11/21/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW:
#9 Michigan State at #3 Ohio State Saturday at 3:30pm
The Buckeyes are perfect through 10 games so far this season, and are riding a 23 game winning streak coming into this one against 9 and 1 Michigan State. Ranked 3rd in the CFP, Ohio State controls their own destiny, as victories this week and against Michigan next week will secure their spot in the Big 10 Championship. The Buckeyes offense literally runs behind Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for 1,425 yards and 16 TD's this season. Elliott has also rushed for 100 or more yards in each of his past 15 games. While there has been controversy over who the starting quarterback for Ohio State should be, either Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett, there is no controversy who's under center for the Spartans. Connor Cook has thrown for 2.482 yards and 18 TD's, with his favorite target being Aaron Burnbridge, who has caught 65 passes for 1,021 yards and 6scores. Both teams bring in strong defenses as well, with Ohio State allowing just 13.8 points per game on average. The Buckeyes also are giving up only 171.6 yards per game passing, and 126.8 yards per game on the ground. Michigan State has a strong run defense as well, allowing an average of just 121 yards per game. Ohio State won last years meeting 49 to 37 at Michigan State. But the Spartans handed the Buckeyes their last conference loss in the 2013 Big 10 Championship.
#15 LSU at #22 Mississippi Saturday at 3:30pm
After starting the season with 7 straight wins, LSU has dropped their past two games to Alabama and Arkansas, being outscored 61 to 30 in the process. 7 and 3 Ole Miss has had a week to recover after their 53 to 52 overtime loss to Arkansas two weeks ago. Each of these teams have a major offensive weapon the opposing defense will have to contend with. The Rebels have the top passing offense in the SEC, led by quarterback Chad Kelly, who's passed for conference best 3,224 yards to go with 23 TD passes. LSU is led by Leonard Fournette, who leads college football with 1,643 yards rushing to go with 17 touchdowns. Fournett though has been held in check the past two weeks, gaining just 122 yards rushing total in both games. Both Kelly and Fournette made their marks in last years meeting, a 10 to 7 LSU win. Fournette rushed for 113 yards in the Tigers victory, while Kelly passed for 368 yards for the Rebels. Ole Miss still has an outside chance at winning the SEC West, as the Rebels have to win this week and then next week against Mississippi State, and hope Auburn can beat Alabama.
#24 USC at #23 Oregon Saturday at 3:30pm
Both of these teams have identical 7 and 3 overall records and 5 and 2 conference marks. Both come in hot as well, with each team having won their past 4 games as well. Both of these teams also still have a shot at the PAC 12 title game as well. USC is tied with Utah for first place in the South, and with a win against the Ducks and then against UCLA next week, will get them into the championship game. Oregon has to win this one and next week against Oregon State, then hope Stanford falls to California for the Ducks to gain the North crown. USC is led by the tandem of QB Cody Kessler and WR JuJu Smith Shuster. Kessler has passed for 2,715 yards and 23 TD's, with Smith Shuster hauling in 63 of Kessler's passes for a PAC 12 leading 1,160 yards and 10 touchdowns. Oregon has been resurgent on offense with the return of QB Vernon Adams, who has thrown 12 TD passes in the Ducks past four games. Royce Freeman has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the Ducks past 6 games. Freeman has rushed 1,392 yards and 10 TD's on the season. These teams have split their past 2 meetings, with Oregon winning the last time they met 65 to 31 in 2012. USC won the last meeting between these teams at Oregon, 38 to 35 in 2011.
#10 Baylor at #4 Oklahoma State Saturday at 7:30pm
Baylor's dreams of being in the College Football Playoff took a hit last week when they fell to Oklahoma, 44 to 34. Now the 8 and 1 Bears will try to spoil Oklahoma State's chances, as they visit the 10 and 0 Cowboys. Baylor still has a shot at being Big 12 champions, but they have to win out against Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas and hope that Oklahoma falls in one of their final two games. Baylor averages 54.8 points per game and a whopping 638 yards per game. The Bears are averaging over 292 yards per game on the ground as well. Oklahoma State averages 43.6 points per game and 497.6 yards per game. Baylor has struggled playing at Oklahoma State, as the Cowboys have averaged 53 points per game in their 8 home wins in the past 15 years over the Bears. Oklahoma State has won 11 straight home games against Baylor as well. To extend that winning streak, the Cowboys will have to find a way to slow down the Bears main weapons on the ground and through the air. RB Shock Linwood has rushed for 1,149 yards and 9 TD's, while WR Corey Coleman has 1,229 yards receiving to go with his college football leading 20 touchdowns. Oklahoma State is led by QB Mason Rudolph, who has thrown for 3,161 yards and 18 TD's. Baylor won last year's meeting at home by the score of 49 to 28.
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