Unlike last week, this week’s slate of college football action doesn’t seem to feature many must-watch games between ranked teams. However, all that means is that the more unheralded match-ups deserve some attention. Sure, a 4-5 Charlotte team traveling to Marshall to play the 5-3 Thundering Herd doesn’t sound particularly interesting on paper, but being able to watch talented prospects like receiver Tyre Brady or guard Nate Davis make catching the game worth it. So shoutout to games this week like North Texas-Old Dominion, Colorado State-Nevada and Troy-Georgia Southern, for providing draft fans with a handful of small-school prospects worth caring about.
As always, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend!
Keep your eyes on
WR Andy Isabella (UMass)
The most prolific wide receiver in college football by a comfortable margin, Isabella wasn’t well thought of entering the season but he’s been able to produce against every team on the schedule. You wouldn’t normally consider a 5’10”, 190-pound slot receiver to be all that dangerous, however last week he caught nine passes for an eye-popping 303 yards against Liberty. This week he’ll be tested against a stingy BYU defense that’s held most teams to 21 points of less.
Other prospects to watch
OG/OC Ross Pierschbacher (Alabama)
It’s not easy being an SEC interior offensive lineman. The SEC always sports some of the best defensive line talent in the country. The Alabama offensive line however, including Pierschbacher, has kept Tua Tagovailoa remarkably clean. The Crimson Tide quarterback has only been sacked six times. Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Simmons may have something to say about that. Interestingly, despite being one of the best defensive tackles in the country, Simmons has yet to record a sack this season.
DE Joe Jackson (Miami-Florida)
Another defensive lineman looking to get out of a funk is Miami’s Jackson. The junior pass rusher has ideal size and length but hasn’t tallied a sack in the past three games. It’s unlikely that he manages to buck that trend this week as Georgia Tech’s offense is solely based around running the triple-option, but hopefully Jackson can produce some good run-defending tape for scouts.
QB Nate Stanley (Iowa)
Analysts have been waiting and waiting for a quarterback to emerge from somewhere this season—it may as well be from Iowa. With 17 touchdowns to go along with only eight interceptions, Stanley has been somewhat reliable, but he really needs to prove he can produce against tough defenses. This week’s game against Northwestern could provide just such an opportunity. It’s likely that the Wildcats will be able to shutdown the Hawkeyes running game, forcing Stanley to shoulder responsibility for the offense.
DT Dexter Lawrence (Clemson)
Lawrence’s season has gone swimmingly, as he’s finally healthy for the first time since, arguably, his freshman season. The junior’s movement skills have come back to him and that’s a good thing when you’re a massive 340-pound player. Clemson’s game this week against Boston College will likely decide the ACC and BC loves to rush it down teams’ throats. Lawrence will be afforded plenty of chances to stand out.
S Marquise Blair (Utah)
Blair is usually one of the more violent tacklers in college, as evidenced by the two times he’s been called for targeting this season. How he chooses to play a finesse team like the Oregon Ducks and their quarterback Justin Herbert will go a long way in determining his evaluation. Scouts insist that he has top-notch athleticism, but Herbert will be able to reveal any deficiencies Blair has in coverage.
Game of the week
Houston vs. Temple
7:00 PM, EST
CBS Sports Network
You might not think this game would be a showcase for NFL talent, but it really is, despite both teams being a bit banged up. The Houston defense brings Ed Oliver to the table, one of college football’s premier talents, as well as potential mid-round cornerback Isaiah Johnson. Temple, meanwhile, also has a premier cornerback in Rock Ya-Sin to go along with safety Delvon Randall. Offensively, it’s unclear if Owls running back Ryquell Armstead will be able to play due to injury, but he also has NFL capabilities.