Two great offensive minds clash Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va., but only one is feeling good about his product.
Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy is humming along, coming off back-to-back 50-point games. West Virginia, in Dana Holgorsen’s third season after spending a year sculpting the Cowboys’ offense, is struggling.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 37-0 loss to Maryland and, it was every bit as ugly as the score indicates. West Virginia committed six turnovers — four leading to Terps touchdowns —and finished with 175 total yards. In his second start, quarterback Ford Childress passed for 62 yards and two interceptions.
“We’ve got to get guys into positions to execute what we’re asking them to do,” Holgorsen said. “I’m not pointing the finger at anybody but myself.”
Holgorsen said Thursday that Clint Trickett will start against Oklahoma State. Trickett, a Florida State transfer, will become the Mountaineers’ third different starting quarterback this season.
The Cowboys handled West Virginia a 55-34 loss last season, keeping the Mountaineers reeling after a fast start. Holgorsen was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2010, and the team led the nation in total offense at 538 yards per game behind quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Holgorsen had similar weapons in his first two years at West Virginia with Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.
Without them, the Mountaineers have been punchless. But after watching the Maryland tape eight times, Holgorsen finally found some bright spots.
“Trust me, I know it’s hard to believe,” he said. “But there are some things that resemble football. Our guys are trying.”
Oklahoma State at West Virginia, 11 a.m. on ESPN:
The schedule resumes for Oklahoma State. After starting the season with a victory over Mississippi State, the Cowboys didn’t sweat much in defeating UTSA and Lamar.
•SMU at TCU, 11 a.m., on Fox Sports 1:
TCU has dominated the Battle for the Iron Skillet game, but SMU’s victories have stung. In 2011, the Mustangs ended the Frogs’ 22-game home winning streak, and in 2005, SMU beat TCU a week after the Frogs had taken down Oklahoma. This season, both teams are a disappointing 1-2 and it will have been 16 days since TCU lost at Texas Tech.
•Oklahoma at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m. on NBC (Ch. 41):
The two players who burned the Sooners last year in Norman, quarterback Everett Golson and linebacker Manti Te’o, aren’t around. Can Tommy Rees have success against what’s been a solid Sooners’ pass defense? All eyes are on Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell, making his second start. He was terrific in his debut, throwing for 413 yards against Tulsa. But this is a different world.
•South Carolina at Central Florida, 11 a.m. on ABC (Ch. 9):
South Carolina running back Mike Davis is averaging 7.6 yards per carry and he could be a big factor late as the Gamecocks look to wear down the Knights.
•South Alabama at Tennessee, 11:21 a.m. on KSMO (Ch. 62):
Justin Worley is back at quarterback for the Vols after coach Butch Jones gave Nathan Peterman a shot last week against Florida. Peterman injured his hand and will miss a month. Worley should amass some nice statistics against the FBS newbie.
•LSU at Georgia, 2:30 p.m. on CBS (Ch. 5):
Could this be a meeting of the best two SEC teams? Alabama hasn’t exactly overwhelmed its opposition. Texas A has lost at home and South Carolina fell to Georgia. This is a matchup between two quarterbacks who started their careers at Georgia, the Bulldogs’ Aaron Murray and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger. Two great running backs match up, Georgia’s Todd Gurley and LSU’s Jeremy Hill. The Bulldogs’ offense is better, but the Tigers have the advantage on defense.
•Mississippi at Alabama, 5:30 p.m. on ESPN:
Are the Rebels ready for a program-defining triumph? Quarterback Bo Wallace leads an offense that’s similar to the Texas A squad that put 42 on the Crimson Tide, and Mississippi expects to get two key players back from injury, wide receiver Vince Sanders and freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche. But Alabama has answered nearly every challenge in winning consecutive national championships, and quarterback A.J. McCarron seems to make the big play when he needs to.
•Florida at Kentucky, 6 p.m. on ESPNU:
The Gators have won 26 straight and 32 of the last 33 over the Wildcats, usually by blowout. But Florida has lost quarterback Jeff Driskel to a broken leg suffered in last week’s Tennessee victory, and defensive tackle Dominique Easley to a knee injury from a non-contact drill in practice on Tuesday.
•Texas A at Arkansas 6 p.m. on ESPN2:
When the Aggies were in the Big 12, they couldn’t beat Arkansas. Last year, as SEC members, A walloped the Razorbacks. Arkansas is coming off a disheartening loss at Rutgers. Wonder if Floyd Mayweather is riding Texas A again? He cashed a $200,000 ticket on the Aggies last week.
•Alabama-Birmingham at Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m. on Fox Sports KC Plus:
The Commodores are still trying to find a rhythm, especially on offense. Things got ugly earlier this week when coach James Franklin had to quell a Twitter tirade from running back Brian Kimbrow, who didn’t play in the team’s lackluster victory at Massachusetts. Kimbrow griped about lack of playing time and threatened to leave before apologizing.
•Arkansas State at Missouri, 6:30 p.m. on KSMO (Ch. 62): The Red Wolves have had back-to-back 10-3 seasons but they’re off to a 2-2 start under first-year coach Bryan Harsin, the Texas co-offensive coordinator last year. They’re coming off a 31-7 loss to Memphis, a team they’d defeated each of the previous two years. After this, it’s all SEC competition for Mizzou.