Our travels in 2016 have already taken us collectively as a staff to eight states and one Canadian province for high school and college football games, and this weekend we’ll add three more states to the mix with our first games in Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina.
That includes a high school game in Indiana tomorrow night. Publisher Kendall Webb will handle that leg of the journey before taking in games at Louisville and Kentucky on Saturday while Associate Publisher Chuck Cox will pay a visit to North Carolina and NC State. College Football America Yearbook Editor-in-Chief Matthew Postins, meanwhile, will cover Arizona State’s visit to UTSA on Friday night before taking in the big Division III battle between No. 3 Linfield and No. 5 Mary Hardin-Baylor at Belton, Texas. Yeah, it’s a big weekend — read on to find out a little bit more about this weekend’s matchups.
Montgomery Central (Cunningham, TN) Indians at Kenwood (Clarksville, TN) Knights
TSSAA (TN) HFB
8:00 p.m. ET Thursday, September 15, 2016
We’ll pay a visit to the city of Clarksville, Tennessee, in the northern portion of the mid-state for part of this contest between the 3-1 Indians and the 1-3 Knights. Montgomery Central has been the better team, but the best individual on the field will likely be Kenwood running back Antwuan Branch, a 3-star prospect committed to Purdue. And that’s the draw for us.
Centennial (Franklin, TN) Cougars at Northeast (Clarksville, TN) Eagles
TSSAA (TN) HFB
8:00 p.m. ET Thursday, September 15, 2016
The other game in Clarksville features the visiting Centennial Cougars, a 21-14 winner over the defending TSSAA Class 6A state champions from Ravenwood last week. At 3-1, the Cougars will take on the 2-2 Eagles who handled Kenwood 34-6 a week ago.
Columbus (IN) East Olympians at New Albany (IN) Bulldogs
New Albany, Indiana
IHSAA (IN) HFB
7:00 p.m. ET Friday, September 16, 2016
This Hoosier Hills conference battle features two 3-1 teams looking to make a statement heading into the halfway point of the Indiana high school football season. Columbus East has the biggest star in 3-star center Harry Crider who chose the Indiana Hoosiers over the Virginia Cavaliers when he made his commitment known earlier this year.
Arizona State Sun Devils at UTSA Roadrunners
San Antonio, Texas
9:30 p.m. ET Friday, September 16, 2016
UTSA hasn’t had many opportunities in its limited FBS history to showcase its program nationwide, but they get a big one here hosting the Pac-12’s Arizona State Sun Devils on ESPN2. Of course, it’s a tall order for the Roadrunners who enter the game at 1-1 fresh off a 23-14 loss at Colorado State. Arizona State, meanwhile, will look to build on a 2-0 start that includes a wild 68-55 win last Saturday against Texas Tech.
Florida State Seminoles at Louisville Cardinals
12 noon ET Saturday, September 17, 2016
It doesn’t get much better than this early on a Saturday with the No. 2 Seminoles paying a visit to the No. 10 Cardinals. Both teams are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, and while running back Dalvin Cook is the main option on offense for Florida State, it’s hard to ignore the subplot featuring the game’s two young starters at quarterback. Louisville features sophomore Lamar Jackson who is considered the early Heisman frontrunner by many experts, and Florida State redshirt freshman Deondre Francois showed how valuable he is to the Seminoles in helping his team rally for a win against Ole Miss in a game the ‘Noles trailed 28-6. The feel here is that the early explosiveness these two offenses have shown could be tempered somewhat against the step up in competition, but it still has the potential to be quite a shootout.
James Madison Dukes at North Carolina Tar Heels
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, September 17, 2016
It’s not out of the question that this could be closer than expected. For James Madison to be successful, however, they’ll have to hope their powerful running game which averages more than 400 yards per game can produce against a Tar Heels’ team that plays in the division above the Dukes, who are members of the Football Championship Subdivision.
New Mexico State Aggies at Kentucky Wildcats
4 p.m. ET Saturday, September 17, 2016
If you think Mark Stoops is in a hot seat before this one kicks off, just imagine what it will be like if the Wildcats lose. Granted, it’s a long shot, and the odds of an upset dropped dramatically with the news that Aggies star running back Larry Rose III will miss at least one more game as he recovers from offseason surgery for a sports hernia. But since the second half of the season opener at home against Southern Miss, the Wildcats have been lifeless. The ‘Cats led that one 35-17 at the half before a second half rally by Southern Miss resulted in a 44-35 loss, and at Florida last weekend, Kentucky seemed to still be reeling losing their 30th straight game in the series by a count of 45-7. It was ugly in every aspect, and the ‘Cats can’t afford to stumble in this one or the season will pretty much be over just three games in.
Old Dominion Monarchs at NC State Wolfpack
Raleigh, North Carolina
6 p.m. ET Saturday, September 17, 2016
NC State made too many mistakes a week ago in a 33-30 loss at East Carolina, but the Wolfpack are confident they have put that performance in the rearview mirror to focus on Old Dominion. Another unexpected loss would be devastating and even more surprising, and the reality is, Old Dominion probably isn’t ready to win a game like this yet. If NC State can clean up the special teams mistakes, then a steady dose of Ryan Finley-to-Jaylen Samuels on offense should be enough to get the Wolfpack back into the win column.
Linfield Wildcats at Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders
7 p.m. ET Saturday, September 17, 2016
You don’t get a lot of these interregional matchups in Division III between high-ranked teams so you always enjoy them when they come along. Fortunately, our CFA Editor-in-Chief Matthew Postins will be there to enjoy this one in person while capturing the action for us Saturday night.
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