Preview Thursday: Week 8 

The eighth week of the college football season is here. 

There are four ranked matchups scheduled for Saturday when Week 8 commences, and it will be headlined by another top-10 matchup this time taking place in the Big Ten Conference. 

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Among the other contests on tap for Week 8 includes eight ranked teams playing on the road, including No. 2 Michigan traveling to Michigan State. 

Here are several games to watch this week. 

No. 22 Air Force at Navy 

Air Force entered the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the first time this season, checking in at No. 22 which is its highest ranking since the 2019 season. 

A battle between service academies will take place on Saturday, as the Falcons travel to face Navy in a series that dates back to 1960. Both teams enter on winning streaks since the Midshipmen have won their last two games and the Falcons have won 11. 

Air Force will be without its starting quarterback as Zac Larrier deals with injury, and head coach Troy Calhoun projects Larrier will be out “a while.” 

Navy averages 20.3 points per game on 335 yards of total offense. The Midshipmen shut out Charlotte 14-0 in Week 7. 

Calhoun said aside from the in-game competition, he looks forward to the march-ons of the service academies and pregame traditions. 

“It’s always a big deal,” Calhoun said. “We came in the other day from pregame and you look all the way up that tunnel and you see all those cadets. It just moves you beyond football too, and again, just you have future service members that have made a commitment to do everything they can to make our country a better place, and I think that’s awesome. And I keep thinking at some point, I’d like to go watch one of these games also to see the flybys but hopefully that’s a ways out.” 

No. 17 Duke at No. 4 Florida State 

This Atlantic Coast Conference matchup should be a fun one. 

The Blue Devils fell just short of an upset win over Notre Dame earlier in the season, dropping the game 21-14 and seeing quarterback Riley Leonard deal with ankle injury. 

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Florida State, meanwhile, is out to its first 6-0 start since the 2015 season. The Seminoles are led by fifth-year quarterback Jordan Travis who is tied for second in the ACC with 13 passing touchdowns and fourth with a 154.1 passing efficiency rating. 

Duke’s defense will present a challenge to the Seminoles, as the Blue Devils lead the ACC in total defense allowing 164.7 yards per game. It’s a tough enough team that stands out to Florida State head coach Mike Norvell. 

“You watch film and you see really good players,” Norvell said. “They’ve done everything they needed to do. They were one play away in that Notre Dame game that you just, I mean, you kind of felt for them for how it all played out but I mean this is a very, very talented team and it’s one that you don’t need to give a motivational speech to any of our guys because they know the challenge that’s ahead and it’s going to take our best game and I’m looking forward to continuing the week of preparation.” 

No. 7 Penn State at No. 3 Ohio State 

This week’s top-10 bout will take place in Columbus, Ohio. 

The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions are plenty familiar with one another, and Ohio State has won nine of the past 10 matchups. 

This time around, the stakes are high and the competition will be up to the level of a top-10 game. Both teams enter near the top of the Big Ten in total offense and defense. 

Penn State is No. 1 in total defense allowing 193.7 yards per game. That provides a dramatic challenge to the Buckeyes offense which tops the Big Ten at 443 yards per game. 

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The battle will remain in the trenches as both teams offer dynamic run offenses, with the Nittany Lions atop the conference behind an average of 203.3 rushing yards per game to Ohio State’s 135, and the Buckeyes could be without running back TreVeyon Henderson due to injury. 

A contest between two undefeated programs will take place at Ohio Stadium, and Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day said he hopes to see the fans in the stands early. 

“I know I talked to Gene (Smith), about this, and one of the biggest things that he mentioned to me was getting everybody in the stadium early,” Day said. “We want to do that. We’ve done that in the past just to set the tone. But this is one of those games that we’ve got to really create a hostile environment for Penn State, in particular their offense. When we’re really loud in the stadium, anytime that their offense has the ball, it makes it very difficult to operate the communication, the snap count, all of those things and so the louder we can be, it doesn’t matter whether it’s third down, red zone, short yardage, if they’re operating and they’re on the field, the louder we can be, the more hostile that we can be, advantage Buckeyes.”