Coming into the 2019 college football season, it was thought that the Oklahoma Sooners defense would be much improved with more experience and the hiring of Alex Grinch. The defensive coordinator’s heart must have shrunk three sizes after watching his unit get gashed again and again by the Kansas State run game, which led to the Sooners first loss of the season. Elsewhere in the SEC and the Big Ten, match-ups of LSU-Auburn as well as Ohio State-Wisconsin proves that it’s a two-horse race in both conferences. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 8.
QB Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
The transfer from Alabama continued to prove he’s a fit for Lincoln Riley’s scheme by continuing to perform mistake-free and efficient under center for Oklahoma. With a completion percentage of 73%, Hurts delivered the ball accurately and on-time to his playmakers, managing to score 41 points on a decent Kansas State defense. It’s too bad the Sooners’ defense had no answer for Kansas State’s run-heavy offense.
OT Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn)
LSU’s front seven with pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence is among the best the SEC. Wanogho was able to hold off both players for almost the entire contest. Against the quick, undersized Chaisson, the senior tackle relied on his kick slide and positioning. Facing Lawrence, Wanogho was forced to rely on his size and power to hold his ground. Many outlets haven’t given the Nigerian tackle enough credit—his game tape against LSU was first-round caliber.
WR Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State)
The Cowboys’ games against Iowa State are usually competitive affairs and this game was no different. Oklahoma State’s strategy was to force the Cyclones’ defensive backs to make tackles, using Wallace’s run-after-catch ability to great effect. Wallace finished the game with 131 receiving yards and a touchdown, including a beast-mode type run off of a wide receiver perimeter screen pass.
DT Jason Strowbridge (UNC)
Playing his usual spot at three tech, Strowbridge proved to be a nuisance for the Duke offense, particularly quarterback Quentin Harris. His burst off the line allowed him to get immediate pressure, but he also flashed a couple arm-over moves, which indicates he’s well-coached. The senior was second on the team with ten total tackles and paced his team with 1.5 sacks, as well as 2.5 tackles-for-loss.
S Rodney Clemons (SMU)
Clemons is a one of the leaders and a team captain for the surprisingly undefeated Mustangs, and he proved as much in their win over Houston. Besides leading his team with eight total tackles to go with two pass break-ups, Clemons’s interception in the fourth quarter was essentially the difference between SMU staying perfect and Houston pulling off a potential upset. The pick was a thing of beauty, as the senior was able to track the ball and make a difficult catch while toe-tapping the sideline.
CB Damon Arnette (Ohio State)
The Buckeyes shut down both phases of the Wisconsin offense, and the play of Arnette was a significant factor. Despite sporting a broken hand and a cast, Arnette was quick to crash down and play physical against Jonathan Taylor trying break runs to the outside. Arnette even led the team in tackles, thanks to the coaches trusting him to execute a couple different blitz packages. The Badgers didn’t test the Ohio State secondary much with the passing game but, when they did, Arnette really only gave up one medium-sized play.