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October 04, 2005 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-04

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 4, 2005 - 9
Red River Shootout highlights big weekend in football

By Kia Hamadanchy
Wand Phil Solomon
For the Daily
Although it is just six weeks into the college
football season, some burgeoning programs enter
this weekend facing pivotal games that could
make or break their season. Other teams will try
to renew past glory and burst
back onto the national scene
by upsetting ranked rivals. The C0
end result will be the difference
between a game on New Year's
Day and the Gaylords Hotels
Music City Bowl.
This weekend's slate of games
is highlighted by a pair of Big 12 showdowns and
matchups between SEC and Pac-10 powerhouses.
After the dust settles Saturday night, one team
may be on the express route to the Rose Bowl,
while another traditional power is left pulling out
its hair in shock and disgust.
Oklahoma (2-2 overall, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 2
Texas (4-0, 1-0) - 1 p.m. - ABC
By looking solely at the records and statistics
in this matchup, one would expect a blowout of
Michigan-Eastern Michigan proportions. Texas
comes into the game surging with momentum
and national title aspirations. The Longhorns
crushed Missouri, 51-20, in their Big 12 opener
and squeaked out a close road victory over an
excellent Ohio State team earlier this season. As
Michigan fans know, Vince Young is one of col-
lege football's most electric players and a leading
candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He has com-
pleted more than 65 percent of his passes for 780
yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for
310 yards and two scores.
On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma has
already suffered an embarrassing home loss at
the hands of Texas Christian and has received
inconsistent play from both the quarterback and
running back positions. Rhett Bomar has more
interceptions than touchdowns and Adrian Peter-
son - last year's Heisman runner-up - is averag-
ing less than 100 yards per game on the ground.
But not so fast. Oklahoma has controlled this
rivalry for the past five years - meaning Texas
has not beaten its hated foe this millennium. The
Sooners have not lost three games in one season
since 1999, and Bob Stoops will have his team
prepared to keep both streaks alive. Peterson is
a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode for
200 yards, and Bomar showed signs of improve-
ment last week. The Sooners will keep this game
closer than most people expect, but, in the end,
Young and the raucous Texas crowd will not let
the Longhorns waste perhaps their best chance at
a national title.
Texas 31, Oklahoma 27
No. 15 Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) at
Nebraska (4-0, 1-0) - 4 p.m.
Each of these teams come into this conference
matchup unbeaten, but it's difficult to judge how
talented these squads truly are. Texas Tech has

Texas quarterback Vince Young hopes to beat Oklahoma for the first time in his collegiate career. The Sooners have won the rivalry
game every year since 2000, but Texas comes in as the favorite this weekend.

able to contain Lynch. Olsen and Drew will make
just enough plays to pull out a victory.
UCLA 31, California 28
Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pac-10) at No. 17 Arizona
State (3-2, 1-1)- 10:15 p.m.
Arizona State is coming off a tough loss,
in which it hung with Southern Cal for a half
before the Trojans took over. Oregon struggled
against Stanford for a half before pulling away
to win, 44-20. These two explosive offenses
should score a lot of points. Arizona State quar-
terback Sam Keller leads the nation in passing
yardage with 1,790 yards and will be looking to
carve up the Oregon secondary. Oregon quar-
terback Kellen Clemens has played very well
this season, throwing for 12 touchdowns and
just one interception.
Arizona State has lost two games this season
against top-25 opponents where they were unable
to maintain a big lead. The challenge this week
is to keep it up for four quarters. Sam Keller is
a very good quarterback and should have no
trouble with the Duck's defense. But Clemens and
Oregon should also be able to move the ball on
Arizona State. The real question for this game is
whether the Sun Devils come out flat after what
happened to them against Southern Cal. The Sun
Devils might struggle a bit early, but they should
overcome those early troubles. Keller and the Ari-
zona State offense are better then their counter-
parts and too good to be held down by the Oregon
Arizona State 45, Oregon 38
No. 5 Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 8 Ten-
nessee (3-1, 2-1) - 3:30 p.m. - CBS
Georgia travels to Tennessee to take on the
Volunteers in a game that has SEC and national
title implications. This game should be a defen-
sive battle. Tennessee has the No. 4 rushing
defense in the country, while Georgia's oppor-
tunistic defense allows just 11.3 points per game
and has forced 14 turnovers. Tennessee seems
to have solved the quarterback controversy
between Eric Ainge and Rich Clausen. Clau-
sen started last week after he brought Tennes-
see back from a 21 point deficit down against
Louisiana State two weeks ago. The Volunteers
will hope they can ride Gerald Riggs and their
running game.
The Bulldogs have not been seriously tested
this season, and they will look to prove them-
selves as a legitimate title contender. Quarterback
D.J. Shockley is coming off a game in which he
threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Ten-
nessee is definitely one of the toughest places to
play in the SEC, and this game will be no easy
task for Georgia. Shockley and Georgia are a bit
overrated, and they haven't proven themselves yet.
Tennessee needs to win this game, and playing at
home should give them the emotional edge. Ten-
nessee should bring Georgia back to earth in a
low scoring football game.
Tennessee 16, Georgia 7

essentially played a high school schedule, beat-
ing a couple of Division I-AA schools. Nebraska
barely edged Pittsburgh and Iowa State the past
two weeks, and the Cornhuskers have yet to play
a road game.
Still, it's difficult to ignore the Red Raiders'
potent offense. First-year starter Cody Hodges has
thrown for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns while
leading Tech to an average of more than 50 points
a game. Nebraska seems to have turned a cor-
ner under coach Bill Callahan, who has tried to
move the program away from its renowned option
offense. Quarterback Zac Taylor threw for 431
yards, a Nebraska record, and two touchdowns in
last weekend's overtime victory.
Nebraska has given up just nine points per
game, but the Cornhuskers have yet to face a
spread attack like that of Texas Tech. Once noto-
rious for its intense student atmosphere, Lincoln
doesn't strike fear in opponents like it once did.
Although Nebraska may be the class of the Big
12 North, that holds about as much weight as the
Padres victory in the NL West. Texas Tech should
have little trouble exposing Nebraska's weakness-
es, on both offense and defense.
Texas Tech 38, Nebraska 17
Virginia (3-1, 1-1 ACC) at No. 18 Boston
College (4-1, 1-1) - 1 p.m.
This game features two teams in the middle of
the ACC pack, and the loser will essentially be
eliminated from any chance of playing in a BCS

bowl. Arguably the best conference in college
football, the ACC features three top-10 teams and
three others ranked in the Top 25. Virginia faces
an impossible schedule, with five games remain-
ing against ranked opponents. The Cavaliers shot
themselves in the foot last week by blowing a
fourth-quarter lead against Maryland, and now
they have to try to rebound in another road game.
Boston College has played well, except for
its home loss to undefeated Florida State. The
defense has been the team's strength, yielding
just 10.2 points per game thus far. Quarterback
Matt Ryan has been competent, but not much bet-
ter than that, since taking over three weeks ago,
throwing for 599 yards.
Virginia has been inconsistent all year and has
yet to notch a victory against a quality opponent.
Quarterback Marques Hagans may not be the
answer; his deficiencies are hidden by a balanced
rushing attack that averages over 175 yards per
If Boston College can get past Virginia, the
Eagles have a chance to run the table because
it faces only one more ranked opponent. That
incentive - on top of the sheer talent difference
and homefield advantage - should be more than
enough for Boston College to dispose of the Cava-
Boston College 24, Virginia 13
No. 10 California (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) at No. 20
UCLA (4-0, 2-0) - 7:30 p.m.

Coming off an easy victory over Arizona, Cali-
fornia heads down to Los Angeles to face the Bru-
ins in a Pac-10 showdown. There should be a lot
of points in this one - both teams average more
than 40 points per game. The winner of this game
automatically becomes the biggest remaining
challenge to Southern Cal. California quarterback
Joseph Ayoob has struggled this season and is just
now starting to settle into his starting role.
This game features the two best running
backs in the Pac-10 who don't play for South-
ern Cal - California's Marshawn Lynch and
UCLA's Maurice Drew. Lynch returned from
injury last week and rushed for 107 yards and a
touchdown. Freshman receiver DeSean Jackson
has a lot of potential and will be looking to have
breakout game against the Bruins. UCLA had to
come up with a late comeback to pull out a win
against Washington. Quarterback Drew Olsen
has had a great senior season so far with 1,049
yards and eight touchdowns, silencing the critics
in Westwood. Mercedes Lewis is quite a weapon
for the Bruin's offense and perhaps the best in
the nation at his position. California has the No.
2 rushing offense in the country and will have to
run the ball as effectively to win, especially in
light of Ayoob's struggles. Led by seniors Spen-
cer Havner and Justin London, UCLA is very
solid at linebacker.
In the end, this game will come down to the
play at quarterback, where the Bruins have a deci-
sive advantage. UCLA struggled last week, but it
is at home and will bounce back. The Bruins held
Adrian Peterson to 58 yards, so they should be

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