference test appears to be shortening games
                            September 12, 2017

                            EUGENE, Ore. (AP) The Pac-12's test program to shorten games appears to be doing just that.

                            All non-conference games airing on the Pac-12 Network this season have reduced quarter breaks, while a few have fewer commercial breaks, too. Some games feature 15-minute halftimes.

                            In the 12 games so far that have been part of the pilot program, game time is down to 3:16, according to the league. Washington's 63-7 win over Montana last weekend lasted just 2:54. Last season, the Pac-12 averaged 3:26 per game.

                            Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that on the league's opening week, the test allowed fans watching at home to see all the game between Southern Utah and Oregon and the first play of Western Michigan at USC in a tight broadcasting window.

                            ''My programming folks explained to us that wouldn't have happened if we hadn't implemented some of the initiatives. We would have missed the first series,'' Scott said. ''There are some things we're doing around the edges that we can control, around halftime, around commercial breaks, and speeding things up, both in terms of the mechanics and our policies.''

                            The Pac-12 is not alone. The SEC introduced a few similar new policies this season. The National Football Foundation highlighted game length as a ''point of emphasis'' this season, pointing out that average length at the FBS level rose from 3:08 in 2008 to 3:24 last season.

                            It is worth noting that the trend toward speedier offenses - which results in additional plays and touchdowns - has helped lengthen games. But a sneaky source of those added minutes is halftimes, where the 20-minute limit is sometimes stretched by things like on-field coach interviews. A new rule change allowed for coaches to shorten - but not lengthen - halftime by mutual agreement.

                            Television is a driving force. Scott noted that Week One included four back-to-back-to-back-to-back games on the Pac-12 Network.

                            ''It's one of the reasons we like the idea of initiatives that speed up the game,'' Scott said.

                            In addition to making sure games fit into TV windows, the format is also designed to give viewers in the stadium a better experience, reducing those pesky ''TV timeouts'' for commercials - which will no doubt please Pacific Northwest fans sitting in the pouring rain this fall for the Pac-12 After Dark games.

                            Oregon State coach Gary Andersen likes the idea.

                            ''Ultimately for me I'd like to see a football game be at three hours,'' Andersen said. ''I think that's plenty long for the kids that are involved.''

                            New Cal coach Justin Wilcox also supports the initiative: ''I'm for it. I think it's probably better for everybody to be more efficient during the game. ... I know for us the biggest impact will be at halftime. We've just got to be really organized and efficient in how we operate during that time.''

                            But Washington State coach Mike Leach disagreed.

                            ''I've never had a problem with game length - games vary a little bit as far as how long they are and that's fine with me,'' he said. ''If it were up to me we'd leave the games alone and not mess with them.''

                            As for the details, the test is being implemented for 15 non-conference games involving league teams this season broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. The Pac-12's test shortens halftimes from 20 to 15 minutes for seven games. All games have quicker breaks at the quarters, and three games have fewer commercial breaks. Eight games will adhere to a '':01 kickoff time'' which seeks to keep opening kickoffs closer to the scheduled broadcast start.

                            The conference will collect feedback from fans and consult with its coaches, administrators and broadcast partners to evaluate the pilot program after the 2017 season.

                            Scott acknowledges the league is limited by the rules in what it can do.

                            ''Some of the things are going to be done nationally, so we're working with representatives we've got on the competition committee and the NCAA football oversight committee, to examine the rules - clock management, keeping the clock running (and) not stopping so much,'' Scott said. ''But we'll see. It's a work in progress. But we're trying to be leaders.''

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                            • K-State takes its act on the road
                              September 12, 2017

                              Even after the Big 12 passed a resolution requiring its members to schedule at least one Power-5 opponent each season in nonconference play, Bill Snyder exercised caution.

                              The Wildcats are dipping their toes into the SEC, but in Vanderbilt, the Wildcats (2-0) will be facing an opponent generally predicted to finish last in the East Division.

                              Nonetheless, the game will be the first trip for Kansas State and is important to determine whether the No. 18 Wildcats have the goods to become an outside contender for the Big 12 crown.

                              The Wildcats are coming off two easy tune-ups, barely breaking a sweat in a 55-7 rout of Charlotte last Saturday. Free safety Kendall Adams became the first Wildcat since 1999 to score on both an interception and fumble return in the same game.

                              By the second half, Kansas State looked uninspired. Or, at least ready to face a stiffer challenge by taking on Vandy, which also stands 2-0 with wins against mediocre opposition.

                              Yet the Wildcats know what the SEC stands for.

                              "They have a lot of experience playing some of the top teams in the country," said sophomore running back Alex Barnes. "We want to be one of the top teams so we want to give them what they're used to."

                              That opportunity exists. Kansas State has looked flawless offensively through two games.

                              Quarterback Jesse Ertz has exploited openings in the passing game without having to rely constantly on his arm. The running game, although so-so in the opener, is capable of carrying the load after netting 304 yards against Charlotte.

                              "It's not a matter of wanting to establish the run as much as it is trying to find out what (opponents are) doing," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "I was pleased with our ability to run the ball against schemes that are stacked against the run, and I thought we were reasonably productive with that."

                              While Barnes starts and was the main threat against Charlotte, gaining 99 yards on 16 rushes, the Wildcats' depth in the backfield includes Ertz, who added 76 yards on keepers.

                              A freshman, Mike McCoy, is essentially a fourth-stringer, yet had the most impressive carry when he leveled a Charlotte defender who got in his path on a 15-yard touchdown burst.

                              Vanderbilt held each of its first two opponents scoreless in the first half. Quarterback Kyle Shurmer completed 15 of 18 passes last week for 202 yards and four touchdowns against Alabama A&M.

                              The 42-0 victory marked the Commodores' first shutout since 2012 against Kentucky.

                              --FS Kendall Adams scored for the first time since high school by returning an interception 30 yards and a fumble 46 yards in the win over Charlotte. It marked the first time since 1999 that a Kansas State defender scored on two such returns in the same game. Beginning with that 1999 season, the Wildcats have 109 non-offensive touchdowns, tops in the country over that stretch.

                              --WR Isaiah Zuber represents some of the depth at receiver the Kansas State coaches raved about during the preseason. The sophomore was not listed on the depth chart for the Charlotte game, but led the Wildcats in receptions (seven) and yards (73). Both were career bests. So far, Cal transfer Carlos Strickland has not had the kind of impact some expected, contributing to Zuber's emergence.

                              --K Matthew McCrane is quietly moving up the Jayhawks' all-time chart. He booted two field goals against Charlotte to boost his career total to 40, which moved him into second place all-time at Kansas State behind Martin Gramatica (54). McCrane ranks first in Kansas State history with a .889 field goal percentage (40 of 45), which also ranks high nationally among active FBS kickers.

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                              • No. 18 K-State matchup legitimate test for unbeaten Vandy
                                September 12, 2017


                                NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Derek Mason has the Vanderbilt Commodores off to their first 2-0 start in his tenure, a perfect beginning that is about to be tested.

                                And how.

                                The Commodores host 18th-ranked Kansas State on Saturday night, and that's the first of four straight games against teams ranked in the Top 25 . After the Wildcats, Vanderbilt plays No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 23, then at No. 24 Florida before hosting 13th-ranked Georgia.

                                Mason insisted Tuesday he's only focused on Kansas State, a team he expects to finish in the Top 10 before this season ends.

                                ''This is the main event,'' Mason said. ''I'll find out who my football team is when we line up on Saturday. ... For me, OK it's about focusing my attention. I mean Kansas State's got my full attention, they've got this team's attention. Now what we've got to make sure we prepare to play, and this team will be ready to go on Saturday.''

                                Vanderbilt beat the last ranked team that came into its stadium, ruining then-No. 24 Tennessee's bid for the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division title and a berth in the league title game. A victory Saturday night would make the Commodores, who received two points in voting for this week's Top 25, 3-0 for the first time since 2011 with their fifth straight home win.

                                Mason said he is between 65 percent and 70 percent in understanding where his Commodores are right now. He noted he had to push them through practices the past two seasons, but not this year.

                                ''It's one thing to be a football team and it's learning how to win,'' Mason said. ''It's another thing to be a football team that's learning how to handle success, and what does that look like? So I mean we're trying to do both at the same time. So I'm gauging it week to week. I can't gauge it like any more than that.''

                                The Commodores bring in the nation's best defense when backed up inside their own 20 and are second nationally holding opponents to just three points a game after a 42-0 shutout of Alabama A&M . That will be tested by the Wildcats of the Big 12 who have scored 55 points in each of their first two wins, including last week's 55-7 win over Charlotte .

                                Safety Ryan White compared Kansas State's physical style running the ball to Georgia and Florida. Asked if the Commodores relish a chance against a ranked, nonconference opponent, White made it clear they are used to that level of competition.

                                ''We play in the SEC, so we play the best each and every week,'' White said.

                                Quarterback Kyle Shurmur has the Commodores ranked third in the SEC and 45th through two games averaging 261.5 yards. He already has seven touchdown passes after having nine in 13 games last season. Shurmur says the Commodores have talked about respectability and having success this season.

                                ''We started off 2-0, and now it's time to see if we can continue it,'' Shurmur said. ''As he (Mason) talked, the repeatability is the biggest thing just to try and go 1-0 this week.''

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