Saturday college primer

Indiana vs. Iowa
(Saturday, noon EST, ESPN)

What to watch for:

• The Iowa Hawkeyes suffered a devastating blow to their offense this week when they learned that RB Adam Robinson will likely miss the rest of the regular season with a high ankle sprain. The talented freshman led the team in rushing with 629 yards and has been the most consistent playmaker on the Hawkeyes offense. The team will now lean on another freshman, Brandon Wegher, who is penciled in as the starter vs. Indiana. Wegher is a talented kid who will have the luxury of running behind one of the nation’s top offensive lines, but it’s a lot to ask of a freshman who has only averaged 3.7 yards per carry this season.

• Speaking of talented offensive lines, Iowa tackles Kyle Calloway and Bryan Bulaga will have their hands full with Indiana’s athletic defensive end duo of Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton. Both have the ability to consistently create pressure off the edge and get after the passer. This is one matchup scouts will be watching closely.

• I might be getting a little ahead of myself with this, but if the Hawkeyes are to have any chance of reaching the Rose Bowl, they need better play from QB Ricky Stanzi. Stanzi is completing only 57.1 percent of his passes and has struggled at times to create plays in the pass game. He did, however, orchestrate a game-winning final drive last week vs. Michigan State and might start building on that momentum the rest of the season.

Miami vs. Wake Forest
(Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC)

What to watch for:

• The key one-on-one matchup to watch is Miami OG Orlando Franklin vs. Wake Forest DT Boo Robinson. Robinson is a short, squatty interior lineman who possesses a good first step and impressive power in his base vs. the run game. Franklin is a massive, long-armed guard who has the size to engulf Robinson at the point of attack and wash him away from plays once he gets hold of him. Robinson’s needs to use his hands and initial burst to avoid Franklin’s reach off the snap and force him to be reactive and not proactive in the run game.

• The Wake Forest offense has been in a bit of a lull in recent weeks, scoring only 13 points in its last two outings. When the Deacons look to generate some big plays in the pass game, expect them to target Miami CB Sam Shields. Shields is a converted wideout who has it all physically but struggles to flip his hips and find the football down the field. Look for the Wake Forest coaching staff to try to get WR Marshall Williams in some one-on-one situations with Shield’s down the field, forcing him to play with his back to the ball.

• If I told you that the nation’s top senior cornerback played on the Wake Forest defense, would you believe me? Demon Deacons CB Brandon Ghee is a big, physical athlete who showcases the fluidity, power and range to develop into the type of all-around cornerback NFL teams crave. He showcases impressive closing speed in the pass game, has a knack for creating turnovers in run support and looks capable of starting in an NFL secondary in the future.

Texas vs. Oklahoma State
(Saturday, 8 p.m. EST, ABC)

What to watch for:

• Texas QB Colt McCoy struggled two weeks ago vs. an aggressive Oklahoma defense, only to rebound and absolutely carve up the Missouri Tigers’ secondary last week. The difference: pressure. The Oklahoma State defense needs to take a page out of the Sooners’ playbook and try to generate pressure up the gut on McCoy. The problem is that the Cowboys don’t possess the same amount of talent that the Sooners do up front. Expect linebackers Andre Sexton and Patrick Lavine to consistently shoot the A-gaps and penetrate inside, forcing McCoy to get rid of the football before he wants to.

• The one guy on the Texas defense who doesn’t get nearly as much credit as he deserves is speed rushing defensive end Eddie Jones. On tape, Jones looks like the Longhorns’ most explosive pass rusher (yes, more explosive than Sergio Kindle or Sam Acho) and does a great job firing off the ball, dropping his shoulder and turning the corner. He’s a bit undersized at 6-3, 258, but he has the ability to reach Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson and disrupt the Cowboys’ pass game off the edge.

• There’s a chance Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter will return for this one, but even if he does, head coach Mike Gundy has said he will see only limited carries. If so, senior RB Keith Toston will again carry the load inside. Toston has done a great job improving his draft stock since being thrust into a starting role. He has proven to not only be an efficient inside runner but also has 13 receptions over his past three games and can create big plays out of the backfield.

USC vs. Oregon
(Saturday, 8 p.m. EST, ABC)

What to watch for:

• I don’t know if there’s a hotter team in the country than the Oregon Ducks. They’ve run off six consecutive victories since their season-opening loss to Boise State and have an average margin of victory at home this season of 23.5 points. Autzen Stadium is one of the toughest places in the country to play, and it will be key for USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley to handle the crowd noise early and take care of the ball.

• The Oregon defense gave up a fair share of yards last week to Washington (395) but always seemed to tighten up once the Huskies got into the red zone. Linebackers Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger are definitely the strength of the defense, and their ability to find the ball and close on plays near the end zone will be key if they want to keep pace with the Trojans.

• How do head coach Pete Carroll and the USC defense slow down Oregon’s spread offense? The Trojans’ defense was gashed last week vs. Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers and will face a similar type of runner in LaMichael James. The Southern Cal front four has not been as dominant as past years and has struggled to consistently shed blocks and find the football in the run game. To make matters worse, QB Jeremiah Masoli does a great job hiding the ball on his option reads, forcing defenses to read and react at the last second. So if the USC front four struggles as much as I think they will trying to stop the run, it may open up things for TE Ed Dickson down the field once the Trojans are forced to put extra men in the box.

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