Ten Big 12 things to watch for in this week's games

September, 5, 2008
9/05/08
6:49
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Here are 10 things to watch for in Saturday's games.

1. First-start jitters for Baylor QB Robert Griffin: The freshman played well when he entered the game early in the second quarter last week against Wake Forest. Griffin was named the starter for the Northwestern State game the next day. After thinking about it for more than a week, how will he react?

2. How will Texas' defensive line play without Lamarr Houston? The suspended defensive tackle is back home in Austin after his arrest on DWI charges following last week's game. Aaron Lewis will get the start in his place Saturday at UTEP. Pressure inside will be critical to take the heat off Texas' young secondary.

3. Improvement in Kansas' rushing game: The Jayhawks struggled against Florida International, averaging only 3.6 yards per carry and producing 128 yards. They need to progress Saturday against Louisiana Tech as they prepare for next week's critical game at South Florida.

4. Texas A&M responds to last week's upset: The Aggies failed to score on eight second-half possessions last week against Arkansas State. It will be interesting to see how A&M's young offensive line grows from those struggles and how it produces against New Mexico's wild collection of blitz packages.

5. Darrell Scott: Colorado's heralded freshman running back appeared to be getting more comfortable in the latter stages of his first game against Colorado State. The Buffs should have plenty of opportunities to build his confidence against Eastern Washington.

6. Iowa State's progress: Gene Chizik hasn't forgotten his ISU debut, a 23-14 loss to Kent State. The Cyclones will again face the Golden Flashes and have the opportunity to use this game as a kind of litmus test of their growth since his arrival.

7. The Oklahoma State secondary: The Cowboys had a big game last week against Washington State, but will be stepping up in class against Houston QB Case Keenum. Look for OSU to try a variety of coverages to confuse Keenum, who passed for a career-high 392 yards and threw for five TDs last week against Southern.

8. Get out your calculators: Saturday night's battle in Reno between Nevada and Texas Tech will match two of the nation's four most prolific offensive attacks. Considering the two teams combined for 1,268 yards last week, this game might last forever.

9. Will Jeremy Maclin and William Moore play for Missouri? Both key players are listed as probable for Saturday's game against Southeast Missouri State. But considering the wide talent gap, it might be wise for Gary Pinkel to allow both key players extra time to recuperate. They shouldn't be needed on Saturday.

10. Sam Bradford vs. the opportunistic Cincinnati defense: Oklahoma's talented sophomore quarterback has thrown only eight interceptions in his career and had only one game where he threw multiple picks. He will be facing a Cincinnati defense that led the nation in interceptions (26) and forced turnovers (42) last season.

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