Vanderbilt will give Notre Dame fits
September 12, 2018 3:00 AM
by Tony Mejia
Week 2 had a few fun football games that came down to the wire but lacked anything that dramatically altered the national picture. Georgia trounced South Carolina to prove it belongs with the national elite despite losing four of the first 35 picks in this past NFL draft, while USC snuffed out young Stanford.
In the most interesting result, Texas A&M pushed Clemson to the brink of an upset, coming up a two-point conversion shy of squaring things up late in the fourth quarter at College Station.
Here are the games I’ll watch.
Ohio State vs. TCU, 12:30 p.m. PT: Horned Frogs QB Shawn Robinson missed a ton of throws against SMU but did manage to create plays with his speed and elusiveness. KeVontae Turpin scored on a punt return and a touchdown catch against but needs to touch the ball more since he’s one of the Big 12’s most impressive athletes. Gary Patterson will need Turpin to make life easier for his quarterback in Arlington. With Urban Meyer still suspended, Ryan Day faces his biggest challenge before handing the team back over.
LSU at Auburn, 12:30 p.m. PT: LSU QB Joe Burrow will face his first road atmosphere and will likely have to be more than a game manager to produce an upset since they may be a double-digit underdog by kickoff. Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham could really enhance his growing reputation as a potential Top-10 pick against a defense fueled by first-round locks in LB Devin White and corner Greedy Williams.
Boise State at Oklahoma State, 12:30 p.m. PT: The Broncos are averaging 59 points per game through their first two wins and were up 41-0 at the break last week against UConn, allowing them to apply the brakes and cruise home. The Cowboys are transitioning from losing Mason Rudolph and top receiver James Washington to the Steelers and saw top receivers Tylan Wallace and Tryon Johnson help new QB Taylor Cornelius throw for 428 yards against South Alabama last week. Johnson, an LSU transfer, averaged 27.4 yards per catch, while Wallace hauled in 100 balls.
Oklahoma at Iowa State, 9 a.m. PT: In last week’s rout of UCLA, the Sooners got 306 passing yards from QB Kyler Murray, who also gained 69 on the ground and accounted for five touchdowns. Unfortunately, standout RB Rodney Anderson left with a knee injury that will end his season, so TJ Pledger got some work in alongside Trey Sermon to identify the primary back going forward. The Sooners remain the Big 12 favorite, but the conference opener against Iowa State got more complicated since the Cyclones bring the best defense OU has seen to date to the table for its first road test.
USC at Texas, 5 p.m. PT: The Trojans showed some fight in that they never collectively hung their heads but their first road trip of the season produced the program’s first touchdown-less game since a 52-6 loss to Alabama in ’16. Stanford cruised 17-3 as freshman QB J.T. Daniels struggled and didn’t hook up with top target Amon-Ra St. Brown until the fourth. Meanwhile, Tom Herman is still talking up his group and reassuring a nervous Texas fan base that couldn’t have been thrilled with a one-score game in the home opener against a Group of Five opponent.
Vanderbilt at Notre Dame, 11:30 a.m. PT: The Commodores went up and down the field against Nevada but ended up scoreless in the first quarter due to a fumble and put another ball on the ground late in the half. That must have been some halftime speech from Derek Mason since Vandy scored the final 24 points, pitching a shutout with multiple takeaways. The Irish struggled against Ball State and appear to be suffering a hangover after looking tremendous against Michigan in their season opener. For that reason, taking the 14.5 points with Vanderbilt is my strongest early lean since the ‘Dores should be able to hang around on both sides of the ball. VANDERBILT