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 College GameDay — went into College Station and handed Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M an sudden early season loss. And, after all, Georgia Southern capped the evening off with a win over Nebraska that in the end led to a training change in Lincoln. Not unhealthy for a “dull” week, eh?
Sadly for school soccer followers, Week 3 solely options two video games the place each groups are ranked however — if final week confirmed us something — the storylines will likely be plentiful Saturday, no matter preliminary notion.
What does Nebraska appear to be in opposition to longtime rival No. 6 Oklahoma after firing Scott Frost? How do Jimbo’s Aggies bounce again whereas going through 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 school 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 apply 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 big take a look at in opposition to Oklahoma, a crew that’s sometimes some of the troublesome to defend.
“I met with Coach Chinander and we are going to play faster,” Joseph instructed reporters in Lincoln this week. “We are going to tackle in practice. We are going to detail what we are doing with our kids. We are going to make our kids hold themselves accountable.”
Final season, Nebraska performed Oklahoma powerful, shedding 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 explanation why Joseph feels there’s nonetheless potential to save lots of the 2022 season. Beating Oklahoma would go a great distance towards constructing the arrogance and perception that may occur.
“We move everything to the past and we start from here,” Joseph stated. “We have nine more opportunities and we are capable of winning games, and that is why they understand the first opportunity is this weekend against 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 extra time final week, BYU heads to Eugene with an opportunity to make one other assertion. A win would possible propel the Cougars into the top-10, at which level they’d be on trajectory to succeed in, at minimal, a New Yr’s Six bowl with the College Soccer Playoff an inexpensive goal.
There are sufficient respectable opponents left on the schedule (Notre Dame, Arkansas, Boise State, Stanford) for BYU to construct a powerful résumé throughout its final yr as an impartial earlier than becoming a member of the Massive 12.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge because it’ll be a good defining moment 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 eradicate 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 might lengthen the chance 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 will likely be when it opens Pac-12 play the next week at Washington State. — Kyle Bonagura
BYU college students and followers storm the sector after they seal the cope with nice protection within the second extra 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 battle and would not flinch even below probably the most dire of circumstances.
As he instructed ESPN previous to the season, months after the university-directed inquiry into this system and coup to run him out of city failed: “Everything we went through was bulls—. Let’s be clear on that. We’re not folding our tent whatsoever.”
In January, there weren’t many individuals on the Plains or anyplace else who thought Harsin could be round for a second season at Auburn. However right here he’s heading into Week 3 and going through 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 benefit from 5 straight residence video games to open the season. The Tigers face Missouri and LSU over the following two weeks at residence.
It is a related scenario 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 sector, 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) might 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 go. 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 working again Tank Bigsby, who’s averaging 6.8 yards per carry. No Auburn extensive 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 team,” Harsin stated. “When we have opportunities to make plays, we’ve got to go make them.”
One of many key matchups will likely be how Auburn defends Penn State’s passing sport. Quarterback Sean Clifford, in his sixth season, is not prone 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 ultimate 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 College, 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 power a turnover of their first two video games this season. Groups have used the short passing sport to maneuver the ball.
“We have a whole group of guys who can really get after the passer. … We just have to be consistent and not get frustrated when they do throw quick routes,” stated Derick Corridor, who had 10.5 tackles for loss a yr in the past, together with seven sacks.
One of many massive developments for Penn State final week in its 46-10 win over Ohio was freshman working 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 simply 2.1 yards per rush in its first two video games, might actually make it arduous on itself if the Nittany Lions set up the run early.
“I think you saw what [Singleton] brings to the offense. … It was just 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 shortly 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 massive standouts to this point 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 an enormous a part of the Spartans protection this season.
“He’s a mature player, mature young man, and he understands opportunity. He understands what it takes to play great football,” Tucker stated. “We ask our players to be in the best condition and so that’s the foundation of what we do. When you’re in shape, there’s no reason why you can’t give 100 percent when giving 100 percent is totally your choice. … When you see Jacoby play, that’s how he plays. He knows what to do, he plays hard and he’s physical and he has success on the field.”
Washington has solely allowed two sacks this season, however the Spartans have 12 as a crew, probably the most of any FBS program. That go rush and protection will likely be an enormous a part of the sport, and which crew has success, however Michigan State can have its fingers full with Washington’s protection, as nicely. The Huskies are giving up a mean of 121.5 go yards per sport to this point this season and the Spartans might need a banged up Jayden Reed at receiver. When requested if Reed could be able to play for Saturday’s sport, Tucker was lower than committal.
“He’s sore,” Tucker stated. “So, he’ll be ready when he’s ready.”
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 science team and strength coaches and our trainers laid out some points of emphasis for our players and some protocols that we’re going to use this week and on the trip,” Tucker stated. “We’re going to make sure those things get done and make sure we’re in the best position to be able to compete at a high level and be at our best physically 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 might probably’t afford to dwell on it with UTSA coming to city. The Roadrunners could also be a UT system faculty (and the gulf within the athletic budgets — $35 million for UTSA, $187 million for Texas — is about as massive 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’s for me,” coach Steve Sarkisian stated), with Quinn Ewers out and Hudson Card struggling an ankle harm in opposition to the Tide. Third-stringer Charles Wright could be subsequent up if Card could not play, Sarkisian stated, although backup working again Roschon Johnson was an All-American QB in highschool and took a couple of snaps out of the wildcat formation through the sport.
However the Roadrunners have been additionally one of many hottest groups within the nation final yr, going 12-2 and successful the Convention USA title whereas making the college’s first look within the AP ballot.
“You turn on the tape of UTSA, and they get your attention quickly with their schemes, personnel and the way they play the game,” 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 Sturdy 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’s the University of Texas, right?” Traylor instructed ESPN. “I doubt every one of my players came in to play for me over Sark. They all know that they were overlooked. Everybody in the state knows they probably would have gone there, but they didn’t want ’em. That’s a tremendous motivating factor for people, to know that you’re not wanted and you get the opportunity to go play that team.” — Dave Wilson
No. 13 Miami Hurricanes at No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)
There aren’t any simple 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 evening, there’s one space the place we might see a change: at quarterback.
Whereas Haynes King gained the job out of preseason camp, his efficiency by 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 precise), 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 could 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 instructed reporters it was a chance they make a change.
“We’ll evaluate everything this week,” he stated.
On Wednesday, he was requested whether or not Johnson was working with the primary crew in apply and would solely say this: “We’re repping them.”
So the ready sport it’s.
Whoever it’s faces an uphill battle. In accordance with FPI, the Aggies are underdogs in seven of their ultimate 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