NCAA Games of the Week: Darnold, Rosen battle in the Coliseum

By Nathan Hiatt,

Sports Blogger,

@NATE_HIATT

 

No. 24 Michigan at No. 5 Wisconsin (11 a.m., Saturday, FOX)

ESPN College GameDay travels to Madison, Wisconsin, as two of the top defensive units in college football square off. Wisconsin has allowed only 11 touchdowns this season, which is tied for the least in the nation, and the Wolverines are playing with inexperienced freshman quarterback Brandon Peters. Looking to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive, the Badgers aim to use their home-field advantage to fluster Michigan. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor might be the X-factor with quarterback Alex Hornibrook not playing well, having thrown 12 interceptions this season. However, the Wolverines have a chance to make a push toward the Big 10 title game and ruin the Badgers’ dreams.

 Prediction: Michigan 23, Wisconsin 20

No. 12 TCU at Texas Tech (11 a.m., Saturday, FS1)

After losing to Oklahoma last weekend, TCU has Oklahoma State lurking toward jumping it in the conference standings and qualifying for the Big 12 championship game. TCU has running back Darius Anderson out for the season with a right foot injury and quarterback Kenny Hill listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury heading into a game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. If the Horned Frogs lose one of their final two games and Oklahoma State wins out, TCU will miss the Big 12 championship game. Texas Tech, which looks to become bowl eligible, has a high-powered offense and home-field advantage in its favor to possibly make the upset.

Prediction: Texas Tech 34, TCU 27

UCLA at No. 11 Southern California (7 p.m., Saturday, ABC)

(Michael Bishop, Flickr)

NFL scouts will love this matchup; two-top quarterback prospects Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold face off in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Neither Rosen and UCLA nor Darnold and USC have had the seasons they expected. Rosen missed a few games with injuries and the Bruins are 5-5. Darnold hasn’t had his Heisman-like season, leading the nation in turnovers, and USC has two losses, which most likely eliminates it from the College Football Playoff. However, Rosen and Darnold have continued to produce big numbers with high-octane offenses. Rosen has 3,094 yards passing and 23 total touchdowns while Darnold has 3,198 and 28. With a stellar running back, the Trojans have the advantage, though. Ronald Jones II, who has 1,224 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns, is the key player for USC.

Prediction: USC 55, UCLA 38

Honorable Mention

Army at North Texas (5:30 p.m., Saturday)

Quarterback Mason Fine, a Locust Grove, Oklahoma, native, has led North Texas to a successful season, earning a spot in their first Conference USA title game. However, the Mean Green will have a tough challenge this weekend. They have to try to stop the rushing attack for Army and its clock management.

Prediction: North Texas 24, Army 23

ozone@ocolly.com

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