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September 30, 2013

Opponent Overview

Temple (0-4): L 26-24 at Idaho

AP ranking: N/A
This week: vs. No. 7 Louisville

Temple's woes continued with a loss to previously-winless Idaho. Down 20-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Owls made the contest interesting with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. But it wasn't enough as Temple was out-played by the Vandals.

Statistically, Temple had a strong day, with quarterback Connor Reilly throwing for 249 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions while the rushing game gained 161 yards on only 29 carries. Unfortunately for the Owls, they host Louisville this weekend and travel to Cincinnati for a Friday night tilt with the Bearcats on Oct. 11.

Michigan (4-0): Bye

AP ranking: 19, fell from a No. 18 ranking a week ago
This week: vs. Minnesota

The Wolverines likely used their bye week as Notre Dame fans hope the Irish do in a week -- to address many of the small issues that have kept their last three games nail-biters. Taking on a so-so Minnesota team this week, Michigan appears headed toward a 5-0 record.

Purdue (1-4): L 55-24 to Northern Illinois

AP ranking: N/A
This week: Bye; vs. Nebraska on Oct. 12

In the last two weeks, Purdue has been out-scored 96-34. Quarterback Rob Henry tasted the bench in the first half as freshman Danny Etling took over the offense. Etling threw for 241 yards on 19-of-39 passing, adding two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Northern Illinois's offense did not overwhelm the Boilermakers, only gaining 402 total yards compared to Purdue's 523. The Huskies forced and capitalized on five Purdue turnovers.

Michigan State (3-1): Bye

AP ranking: N/A
This week: @ Iowa

Michigan State took an extra week to think about its 17-13 loss to Notre Dame before launching into its Big Ten schedule. Opening with a four-game slate of, in order, at Iowa, Indiana, Purdue and at Illinois, the Spartans are undoubtedly looking forward to rebuilding some momentum.

Oklahoma (4-0): W 35-21 at Notre Dame

AP ranking: Rose to 11 from a No. 14 ranking last week
This week: vs. TCU

Though out-gained on the ground, Oklahoma gained its revenge on Notre Dame, avenging the loss the Irish handed the Sooners in Norman a year ago.

Quarterback Blake Bell's 232 yards came on 22-of-30 passing, and Oklahoma's defense forced three turnovers -- compared to zero Sooner giveaways -- to put Notre Dame in a two-score hole before the game was even three minutes old.

Arizona State (3-1): W 62-41 over USC

AP ranking: Returned from unranked to No. 22
This week: vs. Notre Dame in Arlington

Arizona State trailed 21-20 less than a minute into the second half before scoring 28 unanswered points to erase any doubt who would win the desert shootout. Gaining 612 total yards and averaging 10.0 yards per pass attempt, the Sun Devils made the most of their opportunities Saturday night.

Four different Arizona State players rushed for at least 50 yards, and six different Sun Devils had at least 20 yards receiving with Marion Grice and D.J. Foster qualifying in both categories. The balanced attack could wreak havoc on the Notre Dame defense this week.

USC (3-2): L 62-41 at Arizona State

AP ranking: N/A
This week: Bye; vs. Arizona on Oct. 10

USC's season has been officially turned upside down. The biggest news is not the shellacking suffered at the hands of Arizona State, but the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin.

Haden named defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron as interim head coach. Orgeron once coached Ole Miss for three years and is known as a masterful recruiter.

Air Force (1-4): L 45-42 at Nevada

AP ranking: N/A
This week: @ Navy

Air Force forfeited a 42-30 lead by giving up three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Nevada threw for 389 yards and fell just one yard short of 600 yards total offense.

Until Air Force's defense shores up, its potent rushing attack will only be able to do so much. Gaining 375 yards on the ground Saturday was not enough, and averaging 296.0 rushing yards per game this season hasn't been either.

Navy (2-1): L 19-7 at Western Kentucky

AP ranking: N/A
This week: vs. Air Force

Navy never found its offensive footing against Western Kentucky, totaling only 162 yards. Throwing two interceptions on only 17 attempts certainly did not help, nor did a lopsided time of possession with the Hilltoppers holding the ball for 37 minutes.

A safety late in the game summed up Navy's performance.

Pittsburgh (3-1): W 14-3 over Virginia

AP ranking: N/A
This week: @ Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh used two early Virginia turnovers to take a 14-0 first-quarter lead it would never relinquish. Without those two turnovers, the Panthers could have been in for a long day, only gaining 199 total yards, including eight rushing yards. It is always a bad sign when the number of rushing yards can be spelled out.

Freshman receiver Tyler Boyd accounted for 58 percent of Pittsburgh's offense, catching seven passes for 111 yards.

BYU (2-2): W 37-10 over Middle Tennessee

AP ranking: N/A
This week: @ Utah State on Friday

Trailing 10-7 in the first quarter, BYU rattled off 30 unanswered points on the strength of 309 rushing yards. Quarterback Taysom Hill threw for 177 yards and rushed for 165 more as the Cougars recovered nicely from their loss to Utah two weeks ago.

The 309 rushing yards raised BYU's average ever-so-slightly to 307.3 yards per game, good for fourth in the NCAA.

Stanford (3-0): W 55-17 at Washington State

AP ranking: Remained steady at No. 5
This week: vs. No. 15 Washington

Stanford led Washington State 48-3 before sending in the second- and third-string defense, which allowed two late Cougar touchdowns. The balanced Cardinal attack accounted for 322 yards passing and 238 yards rushing.

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