It’s step up week in college football.
Time to show you belong, prove your worth, make some plays, bounce back from adversity. Week 2 is loaded with players moving in for sidelined stars, teams coming off huge upsets and others determined to rebound following startling defeats.
And, of course, there’s a matchup of top-10 teams with No. 7 Oregon visiting No. 5 Michigan State (8 p.m., ABC).
So, from running back C.J. Prosise of No. 9 Notre Dame, to unranked BYU and quarterback Tanner “Hail Mary” Mangum, to surprise winners Temple and Northwestern, to first-game losers Penn State, Stanford and Texas, here’s what’s worth watching on Step Up Saturday:
C.J. PROSISE, RB, NOTRE DAME: If nothing else, he’s versatile. He can dunk. Now he plays football. A safety first, a slot receiver second, and now the starting running back for the Irish in Saturday’s game at Virginia (3:30 p.m., ABC). The 6-foot, 220-pound senior replaces Tarean Folston, out for the season with a knee injury. Prosise made the transition a smooth one with 20 carries for 98 yards in last week’s rout of Texas. The Cavaliers should know all about him — he went to high school about 35 miles from Charlottesville.
TANNER MANGUM, QB, BYU: All revved up for his first college start when BYU hosts No. 20 Boise State (ESPN2, 10:15 p.m.), a week after his Hail Mary pass toppled Nebraska in Lincoln. The 22-year-old freshman faces his hometown team (he grew up about 10 miles from Boise in Eagle, Idaho). Against the Huskers, he was calm, cool and collected after replacing the injured Taysom Hill in the fourth quarter. He led the Cougars on 76-yard, 48-second, no-timeouts-left drive that ended with his winning 42-yard heave to Mitch Mathews. This may be the Broncos’ toughest test of the season; BYU still has UCLA, Michigan and Missouri on its rugged schedule.
HADEN GREGORY, LB, ARIZONA: Scooby Wright, Arizona’s multi-award winning middle linebacker, is out for a few weeks with a knee injury, leaving Gregory as the next man up when the Wildcats visit Nevada (CBS Sports Network, 7 p.m.) A fifth-year senior, he’ll start on a defense that allowed 525 total yards in a 42-32 win over USTA.
TEMPLE: There’s still a whole bunch of hootin’ going on as the Owls gear up for their game at Cincinnati (ESPN News, 8 p.m.). Coming off one of the biggest wins in program history — an upset of Penn State after a 38-game winless streak over 74 years against the Nittany Lions — can Temple keep it going? Defense is the key: the Owls came up with 10 sacks and a turnover last week, and shut down Penn State after trailing early, 10-0. Watch linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who had three of those sacks.
THE BIG ONE: This time, No. 7 Oregon visits East Lansing, where No. 5 Michigan State is out to avenge last year’s loss to the Ducks in Eugene. Looks like this should be one of the more entertaining games of the day, with lots of points, and a whole lot at stake in the quest to reach the College Football Playoff. Last year it was Oregon 46, Michigan State 27 en route to the Ducks reaching the national championship game.
SEC RULES: You’ve got your Gator Haters and ‘Bama Slammers, but SEC bashers? Overrated or not, the Southeastern Conference has a record 10 teams in the Top 25. For now. The featured league matchup is No. 14 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State (ESPN, 9:15 p.m.). The top nonconference game has No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 23 Tennessee (ESPN, 6 p.m.) with a crowd of 102,000-plus on hand at Neyland Stadium. OU-UT should give fans an indication whether their team is on the rise. The Vols have beaten a Top 25 team only once in their last 28 attempts. The Sooners, who lost five of their last nine a year ago, hope they’ve turned it around. New QB Baker Mayfield threw for 388 yards and three TDs in win over Akron.
Says OU linebacker Eric Striker of all the SEC praise: “I hope the SEC players don’t let it go to their head because that’s how you get beat.”
— It’s already desperation time at Texas after a humiliating loss to Notre Dame. Wide receivers coach Jay Norvell will now call plays against Rice after coach Charlie Strong stripped the role from assistant head coach Shawn Watson. Let’s just say this: A home loss to the Owls will have ’em hootin’ in Austin. (Longhorn Network, 8 p.m.)
— The biggest splash by a player last week? UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. The 18-year-old freshman passed over, around and through Virginia’s defense in finishing 28 of 35 for 351 yards and three TDs in a 34-16 win. Look for another impressive showing for the Vegas crowd when the 13th-ranked Bruins play UNLV (ESPN3, 10:30 p.m.)
— Northwestern is full of confidence after shutting down Stanford. The Wildcats should move to 2-0 when Eastern Illinois shows up in Evanston, Illinois. (ESPN News, 4 p.m.)
— Finally, keep an eye on the Louisville uniforms during their home game with Houston (ESPN3, noon). A new deal with Adidas has the Cardinals wearing garish helmets and flashy jerseys — but it’s the old English font type used for the names printed on the backs of the jerseys that’s creating a stir.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org