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College football season unlike any other kicks off Saturday

Tennessee, for instance, canceled a scrimmage scheduled for Saturday after Coach Jeremy Pruitt said 44 players would not be able to participate, according to ESPN, because of either a positive test or contact tracing. With 31 members of the offense unavailable, Tennessee instead conducted a practice.

Then there is the potential for protests by individual players or entire teams as the United States confronts systemic racism and other forms of social injustice on the heels of a summer of unrest over police killings of unarmed African Americans.

During ESPN’s flagship pregame show, “College GameDay,” analyst Kirk Herbstreit spoke through tears discussing the plight of the Black community. His comments followed a pretaped roundtable in which Power Five athletes provided their perspective about using their platform for advocacy.

Players and coaches for Eastern Kentucky wore “Say their names” T-shirts as they entered Joan C. Edwards Stadium to play Marshall. Coaches also wore those shirts, which read “Enough is enough” on the back, during the game.

All of which marked the start of a season unlike any other in the sport’s history, particularly given more than 40 percent of FBS programs, including nine in the preseason top 25, are not playing football this fall.

Notable games

Army 42, Middle Tennessee 0: The Black Knights rolled with a new starting quarterback, amassing 340 rushing yards and converting 13 of 15 third downs on the way to a lopsided triumph at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y.

Junior Christian Andersen (10 carries, 51 yards, one touchdown) directed four touchdown drives, including three in the first half. Fullback Sandon McCoy scored three touchdowns on 15 carries for 50 yards.

Army was coming off its first losing season (5-8) in four years but still managed to average 297.2 rushing yards, ranked third in the nation, and scored the second most rushing touchdowns (45).

SMU 31, Texas State 24: Shane Buechele completed 26 of 36 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown, and TJ McDaniel carried 27 times for 130 yards and a touchdown to lead the Mustangs in San Marcos, Tex.

SMU got two touchdowns in the third quarter, the first coming on McDaniel’s nine-yard run and the last via Reggie Roberson Jr.’s 51-yard reception from Buechele with 3:26 to play.

Alan Orona kicked a 47-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter to draw the Bobcats within one possession before SMU recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

Marshall 59, Eastern Kentucky 0

Houston Baptist at North Texas, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)

Arkansas State at Memphis, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Stephen F. Austin at UTEP, 9 p.m. (ESPN3)

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