Tom Layberger

Conference Call

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Favorable Matchups

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ronnie Hillman, who leads the nation in rushing yards per game, could add to that total this week. Hillman is certainly not alone among players that could boast big numbers on Saturday. Ryan Tannehill, for example, could be in for a favorable match-up against Mizzou’s pass defense.

QB C.J. Brown, Maryland vs Boston College
That is IF Brown makes his third start. Coach Randy Edsall won’t tip his hand until close to game time. If it is Brown, the sophomore could have a day much like he did against Clemson when he topped 160 yards passing and running. The Eagles are 100th nationally against the pass (263 yards per game) and 72nd versus the run (166). Three times they have allowed more than 200 yards per game on the ground and each of those teams – Northwestern, UCF and Virginia Tech – did it with a dual-threat quarterback.

WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest at North Carolina
Many receivers have enjoyed big days against the Tar Heels this season and Saturday could be no exception with Givens.  The ACC’s leading receiver is fourth nationally with an average of 127 yards per game. UNC is 101sth against the pass and has allowed 16 TD passes in eight games.

Big Ten
RB Marcus Coker, Iowa at Minnesota
The sophomore has been coming on with 127- and 140-yard efforts the past two weeks against Northwestern and Indiana, respectively. Those totals have raised his season’s average to 102 yards per game, good for 21st nationally. On Saturday, he goes against a Golden Gophers run defense that is 96th nationally, yielding 192 yards per contest.

Big 12
QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M vs Missouri
The Aggies have a very strong running game and Mizzou is solid against the run. If that matchup largely cancels, the difference could be Tannehill. He is averaging 286 yards per game and will be up against a pass defense that is yielding 240 yards per game to rank 86th.

QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State vs Baylor
Both teams have struggled against the pass with Baylor ranking 84th and the Pokes 89th in terms of yardage allowed.  A closer look, however, reveals that the Bears have intercepted only six passes and allowed 18 TDs through the air. Few teams in the nation have allowed more scoring strikes. Weeden, who is sixth nationally in passing yards with 2,436, has thrown 19 TDs. Meanwhile, the OSU defense leads the nation with 15 picks.

Conference USA
QB Case Keenum, Houston vs Rice
As we have mentioned in this space before, Keenum is going to get his yards regardless. How about a fourth 400-yard game this season? Keenum leads the nation with an average of 384 yards per games and is a remarkable 23/2. The Owls’ defense is allowing 254 yards per game to rank 96th.

QB Ryan Radcliff, Central Michigan at Akron
The junior has been posting some impressive numbers since the calendar flipped to October: 1,419 passing yards, 12 TDs and three 350-plus yard efforts in the last four games. Because teams have run right through the Zips – and CMU may do the same, therefore bringing Radcliff down to earth – they are 101st in pass efficiency defense and have only two interceptions in seven games.

RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State vs Wyoming
Hillman leads the nation in rushing yards per game with 139, five yards more than Pitt’s Ray Graham. He has had three games in which he has topped 170 yards and four games of 2-plus TDs. The Cowboys rank 100th against the run, allowing 195 yards per game. Hillman would love to turn the tables after a similarly challenged Wyoming rush defense somehow held him to 44 yards on 21 carries last season.

QB Keith Price, Washington vs Arizona
Though the Huskies lost by 44 points to Stanford last week, you would never know it by looking at Price’s set of number: 23-of-36, 247 yards and 1/1. Those are good numbers for sure, but below par during a season in which he enters Saturday’s game as the nation’s sixth-rated passer. The Wildcats are 114th against the pass (291 yards per game) and allowing a stunning 71 percent of opposing passes to be completed.

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State vs Colorado
Osweiler and the Sun Devils had a week off following their loss to Oregon in which the QB had a decent game, but was picked twice. The Buffaloes represent a chance for Osweiler to rebound in a big way. CU ranks 87th against the pass, but more glaring is they cannot keep opposing quarterbacks – or at least receivers – out of the end zone. CU is tied for last in touchdown passes allowed (20) to go with a meager three INTs.

RB Michael Dyer, Auburn vs Ole Miss
Dyer, who has 812 yards rushing at a 5.1 clip, was bottled up the last two games against Florida and LSU. Take away a 29-yard run last week against LSU and he was 34-104 (3.1 ypc) in those two games combined. That will change against an Ole Miss defense that is allowing a whopping 223 yards per game on the ground to rank 115th.

QB Bryant Moniz, Hawaii at Idaho
With graduation having taken its toll on his cast of receivers, Moniz isn’t getting the ball down field like he was accustomed. Still, he has topped 300 yards four times and it would be surprising if he is held under that plateau against a Vandals pass defense that is 107th .

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