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College football TV guide: Pumphrey ready to run wild again while Buffs and Aggies face sternest tests

Joe Williams
Utah’s Joe Williams rushes against Oregon State on Oct. 15.
(Timothy J. Gonzalez / Associated Press)

Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Mike Hiserman handle the remote. The Times’ deputy sports editor handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on this weekend’s menu of college football games.

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FRIDAY

San Jose State at San Diego State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

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Fresno State saw a whole lot of  San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey last week, and San Jose State can expect the same. Pumphrey is major-college football’s leading rusher — by a lot — and he’s likely to add a three-digit number that starts with a “2” against the 2-5 Spartans. Pumphrey is on pace to race for 2,592 yards this season if the Aztecs play for the Mountain West Conference title and in a bowl game. That would put him 36 yards shy of Barry Sanders’ single-season record. 

Other games

4 p.m.: South Florida at Temple, ESPN.

7:30 p.m.: Oregon at California, ESPN.

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SATURDAY

Morning

Oklahoma State at Kansas, 9 a.m., FS1

OK, North Carolina State at Louisville would be the better game, but with Halloween coming up, you shouldn’t rest the gruel potential of this one as Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense faces a Kansas defense that gives up an average of 480.2 yards per game because the Jayhawks offense keeps giving up the ball. Kansas has a nation-high 22 turnovers in six games, including nine in the last two.

Texas at Kansas State, 9 a.m., ESPN2

After his Longhorns gave up 144 points in a three-game stretch, Texas Coach Charlie Strong said he would be paying more attention to the defense. And the Longhorns responded by holding Iowa State to six points last week. Can Strong hang on to his job? That’s about the only plot line in a matchup of 3-3 teams that is what it looks like: mediocre.

Other games

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9 a.m.: North Carolina State at No. 7 Louisville, Channel 7; No. 10 Wisconsin at Iowa, ESPN; Rutgers at Minnesota, ESPNU; Central Florida at Connecticut, ESPNews; North Texas at Army, CBS Sports Network (CBSSN); Massachusetts at South Carolina, SEC Network (SEC); Indiana at Northwestern, Big Ten Network (BTN).

9:30 a.m.: Syracuse at Boston College, KDOC.

Afternoon

Colorado at Stanford, noon, Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12)

At 5-2, Colorado is no doubt improved, but the Buffaloes also lack a signature proved-it win. Their losses: to Michigan and USC. Stanford hammered USC early this season, but that’s when Stanford was Stanford and Christian McCaffrey was running around like Christian McCaffrey. He’s been banged up but may play in this one. If he does, at something close to 100%, advantage Stanford. If not, the Buffs probably get that cosmetic win. 

No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Texas A&M had a Saturday off to heal and prepare for No. 1. Alabama is at the end of what was supposed to be a telling three-game stretch of games against Arkansas in Fayetteville and Tennessee in Knoxville before coming home for this one. It was telling all right: The Crimson Tide blasted Arkansas, 49-30, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score, then dismantled Tennessee, 49-10, in the second stop of its former-schools-of-Lane-Kiffin tour. 

No. 19 Utah at UCLA, 1 p.m., Channel 11

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Utah running back Joe Williams came out of retirement last week to rush for 179 yards and a touchdown in his first game back with the team he quit after the second week of the season. Makes you wonder whether Jim Mora has been trolling some kind of secret list of former running backs who might be on UCLA’s campus. The Bruins could use a running game.

Other games

12:30 p.m.: Texas Christian at No. 12 West Virginia, ESPN2; Purdue at No. 8 Nebraska, Channel 7; Memphis at No. 24 Navy, CBSSN; Illinois at No. 3 Michigan, BTN.

12:45 p.m.: Tulane at Tulsa, ESPNU.

1 p.m.: Middle Tennessee at Missouri, SEC.

2:30 p.m.: Charlotte at Marshall, beIN1.

3 p.m.: No. 17 Arkansas at No. 21 Auburn, ESPN.

3:30 p.m.: Oregon State at No. 5 Washington, Pac-12.

4 p.m.: No. 11 Houston at Southern Methodist, ESPN2; East Carolina at Cincinnati, CBSSN; Montana at Northern Arizona, Prime.

4:30 p.m.: Tennessee State at Vanderbilt, ESPNU; Michigan State at Maryland, BTN; Mississippi State at Kentucky, SEC.

Evening

No. 16 Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 5 p.m., Channel 11

If you like offense, how could you not watch a Texas Tech game? The Red Raiders average 48.8 points and a second-in-the-nation 604.7 yards per game. And they give up averages of 40.2 points and 479.2 yards per game. In this one, the Texas Tech “defense” faces an Oklahoma team that averages 40.2 points and 525.3 yards per game. The poor chain gang...

No. 23 Mississippi at No. 25 Louisiana State, 6 p.m., ESPN

Ed Orgeron is 2-0 as LSU’s interim coach — sound familiar, USC fans? — and now one of this exes is coming to town. Orgeron is a former Mississippi head coach, and he’s getting his best offensive player back at a good time. Running back Leonard Fournette won’t win the Heisman Trophy this season after missing three games with an ankle injury, but he might be college football’s most talented back.

Washington State at Arizona State, 7 p.m., Pac-12

Talk about a (sun) devil of a statistic: Arizona State is giving up an average of 6.66 yards per play. And to think, Coach Todd Graham comes from the defensive side. The Sun Devils are ranked No. 123 out of 128 major-college teams in defense. And Washington State, with Coach Mike Leach calling the shots, can score, score, score. 

Other games

5 p.m.: No. 2 Ohio State at Penn State, Channel 7.

7:30 p.m.: Fresno State at Utah State, 7:30 p.m.; Wyoming at Nevada, ESPN2; Bethune-Cookman at Norfolk State (tape delay), ESPNU.

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

Twitter: @mikehiserman


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