Thursday Night Bites: A taste for vengeance

Thursday September 8th, 2011

Your weeknight appetizers before the binge of Saturday:

Florida A&M @ Hampton, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): The Rattlers-Pirates tilt, an amuse-bouche of a MEAC opener, may still be slightly redolent of revenge following Hampton's 25-0 thumping of FAMU two years ago in Virginia. Both squads are 1-0 following second-half rallies last week: The Rattlers were beneficiaries of one of Week 1's myriad last-minute touchdown passes, edging Fort Valley State 28-22 in Tallahassee, while the Pirates staged a comeback to top Alabama A&M at Soldier field, 21-20. Names to watch tonight: FAMU quarterback Austin Trainor, who threw for 348 yards in his season debut, and head coaches Donovan Rose and Joe Taylor, the former having served as the latter's defensive coordinator before Taylor decamped for the Rattlers gig. And don't flip away at halftime; if there's any justice in the world, ESPN will actually show FAMU's famed Marching 100 band performance in its entirety. • Arizona at Oklahoma State, 8:00 p.m ET (ESPN): And speaking of revenge: The last time  Cowboy met 'Cat, Oklahoma State was taking Arizona to the woodshed in the 2010 Alamo Bowl. This time around, the Wildcats are looking for payback. And respectfully speaking, they're probably not going to regain any respect tonight. Just about any team in the country is a longshot to keep up with the Brandon Weeden-Justin Blackmon hookup, and while AZ QB Nick Foles is a dogged playmaker, the Wildcats are down a key offensive target in star receiver Juron Criner, who was left at home due to an "undisclosed illness."  It's a matchup that might not allow a bead to be drawn on OSU's defense even after two full games: Last week's 34 points surrendered to Louisiana were largely due to interceptions and garbage time allowances, but will the points-first 'Pokes stiffen up when faced with a real challenge? We may not get a clue until Weeks 3 and 4, when State has dates with Tulsa and Texas A&M.

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