Tom Layberger

Conference Call

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Griffin should keep rolling

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A good balance of running backs and quarterbacks could produce some sizable numbers this week. While Baylor Robert Griffin, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball are among the headline-grabbing names, there are few less heralded players that have been enjoying fine seasons and could continue on that track.

RB Perry Jones, Virginia vs Duke
Duke is roughly middle of the pack in rushing yards allowed and the Blue Devils are allowing 4.8 yards per carry. Jones is coming off a 139-yard effort against Maryland and has 782 yards and 5.3 this season.

Big 12
RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Randle has rushed for 915 yards and 18 TDs and the Red Raiders have been dismal on run defense allowing 249 yards per game to rank 118th.

QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor at Kansas
Griffin has a school-record three straight 400-yard games. It could easily be four against the Jayhawks, who are allowing 284 yards per game through the air (114th) while giving up 20 TD passes with only four picks in nine games. Griffin might have one his great all-around days, including piling up some yards on the ground against what is the nation’s worst overall defense.

Big East
QB Geno Smith, West Virginia at Cincinnati
The Mountaineers are hungry to rebound from the their loss against Louisville and Smith (3,125 yards and 23 TDs) is intent on leading the way. He might have his way against a UC pass defense that is allowing 277 yards per game (105th) and opposing QB to complete 65 percent of their passes. The defense does have 12 picks.

Big Ten
ATH Kain Colter, Northwestern vs Rice
Dan Persa should be back at QB for the Wildcats, but you have to wonder how long he will last with his latest injury. Regardless, coach Pat Fitzgerald will get Colter on the field as much as possible against a Rice defense that is allowing a whopping 484 yards per game to rank 115th.

RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin at Minnesota
Ball is averaging 120 yards per game, 6.6 per tote and leads the nation with 21 rushing TDs. The Golden Gophers’ run defense is 92nd and is allowing 5.1 per carry and 18 TDs.

Conference USA
QB Dominique Davis, East Carolina at UTEP
Davis’ numbers are not approaching last year’s, yet he has topped 300 yards five times. It could be six as the Miners rank 99th in allowing 264 yards per game.

RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State at Colorado State
At 150 yards per game, Hillman is the nation’s second-leading rusher. Not only has he topped 100 yards in seven of eight games, but has been north of 150 four times. The Rams are 114th against the run and have allowed nearly 1,000 rushing yards the last three games. Hillman was 31-151-1 against CSU last season.

QB Nick Foles, Arizona at Colorado
The Buffaloes are 115th nationally in pass efficiency defense. As bad as that is, it can’t get much worse than this for a pass defense: a nation’s worst 28 TD passes allowed with only 4 INTs in 10 games. Foles has thrown for 3,260 yards and 22 TDs.

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State at Washington State
The Cougars’ pass defense is allowing 246 yards per game to rank 89th and they have yielded 19 TD passes in nine games. Osweiler (2,538 yards) has thrown for more than 250 yards five times and has thrown at least 2 TD passes in eight of nine games.

RB Trent Richardson, Alabama at Mississippi State
By Trent Richardson standards, the star RB was bottled up against LSU last week. That won’t happen in consecutive weeks.

RB Robert Turbin, Utah State vs San Jose State
Turbin, who had a streak of five 100-yard games earlier this season, has 921 yards with an average of an eye-opening 6.6 per carry and 14 TDs. The Spartans are 97th against the run.   

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