Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today’s Big 12 games encapsulated


Idaho (1-0) at Nebraska (1-0), 11:30 a.m.

Line: Nebraska by 281⁄2

Fun facts: Idaho (Western Athletic Conference) had a solid season last year, going 8-5 and defeating Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl. Considering the Vandals had won three games in the previous two seasons combined, that was a nice accomplishment. Idaho waxed North Dakota, 45-0, in week 1. Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers have won seven of their last eight games dating back to last season.

Big 12 player to watch: Quarterback Taylor Martinez. The red-shirt freshman won the closest quarterback battle in the Big 12 and displayed his fleet-footed abilities immediately, rushing for 127 yards and three scores, while passing for 136 yards in Nebraska’s 49-10 romp of Western Kentucky.

Key matchup: Idaho defense vs. Martinez-led Nebraska offense. The Vandals forced five turnovers last week, but Nebraska isn’t exactly North Dakota. How many turnovers can Idaho force in Lincoln?

No. 20 Florida State (1-0) at No. 7 Oklahoma (1-0), 2:30 p.m.

Line: Oklahoma by 71⁄2

Fun facts: The last time these teams met was in the 2000 season’s BCS Championship, when OU prevailed, 13-2. The Sooners’ 31-game home winning streak, best in the country, will be put to the test. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will be on the opposite sideline of his younger brother, Mark Stoops, the defensive coordinator for FSU.

Big 12 player to watch: Quarterback Landry Jones. The good: The sophomore opened with 217 passing yards and two scores against Utah State. The bad: He threw two interceptions. The ugly: Jones was sacked three times. Florida State notched four sacks in its 59-6 rout of Samford. How many times will the Seminoles get to Jones?

Key matchup: OU offensive line vs. FSU defensive front. Should the Seminoles get to Jones often, it could also slow down the big-play ability of DeMarco Murray (35 rushes, 218 yards, two scores last week).

Colorado (1-0) at California (1-0), 2:30 p.m.

Line: California by 9

Fun facts: The Buffaloes lined up a challenging non-conference slate this season. After traveling to Berkeley today, Colorado will return to Boulder for back-to-back games against Hawaii and Georgia.

Big 12 player to watch: Receiver Scotty McKnight. The senior caught six passes for 78 yards and a score last week to become CU’s all-time receptions leader (171 catches).

Key matchup: California rush offense vs. Colorado rush defense. The Golden Bears scampered for 230 rushing yards in their 52-3 pounding of UC-Davis last week. Colorado held Colorado State to 49 yards rushing last week. Which unit wins out?

Iowa State (1-0) at No. 9 Iowa (1-0), 2:30 p.m.

Line: Iowa by 131⁄2

Fun facts: Iowa has won five of the last seven CyHawk trophies. Iowa also leads the all-time series, 38-19.

Big 12 player to watch: Quarterback Austen Arnaud. The difference in last year’s 35-3 Iowa triumph? Hawkeyes quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw four touchdown passes. Arnaud threw four interceptions. Arnaud is prone to the interception, as evidenced by the two he tossed against Northern Illinois last week.

Key matchup: Arnaud vs. Iowa secondary. If Arnaud shows a tendency to toss INT’s in Iowa City, it will be tough for the Cyclones to pull off the upset.

Buffalo (1-0) at Baylor (1-0), 6 p.m.

Line: Baylor by 161⁄2

Fun facts: Baylor won the last meeting, 34-21 in 2007, when current Kansas University coach Turner Gill had the same position at Buffalo. The Bulls started 1-0 (31-0 victory over Rhode Island last week) in their first season in four years without Gill as coach.

Big 12 player to watch: Quarterback Robert Griffin. The dual-threat quarterback led the Bears in passing yards (242) and rushing yards (59) last week. He’s coming off surgery on his right knee, so Baylor could use an emerging running back to take the load off Griffin.

Key matchup: Griffin vs. Buffalo defense. When healthy, the sophomore Griffin is a nightmare to bring down and is usually the difference when the Bears win games.

Louisiana Tech (1-0) at Texas A&M; (1-0), 6 p.m.

Line: Texas A&M; by 191⁄2

Fun fact: If Louisiana Tech sounds familiar, it’s probably because the Bulldogs traveled to Lawrence for a matchup with Kansas in 2008. The Jayhawks won, 29-0, en route to an 8-5 season and a victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

Big 12 player to watch: Linebacker Von Miller. That is, if he plays. The senior, who led the country with 17 sacks last season, sprained his ankle in A&M;’s 48-7 cakewalk over Stephen F. Austin. Coach Mike Sherman said he didn’t know whether Miller would play today. It would be a brutal loss for an Aggies unit that ranked 105th in the country in scoring defense (33.54 points given up per game) last season.

Key matchup: A&M; pressure on the quarterback vs. Louisiana Tech O-line. Without Miller (if he doesn’t play), can the Aggies still get to the QB?

Wyoming (1-0) at No. 5 Texas (1-0), 6 p.m.

Line: Texas by 29

Fun fact: The two teams met last year in Laramie, Wy., where the Cowboys actually gave the Longhorns a game — for one half. Wyoming trailed only 13-10 at the half, but Texas erupted for 28 second-half points and ended up winning, 41-10.

Big 12 player to watch: Linebacker Keenan Robinson. The junior had quite the opening game against Rice, intercepting a pass and returning a fumble for a touchdown in UT’s 34-17 victory.

Key matchup: Texas run offense vs. Wyoming run defense. Wyoming gave up almost five yards per rush against Southern Utah, and Texas figures to run the ball plenty today at home.

Troy (1-0) at Oklahoma State (1-0), 6 p.m.

Line: Oklahoma State by 13

Fun fact: In the teams’ last meeting in 2008, Oklahoma State ran wild for 358 rushing yards in a 55-24 victory in Stillwater, Okla.

Big 12 player to watch: Running back Kendall Hunter. The senior went crazy last week for 257 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Washington State.

Key matchup: Kendall Hunter vs. Troy defense. In the 2008 meeting, Hunter gashed the Troy defense for 169 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

McNeese State (1-0) at Missouri (1-0), 6 p.m.

Line: none

Fun fact: McNeese State, a Football Championship Subdivision squad, won nine games last year and 11 games in 2007.

Big 12 player to watch: Receiver T.J. Moe. The Wes Welker clone caught 13 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown last week against Illinois and could be developing into Blaine Gabbert’s favorite target.

Key matchup: Missouri pass offense vs. McNeese State pass defense. Does McNeese State have any chance of containing Gabbert?

Missouri State (1-0) at Kansas State (1-0), 6:10 p.m.

Line: none

Fun fact: Missouri State faced one BCS-level school last season and lost at Arkansas, 48-10.

Big 12 player to watch: Running back Daniel Thomas. Who else? The senior ran rampant for 235 yards and two touchdowns against UCLA. There may not be any other playmaker on the K-State offense, but it may not matter with the way Thomas is running.

Key matchup: Thomas vs. Missouri State rush defense. The Bears impressively held Eastern Kentucky to 35 yards on 25 carries. But can they hold Thomas to under 100? That’s the true test.

Texas Tech (1-0) at New Mexico (0-1), 7 p.m.

Line: Texas Tech by 241⁄2

Fun fact: There’s no way to sugarcoat how badly Oregon blasted New Mexico (72-0) last week. Ouch.

Big 12 player to watch: Receiver Lyle Leong. The senior caught 11 passes for 143 yards and three scores against SMU.

Key matchup: Texas Tech pass offense vs. New Mexico pass defense. New Mexico’s best chance is to rattle Tech quarterback Taylor Potts, but the fact that the Lobos trailed Oregon, 59-0 at halftime, suggests that may not be possible.


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