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National notes: Willie Taggart's tough test; week for underdogs

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2017, file photo, Oregon coach Willie Taggart, center, joins his team as they take the field for an NCAA college football game against Southern Utah in Eugene, Ore.  A number of Pac-12 teams are addressing penalty problems going into the halfway mark of the season. Oregon is among the nation's worst teams when it comes to penalties, with UCLA also seeing lots of yellow flags. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch, File) NY185

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2017, file photo, Oregon coach Willie Taggart, center, joins his team as they take the field for an NCAA college football game against Southern Utah in Eugene, Ore. A number of Pac-12 teams are addressing penalty problems going into the halfway mark of the season. Oregon is among the nation's worst teams when it comes to penalties, with UCLA also seeing lots of yellow flags. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch, File) NY185

Former USF coach Willie Taggart is off to a nice 4-1 start at Oregon, but his toughest test comes Saturday night against No. 11 Washington State. The Ducks lost their quarterback (Justin Herbert) to a broken collarbone last week, and Taggart is 2-11 in his career against ranked opponents. Keep an eye on whether Oregon NG Jordon Scott (Pinellas Park) and the rest of the Ducks can pressure the high-scoring Cougars' offense.



Aggies agony

It's been five years since QB Johnny Manziel, WR Mike Evans and Texas A&M lit up No. 1 Alabama in a 29-24 upset that got coach Kevin Sumlin a new contract. Things have changed. Since then, the Aggies are 40-20 with little hope of topping the Tide Saturday. A loss could set up a win-or-get-canned game for Sumlin next week at UF.



Undefeated no more?

Four perfect teams who could get knocked off Saturday:

No. 7 Michigan: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is 7-3 against the Wolverines and won the last trip to the Big House on a walk-off fumble recovery.

Getty Images

No. 20 Utah: The Utes' top-10 rushing defense hasn't seen a back like Bryce Love.

Navy: The AAC West frontrunner faces another service academy (Air Force) that nearly upset San Diego State.

No. 4 Penn State: Northwestern has won five times as a double-digit underdog since 2014, according to ESPN.



Audible

"You really didn't have time to think." — Syracuse coach Dino Babers on last year's 76-61 loss to Pitt. The teams meet again Saturday in a matchup that probably won't look like a basketball score again.



By the numbers

24.3 Yards per catch by Kansas State WR Byron Pringle (Robinson High), which ranks 10th nationally

TNS

243 Career tackles for Florida Atlantic LB Azeez Al-Shaair (Hillsborough High)

0 Times Florida International has started 4-1, which it can do with a win over Middle Tennessee

12-4 LSU coach Ed Orgeron's record as an interim coach (at USC and LSU)

13-27 Orgeron's record as a head coach (at Ole Miss and LSU)

National notes: Willie Taggart's tough test; week for underdogs 10/06/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 5, 2017 5:30pm]
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