College football: Recap of Saturday's Battle at Bristol, other top games
Well, there weren't the same high-profile marquee matchups in Week 2 that we saw in last week's openers, but Saturday presented some more surprises and exciting action. Central Michigan topped Oklahoma State on an unbelievable last-second Hail Mary lateral, FCS' Illinois State stunned Northwestern, Arkansas knocked off No. 15 TCU in overtime and, of course, the Battle at Bristol between Tennessee and Virginia Tech hosted more than 158,000 people.
Check out all of the commentary from Saturday's action below.
Pittsburgh vs. Penn State
This will be a fun western Pennsylvania faceoff between two teams that interestingly haven’t met in 16 years.
Both teams picked up a win in Week 1 behind outstanding performances from their respective running backs. Look for those backs to be the feature of each offense again this week.
James Conner made a triumphant return for the Panthers with two touchdowns and 53 yards on the ground in his first game since going down with a 2015 MCL injury and overcoming cancer.
RELATED: Week 1 by the numbers
Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley led the way with 105 yards and a touchdown to carry the Nittany Lions past Kent State to complement first-time starting quarterback Trayce McSorley who added a pair of scores through the air.
This week’s matchup will be a step up for both teams in terms of competition and it wil be good to see the revival of this in-state clash.
No. 15 TCU vs. Arkansas – Saturday at 7 p.m.
Both the Horned Frogs and Razorbacks were on upset alert last week but each escaped with victories.
Arkansas narrowly maneuvered past Louisiana Tech 21-20 while TCU was locked in a shootout with FCS opponent South Dakota State before finally pulling ahead for good in a 59-41 win.
It’s safe to say neither was an impressive win and that both teams underperformed expectations. That means there’s a lot on the line as each team looks to rebound this weekend.
TCU watched No. 3 Oklahoma fall to Houston to leave the Big 12 title door open, especially if the Horned Frogs can stay consistent for the rest of the season and play at top form. Meanwhile, Arkansas has sights on its first 2-0 start in three years as it tries to prove it can return to competitive play in the SEC.
The main attraction in Saturday’s matchup will be focused on Horned Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill. After transferring from Texas A&M, Hill finished his debut with TCU accounting for over 500 yards of offense and five touchdowns.
There’s work to be done on the defense, but Hill and the TCU offense will be a lot of fun to watch throughout the season.
Battle at Bristol: No. 17 Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech – Saturday at 8 p.m.
This Saturday primetime matchup will be the main draw of Week 2 not only for the on-the-field competition but for the environment it will be played in.
The Volunteers and Hokies will square off in front of a sold-out crowd of an expected 150,000 people on Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. That estimate would be more than enough to make it the largest college football game in the sport’s history.
The Volunteers come off a come-from-behind overtime victory over Appalachian State last week that led to an eight-spot drop in the latest top 25 poll. It wasn’t exactly the start that Tennessee coach Butch Jones hoped for, but look for quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd to lead an improved offense in coming weeks.
On the other side, Justin Fuente started his tenure as Virginia Tech head coach with the program’s first victory of the post-Frank Beamer era in the Hokies’ 36-16 win over Liberty.
This matchup gives Virginia Tech an opportunity for an early statement win and Tennessee the chance to show it did in fact belong in the preseason top 10.
It should be an exciting atmosphere to play football in, so keep a look out for those stadium shots.
California vs. San Diego State – Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
This in-state battle will be a treat for the late crowd as it features two fun offenses to watch.
Cal opened its season a week before everyone else with its blowout victory over Hawaii in Sydney, Australia. In that game, Davis Webb (441 yards, four touchdowns) proved he could be a more than sufficient replacement for former Golden Bears and current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
Meanwhile, San Diego State continues to live under the radar as one of the most successful teams since the middle of last season.
The Aztecs have now run off 11 consecutive wins, including capturing last year’s Mountain West title and a 42-7 thumping of Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl. SDSU started this season with a 31-0 shutout performance over FCS opponent New Hampshire.
The most exciting player on the field may very well be Aztecs senior running back Donnel Pumphrey, the active leader in career rushing yards with a whole ton of speed and the ability to break any run or catch for a touchdown. Pumphrey opened the season with 139 total yards against the Wildcats.
The west coast has plenty of exciting ranked teams to follow late at night, but this matchup will likely be the one must-watch from the group.
Central Michigan at No. 22 Oklahoma State, Noon, FS1
NC State at East Carolina, Noon, ESPNU
Penn State at Pittsburgh Noon, ESPN
UCF at No. 5 Michigan, Noon, ABC
Cincinnati at Purdue, Noon, Big Ten Network
Lamar at No. 6 Houston, Noon, ESPN3
Howard at Rutgers, Noon, Big Ten Network
Indiana State at Minnesota, Noon, ESPN News
Rice at Army, Noon, CBS Sports Network
Boston College at Massachusetts, Noon, ESPN3
Nicholls at No. 9 Georgia, Noon, SEC Network
Prairie View A&M at No. 20 Texas A&M, Noon, SEC Network
Wyoming at Nebraska, Noon, ESPN2
Charleston Southern at No. 3 Florida State, 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Troy at No. 2 Clemson, 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Stony Brook at Temple, 1 p.m., ESPN3
Georgia State at Air Force, 2 p.m., CAMP
Utah STate at USC, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Ohio at Kansas, 2:30 p.m., Fox Sports Network
Mercer at Georgia Tech, 3 p.m., ACC Network
North Dakota at Bowling Green, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
Connecticut at Navy, 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Illinois State at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Tulsa at No. 4 Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Eastern Illinois at Miami (OH), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
Wake Forest at Duke, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
Old Dominion at Appalachian State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
Akron at No. 10 Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Nevada at No. 18 Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC
Kentucky at Florida, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Western Kentucky at No. 1 Alabama, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
SMU at No. 23 Baylor, 3:30 p.m., FS1
Wofford at No. 19 Ole Miss, 4 p.m., SEC Network
Ball State at Indiana, 4 p.m., ESPN News
Texas San Antonio at Colorado State, 4 p.m., CAMP
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 4 p.m., SEC Network
Idaho at No. 8 Washington, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network
North Carolina A&T at Kent State, 6 p.m., ESPN3
Florida Atlantic at No. 25 Miami (Fla.), 6 p.m., ACC Network
Georgia Southern at South Alabama, 7 p.m., ESPN3
McNeese at Louisiana Lafayette, 7 p.m., ESPN3
North Carolina Central at Western Michigan, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Maine at Toledo, 7 p.m., ESPN3
Northern Illinois at South Florida, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
UTEP at No. 11 Texas, 7 p.m., Longhorn Network
South Carolina at Mississippi State, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Arkansas at No. 15 TCU, 7 p.m., ESPN
Arkansas State at Auburn, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Iowa State at No. 16 Iowa, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
BYU at Utah, 7:30 p.m., FOX
Eastern Michigan at Missouri, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Jacksonville State at No. 21 LSU, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
North Carolina at Illinois, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Southern at Tulane, 8 p.m., ESPN3
Virginia Tech vs. No. 17 Tennessee, 8 p.m., CBS
UNLV at UCLA, 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
New Mexico at New Mexico State, 8 p.m., ESPN3
Texas Tech at Arizona State, 10 p.m., FS1
Washington State at Boise State, 10:15 p.m., ESPN2
California at San Diego State, 10:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Virginia at No. 24 Oregon, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Grambling State at Arizona, 10:45 p.m., Pac-12 Network