Rematch of Big 12’s last national title: Texas at No. 4 USC
Some things to watch in the Big 12 Conference in Week 3 of the season, the last weekend before any games that will count toward the conference standings:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Texas (1-1) at No. 4 Southern California (2-0). The last time they played a dozen seasons ago, this was a classic Rose Bowl matchup won by the Vince Young-led Longhorns for the Big 12’s last national championship. This time, they head to the West Coast with uncertainty at quarterback and as more than two-touchdown underdogs. An upset could be quite a boost for new Texas coach Tom Herman after taking over a team coming off three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the 1930s. Texas lost Herman’s debut at home when giving up 51 points to Maryland, then got a shutout victory over San Jose State.
Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage against revamped Texas Tech defense. Ballage tied an NCAA record by scoring eight touchdowns in the Sun Devils’ wild 68-55 win over Tech in the desert last September- seven scores on direct-snap runs and another on a 39-yard, double-reverse flea flicker. The Red Raiders are in their third season with defensive coordinator David Gibbs, and bolstered their secondary with three junior college transfers. Plus, linebacker Dakota Allen, their second-leading tackler as a freshman in 2015, returned to the team.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
TCU (2-0) and SMU (2-0) are playing the 20th meeting of the Battle for the Iron Skillet since the Southwest Conference dissolved after the 1996 season. The Horned Frogs are 16-3 in that span, winning nine of the last 10. … No. 2 Oklahoma is a five-TD favorite at home against Tulane when trying to improve to 3-0 for the fourth time in five seasons. … Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph’s 185 consecutive passes without an interception is the nation’s longest active streak, and only 10 from breaking Brandon Weeden’s school record. … Iowa State has scored 40 points in each of its first two games. The school record is three, last done in 1976.
There is virtually no chance of West Virginia (1-1) getting stung at home. The Mountaineers host MEAC team Delaware State, which has a true freshman quarterback. The Hornets are 1-23 under third-year coach Kenny Carter and lost 79-0 to Missouri last year.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Kansas junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. goes into Saturday’s game at Ohio ranked fourth among FBS players, and leading the Big 12, with 13.5 tackles per game. He has 20 solo tackles, and five tackles for losses. He was the Jayhawks’ second-leading tackler in 2015 but missed most of last season with a hamstring injury.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Fort Worth, Texas
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