No. 16 Kansas State vs. West Virginia
Matthew Digby, Sports Editor: After losing its first game to Arkansas State at home, I thought Kansas State was primed for a rough year. Since then, the Wildcats have beaten Oklahoma on the road, two narrow wins against Texas Tech and TCU, then dominated Kansas by 41. Now sitting at 4-0 and at the top of the Big 12 standings, Kansas State suddenly could be the team to beat outside of Oklahoma State. However, the Wildcats lost their starting quarterback Skylar Thompson for the season with a shoulder injury. Now, the offense will be controlled by freshman Will Howard. Against Kansas, he went 17-of-24 for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
The Mountaineers will be looking to bounce back after a game they let slip away late against Texas Tech. With a tie score, the Red Raiders returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown to end the game. Now the focus shifts to the Wildcats, who are rolling. The Mountaineer defense has been stout all season, but looked tired against Texas Tech, according to head coach Neal Brown. I think the defense steps up against a new quarterback, but the offense continues to struggle. Kansas State pulls out a tough victory, 24-21.
Charles Montgomery, Assistant Sports Editor: Kansas State is rolling after opening the season with a loss to Arkansas State. The biggest issue for the Wildcats? Quarterback Skylar Thompson is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Will Howard took the snaps last week and he did well, throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. However, it was against Kansas. The Wildcats do have their own player like West Virginia’s Leddie Brown. Running back Deuce Vaughn leads KSU in both rushing yards and receiving yards. He’ll need a big day to win on Saturday.
That game last weekend was ugly. I’m sorry to any of you who took my suggestion and believed in it because I couldn’t have been more wrong. The good news for WVU is that Thompson is out, and we already saw how the Mountaineers handled a dual threat quarterback in Texas Tech’s Henry Colombi. Doege is getting better with his accuracy, but his receivers aren’t doing him favors with the drops. I’m sorry but I’m going with Kansas State, 30-20. Maybe changing it up will help WVU.
Texas vs. No. 6 Oklahoma State
Digby: The quarterback to start the season for Oklahoma State returned to the field against Iowa State when Spencer Sanders led them to a close victory. He wasn’t great, throwing multiple interceptions in the game. He may need to knock that rust off when they face a much more potent offense against Texas.
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger has been carrying the load for the offense, and it has shown at times. He has five interceptions so far this season, but you can’t look past his 24 total touchdowns. This Texas offense will be the best offense Oklahoma State has seen all season long, and it may not be close. The defense has been great this season, but this game against the Longhorns will show if they're contenders or pretenders. I think this game ends up being a back and forth affair, with Oklahoma State keeping its playoff hopes alive, 42-38.
Montgomery: Texas really needed that win last week against Baylor. The Longhorns had lost two straight games after the overtime fiasco against Oklahoma at Red River, and they needed a rebound. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger hasn’t looked very sharp as of late with multiple interceptions over the past few games. Texas really needs to establish the run game to have any chance of salvaging this season. That means running it with Keaontay Ingram, not Ehlinger, 20-plus times.
Statement win for the Cowboys against Iowa State. Oklahoma State technically still has a chance to make the College Football Playoff, but I don’t know with the strength of the Big Ten and SEC. Iowa State’s Breece Hall had a field day with 185 rushing yards, and Iowa State finished with 227 total yards on the ground. The talk about Oklahoma State has been the defense, and that game didn’t help the resume all that much defensively. Pokes need to get moving offensively or it will not end well in 2020. Cowboys win, 35-27.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 18 Penn State
Digby: In a normal year, the Penn State whiteout would be primed for a monster matchup coming on Saturday. This year is a little different, but that does not change the impact of this game. Penn State losing to Indiana in Week 1 of the Big Ten season has basically made this a must win if the Nittany Lions have any shot at a Big Ten title or even an outside chance at a playoff spot.
Quarterback Justin Fields was nearly perfect in Game 1 against Nebraska, going 20-of-21 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. The Buckeye defense got off to a slow start in the first game when the Cornhuskers marched down the field in no time to go up 7-0. Ohio State did what they so often do and dominated the rest of the game. If this game was in front of the whiteout, I would give Penn State a much greater chance. I think Ohio State pulls away, 49-31.
Montgomery: What a showdown we have here for the Big Ten in its second week. I’m not too concerned about the Buckeyes in this one with quarterback Justin Fields at the helm. He had one incomplete pass against Nebraska and scored three total touchdowns. I think this game comes down to turnovers and penalties. Ohio State only committed three penalties against the Cornhuskers and forced two turnovers.
Ugly first game for the Nittany Lions. People said Indiana was dangerous, and it sure was. Quarterback Sean Clifford didn’t look great passing the ball, but he was the leading rusher with 119 yards. That’s great that he’s versatile, but he cannot be the leading rusher each week for PSU to win. I am concerned with Penn State’s penalties and turnovers. One hundred yards in penalties and three turnovers against the Hoosiers. It will be a long night if Penn State repeats that. Ohio State wins, 35-21.