College Football Week 2 Watch List
After one of the most entertaining opening weeks of College Football in recent history, we have another loaded slate this week with a Top 25 matchup and a Top 10 rivalry showdown, so let's get right into the thick of things.
No.10 Iowa @ No.9 Iowa State
9-11-21, 4:30 P.M. Eastern Time, ABC
The Hawkeyes enter this rivalry matchup with five straight wins over the Cyclones, and they have won nine of the past 12 matchups. These two Top 10 teams have stifling defenses with an explosive backfield on the offensive side of the ball, but both of these teams have a big question mark at the quarterback position. In Week 1, the two defenses combined to allow only one touchdown while forcing five turnovers, but neither of these offenses eclipsed 200 yards through the air.
Keys to the Game:
This Top 10 showdown is expected to be a low scoring, defensive heavyweight battle, so the biggest key to this game is time of possession and converting in the red zone. Whichever team can keep their defense on the sidelines and convert when the field shortens should expect to come out of Iowa City with a win. The key for the Cyclones is to get Breece Hall going early, which could set up the play action game for Brock Purdy. Hall was held to 69 yards on 23 carries last week, but Breece Hall is too good of a player to be shut down for a second straight week. However, the Hawkeyes' defense held Indiana's backfield to 84 yards on 29 carries for under 3 yards per carry last week, but this defense is facing a different monster in Breece Hall. For the Iowa Hawkeyes, the key is to get production from the receivers. Last week, Iowa's wideouts only combined for 5 catches for 38 yards, which won't win you many games. If the Cyclones can contain the Hawkeyes' deep backfield, it could be a frustrating afternoon for Iowa unless their receivers can create downfield separation on the outside.
Players to Watch:
No.65, C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
No.15, RB Tyler Goodson, Iowa
No.33, CB Riley Moss, Iowa
No.28, RB Breece Hall, Iowa State
No.88, TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
No.23, LB Mike Rose, Iowa State
Score Prediction: 17-13, Iowa State
No.12 Oregon @ No.3 Ohio State
9-11-21, 12:00 P.M. Eastern Time, FOX
After both teams had a slight Week 1 scare, the Ducks travel to Columbus to take on Chris Olave and the Buckeyes. Oregon looked to be on their way to a blowout win over Fresno State until presumed top ten pick Kayvon Thibudeaux went down with an ankle injury and did not return. The Ducks' defense struggled to get pressure after Thibideaux went down and they were on their heals all afternoon, but they escaped the season opener with a win. Thibideaux's status for Week 2 is up in the air, and it would be almost impossible for the Ducks to beat Ohio State in Columbus without him. For the Buckeyes, they trailed the Gophers 14-10 at the half, and their offense couldn't find a rhythm through the air. That was short lived as Stroud threw four touchdowns, and Zach Harrison forced a fumble that resulted in a scoop and score in the second half. The biggest question outside of Thibideaux's availability is whether or not Ohio State's offense will pick up where it left off. If Stroud plays like he did in the second half, the Ducks would have a difficult time keeping up with an offense that features multiple future NFL players at each position.
Keys to the Game:
A run game is a young quarterback's best friend, and that stands true for C.J. Stroud. If the three-headed monster that is Ohio State's backfield can gash the middle of the Ducks' defense, that would force the linebackers and safeties to play closer to the line of scrimmage, forcing Oregon into more one-on-one matchups against Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. For Oregon to have a shot against Ohio State, the freakishly talented Ducks' linebacking core must be able to not only contain the run, but they must be able to tackle in open field against the bevy of weapons at Stroud's disposal. Oregon starts two freshman and a third year sophomore at linebacker, and they will need to minimize yards after the catch in order to get Ohio State off the field. If the Oregon defense can at the very least contain the Buckeyes' trio of NFL caliber backs, that would force a redshirt freshman making his second career start into more obvious passing downs, and that means All-American edge rusher Kayvon Thibideaux can chip away at the quarterback and force Stroud into some bad decisions. If Oregon can get off to an early lead and make Ohio State a one dimensional team, they could very well upset the Buckeyes. If they don't do that however, the Ducks most certainly would be kissing their playoff hopes goodbye.
Players to Watch:
No.7, RB CJ Verdell, Oregon
No.5, DE Kayvon Thibideaux, Oregon
No.1, LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
No.2, WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
No.33, RB Master Teague, Ohio State
No.9, DE Zach Harrison, Ohio State
Score Prediction: 38-20, Ohio State
No.15 Texas @ Arkansas
9-11-21, 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time, ESPN
After a dominating win over a Top 25 Louisiana team, expectations are higher than ever for Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns. On the other hand, the Arkansas Razorbacks are looking to get a big home win over a quality Texas team, which could be the signature win that Sam Pittman is searching for in his second season at Arkansas.
Keys to the Game
Arkansas may not be the most talented team, but they have one of the best receivers in the country, Treylon Burks. Burks will be facing an experienced defense full of upperclassman, but if he's as good as advertised, this could be an exciting battle to watch in the secondary between Burks and the Texas corners. For the Longhorns, Bijan Robinson is arguably the best running back in the country, but will he be able to find holes in an experienced Razorbacks front six that starts six seniors? Robinson isn't your typical college back, as he is an extremely polished pass catchers out of the backfield in only his sophomore season. This game should go as Bijan goes. If Bijan has a big game, the rest of the Texas offense will follow, but if he struggles, so will a young offense.
Players to Watch:
No.5, RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
No.5, CB D'Shawn Jamison, Texas
No.1, QB Card Hudson, Texas
No.16, WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
No.31, LB Grant Morgan
No.27, LB Hayden Henry
Score Prediction: 27-23, Texas
Other Games to Watch:
App State @ No.22 Miami
9-11-21, 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time, ESPNU
Score Prediction: 34-20, Miami
Kentucky @ Missouri
9-11-21, 7:30 P.M. Eastern Time, SECN
Score Prediction: 27-24, Kentucky