College football Week 9 preview

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Fullback Trey Millard and the Oklahoma Sooners face linebacker Manti Te'o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday.
Brett Deering/Getty Images Fullback Trey Millard and the Oklahoma Sooners face linebacker Manti Te'o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday.
Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Top five games to watch

5. No. 13 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama » Skepticism surrounds the Bulldogs (7-0), who have yet to play a BCS conference team with a winning record. Their three SEC wins are over teams that are a combined 0-14 in the league. The Bulldogs have the nation's best turnover margin (plus-17). Asserting that edge against the disciplined Crimson Tide will be problematic. (Saturday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN)

4. No. 9 Ohio State at Penn State » The Nittany Lions have won five straight behind a rugged defense and the power running of sophomore running back Zach Zwinak (Frederick's Linganore High). This game has Heisman implications for Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and is for first place in the Leaders Division, though neither team is eligible for the Big Ten title game. (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., ESPN)

3. No. 15 Texas Tech at No. 4 Kansas State » Two weeks ago, quarterback Seth Doege (FBS-high 28 touchdown passes) and the Red Raiders took down high-flying West Virginia and deflated the Heisman hopes of Geno Smith. Now Texas Tech can do the same to Kansas State and new Heisman front-runner Collin Klein. This will be a difficult task in Manhattan. (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Fox)

2. No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma » If there's a game on the schedule to convince doubters that the revival of the Fighting Irish is for real, this is it. Notre Dame travels to Norman for the first time in 46 years. The Oklahoma offense is in high gear, scoring on 15 of its last 20 possessions. Quarterback Landry Jones will test a Notre Dame defense that ranks sixth nationally. (Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC)

1. No. 3 Florida vs. No. 12 Georgia » The winner of the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" -- held annually in Jacksonville, Fla. -- takes command of the SEC East. Florida is coming off a 44-11 destruction of South Carolina, the same team that humbled Georgia two weeks earlier 35-7, handing quarterback Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs their lone loss. (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS)

LOCAL GAMES

Navy at East Carolina

When » Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Where » Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium,

Greenville, N.C.

TV » Fox College Sports

After a rough start, Navy (4-3) has won three straight with freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds propelling the offense, senior linebacker Keegan Wetzel leading the defense and freshman kicker Nick Sloan making all of his attempts, one of only two perfect kickers in the FBS. Against East Carolina (5-3) of Conference USA, the Mids look to avenge last year's wrenching 38-35 loss in Annapolis in which kicker Jon Teague banged the upright with a 42-yard attempt on the final play.

Howard at South Carolina State

When » Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Where » Oliver C. Dawson Stadium,

Orangeburg, S.C.

Howard (5-2, 4-1) needs a win here to keep its MEAC title hopes alive. The Bison trail Bethune-Cookman (5-2, 4-0) and North Carolina Central (5-2, 4-0), which face each other Saturday. The Bison look to end their nine-game losing streak to the Bulldogs, which includes margins of 31, 40, 30, 56 and 38 points in the last five meetings. In ending its seven-game losing streak to Morgan State last week 21-20, Howard was led by senior Terrence Leffall (26 carries, 134 yards).

Georgetown at Lafayette

When » Saturday, 6 p.m.

Where » Fisher Field, Easton, Pa.

After playing in the final week for the Patriot League championship in 2011, injury-plagued Georgetown (3-5, 0-2) has struggled, using four quarterbacks. Two positives in last week's 57-36 loss at Colgate were the play of freshman quarterback Kyle Nolan, who threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in his college debut, and sophomore wide receiver Kevin Macari (eight receptions, 181 yards, four touchdowns overall). Formidable Lafayette (5-2, 2-0) is tied for the league lead with Lehigh (8-0, 2-0).

Washington and Lee at Catholic

When » Saturday, 1 p.m.

Where » Cardinal Stadium

Coming off a 15-14 loss at Emory & Henry in which it blew a 14-point lead, Catholic (3-4, 2-2) tries to rebound in its homecoming. Washington and Lee (5-2, 3-1) is tied for first in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, leads the league in scoring (34.2 ppg) and has three of the ODAC's top five rushers, including leader Luke Heinsohn (872 yards). CU is powered by junior Mike Pitsenberger (Walter Johnson), who leads the team in rushing yards (467) and touchdowns (eight).

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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Author:

Kevin Dunleavy

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner