The important thing storylines for Miami-Texas A&M, BYU-Oregon and the remainder of Week 3’s greatest video games

The forecast for Week 2’s faculty soccer slate was dreary and but, the scheduled delivered.

The Solar Belt rose to the event as Marshall knocked off then top-10 Notre Dame 26-21 and Appalachian State — this week’s host for School GameDay — went into School Station and handed Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M an sudden early season loss. And, in fact, Georgia Southern capped the night time off with a win over Nebraska that finally led to a training change in Lincoln. Not dangerous for a “uninteresting” week, eh?

Sadly for faculty soccer followers, Week 3 solely options two video games the place each groups are ranked however — if final week confirmed us something — the storylines shall be ample Saturday, no matter preliminary notion.

What does Nebraska seem like in opposition to longtime rival No. 6 Oklahoma after firing Scott Frost? How do Jimbo’s Aggies bounce again whereas dealing with a gifted Miami crew? And can we discover out who the true Oregon Geese are as they welcome No. 12 BYU to Eugene?

These are the important thing tales as we prepare for an additional week of faculty soccer.

No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners at Nebraska Cornhuskers (Saturday, midday ET, Fox)

It goes with out saying that the dialog surrounding Nebraska this week has been much less about its sport in opposition to Oklahoma and extra about the place this system goes from right here after firing Scott Frost.

Interim coach Mickey Joseph, a former Nebraska quarterback himself, stated his main focus inside this system has been to make modifications that can assist the crew play higher than it has throughout its 1-2 begin. To that finish, there are a number of defensive modifications — together with tackling in follow and shifting defensive coordinator Erik Chinander to work extra carefully with the safeties.

Nebraska ranks No. 124 within the nation in whole protection, permitting a mean of 492 yards per sport — uncharacteristic of its “Blackshirts” moniker. Final week was a low level, as Nebraska gave up 642 yards in a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern. Subsequent up is a large check in opposition to Oklahoma, a crew that’s sometimes some of the tough to defend.

“I met with Coach Chinander and we’re going to play quicker,” Joseph advised reporters in Lincoln this week. “We’re going to sort out in follow. We’re going to element what we’re doing with our children. We’re going to make our children maintain themselves accountable.”

Final season, Nebraska performed Oklahoma powerful, dropping 23-17 — one of many many video games the Cornhuskers misplaced by one rating below Frost. Being concerned in so many shut video games is a part of the rationale why Joseph feels there may be nonetheless potential to save lots of the 2022 season. Beating Oklahoma would go a good distance towards constructing the boldness and perception that may occur.

“We transfer every thing to the previous and we begin from right here,” Joseph stated. “We have now 9 extra alternatives and we’re able to profitable video games, and that’s the reason they perceive the primary alternative is that this weekend in opposition to OU.” — Andrea Adelson

No. 12 BYU Cougars at No. 25 Oregon Geese (Saturday, 3:35 p.m. ET, Fox)

Following its thrilling 26-20 win in opposition to Baylor in double additional time final week, BYU heads to Eugene with an opportunity to make one other assertion. A win would doubtless propel the Cougars into the top-10, at which level they might be on trajectory to succeed in, at minimal, a New 12 months’s Six bowl with the School Soccer Playoff an affordable goal.

There are sufficient respectable opponents left on the schedule (Notre Dame, Arkansas, Boise State, Stanford) for BYU to construct a formidable résumé throughout its final yr as an unbiased earlier than becoming a member of the Huge 12.

“I am trying ahead to the problem as a result of it will be a superb defining second for our guys,” BYU coach Kilani Sitake stated.

It is unusual to listen to the stakes laid out like that this early within the season, however he is proper. A loss would successfully remove the Cougars from the nationwide dialog after simply three video games. That dynamic is what’s so problematic about convention independence. For a program of BYU’s caliber, video games which have tangible implications deep into the season are uncommon. Nonetheless, a win would not make the season by any means, it will lengthen the likelihood for a particular season.

With a 45-point loss and an FCS win on its résumé, Oregon stays an unknown. The Geese got here into the season with excessive expectations below first-year coach Dan Lanning and Saturday’s sport ought to present the most effective glimpse into the kind of crew this shall be when it opens Pac-12 play the next week at Washington State. — Kyle Bonagura



BYU college students and followers storm the sphere after they seal the cope with nice protection within the second additional time to finalize a 26-20 win.

No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions at Auburn Tigers (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

We all know this about Bryan Harsin: He would not again down from a struggle and would not flinch even below essentially the most dire of circumstances.

As he advised ESPN previous to the season, months after the university-directed inquiry into this system and coup to run him out of city failed: “All the pieces we went by way of was bulls—. Let’s be clear on that. We’re not folding our tent in any respect.”

In January, there weren’t many individuals on the Plains or anyplace else who thought Harsin can be round for a second season at Auburn. However right here he’s heading into Week 3 and dealing with maybe an important sport of his Auburn profession on Saturday when Penn State visits Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Merely trying down Auburn’s schedule is proof of how pivotal this sport is for the Tigers if they’ll enhance on final season’s 6-7 end. A win over Penn State would arrange a really manageable pathway for Auburn to be 5-0 and make the most of 5 straight house video games to open the season. The Tigers face Missouri and LSU over the following two weeks at house.

It is a related state of affairs for James Franklin and Penn State, though Franklin’s offseason was nowhere close to as rocky as Harsin’s. Franklin had the consolation of inking a 10-year contract extension final November — paying him $7.5 million yearly. And but, on the sphere, the Nittany Lions did not fare significantly better than the Tigers. Penn State completed 7-6, and that is after going 4-5 in 2020.

So each coaches (and groups) may use momentum-building wins.

Auburn has been pedestrian on offense in its first two video games, and Harsin is the primary to say that the Tigers must make extra performs within the passing sport. Quarterbacks T.J. Finley (the starter within the first two video games) and Robby Ashford have mixed for one landing move. The absence of a extra explosive passing sport would make it simpler for Penn State to stack the road of scrimmage and cease Auburn star operating again Tank Bigsby, who’s averaging 6.8 yards per carry. No Auburn large receiver caught greater than three passes in final week’s 24-16 win over San Jose State, a sport by which Auburn trailed 10-7 on the half.

“I’ve challenged our offense. I’ve challenged our crew,” Harsin stated. “When we’ve got alternatives to make performs, we have got to go make them.”

One of many key matchups shall be how Auburn defends Penn State’s passing sport. Quarterback Sean Clifford, in his sixth season, is not more likely to be rattled by a Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd that may be ear-splitting. He overcame a fourth-quarter pick-six within the season opener to guide Penn State on an eight-play, 80-yard landing drive within the closing minutes in a comeback 35-31 street win over Purdue. Clifford completed with 282 yards and 4 touchdowns.

A yr in the past in Penn State’s 28-20 win over Auburn in State School, Clifford was 28-of-32 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Auburn’s energy on protection is its entrance, however the Tigers have but to drive a turnover of their first two video games this season. Groups have used the short passing sport to maneuver the ball.

“We have now a complete group of men who can actually get after the passer. … We simply need to be constant and never get annoyed once they do throw fast routes,” stated Derick Corridor, who had 10.5 tackles for loss a yr in the past, together with seven sacks.

One of many huge developments for Penn State final week in its 46-10 win over Ohio was freshman operating again Nick Singleton breaking out with a 179-yard dashing look, together with landing runs of 78 and 44 yards. It is the primary time Penn State has produced a 100-yard rusher since Week 6 of the 2020 season. Auburn, which has held groups to only 2.1 yards per rush in its first two video games, may actually make it arduous on itself if the Nittany Lions set up the run early.

“I feel you noticed what [Singleton] brings to the offense. … It was only a matter of time,” Clifford stated final week. — Chris Low

No. 11 Michigan State Spartans at Washington Huskies (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker has utilized the switch portal to rapidly rebuild his roster and took the crew to an 11-2 season in 2021. He as soon as once more introduced in some key transfers and is off to a 2-0 begin this season.

One of many huge standouts up to now has been linebacker Jacoby Windmon, who leads all FBS gamers with 5.5 sacks and three pressured fumbles. Windmon transferred from UNLV and has been a giant a part of the Spartans protection this season.

“He is a mature participant, mature younger man, and he understands alternative. He understands what it takes to play nice soccer,” Tucker stated. “We ask our gamers to be in the most effective situation and in order that’s the muse of what we do. Whenever you’re in form, there is no cause why you possibly can’t give one hundred pc when giving one hundred pc is completely your alternative. … Whenever you see Jacoby play, that is how he performs. He is aware of what to do, he performs arduous and he is bodily and he has success on the sphere.”

Washington has solely allowed two sacks this season, however the Spartans have 12 as a crew, essentially the most of any FBS program. That move rush and protection shall be a giant a part of the sport, and which crew has success, however Michigan State can have its arms full with Washington’s protection, as nicely. The Huskies are giving up a mean of 121.5 move yards per sport up to now this season and the Spartans might need a banged up Jayden Reed at receiver. When requested if Reed can be able to play for Saturday’s sport, Tucker was lower than committal.

“He is sore,” Tucker stated. “So, he’ll be prepared when he is prepared.”

Along with the potential of Reed taking part in whereas not 100%, Tucker stated the crew has centered on mitigating any results from touring throughout the nation. He stated they’ve consulted with professionals and even requested the gamers to go to mattress an hour earlier this week in preparation for the journey.

“Our sports activities science crew and energy coaches and our trainers laid out some factors of emphasis for our gamers and a few protocols that we’ll use this week and on the journey,” Tucker stated. “We’re going to ensure these issues get executed and ensure we’re in the most effective place to have the ability to compete at a excessive stage and be at our greatest bodily and mentally.” — Tom VanHaaren

UTSA Roadrunners at No. 21 Texas Longhorns (Saturday, 8 ET, Longhorn Community)

Texas is coming off a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to No. 1 Alabama, however it could’t afford to dwell on it with UTSA coming to city. The Roadrunners could also be a UT system college (and the gulf within the athletic budgets — $35 million for UTSA, $187 million for Texas — is about as huge because the 80 miles separating the 2 campuses) however that does not imply the Longhorns count on to roll.

For one, there’s nonetheless some thriller about who will begin at quarterback for Texas (“That is for me,” coach Steve Sarkisian stated), with Quinn Ewers out and Hudson Card struggling an ankle damage in opposition to the Tide. Third-stringer Charles Wright can be subsequent up if Card could not play, Sarkisian stated, although backup operating again Roschon Johnson was an All-American QB in highschool and took a couple of snaps out of the wildcat formation in the course of the sport.

However the Roadrunners have been additionally one of many hottest groups within the nation final yr, going 12-2 and profitable the Convention USA title whereas making the varsity’s first look within the AP ballot.

“You activate the tape of UTSA, and so they get your consideration rapidly with their schemes, personnel and the way in which they play the sport,” Sarkisian stated this week.

UTSA QB Frank Harris leads FBS in whole offense at 394.5 yards per sport, and the Roadrunners are coached by Jeff Traylor, a former Texas assistant below Charlie Robust who was a wildly profitable Texas highschool coach. Traylor is aware of precisely what he is up in opposition to and what buttons to push along with his gamers.

“It is the College of Texas, proper?” Traylor advised ESPN. “I doubt each certainly one of my gamers got here in to play for me over Sark. All of them know that they have been ignored. All people within the state is aware of they in all probability would have gone there, however they did not need ’em. That is an amazing motivating issue for folks, to know that you just’re not needed and also you get the chance to go play that crew.” — Dave Wilson

No. 13 Miami Hurricanes at No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

There are not any straightforward fixes for Texas A&M after it was upset by Appalachian State final Saturday. Jimbo Fisher, who was as soon as hailed as a quarterback guru, now faces questions on whether or not he’ll proceed calling performs or hand that responsibility over to his offensive coordinator.

His reply: possibly sooner or later, however not now.

However with Miami coming to city on Saturday night time, there may be one space the place we may see a change: at quarterback.

Whereas Haynes King received the job out of preseason camp, his efficiency by way of two video games has been uninspired. First, he threw two interceptions in opposition to Sam Houston within the season opener. Then, in opposition to App State, he threw for lower than 100 yards (97 to be actual), together with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

King’s 33.0 Whole QBR is the bottom amongst qualifying SEC quarterbacks.

So naturally there have been requires LSU switch Max Johnson or prized recruit Conner Weigman to supplant him.

Johnson can be the almost definitely decide; he has 14 profession begins below his belt and final season threw for 27 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Fisher even stated after Saturday’s loss that he thought of placing Johnson in.

However this week Fisher is giving up nothing. On Monday, he advised reporters it was a chance they make a change.

“We’ll consider every thing this week,” he stated.

On Wednesday, he was requested whether or not Johnson was working with the primary crew in follow and would solely say this: “We’re repping them.”

So the ready sport it’s.

Whoever it’s faces an uphill battle. In line with FPI, the Aggies are underdogs in seven of their closing 10 video games, together with every of the following 4 (Miami, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Alabama), and have solely a 53% likelihood of reaching bowl eligibility this season. — Alex Scarborough

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