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Top 14 storylines for saturday’s college football action

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Williams, taken in the fourth round of the draft by the Green Bay Packers, was the Cougars’ best offensive weapon last season. He ran for 1,375 yards, averaging 5.9 per carry and scoring 12 touchdowns. Junior Squally Canada is set to replace him. Last season, he averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 74 carries, so these are big shoes to fill. Expect KJ Hall and Trey Dye to see time against Portland State as well. If the Cougars want to go to a decent bowl this season, the run game will need solving.

BYU can build momentum going into a tough stretch in the schedule

Anything can happen, but it feels safe to expect BYU to beat Portland State, an FCS team. After that game, however, the Cougars have a tough three-week stretch in which they face LSU, Utah and Wisconsin. Those could be their three toughest games of the year, so it will be important for BYU to gain some momentum heading into them. Portland State is a good team to do that against, however, a lackluster performance could precede a 1-3 start.

Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst looked like a star at the end of last year

Here are Chryst’s numbers over the last three regular season games last year, the last of which happened to be against Rice: 43-of-65 passing for 610 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. If we see that level of play from Chryst this season, the Cardinal could end up in the top-10. They return a lot of talent in the passing game and, other than Solomon Thomas, most of the defense is back. Chryst could be the last piece of the puzzle.

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Stanford has to replace running back Christian McCaffery

Of course, Chryst being the last piece of the puzzle assumes that replacing Christian McCaffrey is easy. The good thing is that Stanford knew from the beginning that Bryce Love was going to replace McCaffrey. Love had 111 carries and averaged 7.1 yards per carry last season, including a 129-yard performance against Notre Dame in South Bend. When the Cardinal were without McCaffrey in the Sun Bowl, Love also had 21 carries for 119 yards. However, that was the test run. This season, he becomes the workhorse and Saturday will be the first indication of how that will go.

Football is back

Yeah, we’ve had preseason NFL for a couple weeks, but that doesn’t really count. This is real, competitive football where everyone is trying and the starters play the whole game. Even if all these games end up being terrible, there is nothing better than having football back in our lives. We’re about to head into one of the best times on the sports calendar. Let’s be happy about it.

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