Falcons looking for revenge

Bowling Green came into last year's game with Northern Illinois with an 8-0 record and ranked in the top 25, and was beaten 26-17, starting a downward spiral during which BGSU lost three of its last four games. You can bet revenge is on the Falcons' minds this season. Bowling Green enters this year's game ranked second in the nation in total offense (514.6 ypg), thanks in large part to better than 300 yards per game from quarterback Josh Harris, while the Falcons are second in the Mid-American Conference in total defense at just under 317 yards per game. They will face a stiff challenge from a Northern Illinois offense led by running back Michael Turner, who leads the league and is second in the nation with 132.7 rushing yards per game. He gets some help on the outside from wide receiver P.J. Fleck, who averages better than eight catches per game. The Falcons are surely looking for some retribution after last year's loss and revenge will be a factor. This game shapes up as a showdown between two of the best individual talents in the nation in Harris and Turner. Be sure to tune into GameDay on Saturday morning for my prediction, and you can catch this MAC matchup at 4:00 ET on ESPN2. No. 6 Washington St. vs. Oregon St. (6:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net)
Oregon State's normally potent rushing attack was bottled up by Washington last week and star tailback Steven Jackson was held to just 49 yards on 22 carries, hurting the rhythm of the offense and putting quarterback Derek Anderson in predictable passing situations. The Beavers face an even more athletic and aggressive defense this week against Washington State, which boasts one of the best linebackers in the Pac-10 in Will Derting. Keep an eye on potential one-on-one situations between Derting and Jackson in the running game, and look out for the pass rush of Isaac Brown and D.D. Acholonu off the ends. Their pressure leads to miscues by opposing offenses and has helped the Cougars lead the nation in turnover margin at plus-2 per game. They feel they can force Anderson to make bad decisions and force balls into traffic. Washington State quarterback Matt Kegel showed his toughness last week, finishing the Stanford game with a separated non-throwing shoulder, and he will be a big part of the game plan this week. The big play has been a devastating weapon for Wazzu this year and we should see more of the same this week with Sammy Moore and Devard Darling getting big gains in the passing game. Washington State wins at home, 34-20. No. 21 Auburn vs. No 9 LSU (7:45 p.m., ESPN)
Auburn has turned things around in a big way after starting 0-2, averaging 303 rushing yards per game and allowing the offensive line to take charge of games. Things have been simplified up front, allowing Cadillac Williams and his fellow running backs to get on track. Quarterback Jason Campbell has also benefited from the improved line play, getting sacked just once over the last five games after being taken down 13 times in the first two. His play will be essential to taking pressure off the running game against LSU, because Nick Saban's team leads the nation in rushing defense at 53.1 yards per game. LSU quarterback Matt Mauck has gotten more and more comfortable over the last few weeks and now ranks sixth in the SEC in total offense at 1,440 total yards. The LSU running game will be tested against Auburn with both Joseph Addai and Shyrone Carey suffering injuries last week, but freshman Justin Vincent and Alley Broussard filled in admirable and will help out this week if needed. Mauck and Campbell will be the key to the game, though, and whichever quarterback has the better day and keeps the opposing defense honest will lead his team to victory. Look for Campbell to get the ball to Jeris McIntyre and Courtney Taylor to open things up for Cadillac and Co. Auburn wins, 27-23. No. 10 Purdue vs. No. 15 Michigan (3:30 p.m., ABC)
In typical Michigan fashion, the Wolverines are just beginning to play their best football as November approaches. Michigan was able to get the running game going again last week versus Illinois, getting Chris Perry loose for 140 yards and three touchdowns, and while quarterback John Navarre has been much-maligned by fans and media this year he leads the Big Ten in total offense and has thrown for 942 yards in his last three games. The Wolverines come into this game already having one conference loss and they realize this is a must-win if they hope to claim the conference title. Balance will be key against Purdue, and the key for Michigan's offense might be getting the ball to wide receiver Jason Avant because of all the attention being paid to fellow wideouts Braylon Edwards and Steve Breaston. Purdue is not necessarily the most talented team in the Big Ten but is the most complete. The Boilermakers lead the conference in total defense and rank third in total offense, while their special teams have improved by leaps and bounds compared to last year. This is a big game for Purdue from a psychological standpoint, heading into a tough venue for the second straight week after a big win over Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. But the biggest mental obstacle for the Boilers is the fact that they haven't won at Michigan since 1966. Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton has displayed impressive poise this season to go with a strong arm and terrific athletic ability, but with Michigan struggling at times against the run the Boilermakers will likely get Jared Void and the running game involved early and mix in passes to John Standeford and Taylor Stubblefield on the outside. Michigan will likely try to overpower an undersized Purdue defense to get the safeties down into the box, then burn the Boilermakers with the deep ball. That will make linebackers Niko Koutouvides and Landon Johnson extremely important when it comes to defending the run. I like that experience and maturity on defense to lead the Boilermakers to a 23-20 win at the Big House. Kirk Herbstreit is an analyst for ESPN College GameDay and a regular contributor to ESPN.com during the college football season.

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