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Three standout performers from Rivalry Week in college football

Two Senior Bowl studs vault their teams to easy victories

Oklahoma v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Rivalry week in college football is among the most fun weeks in the sport. It’s a weekend full of chippy play, in addition to several odd upsets and games of twists, turns, and everything in between. Week 13 of the college football season did not disappoint.

Second-ranked Ohio State had no answers on defense for No. 3 Michigan, as the Wolverines gashed the Buckeyes en route to a 45-23 whooping in Columbus. Star sophomore running back Donovan Edwards broke the game open with a very limited Blake Corum (two carries, six yards) watching from the sidelines much of this game.

Nineteenth-ranked Tulane defeated No. 24 Cincinnati, 27-24, for the right to play in the AAC Championship Game next week. The Green Wave and Bearcats are both in danger of losing their head coaches, after Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell left for Wisconsin on Sunday and Green Wave shot-caller Willie Fritz has been linked to Georgia Tech’s opening.

Sixth-ranked USC took down No. 15 Notre Dame in a true litmus test, “gotta have it” game. Trojans sophomore sensation Caleb Williams is a special 2024 NFL Draft quarterback prospect. USC’s offense is a force to be reckoned with. They get one more showcase against ranked Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game next weekend. Utah defeated the Trojans earlier this year in an instant classic.

Sixth-ranked Oregon was stunned by No. 21 Oregon State, 38-34. This was a bit of a fluky game. The Ducks won the turnover battle, 3-0, and out gained the Beavers by more than 100 yards. On the night, the Ducks turned it over on downs four different times, including each of their last two drives. Oregon State did not throw a pass on any of their final four drives. Oregon could not stop the run. That was enough to cost them an opportunity to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC.

The quality performances were aplenty this rivalry weekend. Let’s talk about a few prospects who caught our eye.

LB DeMarvion Overshown (Texas) invited to Senior Bowl

Austin, TX is currently home to one of the most exciting linebacker prospects to watch on Saturdays in DeMarvion Overshown. He makes the Longhorns’ defense go, and it was humming on all cylinders Friday afternoon. The fifth-year defender posted 14 tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack, and two passes defended. Overshown is one to watch when Senior Bowl season comes around. His combination of length and athleticism will excite NFL executives.

CB Devon Witherspoon (Illinois) continues to surge his draft stock

Northwestern might be the worst team in the Power Five, and is pushing to be one of the worst offenses in the FBS. But cornerback Devon Witherspoon is a complete dude on the back end for the Illini. Witherspoon accepted his Senior Bowl invite, like Overshown, and closes the regular season out looking like one of the best cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft class. He only had one pick coming into the week, and left finishing the year with three, stealing the ball away from the Wildcats twice on Saturday. He needs more public attention heading towards draft season.

WR Marvin Mims Jr. (Oklahoma) puts up huge numbers

Oklahoma fielded one of the worst teams they’ve had in two decades this season with a new head coach and new quarterback. Those sudden changes to the team did little to affect the play of wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr., who closed the 2022 campaign on a sky-high note. Mims did everything within his power to will his team to a victory against Texas Tech—posting five receptions, 162 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. That stat line came by halftime. He didn’t post another stat after that performance, which is a negative criticism of the Oklahoma staff’s inability to get their best pass catcher the football. Mims’ performance pushed him over 1,000 receiving yards on the season. In the performance, the junior had one of the catches of the season.