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Lamar Jackson, No. 16 Louisville escape with win over pesky (and improved) Purdue squad

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Everybody figured that a Cardinals quarterback would take center stage in Indianapolis as regional rivals Purdue and Louisville squared off at Lucas Oil Stadium. What might have been slightly unexpected for some is that it was former UL signal-caller Jeff Brohm who stole the show… as the head coach of the Boilermakers.

Brohm’s team showed an impressive amount of moxie under the dome and gave their top 20 opponent everything they could handle for four quarters before the Cardinals eventually were able to pull away for a 35-28 win.

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson played a big role in that final scoreline and looked much more like the player we saw dazzle college football at the beginning of last year. His numbers were spectacular when glancing at the box score — 378 yards passing and two touchdowns, 107 yards on the ground — but would have been even better had he gotten any help from his run game or offensive line.

Over on defense, a new-look Cardinals unit was pinned with their backs against the wall several times thanks to short fields and had to play most of the game without the services of their best player. All-American cornerback Jaire Alexander left early in the first half while trying to run back a blocked field goal, injuring lower leg and did not return. Despite those issues, they still made plenty of adjustments to slow down Purdue in the second half and recorded four sacks and four turnovers on the night.

The real story was not about the ranked team but about how much better the Boilermakers looked after such a dreadful 2016 that prompted wholesale changes for the program. Elijah Sindelar (118 yards, two scores, one pick) got the start for the team at quarterback and threw the game’s first touchdown, but was pulled several times for veteran David Blough (175 yards, two touchdowns and interceptions) starting in the second quarter. The rushing attack wasn’t much to write home about at just 2.4 yards per carry but the new spread attack using two signal-callers was pesky enough to make things interesting from start to finish.

When you look at season openers, you tend to learn as much about the lower ranked team as the higher one and that certainly seemed like the case on Saturday night in Indianapolis. Purdue looks much more competitive than they were a year ago and may have enough on the roster to make things interesting in their head coach’s debut campaign. The flip side is that Louisville doesn’t appear as close to ACC rivals Florida State or Clemson as they would like to be at this point.

The night still belonged to the Cardinals in the end, but the old one on the other sideline had plenty to smile about too.

Iowa struggling to sellout game vs. Penn State

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The Iowa Hawkeyes are about to host a top-four team at Kinnick Stadium this Saturday night, and it seems there is slightly more trouble trying to sell out the game than anticipated. According to Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register and Iowa City Press-Citizen (and not the NCAA president by the same name), Iowa still had 4,000 tickets for this week’s game against No. 4 Penn State sitting in the box office as of earlier today.

Price concerns for the game coupled with a delay in knowing the kickoff time apparently had some influence on the unexpected ticket availability this close to the game.

Schools are becoming more and more commonly known for having higher-priced tickets for the more marquee games on their home schedule, and Iowa is no exception. Iowa has tiered ticket pricing for their home games, and Penn State being the defending conference champion with a decent traveling fanbase made this week’s matchup an ideal fit for being priced in the higher tier. Later this year, Iowa’s home game against Ohio State will also be priced at $95. $95, for some, is not worth the effort to go to a game and tailgate all day. It may be fine for a good number of fans, but it’s not for everybody.

Having to wait to know what time a game will kickoff can be a nuisance for those football fans who like to plan ahead. And while a primetime game may be great for exposure, it can be a cumbersome chore for some fans who would much rather stay home and not have to deal with a late-night drive home.

So if you are looking to get a ticket to the game this weekend in Iowa City, you may have a good chance to pick up a ticket.

Indiana will wear uniforms honoring the late Terry Hoeppner this weekend

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This weekend when Indiana takes the field, the Hoosiers will be honoring former head coach Terry Hoeppner. To do that on the 10th anniversary of the former coach’s passing, Indiana’s uniforms will have a slight modification to the numbering. Rather than a traditional white block numbering on the front and back, Indiana’s uniform numbers will feature a pattern mimicking Hep’s Rock, which was introduced to the program by the former head coach and remains a fixture within the program.

Hoeppner passed away at the age of 59 in the summer of June 2007. Hoeppner had planned to step away from coaching to focus on a battle with brain cancer that summer, but he fell victim to the disease on June 19, 2007. Though he may have only coached for Indiana for two seasons, his impact on the program was noticeable in helping the program build a foundation. The Hoosiers won four and five games in the two seasons coached by Hoeppner, but the 2007 team carried on his mission to “Play 13” by advancing to the Insight Bowl (now known as the Cactus Bowl). Members of the 2007 bowl team (Indiana lost to Oklahoma State in that bowl game) will be in Bloomington to celebrate the life of Hoeppner, who remains an inspiration for the program to this day.

Houston expects WR D’Eriq King to be available for Texas Tech game

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As Houston prepares for a game that could quickly become a shootout of sorts with Texas Tech, the Cougars could have one more wide receiver good to go this weekend. D’Eriq King is expected to make his season debut for the Cougars this week after missing the past two games coming off an offseason knee injury.

Houston head coach Major Applewhite announced on the radio he feels his young wide receiver option is finally ready to get back at it, and it could come at no better time.

As a freshman in 2016, King caught 20 passes in 10 games for 228 yards and a touchdown. King was expected to be a contributor to the offense this season. Having a healthy receiver is going to be key against a Texas Tech offense that will not shy away from the pass.

Derrius Guice ‘very questionable’ for LSU vs. Syracuse

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LSU could very well be without its most potent offensive weapon when it looks to bounce back from an embarrassing Week 3 loss.

Late in the third quarter of Saturday’s 37-7 loss to Mississippi State, Derrius Guice sustained an injury to his left knee.  The star running back hasn’t practiced at all this week, even as Ed Orgeron downplayed the severity of the injury.

On the SEC teleconference Wednesday, however, the head coach acknowledged that it could be much worse than he’d been letting on, so much so that the Guice could miss the Week 4 game against Syracuse.

“I don’t know if Derrius is going to play,” Orgeron said. “He didn’t dress out yesterday in pads. He’s very questionable right now.”

Through three games, Guice leads the Tigers with 300 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with four rushing touchdowns.  His rushing yards are currently fourth in the SEC; last season, his 1,387 yards were tops in the conference.

Should Guice be unable to go, Darrel Williams (28-159-4) would likely be next in line to shoulder the running-game load.