NCF Nation: Eugene Jarvis
1. Air Force defense vs. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs. In the biggest game of the week featuring the non-AQs, Air Force has a good shot at beating Navy for the first time in eight seasons. Dobbs has not returned to his 2009 form, and part of the reason is because he has been hobbled with a sprained ankle. Teams are keying in on him and forcing him to pitch the ball out. Air Force did a good job against him last year, holding him to less than 100 yards. But the Falcons lost a heartbreaker in overtime.
3. Welcome to conference play Boise State and TCU. Let us introduce you to your opponents -- two of the worst teams in college football. Boise State gets winless New Mexico State, while TCU gets one-win Colorado State. This is why a lot of people have a hard time buying their rise to the top of the polls.
4. How much will Boise State miss Winston Venable? The starting safety is suspended for a half after a helmet-to-helmet hit gave James Rodgers a concussion last week. The Broncos are playing offensively challenged New Mexico State so the answer here is easy. They could have afforded to have him suspended the entire game, which is what WAC commissioner Karl Benson initially ruled before an appeal.
5. Will TCU give up almost 200 yards on the ground again? Considering Colorado State is the worst rushing team in the country, averaging 59 yards on the ground, the answer is no. But the way Pete Thomas can throw the ball, the Rams may be able to get their yards through the air.
6. Will there be a Top 25 meltdown for Nevada in its big rivalry game with UNLV? No. That win last week for UNLV was really nice and all, but it came against New Mexico. The Rebels have a long way to go if they want to catch up to the way Nevada is playing right now. The Wolf Pack are deserving of that No. 25 ranking.
7. Will a fourth starting quarterback make a difference for Louisiana Tech? The Bulldogs are going with Tarik Hakmi, who threw for 262 yards in a narrow loss to Southern Miss last week. But he is going to have a hard time trying to keep up with the Hawaii offense. Bryant Moniz has 1,337 and 11 touchdowns already this season.
8. Will two of the top running backs in the MAC be available on Saturday? Temple coach Al Golden says Bernard Pierce (ankle) is a game-time decision against Army after getting hurt against Penn State. Kent State coach Doug Martin didn’t sound as optimistic about Eugene Jarvis (groin), who has missed the past two games.
9. Can SMU bounce back against Rice? This will be the 88th meeting between the two Texas schools and former Southwest Conference rivals, making it the most-played rivalry in Conference USA. SMU has the edge in this one. The Mustangs played valiantly in their loss to TCU. Zach Line ran the ball well, but coach June Jones would like to see more consistency out of his passing game.
10. Any of the six winless teams remaining have a shot to win? Five are playing this weekend -- Eastern Michigan, FIU, Akron, New Mexico and New Mexico State. I would not say any have a realistic shot, but watch for FIU against Pittsburgh and Eastern Michigan against Ohio. The Bobcats have not played up to their potential yet, at 1-3, and are still juggling quarterbacks.
Special teams not-so special for Boise State.
What does the future hold for The Mtn?
BYU quarterback Riley Nelson says he isn't transferring and plans to be healthy in time to compete for the starting quarterback job in the spring.
What's good for Nevada is good for the WAC and Mountain West these days.
Houston coach Kevin Sumlin says he will use the bye week to evaluate where his team stands at quarterback.
SMU wants more consistency from its passing game.
James-Michael Johnson is the key to Nevada's improved defense.
It's looking more likely that Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis will miss Saturday's game against Miami (Ohio).
Arkansas State DT Bryan Hall sees a great opportunity against Louisville.
Navy expects to get some of its injured players back against Air Force.
Other conference links:
The good: Toledo is off to a 3-1 start after winning three straight road games for the first time since 2002. Its 31-20 win over Purdue Saturday gives the Rockets wins over teams from automatic qualifying in five straight seasons. Quarterback Austin Dantin is putting together a nice season in his sophomore year, and went 24-of-31 passing for 209 yards and two scores. He also ran the ball a game-high 17 times for 64 yards and two touchdowns -- including a career-long 58-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter. … Temple kept it closer against Penn State than it had in a really long time, falling to the Nittany Lions 22-13. That was the closest it came to a win since losing 27-25 team in 1985. …
Five winless teams picked up Victory No. 1 on the season: Colorado State, North Texas, ULM, Marshall and UNLV. The Rams had the longest losing streak among that group, breaking a 12-game skid with their last-second win over Idaho. Marshall beat Ohio after coach Frank Solich elected to go for two points with no time left to try to win the game. But Boo Jackson’s pass went incomplete. Solich said he elected to go for two because he didn’t have faith that his defense could stop the Herd.
Fresno State gave up 55 points to an Ole Miss team that struggled to score this season against FBS opponents, averaging 13.5 points in those games. But the Bulldogs defense seemed to revert to form against the Rebels, giving up 425 yards on the ground and 578 total yards.
The heartache: You have to feel for UAB and coach Neil Callaway. Two of its three losses have come on the final play of the game. In both, UAB outgained its opponent. Start with the season opener against FAU. The Blazers blew a 16-point third-quarter lead but had a chance to win on the last play of the game. Instead, their 28-yard field goal was blocked. Then against Tennessee this past week, UAB outgained the Vols 544-287 in the game and held them to only 147 yards after the first quarter. But four missed field goals spelled doom, and the Blazers lost 32-29 in overtime.
A few more helmet stickers: Colorado State freshman quarterback Pete Thomas went 29-of-37 for 386 yards and three touchdowns, both of which are career highs. … Middle Tennessee defensive end Jamari Lattimore had four sacks to go with a career-high eight tackles, a forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries against Louisiana. The four sacks also tied the Sun Belt Conference single-game record and goes down as the most in the FBS this season. … TCU punt returner Jeremy Kerley had a career-high 234 all-purpose yards against SMU, averaging 34.4 yards per kickoff return. That includes a career-long 83 yarder.
A few injury items to note: BYU junior defensive tackle Romney Fuga is out for the season after tearing his ACL and LCL against Nevada on Sunday. Fuga was apparently hurt by what BYU said was a cheap shot from Nevada offensive linemen John Bender. Coach Bronco Mendenhall called it “not a positive football play.” Fuga has started all four BYU games this season, with 15 tackles and ½ a sack this season. … Kent State anticipates having running back Eugene Jarvis (groin) available this week against Miami (Ohio). …
Ohio linebacker Noah Keller is most likely gone for the season with a partially torn ligament in his toe, wide receiver Riley Dunlop is out two to four weeks, and wide receiver/punt returner LaVon Brazill (leg) is questionable after missing the game against Marshall. … The Bowling Green quarterback situation is up on the air. Matt Schilz (shoulder) sat out against Michigan, and it’s a matter of whether he can throw during practice this week. … Temple running back Bernard Pierce (ankle) is a game-time decision against Army. … Louisiana quarterback Chris Masson (knee, chest) should be available against North Texas on Saturday.
Week 4 look ahead: A few big games this week on the schedule. The biggest: Navy at Air Force. Navy has won seven straight over the Falcons and seven straight Commander-in-Chief trophies. This could be the best shot yet for Air Force to win with the No. 1 rushing offense in the country. Navy has been banged up, including quarterback Ricky Dobbs, but the Midshipmen had a bye week to try and get healthy. … BYU is at Utah State on Friday night in a game that has lost some of its luster. Both teams are 1-3 and looking for some much needed momentum.
Coach Kevin Sumlin said it was too early to consider such a possibility, which would appear to be a long-shot based on recent decisions the NCAA has made with other players. Under NCAA rules, a student-athlete has five years to complete four years of eligibility. Student-athletes can apply for the sixth year of eligibility should they lose more than a season for reasons beyond their control. Since Keenum took the typical redshirt season as a freshman, Houston could have difficulty making the case.
Here is a look at some of the recent waivers the NCAA has granted, and some it has rejected. Keep in mind each appeal is handled on a case by case basis:
FAU senior running back Jeff Blanchard got a sixth year because he suffered season-ending injuries in 2007 (ankle) and 2009 (knee).
Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis was granted a sixth year after a lacerated kidney forced him to miss nearly all of 2009. He was redshirted as a freshman because an error with his high school grades had him declared academically ineligible.
South Carolina LB Rodney Paulk had his waiver granted after missing most of the past two seasons with knee injuries.
USF running back Moise Plancher was granted a sixth year because he did lose two seasons to injury. He redshirted his freshman year because of a shoulder injury in 2005, then the following season he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener.
Arizona State WR Brandon Smith got his sixth year of eligibility. He missed the 2007 and 2009 seasons because of injuries.
Ball State TE Madaris Grant had his appeal denied. Grant tore an ACL in the first quarter of the season opener last season against North Texas. Coach Stan Parrish said that the appeal was rejected because the NCAA requires two severe injuries for a sixth year. Grant redshirted his freshman year without injury.
Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk had his appeal denied. Mauk was redshirted as a freshman, then missed almost all the 2006 season with a shoulder injury. He argued he did have an injury in his redshirt season, but the NCAA still said no.
Oregon State QB Lyle Moevao had his appeal rejected. Moevao injured his right shoulder during the 2008 season, then suffered a foot injury in October 2009. The school said his appeal was denied, “due to him not demonstrating the loss of two seasons beyond his control."
Florida RB Dorian Munroe had his appeal denied despite tearing his ACL last year for the second time in his career. The NCAA turned down the appeal because he played in a game in 2009.
This might fall on deaf ears – OK it probably will fall on deaf ears – but the WAC is showing some fight this season. Nevada had a huge win against California. Fresno State has a win gainst Cincinnati. Utah State looks much improved as well. There is no question both the Broncos and Horned Frogs face serious challenges the rest of the way – Oregon State comes to town this weekend in Boise. But if both teams keep playing the way they have early on, they could be right back where they were last season.
The bad: Tough to decide whether Houston or North Texas had the worst day on Saturday. Both teams qualify, though, now that they have lost their top two quarterbacks for the season. Houston saw Case Keenum and backup Cotton Turner go down within a quarter of each other, and will now turn to a true freshman to take over the high-powered offense for the rest of the season. Watch for Terrance Broadway to take over.
North Texas has some serious quarterback issues, too. Last week, starter Nathan Tune was lost for the year with a dislocated hip. This past weekend against Army, backup Derek Thompson broke his leg and is out for the year. The Mean Green are now going back to Riley Dodge, who was the starter last year but moved to slot receiver in the spring because of elbow troubles. North Texas lost 24-0 to the Black Knights, their first shutout since 2006. The injury bug has gone beyond quarterback, though. The team has lost nine starters to injury this season.
The bad, Part II: Colorado State has scored 19 points in three games, and is clearly feeling the pain of having a true freshman starting at quarterback. Pete Thomas has thrown one touchdown to six interceptions, and is averaging 6.4 yards a completion. The Rams have now lost 12 in a row.
The bad, Part III? Ohio apologized Monday for the behavior of its mascot before the game against Ohio State this past weekend. The Bobcat mascot tackled Brutus the Buckeye after jumping on his back and wrestling him down to the ground while fans booed. Ohio has barred the student dressed in the costume from any future affiliation with Ohio athletics.
A few more helmet stickers: Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin had another good game this past Saturday against ULM on his way to Sun Belt co-offensive player of the week honors. In three games, Aplin has gone 73-of-119 for 959 yards and four touchdowns. … Toledo defensive back Desmond Marrow had 10 tackles and two interceptions, including one he returned 15 yards for a touchdown in a 37-24 win at Western Michigan. … Utah punt returner Shaky Smithson had a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown against New Mexico. He topped the 100-yard mark and returned a punt for a touchdown for the second straight game.
A few injury items to note: Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz (shoulder sprain) is most likely out for Saturday’s game against Michigan. Coach Dave Clawson said the team would go with either Aaron Pankratz or Kellen Pagel. If Schilz is out for an extended period, he also said the team would consider playing freshman Trent Hurley, who the team planned to redshirt. Kent State hopes to have running back Eugene Jarvis (groin) when it plays against Miami (Ohio).
Week 4 look ahead: Lots of big games ahead for the non-AQ teams, headlined by No. 3 Boise State against Oregon State, the first home game of the year for the Broncos. All eyes will be on them once again as they have another national spotlight game. Other big games to watch: Nevada at BYU, Fresno State at Mississippi and TCU at SMU.
Southern Miss gets another opportunity on a national stage, this time against Kansas.
No matter who starts at quarterback for Utah against New Mexico, the offensive game plan won't change.
Bronco Mendenhall has blundered his handling of quarterbacks this season, writes Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune.
San Diego State will start Davon Brown at running back, and freshman Ronnie Hillman will continue to rotate with Walter Kazee.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher said he didn't take a $1,500 loan to gamble. Instead, he says he needed it for "family problems." Dasher has been suspended four games for improperly accepting the loan.
UTEP will make a game-time decison on whether running back Donald Buckram can play against New Mexico State.
Acrimony aside, Tulsa and Oklahoma State need each other, writes Bill Haisten of the Tulsa World.
Akron receiver Jeremy LaFrance survived Hurricane Katrina.
Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis won't play against Penn State on Saturday because of a groin injury.
The bad: The MAC had some pretty brutal losses, with Ball State and Akron falling to FCS opponents. Ball State coach Stan Parrish, whose team lost to Liberty 27-23, said he thought the Flames would be able to compete in the MAC, especially behind quarterback Mike Brown. “When you have a special player playing quarterback, look at the history of our league, it’s very quarterback driven, when you have a very special quarterback like Liberty does, you can be special every week,” he said. Meanwhile, New Mexico has now been outscored 124-17 in its two losses this season.
The new: We heard all the hype about San Diego State freshman running back Ronnie Hillman and the hope that he would be able to rescue the Aztecs’ rushing attack. Hillman proved it Saturday night against New Mexico State, rushing for 150 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-21 victory. He averaged 6.8 yards a carry, a huge improvement for the Aztecs, who had one of the worst rushing offenses in the country last year. His four rushing touchdowns set a Mountain West freshman single-game high and are the most by a San Diego State player since Larry Ned had four touchdowns against Wyoming in 2001.
A few more helmet stickers: Toledo linebacker Dan Molls made a career-high 11 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions in a 20-13 road win at Ohio. Molls set up the first Toledo touchdown with a 28-yard interception return to the 2-yard line, and also had a big fourth-down sack that allowed the Rockets to beat Ohio a 20-13 win. ... Marshall DE Vinny Curry also had 11 tackles, three for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles in Marshall’s near upset of No. 22 West Virginia on Friday night. ... Arkansas State sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin passed for a school-record 438 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Aplin has the second-most passing yards in the nation with 716.
A few injury items to note: Houston quarterback Case Keenum (concussion) is day to day. Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis missed last week’s game against Boise State with a groin injury and is most likely out this week, coach Doug Martin said Monday. He still lists Jarvis as day to day. Middle Tennessee quarterback Logan Kilgore sat out last week’s win against Austin Peay with a foot injury, and coach Rick Stockstill said the team would know more about his status this week. Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn (thumb) missed last week’s game against UNLV and his status is uncertain for this week.
Week 3 look ahead: This is another big week for non-AQ teams playing some pretty important nonconference games. The biggest to watch: East Carolina at Virginia Tech; Air Force at Oklahoma; BYU at Florida State; Baylor at TCU and Houston at UCLA.
“They say save your best for last,” Jarvis said after the game.
It was a moment that culminated a recovery that included more than three months of bed rest, hours in the gym, hours in the ice bath and months waiting to hear whether the NCAA would grant him a sixth season.
Jarvis received news of his sixth season on Feb. 17 and immediately got to work. Not only did he miss the 2009 season, his 2008 was plagued with injuries and he didn’t live up to the 1,669 yards he had rushed for in 2007.
"I was down, doing a lot of thinking, thinking about if I would get my year back. Thinking about if I would ever play again. How effective would I be?" Jarvis said in a March interview with ESPN.com. "All of those things ran through my mind. At the same time, it was just a reflection period where I was just able to look back and be thankful that I was able to get this far and to know that I still have an opportunity to further myself."
Jarvis didn’t have any contact through the first week of spring practices, but after that he was full bore. While he didn’t find the end zone until the end of spring, he was running and catching with a renewed sense of purpose.
“He looked like the same player that he always was,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said during the Mid-American coaches teleconference.
Martin didn’t downplay the importance of having Jarvis back on the field. The rushing offense slipped from No. 10 nationally in 2008 to No. 98 in 2009, but it was Jarvis’ leadership that the team missed the most. He missed games and practices while on bed rest and the Golden Flashes, a young team a year ago, didn’t have the offensive leadership they’d become accustomed to.
“What we really missed last year was his leadership,” Martin said “We played two football games last year and had lost both our offensive captains for the year. He and [quarterback] Giorgio Morgan were our two captains and both were hurt after the second game. That really knocked a hole in us, just the fabric of our offense. So having him back leadership-wise is going to be pivotal.”
Jarvis was named a captain for the 2010 season, his fourth year as the team’s leader. He also was awarded one of Kent State's most coveted honors. At halftime of the spring game, Jarvis was presented the Matt Ramser Award, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of “courage, dedication, attitude and commitment.” Ramser was awarded a football scholarship in February of 1989 and was diagnosed with cancer in May of that same year. He died on Jan. 15, 1992. The award is presented by Ramser's family.
“This year is just about starting over and me getting a fresh start,” Jarvis said. “I’ve never missed a whole season before in my life and this was just a whole new experience for me. I have to start from scratch to get back to where I was at and hopefully exceed that.”
The injury had him on bed rest for the better part of three months, but after being granted a sixth season by the NCAA, Jarvis is eager for his second chance.
Spring practice starts: March 24
Spring game: April 17
What to watch:
" New head coach Rob Ianello takes over an Akron squad that hasn’t had a winning season since 2005. The Zips struggled last year averaging 19.25 points per game on offense and gave up 28.75 points per game on defense. This spring's goal will be to find playmakers to bring both sides of the ball on par with the rest of the league.
" The Zips had a running back by committee system last year, but none of their backs had more than 250 yards. Two of the team’s top three rushers are gone and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. Ianello signed five tailbacks in his first class.
" The defense struggled to put pressure on the quarterback as the Zips finished with 11 sacks. Opponents scored touchdowns on 66 percent of opportunities inside the red zone. Shoring up the defensive line and the linebackers will be an emphasis this spring.
Ball State Cardinals
Spring practice starts: March 24
Spring game: April 17
What to watch:
" Sophomore quarterback Kelly Page tries to regain the starting role after missing the second half of the season with thumb surgery. The Cardinals were winless with him in the lineup, but he improved as the season progressed. Redshirt freshman Aaron Mershman will vie for the role in the spring before highly-touted recruit Keith Wenning joins the competition in the fall.
" Running back MiQuale Lewis and tight end Madaris Grant are both awaiting word from the NCAA about a possible sixth season. Both are team leaders and are the top players at their respective positions.
" Losing defensive coordinator Doug Graber is a blow to the Cardinals. Although he was only with the team for a season, the defense was one of the team's bright spots and got better as the season progressed. The Cardinals have yet to name a replacement.
Bowling Green Falcons
Spring practice starts: March 19
Spring game: April 16
What to watch:
" Replacing quarterback Tyler Sheehan will be one of the biggest chores since he took 95 percent of the snaps for the past three seasons. Aaron Pankratz was the backup last year and the leader heading into spring. But redshirt Matt Schiltz, walk-on Kellen Pagel and December enrollee Caleb Watkins will all be in the mix.
" Freddie Barnes was the Falcons best offensive weapon and it will be hard to find a replacement. Overall, the Falcons lose three of their top five receivers, and one of those returning is running back Wille Geter.
" Rebuilding the defense will be a priority after losing seven players, including the entire line backers corps and three-fourths of the secondary. There is a lot of young talent waiting, it is just a matter of gelling during spring ball.
Spring practice starts: March 20
Spring game: April 24
What to watch:
" Losing quarterback Zach Maynard, who decided to transfer last month, hurt their offense. He would have been the starter heading into the season, but now sophomore Jerry Davis and redshirt freshman Alex Dennison will duke it out this spring before two freshmen arrive in August.
" The Bulls have to replace top receivers Naaman Roosevelt and Brett Hamlin and have several candidates to do so. Juniors Terrell Jackson, Marcus Rivers and Ed Young, and redshirt freshmen Fred Lee and Alex Neutz will compete for playing time.
" New head coach Jeff Quinn is going to install a more wide-open offensive system at Buffalo, however finding the right guys to play it will be a challenge. There are athletes remaining at Buffalo, but the loss of players such as Maynard and Roosevelt will make the transition slower.
"I'm going to tell you right now, that is a slam dunk that this kid should get a sixth year,” Martin said in September. “If he doesn't, then somebody's not doing their job or the NCAA doesn't care about kids."
Martin’s gut was right and on Sunday Kent State announced that Jarvis, the school’s No. 4 all-time rusher, would be back for a sixth season.
Jarvis suffered a lacerated kidney during the second game of the 2009 season and missed the year. While the Golden Flashes missed Jarvis’ running ability, they mostly missed his leadership. The team fell a game short of bowl eligibility with a 5-7 overall record and 4-4 in Mid-American Conference play.
Jacquise Terry led the Golden Flashes in rushing with 649 yards and four touchdowns, but overall the Kent State running game ranked 98th nationally and ninth in the conference.
Jarvis actually finished the season with 158 yards and a touchdown in less than two games of work.
“It’s tough to put into words how I feel right now,” Jarvis said. “God is good and I’m so blessed and thankful to have received the news Friday. I’m so grateful to everyone who made this happen and I can’t wait to get back out on the field with my teammates.”
Jarvis broke out in 2007 when he set the school season record with 1,669 yards. He missed parts of the 2008 season with injuries. Overall, his 3,426 career rushing yards rank fourth in school history (Astron Whatley, 3,989) and are second among active Football Bowl Subdivision players heading into 2010 -- behind Harvey Unga's 3,455 yards for BYU.
Jarvis could be the piece the Golden Flashes need to make a run at the postseason. Kent State has not played in a bowl game since 1972, the second-longest active streak behind New Mexico State.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Kent State coach Doug Martin said on Monday’s MAC teleconference that he didn’t think quarterback Giorgio Morgan would be ready for Saturday’s MAC conference opener against Miami (Ohio).
Morgan suffered a sprained ankle in the season opener against Coastal Carolina and re-aggravated it against Boston College. Freshman Spencer Keith finished the Boston College game and started last week’s 34-14 loss to Iowa State.
“Last night, watching [Morgan] in practice, I would doubt that he would play,” Martin said. “He’s still really hampered with the ankle. He’s not moving very well. Until he can go out and protect himself, play like he’s capable of, we don’t want to put him out there.”
In Morgan’s absence, Keith completed 21 of 32 passes for 255 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He even put Kent State up 7-3 midway through the first quarter, the team’s only lead in the game. Martin said because Keith played so well, there’s no reason to rush Morgan back.
Also, Martin said running back Eugene Jarvis, who suffered a lacerated kidney against Boston College two weeks ago, was released from the hospital Sunday evening. Jarvis did watch some of the Iowa State game from the press box. Martin said he’s been overwhelmed by the support from the coaches around the Mid-American Conference.
“We’ve heard from just about every coach in the MAC just wishing Eugene well,” Martin said. “Coach [Al] Golden from Temple called, coach [JD] Brookhart took the trip over to see him in the hospital from Akron. We certainly appreciate that, and a lot of other coaches have called. The conference coaches have been outstanding the way they’ve responded to him.”
Martin said Jarvis will be back in school this week and is scheduled to graduate in December. Kent State has asked the NCAA to grant the fifth-year senior a sixth season.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
|Michael Tureski/Icon SMI|
|Spencer Keith steps into the starting lineup for Kent State after a strong relief appearance.|
Kent State freshman quarterback Spencer Keith threw the only touchdown in last week’s 34-7 loss to Boston College and that was enough to give coach Doug Martin the confidence to start him against Iowa State on Saturday.
Keith will replace Giorgio Morgan, who suffered a sprained ankle in the season opener against Coastal Carolina and reinjured it again against Boston College. Morgan practiced well on Wednesday and showed little sign of injury, but with Mid-American Conference play starting next week, Martin decided to give his starter some rest.
Keith completed 9 of 14 for 71 yards and an interception in relief of Morgan against Boston College, but didn’t throw the touchdown until late in the game.
The plan coming into the season was to redshirt Keith, but now he’ll be Morgan’s primary backup and redshirt in 2010.
While Saturday’s game against Iowa State will be valuable experience for Keith, it also will be a tough situation with the loss of starting running back Eugene Jarvis, who suffered a lacerated kidney against Boston College and is out for the season.
Kent State ranks 106th in the country in total offense with just 261.50 yards per game; 100 yards of that came on the ground. The Golden Flashes are averaging 12.50 points per game. However, Iowa State’s pass defense hasn’t been great, allowing 407 yards per game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
After struggling through one of my worst weeks in recent history, I'm hoping for a turnaround in these picks.
Here they are.
Kansas 41, Duke 17: The Jayhawks have too many offensive weapons and an improved defense with a knack of making big plays. Jake Sharp and Toben Opurum provide an emerging 1-2 weapon at running back and Dezmon Briscoe will juice production in the passing game with Todd Reesing as he becomes more comfortable in the offense. Duke coach David Cutcliffe will likely alternate Sean Renfree and Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback. Both will likely struggle against an emerging Kansas defensive front that has produced nine sacks in its first two games.
Missouri 45, Furman 6: Look for the Tigers to jump on their FCS opponent quickly, hoping to make amends after last week’s closer-than-expected victory over Bowling Green. Blaine Gabbert regressed in his second start, but should be ready to show improvement this week. If they can find the edge exhibited against Illinois, this one won’t be close for very long.
Colorado 24, Wyoming 21: It can’t get any worse for Dan Hawkins and the Buffaloes, can it? If they lose this one, it will. Despite the struggles stopping big plays and operating the offense in losses against Colorado State and Toledo, the Buffaloes will rebound. Even though the Cowboys turned the heat up on Texas last week and Dave Christensen had his way against the Buffaloes when he was offensive coordinator at Missouri -- he outscored Colorado by a combined 113-10 margin last season -- it won’t be that easy this time. The Buffaloes will rebound and win a gritty game that won’t be very spectator friendly.
Oklahoma 38, Tulsa 17: Landry Jones makes his second career start against Tulsa, an underrated program under Todd Graham that will be itching to earn some national revenge against their “big brothers” from across the state. This should be a good matchup between the Golden Hurricane, who led the nation in total offense each of the past two seasons, and the salty Oklahoma defense. Sooners coaches are familiar with Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne, who they tried to recruit as a linebacker. Even without Sam Bradford, the Sooners still should have enough offense to win.
Virginia Tech 28, Nebraska 21: Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee will be looking to stop the Hokies’ 31-game home nonconference winning streak in his first career road start. There might be tougher first-game assignments in college football, but I don’t know of many. Lee leads the conference in pass efficiency, but will be stepping up in class when he faces the active Virginia Tech defense. Ryan Williams and fellow freshman David Wilson both rushed for more than 160 yards last week and the Hokies will be looking to set the tempo by using them. Still, the Cornhuskers might make this one closer than expected with a strong pass rush against Tyrod Taylor and if they can stay away from special-teams mistakes.
Baylor 31, Connecticut 21: The Bears will be gunning for their second straight conquest over an opponent from a BCS-affiliated conference against Connecticut, which beat them in Storrs last season. But this is a different Baylor team, which has had a bye week to settle down after an upset victory over Wake Forest in its opener. Backup quarterback Cody Endres steps in as Connecticut’s starter after Zach Frazer was hurt last week against North Carolina. One item to watch will be how Baylor’s young Canadian tackles Danny Watkins and Phillip Blake will handle Lindsay Witten, who leads the Big East in sacks.
Kent State 24, Iowa State 21: Paul Rhoads will try to halt the Cyclones’ nation-worst 17-game road losing streak. Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud will be trying to rebound after throwing four interceptions in the Cyclones’ 35-3 loss last week to Iowa. Look for Giorgio Morgan and Eugene Jarvis to share snaps for the Golden Flashes, who ranked 96th or worse in each of the four major offensive statistical categories. In the end, this one might be settled by which of two of the nation’s worst turnover margin teams -- Kent State is 94th and Iowa State is 108th -- does the better job of protecting the ball.
Texas A&M 38, Utah State 10: Texas A&M hopes to build on a strong opening-game performance against New Mexico where the offense and defense were both productive in a 41-6 victory. Jerrod Johnson looked more comfortable starting his second season as quarterback and the Aggies showed strong skill players. The defense, while still not at the “Wrecking Crew” standards of the past, had a strong effort with five sacks keyed by three from Von Miller. Utah State was challenging for Utah, but likely doesn’t have the firepower to stay close to the rejuvenated A&M attack for long in this game.
Oklahoma State 45, Rice 17: The Cowboys are intent on rebounding after last week’s disappointing home loss to Houston. They likely will play without Big 12 leading rusher Kendall Hunter, but backups Beau Johnson and Keith Toston averaged nearly 8 yards per carry against Houston. The Cowboys gave up more yardage in the first half last week than against Georgia in the previous week. They shouldn’t face much of a challenge from Rice, which is rebuilding from last season’s 10-win team. Coach David Bailiff alternated among three quarterbacks last week and could do the same against an Oklahoma State defense that will be intent on improvement this week.
Texas 54, Texas Tech 31: Even though they claim otherwise, rest assured the Longhorns have been awaiting this rematch ever since their 39-33 loss in Lubbock last season. They should have the upper hand in this one because their secondary is a year more experienced and this will be Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts’ first road game as a starter. The Longhorns looked lethargic in the first half last week at Wyoming, but blew the game by scoring 28 unanswered points in the second half. It won’t be that easy this week against Potts and the Red Raiders, but look for the Longhorns’ offense to produce similar late success.
UCLA 21, Kansas State 10: This one figures to be a low scoring game as the Wildcats have sputtered offensively and UCLA will be playing without starting quarterback Kevin Prince, who sustained a broken jaw late in the Bruins’ victory at Tennessee. Look for both teams to try to take control on the ground with UCLA employing Johnathan Franklin and Kansas State countering with Big 12 rushing leader Daniel Thomas. The Wildcats have also struggled mightily with special teams in their first two games and must improve for any upset hopes. But the UCLA defense is too formidable, winning this one as they pick up the slack for an offense missing Prince.
Last week: 7-3 (70 percent)
For the season: 16-6 (72.7 percent)
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Big 12 teams should be seldom tested before conference play begins as most teams again are opting to compete with a pillow-soft slate of opponents.
Here's the toughest and weakest of the Big 12 nonconference schedules:
1. Oklahoma: BYU (at Arlington, Texas), Idaho State, Tulsa, at Miami
The Sooners deserve props for adding the BYU game late. The nationally televised game should showcase Oklahoma's defense as it thwarts Max Hall and Harvey Unga for the Cougars. Idaho State is a bad Division I-AA team that went 1-11 last season. Tulsa and Miami both went to bowl games last season. The Golden Hurricane will be breaking in a new quarterback and a new coordinator -- not a good recipe for success for a road team at Owen Field. And although the game against Miami brings back memories of Jimmy Johnson vs. Barry Switzer, the fact is that the Hurricanes could be worn out by the time Oklahoma visits. Miami starts the season with a meat-grinder schedule of Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech before the Sooners visit.
2. Colorado: Colorado State, at Toledo, Wyoming, at West Virginia
Coach Dan Hawkins has this team pegged for good things in the conference. The Buffaloes will be tested by four FBS opponents, including two on the road. The rivalry game against Colorado State should be decided in the trenches and the Buffaloes' offensive line will be a load for the Rams. The Toledo game might be trickier than expected considering the Buffaloes will be playing this one only five days after the Colorado State game. But Colorado still should have the talent to prevail. Something tells me that Hawkins will remember that new Wyoming coach Dave Christensen's offense hung 113 points against his defense the last two seasons when he was at Missouri. And the West Virginia trip will be a challenge, although new Mountaineers quarterback Jarrett Brown is largely untested.
3. Missouri: Illinois (at St. Louis), Bowling Green, Furman, at Nevada
The Tigers' inexperienced defense will get a huge challenge in the opener against Illinois' pass-and-catch tandem of Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn. They'll be facing another experienced quarterback in three-year Bowling Green starter Tyler Sheehan, but the Falcons' defense will be breaking in two new cornerbacks. Furman has a talented quarterback in Jordan Sorrells, but the Paladin's defense shouldn't be able to match Missouri. The trip to Nevada might be a hornet's nest. The Wolf Pack have made four straight bowl trips, multi-purpose quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Western Athletic Conference's last two leading rushers. And, oh, yeah, the Wolf Pack probably still remember that 69-17 beatdown to the Tigers last season in Columbia.
4. Nebraska: Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, at Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette
No truth to the rumor that the Cornhuskers are gunning for the September version of the Sun Belt championship. Their road game at Virginia Tech is the toughest game that any Big 12 team will play this season. But Bo Pelini will have two games to get his defense ready for Tyrod Taylor and Co. Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger made his career name by beating the Cornhuskers in the 1984 Orange Bowl while at Miami. He won't be nearly as successful this time around. Arkansas State stunned Texas A&M last season, but the Red Wolves will be utilizing a new offensive line this season. And Louisiana-Lafayette's offense is very young and the Cornhuskers will be catching them the week after they have met up with LSU.
5. Oklahoma State: Georgia, Houston, Rice, Grambling
Four home games make for an ideal schedule for the Cowboys to make some national noise. The Georgia game will be arguably the biggest home nonconference game in school history. But the Cowboys grab a break as the Bulldogs try to break in new quarterback Joe Cox. Houston will have Case Keenum and a high-powered offensive attack, but the Cowboys blistered the Cougars for 56 points last year and could score more this season. Rice won't be as good this season after losing most of its offensive firepower. And Grambling has a great football history and an even better band.
6. Baylor: at Wake Forest, Connecticut, Northwestern State, Kent State
The nonconference schedule could determine whether the Bears can snap that long bowl drought. And it won't be an easy one considering that Baylor is the only Big 12 team with two opponents from "Big Six" conferences. The Wake Forest opener will be a huge test, but Robert Griffin might be able to feast on a depleted Demon Deacon defense that lost four starters to the NFL draft. The Bears nearly beat Connecticut last season on the road and the Huskies lose their starting quarterback and top rusher from that team. New coach Bradley Dale Peveto will bring new ideas for Northwestern State, but the Bears have a big edge. And Kent State will be breaking in a new quarterback for a team that has won only 19 games in the last five seasons underDoug Martin.
7. Kansas: Northern Colorado, at UTEP, Duke, Southern Mississippi
The Jayhawks should be able to name their margin against Northern Colorado in the opener. The trip to the Sun Bowl against UTEP the following week might be a different matter. UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe could be a challenge, although the Jayhawks should have enough firepower to outscore them. A Kansas-Duke game would be a made-for-national television delight in basketball. Football, however, is a different story. And Southern Mississippi might be poised to challenge for the Conference USA title and might be a chore with leading conference rusher Damion Fletcher and all of its starting secondary back to challenge Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe.
8. Texas A&M: New Mexico, Utah State, UAB, Arkansas (at Arlington, Texas)
The Aggies desperately need to build confidence and collect a few victories before the South Division gauntlet begins. After last season's opening-game loss against Arkansas State, expect coach Mike Sherman to have the Aggies focused for all of the games. They catch new New Mexico coach Mike Locksley with an uncertain quarterback in the Lobos' opener. Utah State is universally picked to finish last in the Western Athletic Conference. UAB will be rebuilding its defense and likely won't pose many problems for Jerrod Johnson. But the game against Arkansas at
the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium will be a challenge for A&M's defense. The Razorbacks should be much improved in Bobby Petrino's second season. Fans are paying premium prices and expect big things from both teams. The Aggies may catch a break considering the Razorbacks will play SEC contenders Georgia and Alabama in their previous two weeks.
9. Texas Tech: North Dakota, Rice, at Houston, New Mexico
Mike Leach's nonconference schedule won't be as bad as last season's trip to the pastry wagon, but not by much. North Dakota is transitioning into FCS status this season after ranking 137th among the 148 Division II passing teams last season. Sounds like target practice for Taylor Potts, doesn't it? Rice won't be nearly as tough as last season without James Casey, Jarrett Dillard and Chase Clement gone. The trip to Houston will be Tech's biggest challenge and Case Keenum will test Tech's rebuilt secondary in the first battle between the old Southwest Conference rivals since 1995. And New Mexico will have had several weeks to work under Locksley's system, making them a tougher challenge for the Red Raiders in early October.
10. Texas: Louisiana-Monroe, at Wyoming, UTEP, Central Florida
The Longhorns had a couple of game against Utah and Arkansas fall through in their planning. But don't expect the Longhorns to get that much sympathy for a group of opponents that won't give them much BCS bounce. Louisiana-Monroe will be breaking in a retooled offense with a new quarterback. The road trip to Wyoming doesn't resonate like some the Longhorns have made to places like Ohio State and Arkansas in recent seasons. The Cowboys will be breaking in a new quarterback, too. UTEP could contend for the Conference USA West title, but the Miners are a different team on the road. And the Nov. 7 game against Central Florida will bring the nation's worst offensive team from last season into Austin.
11. Iowa State: North Dakota State, Iowa, at Kent State, Army
Paul Rhoads doesn't want any surprises early in his first season and his nonconference schedule. North Dakota State has posed problems to FBS teams like Minnesota in the past. Iowa doesn't have Shonn Greene back, but has almost everybody else back on a stout defense that will challenge the Cyclones. Mighty mite 5-foot-5, 170-pound tailback Eugene Jarvis will test ISU's defense and the trip to Kent State won't be a gimme. And new Army coach Rich Ellerson will bring 6-10, 283-pound wide receiver Ali Villanueva along with starting quarterback Chip Bowden from a team that won three games last season.
12. Kansas State: Massachusetts, at Louisiana-Lafayette, at UCLA, Tennessee Tech
The schedule doesn't provide as many gooey treats as some that Bill Snyder's teams have feasted on in the past, but it's still nothing to write home about. Massachusetts is a contender in the CAA, which is the toughest top-to-bottom FCS conference in the nation. Louisiana-Lafayette will have to replace a lot of offensive talent, but can be troublesome at Cajun Field. UCLA struggled offensively last year and will be breaking in a new quarterback with four new offensive linemen. KSU might be able to compete in that one better than most might think. And Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown, older brother of Texas coach Mack Brown, returns a talented pass-and-catch combination of Lee Sweeney and Tim Benford. KSU still should roll, however.