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Colorado, Oregon clash headlines weekend NCAA slate on TSN

Deion Sanders Deion Sanders - The Canadian Press

Coach Prime and No. 19 Colorado face their toughest test of the season as they open Pac-12 play at No. 10 Oregon. Plus, after surviving a scare against Boston College, No. 4 Florida State visits Colorado and No. 3 Texas takes on state rival Baylor. Here's a look at the weekend slate of NCAA games on TSN.

No. 4 Florida State (3-0) vs. Clemson (2-1), Saturday at Noon ET/9am PT on TSN3 - Florida State's trip to Boston College last Saturday was a far trickier proposition than what was expected for the Seminoles. Much of that was to do with Mike Norvell's team failing to put the Screaming Eagles to the sword and letting their hosts back into a game that was ostensibly over. After a one-yard DJ Lundy touchdown run with just over 11 minutes remaining in the third, the Noles opened up a 31-10 lead and appeared to be in cruise control. But BC fought back with 19 unanswered points and a chance to win the game on their final possession until their indiscipline caught up to them again and the Eagles were hit with an 18th penalty - a face-mask call on what would have been a third-down stop - that allowed the Noles to run out the clock. “Our standard is for us to get better every time we take the field,” Norvell said after the game. "That did not happen today." The poor play affected FSU's polling with the Noles falling from No. 3 to No. 4, but there were some positives to take from the game, namely the continued strong start to the season by quarterback Jordan Travis. Travis threw for 222 yards on 15-for-24 passing with a pair of TDs. Through three games, the senior pivot has eight TDs to one pick. After dropping their opener to Duke in lopsided 24-7 fashion, Dabo Swinney's Clemson has bounced back with a pair of non-conference routs - a 66-17 win over Charleston Southern and a 48-17 win over Florida Atlantic. Clemson has won its last seven meetings with the Noles, but Norvell feels that Saturday's game could provide his team the opportunity to make a statement and get back on track after the BC game. "We're going to play our best game," Norvell said. "That's what I want to see. I believe in this team. I believe in who I coach. I believe in the coaches that we have. So I'm excited about this week of preparation and really looking forward to them capitalizing on the moment." Swinney believes his Tigers have righted the ship following the loss to the Blue Devils and sees the matchup against the Noles as a true measuring stick. "We have no chance against Florida State if we can't win the turnover margin," Swinney said after last Saturday's win. "We have zero chance. We can't beat hardly anybody when you lose the turnover margin. That's the greatest equalizer in football. It's good to be able to have a game like this because it creates confidence. We're creating turnovers. I'm really proud of our defence. The defence is playing really well for us right now. This will certainly be the biggest challenge yet. They have a really, really good group: dynamic quarterback, great receivers, big-time back, good tight end, good o-line and good defence. They are a complete team."


No. 10 Oregon (3-0) vs. Colorado (3-0), Saturday at 3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT on TSN - Deion Sanders' Colorado revolution faces its stiffest test to date with a back-to-back conference games against No. 10 Oregon and No. 5 USC beginning with a date with the Ducks on Saturday in Eugene. While Coach Prime has already turned his Buffaloes into a ratings draw and a national phenomenon, Colorado flirted with disaster in its 43-35 double-overtime win over Colorado State last weekend in Boulder, overcoming a sputtering offence at times and the crushing loss of dual threat Travis Hunter, The wide receiver-cornerback left the game late in the first quarter after taking a late hit from Rams defensive Henry Blackburn. Hunter, who has recorded 213 yards receiving and an interception through nine quarters this season, was diagnosed with a lacerated liver and will miss at least three weeks. Still, Hunter is undeterred and ready to fight on. "It's still football at the end of the day," Hunter said of the injury. "It's going to happen. So, I'll just stay humble. I'll do what I'm supposed to do... It's football. I knew it was going to happen on the field sooner or later. Just got to get up and fight again. That's what I'm going to try and do. Good thing the doctor stopped me. Because I would still be out there playing. I'm thankful for everyone that helped me." With Hunter out, Sanders intends to go next man up when it comes to who fills the void in the secondary. "The plan at corner is corner by committee," Sander said. "That's why we practice, we're gonna see who steps up and takes over that role." This weekend's matchup against the Ducks appears to be without the acrimony between Prime and his counterpart that he's seen over the past two weeks with prickly receptions from Nebraska's Matt Rhule and CSU's Mike Norvell. Sanders says he's a big fan of Ducks coach Dan Lanning. "I respect the heck out of this man," Sanders said of Lanning. "What he's accomplished stepping in, taking over the program and keeping it not only rocking steady but accelerating it. I respect the heck out of him. I love what he's accomplishing. I love who he is, the way he runs his team. I love the way he operates. I got a lot of respect for him." The feeling appears to be mutual with Lanning impressed with what he's seen from the Buffaloes thus far. “I'd be a fool not to recognize all of the success they have created on a team that didn’t have a lot of success before,” Lanning said earlier this week. “He’s done a phenomenal job and recruited a lot of players that I am familiar with personally, that are there playing for him, they’ve got a good roster, and they are winning games. It doesn’t matter how but they're winning games.” Oregon rebounded from a tense encounter with Texas Tech to thrash Hawaii, 55-10, last Saturday. Lanning hopes that Eugene will be as uncomfortable for the Buffaloes as Boulder has become for their opponents. “This is going to be an awesome atmosphere for the Oregon Ducks and this is one of those marquee games that we are really excited about, so we know we’re going to get everybody’s best which is exactly what we want," Lanning said. "I have a lot of respect for that team and obviously they are a completely different team than they were last year so let's see what they look like when they go out on the field. I hope we get their best and we are certainty going to try and give them ours.” 


Arkansas (2-1) vs. No. 12 Louisiana State (2-1), Saturday at 7pm ET/4pm PT on TSN+ - Brian Kelly's LSU Tigers got their conference schedule off on the right foot last weekend by running over Mississippi State in Starkville by a score of 41-14. After allowing 45 points in a Week 1 loss to Florida State, the Tigers have no allowed only 24 points over their past two games, while putting 113 points of their own on the board. The Tigers continue SEC play on Saturday night with a visit from a 2-1 Arkansas team that is coming off of a 38-31 loss to BYU. The Tigers and Razorbacks will both be playing with one particular person on their minds. The Tigers announced this week that safety Greg Brooks Jr., a transfer from Arkansas, had undergone surgery to remove a brain tumour. Tigers centre Charles Turner says that Brooks's love for his team is palpable. "Him coming back and playing for the LSU Tigers was a big deal," Turner said. "He's not a very big guy, but everybody knows he plays with his heart and he plays hard. He comes down here, he hits. He just means a lot to this program. It's just unfortunate that that had to happen to him, a guy that kind of went under the radar and then came back home and tried to do everything the right way." Hogs head coach Sam Pittman also relayed his best wishes to Brooks. “We’re very competitive, we want to win, we want to do all that, but [when] tragedies [are] put in our life ,we have to honor those times and that’s what we’re going to do," Pittman said. “But [Brooks] was a wonderful teammate here and I could not think of one negative thing to say about him or his family. So it’s tough, our kids know it as well, but all we can do is represent him in the way that we play.” For Kelly, the game will be his first look at Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson. Jefferson, 22, is a fifth-year senior and is currently projected to be drafted anywhere from the second to fourth round in next spring's NFL Draft. Kelly says he's expects to come up against a version of Jefferson looking to ball out and firm up his draft stock. "When you get into the final year where you feel like this is your year, you want to do well," Kelly said of Jefferson. "And I think he certainly feels like this is his year to showcase himself. So, I thought maybe if you look at the last quarters, he’s trying to make plays. But he’s got a lot of new players around him, as well. So it’s not all about him. He’s got some new players that have to develop around him, but he’s still the big, physical, athletic quarterback that scares you. He’s hard to bring down, he has a live arm. And we’re going to be prepared for him to play his best against us."


No. 3 Texas (3-0) vs. Baylor (1-2), Saturday at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT - Texas might have been a little bit guilty of playing with their food last Saturday at home to Wyoming. Coming off of a massive 34-24 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa in Week 2, the game against the Cowboys was a classic trap game and Steve Sarkisian's team appeared to be falling right into it with the two teams tied 10-10 headed into the fourth quarter. But 21 unanswered points in the fourth, led by running back Jonathan Brooks and his 61-yard touchdown run, gave the Longhorns what ended up being a comfortable 31-10, avoiding a massive upset. Sarkisian believes his team might have gotten too caught up in the hype of their victory over the Crimson Tide. “We had a lot of sore backs from people patting us on the back congratulating us,“ Sarkisian said after the game. “It’s human nature to get distracted by that and you lose sight of what’s right in front of you.” After avoiding embarrassment, the Longhorns head to Waco for their last ever Big 12 encounter with Baylor and expect a hostile reception. “We understand the environment we’re walking into and we can’t be fearful of that," Sarkisian said. "We have to embrace it. We got to walk in there and be ourselves and play our brand of football.” While he concedes that the team needs to be sharper in every aspect from last Saturday, Sarkisian hopes Texas can build on the fourth-quarter explosion against Wyoming.  “Hopefully we can continue to capitalize and build that belief and that trust that no matter what the score is, just keep playing and good things will happen," Sarkisian said. The Bears will be looking to prove a point on the other side of the field. Baylor would love nothing more than to end their Big 12 rivalry with Texas with a victory. Head coach Dave Aranda says there's a different kind of pressure on him for Saturday. “I can't tell you how many times this offseason it's been, ‘Hey Dave, just win one game please,'" Aranda said of the meeting with Texas. "That's been brought up to me multiple, multiple times. I sense it and I know it. I'm blessed and we're blessed to be able to do something about it. But we're definitely going to talk about the history and some of the bigger games of the past because I that's way important with something like this.” The Longhorns are 80-28-4 all-time against the Bears.


TSN's full slate of NCAA games can be found here