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Baker's Dozen: Previewing college football Week 2



With the first week of (mostly) so-so games out of the way, the second weekend of college football presents some juicier matchups. Here are 13 sets of stats, facts and breakdowns to get you ready for game day:

Since you've been gone

Florida hosts East Carolina tonight, eight months after its 28-20 win over the Pirates in the Birmingham Bowl. Some of that game's key participants are long gone:

D.J. Durkin

Then: Served as UF's interim head coach after Will Muschamp's dismissal

Now: Michigan defensive coordinator

DE Dante Fowler Jr.

Then: Set a career-high with three sacks for UF

Now: Jaguars' No. 3 overall pick, out for the year with torn ACL

WR Justin Hardy

Then: Caught 11 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown for East Carolina

Now: Falcons' fourth-round pick, makes NFL debut Monday against the Eagles

Lincoln Riley

Then: Coordinated a Pirates offense that totaled 536 yards

Now: Offensive coordinator for No. 19 Oklahoma

More flash cards

Florida, like USF, followed the trend of signaling plays in from the sideline with flash cards, including one with an image of rapper Lil Wayne. Coach Jim McElwain said some plays came in too slowly during the opener, although he likes to change tempos during the game. "That's new for a lot of guys," McElwain said, "yet it's something we've done everywhere we've kind of been, and it's something we need to work on."

Rod the rock

If USF hopes to challenge Florida State today, it will have to get around 6-foot-7, 323-pound LT Roderick Johnson. According to the Schneider Scale — a new analytical tool to grade offensive or defensive linemen — only six linemen in the country had better season openers than Johnson.

Quote of the week

"I think down at Florida, it got very toxic for him. He became the scapegoat. He became the guy that was tied to losing at Florida as a fan base that does not take very well to losing."

Louisiana Tech (and former USF) coach Skip Holtz, via the Monroe (La.) News Star, on Jeff Driskel. Driskel, who transferred from UF in the offseason, accounted for five touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 62-15 season-opening win over Southern and led the nation in passing efficiency (321.4) after the first week.

The Graduate (Transfers)

A look at how notable graduate transfer quarterbacks fared in Week 1:

Vernon Adams (Oregon): 19-of-25, 246 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

Jake Coker (Alabama): 15-of-21, 213 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs

Jeff Driskel (Louisiana Tech): 12-of-15, 274 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs

Everett Golson (FSU): 19-of-25, 302 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs

Greyson Lambert (Georgia): 8-of-12, 141 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

Jake Rudock (Michigan): 27-of-43, 279 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs

Tampa Bay Tigers

With Clemson WR Mike Williams out with a neck injury, expect the Tigers to count even more on three locals: sophomore Artavis Scott (East Lake High) and freshmen Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech) and Ray-Ray McCloud (Sickles). They were the team's top three receivers in the season-opening win over Wofford, combining for 17 catches and 191 yards. Coach Dabo Swinney said Scott will be expected to fill some of Williams' void for No. 12 Clemson. "He's another young man committed to being great," Swinney said. "That just rubs off, it really does, on those young guys like Ray-Ray, Deon."

California dreamin'

If UCF hopes to rebound from last week's heartbreaking loss to Florida International, it will have to travel well. The Knights' 2,427-mile trip to Stanford is the longest Division I-A road trip in the continental United States this year, according to UCF.

Messin' with Texas

Longhorns coach Charlie Strong benched offensive coordinator Shawn Watson after last week's 38-3 embarrassment at Notre Dame; receivers coach Jay Norvell will call the plays tonight against Rice. But Texas' defense has been equally inept under Strong, the former Gators defensive coordinator. Dating to last year, the Longhorns' last three opponents are averaging 415 yards and 39 points.

By the numbers: Week 2

1 UF penalty in the season opener, the first time that has happened since 1977.

38 True freshmen used by Miami, UF, USF and FSU in the opening weekend.

1 Win in Florida International history over a current member of a Power Five conference. FIU beat Louisville in 2011 and has a chance at another when it plays at Indiana.

615 Passing yards for FSU's Everett Golson in his first two games at Doak Campbell Stadium (including last year's start for Notre Dame).

80,917 Announced attendance for FSU's home opener. If the Seminoles draw that many fans against USF, it will mark the fifth-largest crowd the Bulls have ever faced.

0 Times Stanford has faced a team from Florida, before UCF.

'GameDay' breakdown

Since 2012, no team in the country has held more opponents under 50 yards rushing than No. 5 Michigan State. Western Michigan became the 16th victim of that statistic when it totaled 18 last week. Don't expect Oregon to become No. 17 today. The seventh-ranked Ducks led the nation with 485 rushing yards last week.

SEC supremacy

The SEC made history this week by landing 10 teams in the Associated Press Top 25. The league can make a bigger statement if No. 23 Tennessee tops No. 19 Oklahoma and its coach Bob Stoops, a noted SEC critic. A Volunteers win would be their second against an opponent ranked in the top 20 since 2008.

The Mad Hatter

No. 14 LSU got only eight plays in before rain canceled last week's opener. Here's what coach Les Miles told reporters he did to fill that void (and begin preparing for today's game, No. 25 Mississippi State): "First of all, we took the plays, and we talked about them right side up, and then we turned them sideways, and we looked at them sideways, and we turned them upside down, and we looked at them upside down. And we got all of the adjustments that could possibly have been made from those plays as quickly as we could."

Corny names

In honor of Miami DB Corn Elder — who returned a punt for a score in last week's opener — here are some other notable past and present foodie-named football players:

FSU RB Dalvin Cook

Tennessee WR Pig Howard

Florida P Jack Spicer

Michigan DE Taco Charlton

Former Colorado S Cameron Ham

Former Fresno State LB Darrell Bacon

Former USC DE Frostee Rucker

Former Miami TE Bubba Franks

Former Wake Forest DE Gelo Orange

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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