Mark Lindquist

Weekly Update

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Match-ups Mixer: Week 3

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Shooting Stars


Duke QB Daniel Jones vs. Baylor -- We have two factors working in Jones’ favor, here. The first, that he has accounted for seven total touchdowns in two games and is fresh off of rolling Northwestern with four total scores and 413 total yards. These are like baby Lamar Jackson numbers. The second factor in Jones favor? Baylor. They’re 0-2 and just surrendered 98 yards rushing to UTSA QB Dalton Sturm. Jones has a chance to put up some huge numbers.


Arizona State QB Manny Wilkins vs. Texas Tech -- 351 yards passing, two touchdowns, 10 rushes for 55 yards. That’s what Wilkins did against the Red Raiders last season. In his second game as a full-time starter. Don’t read too much into Tech holding Eastern Washington to 10 points in the season-opener. There is no reason to believe that they’ve magically become a good defensive team. Wilkins is a better quarterback now than he was a year ago and he’ll show it on the field.


Virginia Tech RB Travon McMillian vs. East Carolina -- It’s probably not nice to continually pick on the Pirates, but they’re pretty bad. McMillian is going to run all over them. West Virginia’s Justin Crawford mashed them to the tune of 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns on Saturday and you can probably expect similar numbers from McMillian as he bounces back from a pair of quiet games. Hokies QB Joshua Jackson could also be in for a big day as a runner. Realistically, every offensive notable player for Virginia Tech has an opportunity to go off. Hang in there, ECU faithful.


Oregon RB Royce Freeman vs. Wyoming -- In the Cowboys’ game against FBS competition this season, they surrendered a combined 164 yards rushing to Akrum Wadley and James Butler of Iowa. Freeman will top that mark next Saturday. He’s been awesome in two games this season, looking every bit like the Heisman contender that he did back in 2015 before he was engulfed by the black hole that was the Ducks’ 4-8 season a year ago. Freeman has already rushed for 303 yards and six touchdowns.


Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown vs. Cal -- Say what you want about the Rebs (there is a lot to say, I know), but their offense looks like one of the best in the country right now. Granted, dropping 40-plus on South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin can only get you so far in life, but Cal isn’t exactly Alabama. Weber State WR Rashid Shaheed just went off for 4-149-1 against the Golden Bears on Saturday. And Brown has been perhaps the best receiver in all the land on a pure statistical basis this season, having caught 14 passes for 389 and four touchdowns. More of the same coming.


Oregon State WR Jordan Villamin vs. Washington State -- Villamin is still looking for his first 100-yard receiving game of the season and the Cougars may well let him have it. Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson just cracked them with 9-147-2 in a bizarre contest that required three overtimes for the Cougars to pull out the victory. It’s somewhat difficult to put complete faith in Oregon State’s passing attack, but I still believe in the upside of QB Jake Luton, even if it mostly hasn’t come to fruition as of yet. Patience is a virtue. A flat Washington State team next Saturday would not surprise given the way they pulled out the win against the Broncos.


USC WR Deontay Burnett vs. Texas -- The Longhorns handled San Jose State’s wideouts and then some on Saturday, with Josh Oliver and JaQuan Blackwell leading the Spartans with 21 yards receiving apiece. Have no fear with Burnett, who is in for a showing similar to that of Maryland WR D.J. Moore, who turned in 7-133-1 against the Longhorns in the opener. It hasn’t been a completely smooth rollout to the season for the Trojans offensively -- though they looked pretty swell against Stanford -- but Burnett has been as dependable as any player this side of RB Ronald Jones for USC, having caught at least seven passes for at least 120 yards in each of the team’s games on the young season.


South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst vs. Kentucky -- Hurst did nothing in the Gamecocks’ opener against NC State, but he saw a bump in usage in Saturday’s win over Missouri, catching three passes for 69 yards and a score and even notching a two-yard rushing touchdown. Expect HC Will Muschamp and crew to continue to open the game up for him more as the season progresses. Kentucky has held Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky to 17 points apiece through the first two weeks of the season, but South Carolina’s got the firepower to put some points on the board.


****


Falling Stars


Louisville QB Lamar Jackson vs. Clemson -- Please, good people, please put the torches and pitchforks down for just a moment. Let me explain! Lamar Jackson is the best offensive player in college football. He has proven that time and time again. Heck, he proved it against Clemson just last year, gouging the Tigers for 454 yards and three total touchdowns while nearly toppling the eventual champs. He could well do that again. But I don’t think so. Clemson sacked Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham a silly 11 times on Saturday and that terrifying defensive line will be looking at Louisville’s suspect offensive line like a dog looks at a plate of burgers on the edge of a table. They will feast That’s just going to happen. What Jackson does after he’s forced to play Houdini on repeat, well, Lamar Jackson can do things. He’s just not going to have much time to do them.


Mississippi State RB Aeris Williams vs. LSU -- Williams has turned up for a pair of nice games to start the season, having rushed for 190 yards and a score in wins over Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech. The degree of difficulty rises markedly, now, as the Bulldogs must now tango with an LSU team that has only surrendered 97 total yards on the ground through two games. This could be a tough one for QB Nick Fitzgerald, too, as Fitzy managed just 120 passing yards and 13 rushing yards against the Tigers in September of last season. Though to be fair, he had yet to truly blossom at that early stage of his career.


Ole Miss RB Jordan Wilkins vs. Cal -- This is not a vote of confidence in Cal’s rushing defense. It’s a vote of uneasy concern over Wilkins’ production to date. He rushed for 29 yards against South Alabama in the opener. But hey, that’s just one game. Once Wilkins had an opportunity to rumble with Tennessee-Martin on Saturday, he upped his output by... eight yards, finishing with 37 for the game. The touches just aren’t there, not with Shea Patterson putting the ball up 35 times in Week 1 and 43 times in Week 2. Wilkins received eight carries and nine carries in those same respective contests.  


Florida WR Antonio Callaway vs. Tennessee -- Just so, so many factors make Callaway a dodgy proposition. Some of those are of his own doing, as this will be his first game of the season after he was suspended for the opener against Michigan due to an elaborate school-issued-credit-card scheme gone wrong. So he hasn’t played yet. That’s always a potential red flag given, especially given that Tennessee already has two games under the belt. Throw in the fact that Florida canceled their game against Northern Colorado with Hurricane Irma threatening the state. It was already a bad offense with quarterback questions. That Northern Colorado game would have been a perfect opportunity to iron out some kinks.


Colorado State WR Michael Gallup vs. Alabama -- Gallup’s worst game this season (CSU has already played three games) came against Colorado a week ago Saturday, when he was limited to five catches for 67 yards. He’s gone over 100 yards in each of his other two contests, but those came against Oregon State and Abilene Christian. Power 5 opponents proved problematic a year ago, too, with his two worst games of the campaign coming against Colorado and Minnesota. Also, Gallup is playing Alabama this coming weekend. I could have saved a paragraph if I’d just started there.


Louisiana Tech WR Teddy Veal vs. Western Kentucky -- Looking at this one during the offseason, it screamed offensive explosion, but as matters currently stand, outlook decidedly less certain. Veal was expected to help smooth over the losses of fellow wideouts Carlos Henderson and Trent Taylor. That has not come to pass as of yet. He managed three catches for 40 yards against Northwestern State in Week 1, then came back with an even less inspiring performance of three catches for 15 yards in Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State. Western Kentucky, meanwhile, has allowed 37 total points, including just 20 to Illinois this weekend. And yeah, it’s Illinois, but Illinois is still a Power 5 team. Veal is squarely in the “Show Me” camp at this point.  



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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