Sep 06, 2018

ACC & Big 12 Week 2 Preview: Keystone Classic, Cy-Hawk Series highlight slate

In the second week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout ACC and Big 12 country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Camping World Bowl on December 28.

Here are a few of the games our representatives will be taking in this week:


No. 13 Penn State (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at Pittsburgh (1-0, 0-0 ACC) – 8:00 p.m. (Thursday) on ABC

Saturday night at Heinz Field, Penn State and Pittsburgh will meet for the fourth consecutive season and the 99th time overall in a rivalry that dates back to 1893. Penn State enters this year’s Keystone Classic leading the series 51-43-4.

The Nittany Lions are coming off a Week 1 overtime scare against Appalachian State that saw Penn State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Trace McSorley engineer a game-tying drive with less than a minute to go to force the extra period. Once there, Miles Sanders put Penn State up 45-38 with a 4-yard touchdown run, and Amani Oruwariye picked off a Zac Thomas pass in the end zone on the ensuing App State possession to seal the Nittany Lions’ win.

The pick marked Oruwariye’s third consecutive season opener with an interception (2016 vs. Kent State; 2017 vs. Akron), and the Bronko Nagurski Award hopeful added seven tackles, which tied his career-high (Michigan State, 2016). Linebacker Jan Johnson (11) and safeties Nick Scott (9) and Garrett Taylor (8) also hit career-highs in tackles in their first starts against Appalachian State.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, defeated Albany 33-7 last weekend behind sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett’s three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Pickett was 13-of-13 passing for 129 yards in the first half — the Panthers did all their scoring in the first two quarters — and Pitt finished with 238 rushing yards, improving their record to 13-3 under head coach Pat Narduzzi when rushing for at least 200 yards.

Pitt’s defense returns nine starters from last season, including more than 80 percent of last season’s tackle, tackle for loss and sack production. The Panthers had five sacks in last week’s game against Albany, two of which came from sophomore defensive tackle Keyshon Camp.


Iowa State (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Iowa (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 5:00 p.m. on FOX

Iowa State travels to Iowa this week for the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series showdown. The state’s two largest universities, Iowa and Iowa State first met in 1894 and have played annually in 1977. The series contract will extend through at least 2023, and the Hawkeyes lead the all-time series at 43-22, but in the last 20 years the programs tied 10-10 despite Hawkeyes wins in each of the past three contests.

Last season, the Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 44-41 in overtime. This was only the second overtime game in the history of this rivalry – Iowa State won the first one in 2011 by the same score, 44-41 in a triple overtime thriller.

Thanks to a Week 1 cancellation due to weather, the Cyclones will open their season against Iowa for the first time since 1986. ISU is returning 11 players on offense and seven defensive players who started at least four games during a season in their respective careers. On defense, cornerback Brian Peavy leads all active NCAA FBS players in career passes defended (35).

The Cyclones offense features two players who have recorded a 1,000-yard rushing season — Mike Warren (1,339 in 2015) and David Montgomery (1,146 in 2017). The offense also returns senior quarterback Kyle Kempt, who broke ISU’s season completion percentage mark (66.3) last year. In 2017, Iowa State set single-season school records for fewest turnovers (10), fewest fumbles lost (1), passing yards per game (272.9) and tackles for loss (96). The Cyclones’ one lost fumble led the nation and tied the all-time FBS record.

The Hawkeyes’ 33-7 win over NIU last week moved head coach Kirk Ferentz (144-97) past Hayden Fry (143-89-6) to become the all-time winningest coach in the program’s history. Last week, quarterback Nate Stanley threw his 27th career touchdown pass to tight end Noah Fant. The two have connected for touchdowns 12 times in the past 14 games.

The Hawkeye defense opened the 2018 season without a linebacker with a single career start for the first time in Ferentz’s 20 seasons as Iowa head coach. Amani Jones, Kristian Welch and Nick Niemann all appeared in games last season and had a combined 24 career tackles before last week, which is 848 fewer career tackles than Iowa’s three starting linebackers in 2017 (Josey Jewell, 437; Bo Bower, 234; Ben Niemann, 201).


No. 2 Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC) at Texas A&M (1-0, 0-0 SEC) – 7:00 p.m. on ESPN

The Clemson Tigers take on the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station this weekend for the fifth time in the overall series between the programs. This 2018-19 home-and-home series is the third such home-and-home arrangement between the two schools (1973-74 and 2004-05).

Though the Tigers trail the Aggies 3-1, Clemson won the most recent contest 25-24 at Memorial Stadium in 2005. While Clemson has represented the ACC in each game, Texas A&M has represented a different conference in all three sets of home-and-home series (previously Southwest and Big 12 respectively).

The second-ranked Tigers are looking for their first win in the state of Texas since the 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl where they defeated TCU 23-7. Clemson opened their season last week with a 48-7 home victory against Furman, which was also head coach Dabo Swinney’s 200th career game with the Tigers since joining the program as an assistant in 2003.

The Tiger offense featured rotating quarterbacks, as senior Kelly Bryant (11-17, 132 yards) and freshman Trevor Lawrence (9-14, 137 yards) both appeared in the game. Lawrence joined Deshaun Watson as the only true freshman in program history to throw three touchdown passes in a game. Freshman running back Lyn-J Dixon also had an impressive debut, as he ran six times for 89 yards.

On defense, Clemson held Furman to 163 yards on 62 plays – the fewest yards-per-play allowed by the Tigers since holding Auburn to 1.8 yards per play in the second week of the 2017 season. Defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell both had sacks in the third quarter, increasing their career totals to 11.0 and 16.5, respectively.

The arrival of the No. 2 Tigers will mark the highest ranked non-conference opponent for the Aggies ever at Kyle Field (a designation that previously belonged to No. 6 LSU in 1987). The Aggies are also entering the contest after winning big last week against the Northwestern State Demons in head coach Jimbo Fisher’s A&M debut. In the 59-7 win, Texas A&M registered the second-most total offensive yards in a game in program history (758) with help from junior running back Trayveon Williams, who put up the second-most rushing yards in a game in program history (240). Returning quarterback Kellen Mond also completed 17-of-25 passes (68.0) for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

On defense, senior safety and Aggies’ interceptions leader Donovan Wilson (6) is back after suffering a season-ending injury in the first game of 2017. Linebacker Tyrel Dodson led the defense in tackles last season with 105 and added four more total tackles last week.


Here are the rest of the ACC and Big 12 games our selection committee members will attend:

Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC) at Northwestern (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPNU

UCLA (0-1, 0-0 Pac-12) at No. 6 Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 1:00 p.m. on FOX


Other ACC and Big 12 games being played this week:

No. 16 TCU (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) at SMU (0-1, 0-0 AAC) – 8:00 p.m. (Friday) on ESPN2
Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC) at South Florida (1-0, 0-0 AAC) – 12:00 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2
Towson (1-0, 0-0 CAA) at Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0 ACC) – 12:00 p.m. on ACC Network
No. 18 Mississippi State (1-0, 0-0 SEC) at Kansas State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 12:00 p.m. on ESPN
Georgia State (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at NC State (1-0) – 12:30 p.m. on ACC Network|
Holy Cross (0-1, 0-1 Patriot League) at Boston College (1-0, 0-0 ACC) – 1:00 p.m. on ACC Network
William & Mary (1-0, 0-0 CAA) at No. 12 Virginia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC) –  2:00 p.m. on ACC Network
Kansas (0-1, 0-0 Big 12) at Central Michigan (0-1, 0-0 MAC) – 3:00 p.m. on ESPN+
North Carolina (0-1, 0-0 ACC) at East Carolina (0-1, 0-0 AAC) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU
Wagner (1-0, 0-0 NEC) at Syracuse (1-0, 0-0 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ACC Network
Lamar (1-0, 0-0 Southland) at Texas Tech (0-1, 0-0 Big 12) – 4:00 p.m. on TBD
Savannah State (0-1, 0-0 MEAC) at No. 22 Miami (0-1, 0-0 ACC) – 6:00 p.m. on ACC Network
Youngstown State (0-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley) at No. 14 West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 6:00 p.m. on TBD
Indiana State (1-0, 0-0 Missouri Valley) at Louisville (0-1, 0-0 ACC) – 7:00 p.m. on ACC Network
Baylor (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) at UTSA (0-1, 0-0 C-USA) – 7:00 p.m. on TBD
Samford (1-0, 0-0 SoCon) at Florida State (0-1, 0-1 ACC) – 7:20 on ACC Network
Virginia (1-0, 0-0 ACC) at Indiana (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) – 7:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network
South Alabama (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Oklahoma State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 8:00 p.m. on TBD
Tulsa (1-0, 0-0 AAC) at Texas (0-1, 0-0 Big 12) – 8:00 p.m. on TBD

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