Mark Lindquist

Weekly Update

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Match-ups Mixer: Week 2

Monday, September 4, 2017


Shooting Stars


Missouri QB Drew Lock vs. South Carolina -- Yeah, yeah, it was against Missouri State, I know. But on Saturday, Lock posted the weekend’s most absurd stat-line, throwing for 521 yards and seven touchdowns. The Gamecocks, meanwhile, coughed up 415 yards to NC State’s Ryan Finley in their own opener. He’s not nearly the athletic equal at quarterback. While Lock struggled against SEC competition last season, Will Muschamp’s crew didn’t show nearly enough in Week 1 to convince that they’ll shut down this passing attack.


UCLA QB Josh Rosen vs. Hawaii -- No game this weekend drew quite as many high-pitched shrieks in the Lindquist residence than UCLA-Texas A&M on Sunday, as Rosen brought the Bruins back from a 44-10 third-quarter deficit. Rosen posted 490 passing yards and four touchdowns in the win -- all the scores coming in the game’s final quarter. He looked immaculate, at least after a first half in which he was being battered around behind a leaky offensive line. It was (hopefully) the start of the season we’ve always dreamed on from Rosen. Hawaii makes for a cushy follow-up to the Aggies for the junior star, having allowed an average of 284 yards passing in wins over UMass and Western Carolina.


West Virginia RB Justin Crawford vs. East Carolina -- Crawford wasn’t particularly destructive in Sunday’s loss to Virginia Tech, rushing for 106 yards. He’ll pick up the pace against the Pirates this weekend. ECU kind of just lost to James Madison. That’s noteworthy for Crawford less because East Carolina dropped the game, more because they acted as a moving airport walkway, particularly for RB Cardon Johnson, who strolled his way to 265 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries. Crawford might not quite reach those heights, but he doesn’t have to excel.


Nebraska RB Tre Bryant vs. Oregon -- In what has darkhorse potential to be the most entertaining game in Week 2, a pair of running backs take center stage. Royce Freeman of the Ducks is already more or less a household name. Not so for Bryant, though he certainly looked the part after rushing for 192 yards against Arkansas State on Saturday. In terms of rushing defense using Bill Connelly’s S&P+, the Ducks ranked 126th in the country last season.


Oklahoma WR Jeff Badet vs. Ohio State -- Unlike in Week 1, when essentially the entire Sooners offense spent the second half on the bench after demolishing UTEP in the first half, we should actually get to see them try to play four quarters of football this week. OU’s receiving corps remains a work-in-progress, but Badet finished with 91 yards to lead all non-Mark Andrews humans in receiving yardage on Saturday. The Buckeyes offer up a young, talented secondary, but emphasis on “young.” Indiana senior WR Simmie Cobbs burned them for 11-149-1 on Thursday and like Cobbs, Badet has the kind of veteran savvy to find room to work.


Oklahoma State WR James Washington vs. South Alabama (Friday) -- Send the children to bed early on Friday, because this will be a horror show on par with the new adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It.’ Also releasing on Friday. Coincidence? You tell me. Shea Patterson kept muttering, “We all float down here” as he sliced and diced the Jaguars on Saturday night, finding sophomore WR A.J. Brown for 233 yards and two scores in the process. As a balloon creepily sways to the ceiling, let’s look to Washington, now. He scalded Tulsa for 6-145-2 on Thursday. More of the same coming. The Pokes’ offense rolls again. No clownin' around. 


Louisville WRs Jaylen Smith/Dez Fitzpatrick vs. North Carolina -- A two-fer on Cardinals wideouts this week. Smith and Fitzpatrick combined for 12 catches, 212 yards and a touchdown against the Boilermakers in their season-opening win, a win where Lamar Jackson threw for 398 yards. They have a delectable lamb sitting in front of them, now. Ross Bowers and a very bad Cal team roasted North Carolina for 363 yards through the air. That’s Ross Bowers. This is Lamar Jackson. Big game coming for Fitzy and especially Smith as L-Jax continues on the warpath to prove that he can crush your heart not just on the ground, but also through the air.


UCLA TE Caleb Wilson vs. Hawaii -- We already hit on Josh Rosen’s epic comeback from Sunday night, now let us turn to his favorite target. Wilson basically matched his entire output from last season in catching 15 passes for 203 yards against Texas A&M. That’s not a realistic pace and we don’t expect him to regularly be posting double-digit catch games or 200-plus yards, but Rosen looked his way repeatedly. UCLA’s offensive line proved paper thin -- especially in the first half -- and that’s to Wilson’s benefit, as Rosen sometimes just needed to get the ball out before the Aggies killed him. Hawaii has already proven vulnerable to the tight end, too, with UMass’ Adam Breneman roasting the Warriors for 176 yards on nine catches in their opener.


****


Falling Stars


USC QB Sam Darnold vs. Stanford -- Of the three quarterbacks most often batted around as possible No. 1 picks, only Josh Rosen stood out this weekend. Wyoming’s Josh Allen looked overmatched against Iowa, while Sam Darnold was picked twice against Western Michigan and failed to pass for either 300 yards or a touchdown. Overreacting to Week 1 is frowned upon, but it’s not an overreaction to say that Darnold has his work cut out for him in facing a stocked Stanford secondary. The redshirt sophomore will face an easy run of Texas-Cal-Washington State-Oregon State following this Pac-12 South showdown. He’ll put up numbers a-plenty in that stretch. Just not this week.


Pitt QB Max Browne vs. Penn State -- The book on Browne is closing rapidly. The former five-star recruit has tumbled a long way from when he signed with USC as Rivals’ No. 7 overall prospect in the 2013 class. He barely found any statistical footing at all in an overtime squeaker of a win against Youngstown State on Saturday, completing 17-of-24 passes, but for just 140 yards. While the Panthers beat Penn State 42-39 in Week 2 last season, the two teams are on completely different levels of existence, now. Browne’s dink and dunk act isn’t going to fly here.


Cincinnati RB Mike Boone vs. Michigan -- One of the central questions to bat around this week: Was Michigan’s defense that good or Florida’s offense that awful on Saturday? The answer is probably a little from Column A and a little from Column B. The Wolverines allowed just 11 yards rushing to a Gators team missing Jordan Scarlett. In the meantime, over on the Bearcats, Boone rushed for 100 yards on the nose against Austin Peay on Saturday while Cincy managed just 248 yards of offense. UM is going to hit the run hard given the lack of passing oomph, here. I’d be surprised if Boone manages 50 yards rushing against UM. I’d be surprised if Cincinnati posted more than 10 points, too.


Oregon State RB Ryan Nall vs. Minnesota -- Nall is still a good bet to finish with some of the better rushing numbers in the Pac-12, but his last six quarters of football have inspired only furrowed brows. After busting out for over 100 yards in the first half against Colorado State in the Beavers’ opener, Nall was essentially shut out after halftime, then proceeded to rush for just 59 yards at a 3.7 YPC clip against Portland State, who is not in the FBS. Minnesota is better than both Portland State and Colorado State. Until the Beavers are able to coax a consistent passing game out of Jake Luton, Nall will be facing stacked boxes.


Iowa State WR Allen Lazard vs. Iowa -- Lazard may well go off against the Hawkeyes. He seems to do so against everybody. But Iowa quietly put in one of the best defensive efforts of the weekend, in silencing Wyoming’s offense -- they did not allow a Cowboys receiver to finish with more than 50 yards. Lazard is as consistent player as there is in the country, but Iowa has the bodies in the secondary to check him.


Rutgers WR Janarion Grant vs. Eastern Michigan -- The Scarlet Knights put up a good fight against Washington on Friday, to no avail. Grant was playing in his first game since late September of last year after missing the bulk of the campaign with a right ankle injury and managed just three catches for 20 yards (one of those grabs went for a touchdown). He showed spark as a return man (no surprise there), but it might take him a few more weeks to truly find his place on offense. Eastern Michigan did not allow a receiver to top 35 yards in their win over Charlotte (an admittedly bad team) on Saturday.


Washington State WR Tavares Martin Jr. vs. Boise State -- Washington State cruised past Montana State on Saturday, winning out 31-0 with Luke Falk playing the easiest game of pitch-and-catch this side of Baker Mayfield against UTEP. Not so much involved in the catching aspect of things, Martin. He hauled in four passes for 18 yards. The Broncos don’t make for the best make-good opponent, either -- they just held an experienced Troy offense to 13 points on Saturday. In the process, they locked down Trojans lead wideout Emanuel Thompson, who finished with four catches for 25 yards. I actually like this game, in general, to hue more toward a defensive battle than the fireworks show that will be promised to the public.   













Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.
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