College football this weekend welcomes the Pac-12, the last of the Power 5 conferences allowed to conduct a 2020 season in a pandemic. The coronavirus took no time impacting the league: Two games – Washington at California, and Arizona at Utah – were canceled. A total of 10 games have been postponed or canceled this weekend.
His name is D.J. Uiagalelei (oo-ee-AHN-guh-luh-lay), a 6-foot-4, 250-pound freshman quarterback, and he will start his second game for the Tigers in the absence of Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence, who tested positive last week for COVID-19, has completed his quarantine but will not be able to play because he still must undergo cardiac screening. He is traveling with the team.
Uiagalelei passed for 342 yards last week, rallying Clemson from an 18-point deficit to a 34-28 victory over Boston College. He will lead an offense that averages 46.1 points, 341.4 passing yards, and 508.0 total yards per game, and he has an effective sidekick in running back Travis Etienne, who is now the ACC’s all-time leading rusher with 4,644 yards.
The Fighting Irish, who are 0-5 against top-five opponents under coach Brian Kelly, possess a tough defense that gives up 10.3 points (fifth in FBS) and 267.2 yards (eighth) per game. Their strong running game, led by sophomore Kyren Williams, will test a Clemson defense that allows 99.9 yards per game.
The annual event known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is so different this year. No tailgating is allowed and the attendance has been limited to around 20,000. But that won’t diminish the intensity of the 98th meeting of the two teams.
Because of a coronavirus outbreak that resulted in a positive test for coach Dan Mullen, the Gators are playing for the first time in three weeks. Quarterback Kyle Trask has thrown at least four touchdown passes in each of his four games and has 18 on the season. Tight end Kyle Pitts (Archbishop Wood) has seven touchdown catches.
Except for a 41-24 loss to Alabama, the Bulldogs have been winning with defense, limiting opponents to just over 300 yards per game. However, two key starters – cornerback Richard LeCounte (motorcycle accident) and defensive lineman Julian Rochester (knee) – are out. Quarterback Stetson Bennett threw five interceptions in his last two games.
Two weeks after breaking a 42-game losing streak to top 10 teams against Penn State, the Hoosiers will attempt to end a run of 24 straight losses to the Wolverines. Six takeaways in two games produced 27 points for Indiana, carrying an offense that is only 103rd in FBS at 279 yards per contest.
The Wolverines were shocked at home last week against Michigan State, giving up five pass plays of 30 yards or more. New quarterback Joe Milton has shown some promise, accounting for 636 total yards in his two games while completing almost 65% of his passes.
The Ducks begin their delayed season as the Pac-12 favorite. Sophomore Tyler Shough is their new quarterback, replacing Justin Herbert, and C.J. Verdell is the conference’s top returning running back after rushing for 1,220 yards in 2019. The Cardinal have 10 players in their final season of eligibility – fewest in the nation – and 28 true freshmen. Senior quarterback Davis Mills had six starts last season, passing for 1,960 yards and 11 TDs.
A football game in the morning usually means it’s Thanksgiving, but the Sun Devils and the Trojans will kick off their season at 9 a.m. Los Angeles time to fit Fox Sports' “Big Noon” window. USC returns a bunch of talented skill players, including quarterback Kedon Slovis (3,502 passing yards, 30 touchdowns in 2019). Arizona State has an excellent returning quarterback of its own in Jayden Daniels (2,943 yards, 17 TDs).
The Chanticleers are undefeated and having fun, as shown in a postgame video two weeks ago when they held a WWE-like show complete with a wrestler who dove off a stepladder to crash into a replica of the mascot of that day’s opponent. Last week, they recorded their first shutout in FBS, 51-0 over Georgia State. Quarterback Grayson McCall returned from an injury and threw four touchdown passes, raising his season total to 15.