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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Tide D a test for Denard's big-play style

By ESPN Stats & Information


Derick E. Hingle/US Presswire
Michigan will have to rely on Denard Robinson's big-play ability if the Wolverines are to upset
second-ranked Alabama in Saturday's season opener (8 ET on ESPN).


Michigan-Alabama Win Streaks on the Line
The Michigan-Alabama game highlights Week 1, and both teams have had recent success this time of year.

Michigan has won 13 straight August/September games, while Alabama has topped that, winning 17 such games in a row. But that’s only good for the second-longest current streak of wins in those months.

The LSU Tigers hold the active mark with 23 straight August/September wins. LSU’s last such loss was Sept. 16, 2006 at Auburn. LSU hosts North Texas on Saturday night on ESPNU.

Denard’s Big Plays Lead Michigan
Since the start of the 2010 season, Denard Robinson leads FBS with 102 rushes that gained at least 10 yards. During that period, Robinson has had at least two such runs in all 26 games, including a FBS-best eight games with at least five.

Robinson’s streak might be jeopardy against Alabama. Only two players had more than one such run in a single game against the Tide last season, Michael Ford (LSU) and Tauren Poole (Tennessee) both had two.

Adding to matters, Jordan Jefferson was the only quarterback who had two 10-yard runs against Alabama last season. But, it took Jefferson two games and both came on scrambles.

Boise Starts With a Bang… Again
Boise State opens the season against 13th-ranked Michigan State, but don’t shed a tear for the Broncos. Playing a top-20 team in the opener is par for the course.

This marks the fourth straight season that Boise State is opening against a team ranked in the AP Preseason top 20.

How impressive is that? No other FBS school has a current streak longer than one. By the way, Boise State is 3-0 in those previous such matchups.

South Carolina Early to Rise
If you think you’re used to seeing South Carolina play on the first day of the season, you’re right.

It has been a staple for the Gamecocks in the Steve Spurrier era and they’ll do it again Thursday night at Vanderbilt on ESPN.

In the eight seasons Spurrier has been at the helm (including this one), the Gamecocks have played on the first DAY of the season six times. That’s the most of any team in the country, tied with Ball State’s six appearances.

There’s a good reason why Spurrier and South Carolina keep scheduling those games – they’re undefeated in them.

New Eras at Ohio State and Penn State
Urban Meyer and Bill O’Brien make their debuts for Ohio State and Penn State respectively.

Neither team will be eligible for the Big Ten championship or a bowl game this season. That’s bad news for them, but potentially good news for… Notre Dame?

Since the Joe Paterno era began at Penn State in 1966, only twice have BOTH Ohio State and Penn State missed bowl games in the same season. It happened in 1966 and 1988, and the Irish went on to claim the national championship in both those seasons.