Xavier Huchinson. AP Photo/Matthew Putney
UNC at Georgia State, noon ET
I’m putting UNC on upset alert for this, folks. The Tar Heels are 2-0 on the season, but they barely escaped in App State last week, winning thanks to a failed two-point conversion attempt. In fact, UNC’s defense allowed a whopping 40 points and 338 yards of offense in the fourth quarter alone.
Rather than return home, the Tar Heels have to go on the road once again to take on Georgia State at Center Parc Stadium. Although the Panthers lost 35-14 at South Carolina last week, Georgia State trailed just 12-7 at halftime. Two blocked punts returned for touchdowns in the second half helped the Gamecocks pull away.
Georgia State finished with 200 rushing yards against South Carolina and was led by senior Jamyest Williams, who had 76 yards on 13 carries. Panthers quarterback Darren Grainger added 111 yards and a touchdown with an interception in the air.
This should be fun. I have a feeling UNC is due for a surprise after last week.
Prediction: Georgia State 28, UNC 26
Iowa State at Iowa, 4 p.m. ET
This state rivalry, colloquially known as El Assico, should be fun. Iowa has a current six-game winning streak in this rivalry and won 27-17 last year despite being an underdog for the first time since 2000. The Hawkeyes are one of the early three-point favorites, likely because this one is in the Iowa Territory. .
But Iowa struggled in Week 1, to say the least. The Hawkeyes narrowly defeated FCS South Dakota State 7-3 at home. Iowa scored seven points, but not because it scored a touchdown. The Hawkeyes scored seven points with a field goal and two deep.
Iowa State is 1-0 after beating southeastern Missouri State 42-10 on Saturday. Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers was impressive in his debut, throwing for 293 yards and four touchdowns with an interception. Running back Jirehl Brock also added 104 yards and a touchdown.
I’m surprised Iowa opened as the favorite here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that line changes as the week goes on. I like that the Cyclones snap their six-game losing streak against the Hawkeyes,
Prediction: Iowa State 35, Iowa 14
Old Dominion in East Carolina, 6 p.m. ET
These teams come from two very different games. Old Dominion stunned Virginia Tech on Friday night, winning 20-17 at home. It was the Monarchs’ second win at home against the Hokies – Old Dominion beat VT 49-35 in 2018. It was a big win for Old Dominion, who are in their ninth year in the FBS.
Meanwhile, East Carolina had a chance to topple then-No. 13 NC State on Saturday at home. The Pirates scored what should have been a game-tying touchdown with less than three minutes left. But kicker Owen Daffer missed the extra point, allowing the upset to slip away from ECU.
The Pirates won the last two games in this series in 2018 and 2019. In the 2019 win, ECU led 17-3 at halftime, but gave up 18 points in the second half to allow Old Dominion to climb back up. The Pirates had to recover a Monarch onside kick to end the game. Saturday’s game should be close at all times, but I like the Pirates at home.
Prediction: East Carolina 24, Old Dominion 21
South Georgia at Nebraska, 7:30 p.m. ET
In any other season, this game would not be elaborated at all. But given how badly Nebraska has struggled in recent weeks, it’s here.
The Cornhuskers, who lost 31-28 to Northwestern in Ireland in Week 0, struggled in Week 1 against FCS North Dakota at home.
The game was tied 7-7 at halftime, and it was still a one-touchdown game late in the third quarter, with Nebraska holding a 24-17 lead heading into the fourth. Nebraska scored two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the Cornhuskers face a much stronger opponent in Georgia Southern this week.
The Eagles are 1-0, with a 59-7 victory over FCS Morgan State last week. Georgia Southern quarterback Kyle Vantrease had an impressive day, throwing for 367 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Georgia Southern added four more rushing touchdowns from running backs OJ Arnold, Gerald Green and Jalen White, who scored two.
Nebraska obviously benefits from having this one at home, and that’s the only reason I’m not asking for this to be an outright surprise. Unfortunately, Scott Frost has to face Brent Venables and Oklahoma in Week 4.
Prediction: Nebraska 34, South Georgia 31
Oregon State in Fresno State, 10:30 p.m. ET
If you are looking for a fun drink on Saturday then this game is for you. Both teams are 1-0 as Oregon State beat Boise State 34-17 and Fresno State defeated Cal Poly 35-7 in Week 1.
The Beavers trail this series 5-8 all-time, but the schedule looks improved with fifth-year head coach Jonathan Smith in 2022 after bowling last year. Against Boise State, the Beavers were leading 24-0 at halftime and didn’t really let their opponent back in. Fresno State, which has quarterback Jake Haener returning from last season, had no problems against the Mustangs.
Oregon State can keep this close, but Fresno State will take it out at home. Chance Nolan had a mixed outing against Boise, throwing for 251 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Haener should have the upper hand in this quarterback battle. He threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns last week against Cal Poly.
Prediction: Fresno State 38, Oregon State 35