East Carolina...East Carolina QB Patrick
Pickney. Pickney orchestrated ECU’s upset of Virginia Tech last week
and looks to do the same against West Virginia. The senior quarterback
was 19-for-23 passing with 211 yards and a touchdown while adding
another 24 yards and a TD on the ground. If Pickney can keep the ball
away from West Virginia’s offense, the Pirates have a real shot of
pulling off the upset at home in this one.
Houston…Houston WR Mark Hafner. Case Keenum
may have found his new favorite target in Hafner who caught seven balls
for 103 yards and two touchdowns before halftime against Southern. The
two will have to be on the same page when they travel to Oklahoma State
in what looks to be a shootout.
Marshall…Marshall RB Darius Marshall. The
talented sophomore ran for 115 yards and a touchdown in the program’s
first opening win since 2004. Darius Marshall will have to carry the
load and control the clock when the Thundering Herd travel to Wisconsin
or P.J. Hill might just rack up over 200 yards for the second
Memphis...Memphis WR Duke Calhoun. Look for
the lone C-USA match-up of the weekend to be a scoring spree between
Memphis and Rice. Calhoun led the Tigers last year in receptions and
hopes to improve on his four catches against Ole Miss in week one.
Memphis will most likely use a quarterback tandem but both will be
looking to get Calhoun involved in the offense against a relatively weak
Rice…Rice QB Chase Clement. This crucial
C-USA West game against Memphis will be a battle between quarterbacks
and Clement clearly has the edge in this one. After tossing six
touchdown passes against SMU, the senior quarterback will look to pick
apart a Memphis secondary that gave up 222 yards through the air against
a mediocre Ole Miss passing attack. Look for Clement to find WR Jared
Dillard early and often in this one.
SMU...SMU QB Bo Levi Mitchell. The true
freshman signal caller threw the ball 49 times against Rice in June
Jones’ new run-and-shoot offense. He completed 25 of those passes for
244 yards and three touchdowns but also had three picks one of which was
returned for a TD. Mitchell will get a chance to fine tune his arm when
SMU host Texas State-San Marcos on Saturday.
Southern Miss…Southern Miss RB Damien
Fletcher. Fletcher ran for a career high 222 and two touchdowns against
UL-Lafayette but he will have to be even better when the Golden Eagles
travel to the Plains to face one of nation’s top defenses. Fletcher
will be facing eight and nine men in the box every week and the Auburn
game will prove if he can run against a quality opponent.
Tulane…Tulane DT Oscar Ponce De Leon.
Making the switch from offensive guard to defensive tackle just two
weeks ago, Ponce De Leon will have to get nasty in the trenches in order
to stop one of the SEC’s best offensive lines. Alabama will run it at
the Green Wave often and the junior DT will have to play big for Tulane
to have a shot in this one.
Tulsa…Tulsa QB David Johnson. Paul Smith’s
understudy completed 83 percent of his passes throwing for 332 yards and
three touchdowns while running for 48 more yards in his debut against
UAB. The Golden Hurricane will look to continue their offensive
dominance against a North Texas squad that gave up over 300 yards in the
air last week against Kansas State.
UAB…UAB WR Frantrell Forrest. Forrest only
caught two passes against Tulsa but one of them was for a touchdown
while having another TD catch denied by the officials. The sophomore is
most dangerous in the return game as he proved last week when he took a
second quarter kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown. Look for the
Blazers to get Forrest more involved when they travel to Florida
Atlantic in Week two.
UCF…UCF FS Jason Venson. The senior safety
had an interception and led a Central Florida defense that held South
Carolina State to just 122 total yards. Venson and the defense will
face a much tougher test when they host cross-state rivals South Florida
UTEP…UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe. Vittatoe will
have to play better than he did in the Miners week one blowout loss to
Buffalo. Buffalo is not exactly a powerhouse, but Texas is and if UTEP
does not improve soon, they will be more than embarrassed when the
Longhorns visit El Paso this weekend.