College Football: #8 BYU @ Utah State Preview
#15 Utah was able to escape by the slimmest of margins, with a Louie Sakoda field goal as time expired giving the Utes a 31-28 win over Oregon State and the Mountain West a 6-1 record against the Pac-10 this year. But while Utah was lucky to escape with a win, #10 USF wasn't so lucky with LeSean McCoy leading Pittsburgh to the 26-21 win. McCoy ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and contrary to my prediction Pitt's Bill Stull was the best quarterback on the field.
Now 2-0 in Big East play, the Panthers look to be worthy of the conference title talk that surrounded the program back in August. And in the third game of the evening, Memphis won at UAB 33-30 thanks to a Vinny Zaccario field goal with two seconds remaining. The Tigers, who are now winners of the "Battle for the Bones", are now back at .500 on the season and have their first conference win of 2008. Here are the previews for tomorrow's action, headlined by Cincinnati visiting a dangerous Marshall team without their top two quarterbacks.
#8 BYU (4-0) @ Utah State (1-3), 8PM EST on KJZZ or BYU-TV
Although the Aggies looked pretty good in their blowout home win over Idaho heading into their bye week, I can't fool anyone into thinking they've got a shot in this one. Utah walked into Logan sluggish at the start back on September 13th...and all the Utes did was win 58-10. Look for QB Max Hall to put up some solid numbers in a Cougar win.
Cincinnati (3-1) @ Marshall (3-2), 8 PM EST on ESPN2
The Bearcats didn't look too good in beating Akron on the road last weekend, and now they visit a Thundering Herd team that gave Wisconsin all they wanted for about a half in their trip to Madison last month. Yes, Mark Snyder's team ended up getting handled in the second stanza, but that was in a hostile environment against a top-level team in good health. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is down to either Chazz Anderson or Zach Collaros under center after losing both Dustin Grutza and Tony Pike to injury.
But whoever gets the call from head coach Brian Kelly will have a capable group of wide receivers, most notably Mardy Gilyard, Dominick Goodman and Marcus Barnett. And they've got an excellent pair of corners in Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith, who will have their hands full with one Darius Passmore.
Marshall enters the game on a two-game win streak that has them perched atop the C-USA East Division standings at 2-0. Passmore is a handful for opponents, and he was named Conference USA Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Southern Miss last weekend. But keep an eye on RB Darius Marshall, who ranks fourth in Conference USA in rushing.
While Cincinnati overall may have more talent it's going to be tough for either redshirt freshman quarterback to get the job done on the road, especially against a team that looks to be hitting its stride. Marshall pulls the upset.