We’ve completed the penultimate week of the 2023 college football season and we had a lot of chalky results once again with five Power 5 teams remaining undefeated heading into the season’s final week.
First-ranked Georgia has proven themselves a dominant entity over the course of the past few weeks by stomping multiple good SEC teams. That continued in Week 12 against No. 18 Tennessee. The Bulldogs smashed the Vols 38-10 in a game that was signed, sealed, and delivered by halftime. Right now, it would be mighty difficult to bet against the two-time defending champions for a three-peat.
Fifth-ranked Washington against No. 11 Oregon State was tagged as the game-of-the-week and it lived up to that hype. It was bit more low scoring than you would have thought by just taking a look at the box score. If you saw the game live, you’ll know that it was pouring rain a large majority of the contest. It was impressive that Washington was able to win 22-20 in a game where the air was taken out of the ball for some of the contest. The Huskies remain 11-0 while maintaining a very real chance to still reach the College Football Playoff.
Another PAC-12 matchup with less stakes was No. 17 Arizona playing host to No. 22 Utah. The Wildcats jumped on a banged-up Utes defense early and it was curtains as Arizona cruised to a 42-18 victory. The Wildcats have impressed in a big way after some tough close losses early in the season.
Another Wildcat in Kansas State took a big win in the Sunflower Showdown over Kansas on Saturday. It was a closely contested contest despite Kansas having to stroll out their third-string quarterback. Kansas was driving late with a chance to win the contest, but an interception then sealed the deal.
Of course, we had plenty of prospects showing out across the country. Let’s talk a few who caught our eye.
Clemson CB Nate Wiggins is a real-deal stud
It was going to be a tough contest facing potential number-one pick Drake Maye with star receiver target Tez Walker on the outside. But Wiggins was more than ready, stacking up highlight-reel plays against one of the more explosive offenses in college football.
Wiggins will be a threat to run the fastest 40-yard dash amongst the defensive backs at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine if he elects to run. He’s had more than one case this year of tracking down a running back he had no business in catching. That happened again on Saturday afternoon as he hawked down a North Carolina back to force a fumble and subsequent safety.
Wiggins also jumped a 10-yard stop route to the sticks to pick off Maye and ice the game late. He’s the real deal and he might just be CB1.
Oh man, watch the speed from Nate Wiggins to chase down RB Hampton and knock the ball out. Turned a TD into a turnover and Clemson ball.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) November 18, 2023
Made a similar play in the Miami game. Speed, speed, speed. pic.twitter.com/kqVT8F8rNN
Washington CB Jabbar Muhammad has a game to remember
Oklahoma State transfer cornerback Jabbar Muhammad has a solid debate to be considered the best player on either side of the ball from last Saturday night during the biggest moment of the season. Aside from the box score, Muhammad had some awesome reps in coverage to back up his statistics.
Muhammad had two interceptions and a fumble recovery on the night in addition to four passes defensed. That’s a huge effort in a big-time moment for a draft-eligible player.
There has been little to no buzz this season about a Washington defensive back unit that has routinely put defensive backs into the NFL. It’s correct to say this is a down year for that group, but Muhammad is trying to make himself some money.
The play below was Muhammad’s best play of the night as he perfectly played a double move by keeping his hips honest and using his body to keep leverage late in the rep to eventually knock the ball away cleanly.
Outstanding coverage by CB Jabbar Muhammad! pic.twitter.com/0wevHYWWpH— Full-Time Dame (@DP_NFL) November 19, 2023
It may be time to crown Ohio State RB TreVeyon Henderson as RB1
It’s been a tough journey throughout his college career for the former five-star recruit — as Henderson has battled a multitude of injuries throughout his college career. Now healthy, Henderson is feasting on what is a very weak running back class at the top. It’s one of the weakest we’ve ever seen as far as top-heavy talent, in fact.
Henderson is playing at a different level than any back, mixing and matching a combination of vision, patience, contact balance, and speed to pop the big play.
There were multiple occasions on Saturday against Minnesota where he pulled a second-level defender down just to bounce the play at the last second and pull away. Both of those runs were touchdowns.
On the play below, Henderson cut back against the grain on split zone and pulled Minnesota star safety Tyler Nubin into the box. Henderson did the rest as he quickly saw the seam to keep cutting and take off from the Gophers’ secondary. There’s a special football player in Henderson and he’s jumping off the screen at the perfect time.