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Week 11 previews

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Friday November 05, 1999 12:49 AM

By Stewart Mandel, CNN/SI

Minnesota at (2) Penn State
(3) Virginia Tech at West Virginia
(24) Notre Dame at (4) Tennessee
Vanderbilt at (5) Florida
Colorado at (6) Kansas State
(7) Georgia Tech at Virginia
(21) Texas A&M at (9) Nebraska
(10) Wisconsin at (17) Purdue
(11) Texas at Oklahoma State
LSU at (12) Alabama
(13) Marshall at Kent
(15) BYU at San Diego St.
Northwestern at (16) Michigan
(18) E. Carolina at UAB
(20) Ohio St. at (19) Michigan St.
(22) Miami at Pittsburgh
Arkansas at (23) Mississippi
(25) Southern Miss at Memphis

Before the season, this was supposed to be the week Nebraska and Texas A&M squared off with the Big 12's BCS bid on the line, and Notre Dame and Tennessee played in a game rife with national championship implications.

Neither is the case, though both should still be entertaining games. In the meantime, we introduce you to two don't-misses out of the Big Ten: the Heisman showdown of Wisconsin's Ron Dayne and Purdue's Drew Brees, and Ohio State's grudge match with the team that ended its run at No. 1 last year, Michigan State.

As for national championship aspirations, No. 1 Florida State has the week off, but No. 2 Penn State has to watch out for Minnesota and No. 3 Virginia Tech has a trip to Pittsburgh. Florida, No. 4 in the BCS standings, hosts Vanderbilt.


Week 11 Previews
 
Minnesota (5-3) at (2) Penn State (9-0)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, Noon (ESPN2)
Game Preview
11: Consecutive Penn State victories, second nationally to Marshall.
Player to Watch
Thomas Hamner, RB, Minnesota. Set school record last week with fifth straight 100-yard game.
Analysis
Two years ago around this time, the Gophers knocked undefeated PSU from the No. 1 ranking by losing only 16-15. This year's Minnesota team has also made a habit of playing the Big Ten's best close, but failing to win. Look for a low-scoring contest, with the Gophers slowing down PSU RB Eric McCoo, while the Lions pass rush wreaks havoc on Minnesota QB Billy Cockerham.
 
(3) Virginia Tech (7-0) at West Virginia (3-5)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (CBS regional)
Game Preview
10: Consecutive games the Hokies have scored 30 or more points.
Player to Watch
Cory Bird, DE, Virginia Tech. Overshadowed by comrade Corey Moore, the aforementioned Cory had two sacks of his own last week.
Analysis
Mountaineers QB Marc Bulger has completed 60 percent of his passes but thrown twice as many picks (12) as TDs (six) this year. That doesn't bode well for facing the Hokies' relentless pass rush, though Tech's secondary did surrender a staggering 427 passing yards last week to Pitt. The difference will be on the ground, where QB Michael Vick and RB Shyrone Stith give Tech a huge advantage.
 
(24) Notre Dame (5-3) at (4) Tennessee (6-1)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game Preview
0: Rushing touchdowns allowed by Tennessee.
Player to Watch
Julius Jones, RB, Notre Dame. Freshman stepped in for injured Tony Driver and ran for 146 yards on 19 carries last week.
Analysis
The Irish will have to play worlds better than last week against Navy for this to be anything more than a glamour game. The Irish need a huge game from QB Jarious Jackson, who may meet his match in Vols safety Deon Grant. Tennessee's Tee Martin has been on fire of late, but cohorts Jamal Lewis and Cedrick Wilson may be slowed by injuries.
 
Vanderbilt (5-3) at (5) Florida (7-1)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 3:30 p.m (CBS regional)
Game Preview
1-11-1: Vandy's all-time record at The Swamp.
Player to Watch
Darrell Jackson, WR, Florida. Tied school record last week with sixth straight 100-yard game.
Analysis
Anyone notice how Steve Spurrier tensed up after last week's Georgia game when the TV reporter suggested his team was headed back to the SEC title game. But the Gators should handle Vandy, 5-3 or 3-5. Look for a big game from QB Doug Johnson, who needs to get out of Spurrier's doghouse once and for all.
 
Colorado (5-3) at (6) Kansas State (8-0)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Game Preview
131: Average passing yards allowed by K-State, No. 1 nationally.
Player to Watch
Jashon Sykes, LB, Colorado. Leads the Big 12 with 105 tackles.
Analysis
This will be Kansas State's toughest test since beating Texas over a month ago. Colorado played solid in a 38-24 win over Oklahoma last week, but the Wildcats pose a huge step up on defense. Look for Mark Simoneau and pals to blitz Buffs QB Mike Moschetti relentlessly. On offense, K-State will be fine with continued solid efforts from QB Jonathan Beasley and RB Joe Hall.
 
(7) Georgia Tech (6-1) at Virginia (4-4) at
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional)
Game Preview
12: Consecutive seven-win seasons for Virginia, a streak in jeopardy if it loses Saturday.
Player to Watch
Joe Hamilton, QB, Georgia Tech. Opportunities to fend off Ron Dayne are running low.
Analysis
How good is Virginia RB Thomas Jones? The nation's leading rusher notched 164 yards last week against the No. 1 team in America. He should get at least that against a suspect Georgia Tech D-line. Therefore, it's up to Hamilton and his flock of receivers yet again to put up more points. A good running game from Sean Gregory would also help.
 
(21) Texas A&M (6-2) at (8) Nebraska (7-1) at
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional)
Game Preview
10.4: Nebraska QB Eric Crouch's yards per attempt, tops in the Big 12.
Players to Watch
Terence Kitchens, K, Texas A&M. One of nation's most accurate legs but has also suffered from several blocked kicks.
Analysis
Not the matchup it was a few weeks ago, but it's still a huge game in the Big 12 title race. The Crouch-to- Bobby Newcombe passing tandem is heating up for the Huskers, but that's what it took to barely squeeze by Kansas last week. A&M is capable of the big play itself from QB Randy McCown and should guard against getting too conservative against the intimidating Huskers.
 
(10) Wisconsin (6-2) at (17) Purdue (6-3)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional)
Game Preview
168.1: Average passing yards allowed by the Badgers, 147 less than Purdue normally gains.
Players to Watch
Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin and Drew Brees, QB, Purdue And the Heisman Trophy goes to ...
Analysis
The torrid Badgers are now 5-0 with QB Brooks Bollinger at the helm. They're also on a mission to get Dayne the all-time rushing record (he needs 321 yards in two games). Brees has his work cut out for him throwing against Wisconsin's super corner Jamar Fletcher (five INTs), so watch for the Boilers to shake things up and utilize RB Montrell Lowe, who gained 127 yards against Minnesota last week.
 
(11) Texas (7-2) at Oklahoma State (4-3)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
Game Preview
20: Longhorns passing touchdowns, second in the league only to Oklahoma.
Player to Watch
Shaun Rogers, DT, Texas. Leads the Big 12 with 16 tackles-for-loss.
Analysis
The Longhorns' passing attack, led by QB Major Applewhite, needs to have a big game, as RB Hodges Mitchell can expect little room to run against a Cowboys defense allowing only 118 rushing yards a game. OSU's rushing offense has been grounded as well, though, with Nathan Simmons failing to put together a big game. It can expect similar struggles against UT.
 
LSU (2-6) at (12) Alabama (6-2)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Game Preview
207: Yards 'Bama's Shaun Alexander needs to set school career rushing record.
Player to Watch
Alexander, RB, Alabama. Comes back from ankle sprain against a team he burned for 291 yards as a freshman.
Analysis
LSU's woes continued last week with a fourth-quarter demise against Ole Miss. The Tide come off an impressive win over Southern Miss and regain the services of Alexander and QB Andrew Zow. Look for the Tide to do what they want on offense. Defensively, they must rise to the challenge of slowing down QB Josh Booty.
 
(13) Marshall (8-0) at Kent (2-7)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game Preview
10: Consecutive quarters by the Herd without a touchdown scored against them.
Player to Watch
Nate Poole, WR, Marshall. MAC's leading receiver at 97 yards per game.
Analysis
This should be another cakewalk for Marshall, though there are some loops in its plans this week. RB Doug Chapman and LB Andre O'Neal are shelved with knee injuries, DL Girardie Mercer and LB John Grace will be tending to family matters and star safety Rogers Beckett is questionable after suffering a concussion. Even without them, Kent is no match.
 
(15) BYU (7-1) at San Diego St. (3-5)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 9 p.m.
Game Preview
5-0: Cougars' record when they score first.
Player to Watch
Jared Lee, S, BYU. The junior notched 22 tackles and a fumble recovery last week against Air Force.
Analysis
The struggling Aztecs took a severe hit two weeks ago when versatile WR Damon Gourdine went down with a season-ending knee injury. SDSU still possesses some offensive zip with QB Jack Hawley, but nothing compared with BYU's awesome attack, spearheaded by QB Kevin Feterik.
 
Northwestern (3-5) at (16) Michigan (6-2)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, Noon
Game Preview
438.8: Wolverines' average offense the last four games, after not reaching 400 yards in any of their first four.
Player to Watch
David Terrell, WR, Michigan. Two-way threat figures to bust for some big plays against 'Cats secondary.
Analysis
Michigan has made a weekly habit of letting opponents stay in the game until the final gun, and Northwestern will take notice. It will hope to stay close by grinding it out with workhorse RB Damien Anderson (853 yards). But Michigan has far superior talent, and QB Tom Brady can pick apart the NU defense.
 
(18) East Carolina (7-1) at UAB (3-5)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game Preview
23: Points scored against UAB by Louisville last week, the Cards' second-lowest total this season.
Player to Watch
Percy Coleman, RB, UAB Ran 19 times for career-high 166 yards in loss to Louisville last week.
Analysis
The Blazers have quietly put together some impressive performances this season but still have a losing record to show for it. They'll get no respite against an ECU team loaded on offense behind QB David Garrard and capable of shutting someone down on defense like it did Houston last week.
 
(20) Ohio State (6-3) at (19) Michigan State (6-2)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, Noon (ESPN)
Game Preview
8-0: Then-No. 1 Buckeyes' record last year when they fell to unranked Michigan State.
Player to Watch
T.J. Duckett, LB/FB, Michigan State. Frehsman becoming an increasing presence on offense, running for 91 yards in last game.
Analysis
The big theme for the Buckeyes is revenge, but it should be getting that seventh win needed for a bowl. The Spartans' on-again, off-again defense will look to slow down RB Michael Wiley and force Bucks QB Steve Bellisari to beat them through the air. The Spartans have a great arm themselves in Bill Burke but should look to attack OSU's biggest weakness -- its rush defense.
 
(22) Miami (4-3) at Pittsburgh (4-4)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, Noon
Game Preview
15: Years before last week's game against West Virginia since the 'Canes had been shut out at halftime.
Player to Watch
David Priestly, QB, Pittsburgh. Coming off a 407-yard effort against previously untouchable Virginia Tech defense.
Analysis
Miami has made impressive comebacks each of the last two weeks to win and faces another challenge this week. The injury-plagued 'Canes have had trouble running the ball, though freshman Clinton Portis came through with a 104-yard day last week. The Panthers have a dynamic offense behind Priestly and deep threat Latef Grim but must contend with Miami's dangerous receivers Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne.
 
Arkansas (5-2) at (23) Mississippi (6-2)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game Preview
182.7: Average yards allowed by Arkansas in its last three games.
Player to Watch
Joe Gunn, RB, Mississippi. Complement to Deuce McAllister gained 135 yards against LSU last week.
Analysis
The Razorbacks have fallen off the national map a bit since starting the season highly ranked, but they still have a dangerous QB in Clint Stoerner and a capable target in Anthony Lucas. The Rebels continue to win games with their formidable running back tandem and lots of defense -- Ole Miss allows only 65 yards a game on the ground.
 
(25) Southern Miss (5-3) at Memphis (3-5)
Preview Key Stat
Saturday, 3 p.m. (Fox Sports Net)
Game Preview
-13: Eagles' rushing yardage in last week's loss to Alabama.
Player to Watch
Gerald Arnold, RB, Memphis. Has run for 144 and 142 yards in last two games against Louisville and Tulane, respectively.
Analysis
Don't be fooled: Memphis is better than its 3-5 record, as indicated by the school giving coach Rip Scherer an extension this week. The Tigers ripped Tulane and scared the heck out of the SEC's Tennessee and Mississippi State. But Southern Miss is the most athletic team in Conference USA and should get its offense back on track this week.

 
Related information
Multimedia
Tennessee's Tee Martin says this weekend's matchup against Notre Dame is just another game. (73 K)
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez says both teams' marquee players are integral to their successes. (135 K)
Wisconsin's Jamar Fletcher feels the Badgers are prepared to stop Drew Brees. (111 K)
Notre Dame coach Bob Davie says the Vols are formidable, but beatable. (235 K)
Penn State Jeo Paterno thinks Minnesota's balance on offense makes them dangerous. (129 K)
Texas A&M QB Randy McCown says there's a lot on the line vs. Nebraska. (161 K)
Ohio State LB Na'il Diggs thinks the Buckeyes defense will handle Michigan State. (130 K)
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