The game of the week between two Big Ten foes in No. 3 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State turned out to be a defensive battle in which the Nittany Lions simply didn’t have a Marvin Harrison Jr. on their team. The Buckeyes were able to completely shut down Penn State’s offense for the entirety of the game leading to a 20-12 win that never truly felt that close throughout the matchup.
Fourth-ranked Florida State had to come back from a slight halftime deficit against No. 16 Duke as Blue Devils star quarterback Riley Leonard gutted through injury up until the fourth quarter. Leonard appeared to aggravate an ankle injury he previously suffered against Notre Dame. The Seminoles ended up pulling away to a 38-20 win to remain undefeated.
It was a dominant second half for No. 11 Alabama as they defeated No. 17 Tennessee at home. The Tide blanked Tennessee in the second half and commandeered a 27-0 over the final 30 minutes.
No. 18 USC and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams had their College Football Playoff hopes dashed by No. 14 Utah on Saturday. The Trojans dropped their second straight contest. Defensive performance and offensive line troubles have been consistent issues, and Utah backup quarterback Bryson Barnes turned up the heat to lead them to a late victory Saturday night.
We’ve got three prospects to highlight from this week’s slate of games. Let’s discuss who elevated their draft stock in Week 8.
Oregon RB Bucky Irving torches Washington State in impressive fashion
One of the best backs in the country in 2023 has been Oregon’s Bucky Irving, who continues to make himself money week in and week out with his on-field performances. Currently, his draft stock is scorching hot — and his most recent effort against Washington State is only assisting in that notion.
Irving went for 15 carries, 129 yards, and two scores on the ground while also going for over 50 yards receiving and a touchdown through the air. He’s amongst the most slippery runners in the NFL. He’s not a big back, which will limit his workload in the NFL, but he’s going to be extremely useful for a team at the next level.
Ohio State DL J.T. Tuimoloau does the impossible and causes some issues for Penn State OT Olu Fashanu
The Penn State offensive tackle is likely going to be a top-five draft selection in the 2024 NFL Draft and had yet to show much leaks in the system as a pass protector as he has every trait, intangible, and an impressive college resume that proves consistent success at a young age.
But Fashanu showed some imperfections on Saturday that were mostly spearheaded by the late-game efforts of talented Ohio State edge rusher J.T. Tuimoloau who had some nice rushes against the talented blindside protector.
Tuimoloau had his sack when he was unblocked, but his most impressive reps were using power against Fashanu. A stab and long arm move got Fashanu off balance and allowed Tuimoloau to collapse the pocket in a hurry. He’s not a player who will win to the outside shoulder with impressive speed and explosiveness. But his hands and lower body are extremely powerful. That was on full display Saturday.
Olu Fashanu and JT Tuimoloau faced off 1v1 on only 10 dropbacks.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 22, 2023
Fashanu won most of those reps, but these two plays help illustrate Tuimoloau's heavy hands and natural rush power. pic.twitter.com/YLXGm9ywS7
Alabama EDGE Chris Braswell seals victory over the ‘Vols
A lot of love on the Alabama defensive line gets handed off to opposite edge rusher Dallas Turner. Deservedly so, Turner has been awesome in 2023 with eight sacks on the season. But his counterpart Chris Braswell is far from a slouch and he’s breaking out in 2023 without the presence of Will Anderson.
Braswell added two sacks to the stat sheet against Tennessee on Saturday that included the game-sealing strip sack that eventually led to a scoop-and-score to put the game on ice. He’s got some freaky traits in his own right. He’s churning out big-time in a huge money year for him.
Watch how Braswell slow plays Tennessee’s left tackle as the Volunteers run long mesh action. Braswell sees the ball pulled, swipes, and wins the corner in a snap to strip Vols quarterback Joe Milton for the win.