Game of the Week
#11 USC Trojans at #13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6:30 CST on NBC
Not only is this match up big for college football and possible playoff implications, it features several 2018 NFL Draft prospect battles to really keep an eye on. Listed below are what you should watch when each team has the ball. Enjoy!
When Notre Dame Has the Ball
The strength of the Notre Dame offense has been their 5th rated rushing attack which is averaging 308 yards per game. A big reason for that is the emergence of junior RB Josh Adams (10th most yards in the nation) and the dual threat nature of QB Brandon Wimbush. If USC wants to slow down the Fighting Irish, they have to bottle up Adams. That will fall on their defense line lead to plug up holes, but keep an eye on ILB Cameron Smith (#4 LB) get plenty of one on one match ups.
Because of the running threat the Irish pose that will allow their receivers to have more single coverage and that could allow the 6’4 Equanimeous St. Brown to have a big game. Brown hasn’t had the biggest statistical season only 15 catches for 211 yards but he can run good routes and get downfield. With St. Brown mainly playing the right side he’ll see plenty of CB Iman Marshall who primarily plays the left corner. Marshall has good size at 6’1 can flip his hips quick which should allow him to stay with and match up well downfield with St. Brown.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) September 29, 2017
In the trenches should be a fun match up as the Irish have highly touted LG Quenton Nelson (#1 G) matching up against the young Trojan tackles, but the match up to really watch is LT Mike McGlinchey (#8 OT) facing off against USC OLB’s Uchenna Nwosu and Porter Gustin (#8 Edge). McGlinchey has a lot of the physical tools to succeed at tackle but has struggled at times going up against Georgia and Boston College. The competition level doesn’t let up as the Trojans also bring into two talented pass rushers. Gustin came into the season with more of the hype because of his size and speed, but it has been Nwosu who has had the better season so far living in opponent’s backfields. The combination of the two USC edge rushers will give McGlinchey a speed and a power based pass rusher which can allow him a chance to bounce back and still prove he is one of the top tackles in this class.
When USC Has the Ball
Anytime USC is playing the focus will be on QB Sam Darnold (#2 QB) who many still believe will be the first quarterback taken if he declares for the 2018 NFL Draft. That is all despite him struggling throughout this season. Notre Dame lacks an elite pass defense (78th nationally) to really challenge Darnold but having a big game with everybody watching can really help get some of his momentum back.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 4, 2017
The big prospect battle to watch on this side of the ball is between USC RB Ronald Jones and Notre Dame MLB Nyles Morgan. In a loaded running back class, a player with Jones’ talent is looking to carve out his own spot. Jones is an explosive runner with good quickness and burst that allows him to fly through holes and get to the second level. Waiting for him will be Nyles Morgan who is averaging over 7 tackles per game. Morgan is looking to make a name for himself and helping slow down the explosive Jones could really do wonders for his draft stock.
Top Individual Match Ups
Maryland WR DJ Moore vs Wisconsin CB Derek Tindal
11:00 CST on Fox: The Terrapins have relied on Moore to be their big play receiver averaging over 14 yards per catch and 8 total touchdowns. Wisconsin has a stout defense and will throw different looks and players at Moore, but the person to keep an eye on is Derek Tindal. Tindal is a technically sound corner who uses his technique to mask some of his limited athletic traits. This match up should tell us a lot about Tindal’s deep speed.
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson vs Iowa LB Josey Jewell
11:00 CST on ESPN2: Iowa vs Northwestern isn’t a huge match up, even in the Big 10, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t be a good game with plenty of talent on both sides. Jackson (#11 RB) thrives running downhill and making quick cuts to make defenders miss. Jewell (#2 LB) who is the Hawkeyes top defensive player and someone who will be going against Jackson on a regular basis. Jewell has elite instincts which always put him right around the ball and is a good tackler. Jackson’s burst and explosive cuts will test Jewell’s ability to adjust and change directions.
Syracuse WR Steven Ishmael vs Miami CB Dee Delaney
2:30 CST on ESPN: While Syracuse got a lot of attention because of their upset win over Clemson, Ishmael has been producing at a high level all year long with 802 yards which is 3rd best in the nation. At 6’2 202lbs he has the speed and body control to win down the field. With Ishmael playing on the right side he’ll face off against Delaney who plays the left CB position. Delaney had plenty of success at The Citadel and has picked up where he left off after transferring to Miami. With 13 career interceptions Delaney has shown quality ball skills which will be tested facing off against Ishmael working downfield. Delaney is viewed as an early day 3 pick, but if he continues to play well he could work his way up.
Michigan State RB LJ Scott vs Indiana LB Tegray Scales
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) July 21, 2017
2:30 CST on ABC: Michigan State has been on a roll since upsetting Iowa and looks to be back after a down year in 2016. A big reason for their defense and the ability of junior RB LJ Scott to run the ball. If Indiana wants to pull the upset, they’ll need to shut down the run game and could use a big game out of Scales to do so. Scales is at his best coming forward and attacking the line of scrimmage so that plays right into the Spartans downhill rushing attack. This is a good old fashion strength on strength match up.
TCU LT Joseph Noteboom vs Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) October 19, 2017
7:00 CST on Fox: On the surface this match up looks very intriguing as Armstrong (#15 Edge) is considered to be at worst an early day two pick and Noteboom (#7 OT) is a vastly underrated tackle in this class. The mainly problem is Armstrong gets most of his snaps on the left side and Noteboom is TCU’s left tackle. That being said, Armstrong will get some snaps on the left side, so it does give us a brief glimpse. Armstrong is a speed pass rusher who really tests offensive tackles ability to get depth and cut off the edge. Noteboom is light on his feet and moves well laterally in short areas. Noteboom mainly quick sets, so this match up against Amstrong’s speed to the edge could really tell us a lot about the TCU blocker.
Wyoming QB Josh Allen vs Boise State Defense
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 5, 2017
9:15 CST on ESPN2: To say that Josh Allen’s junior season has been a disappointment is an understatement. While you can blame his supporting cast, Allen’s stock has taken a hit. But there is still time to repair it and that should start against Boise State. Now the Broncos are not the same BCS level team as the past, but they did just upset San Diego State. Allen did have a big game last year in the Wyoming win and could use another big game to repair his stock and prove that he’s not a flash in the pan.