Mark Lindquist

Weekly Update

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Match-ups Mixer: Week 9

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Shooting Stars


Boston College QB Anthony Brown vs. Florida State (Friday) -- The air is beginning to cool, the leaves are beginning to turn and soon, it will be Halloween. Let’s get crazy. Let’s get crazy like Boston College’s offense over the last two weekends. The Eagles embarrassed Louisville with 45 points and then followed that effort up with another 41 points in a dissection of a solid Virginia squad on Saturday. Brown threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the latter victory. To be clear, this is very much a leap of faith when it comes to Brown and the BC offense, particularly against Derwin James and the rest of the 2-4 Seminoles’ secondary. We are nothing if not eternally optimistic, though. See our love affair with Bryant Shirreffs.


Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett vs. Penn State -- Did you know that Ohio State still plays football? And they’re really good at it? The Buckeyes have played a series of ho-hum opponents (UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, sorry Nebraska),  which has more or less kept them out of the spotlight since their primetime loss to Oklahoma in the second week of the season. That changes on Saturday, when Penn State comes into Columbus. This is going to be the Buckeyes’ moment in the sun. Barrett accounted for seven touchdowns against Nebraska prior to the bye week and has thrown for five touchdowns in two of his last four games, at least three touchdowns in each of his last four games. The best quarterback Penn State has played this season has probably been Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson.


Old Dominion RB Ray Lawry vs. North Texas -- All systems go with Lawry. For a grim period of several weeks, it looked like he had been lost for the season with a reported torn hamstring. Tales of his demise were greatly exaggerated, though, and he came back two weeks ago to rush for 40 yards. And then he REALLY came back this week, dicing Western Kentucky with 166 yards rushing and three touchdowns on Friday. North Texas offers the perfect opponent for him to continue on this blazing comeback trail. FAU’s Devin Singletary just put up 123 yards and a trio of scores against North Texas and the Owls scored a whopping seven touchdowns rushing on Saturday. Old Dominion’s offense doesn’t have the upside of FAU’s, but Lawry should see plenty of touches, especially given the woeful inefficiencies of QB Steven Williams, who was picked three times by the Hilltoppers.


Iowa State RB David Montgomery vs. TCU -- This is very much a show of faith in Montgomery and not a slight on the Horned Frogs, who have played sturdy Big 12 defense this season. Iowa State’s low point thus far this season came in a loss to Texas at the end of September, one in which Montgomery received just nine carries. The Cyclones sat at 2-2 after that loss and their season could easily have begun to slide. Instead, they’ve come roaring back with three consecutive wins and Montgomery has seen a combined 66 carries in that space, 49 of which have come in the last two contests. It’s not rocket science, here. Iowa State’s best shot at an upset is to feed Montgomery until his legs fall off. By the by, Montgomery has surpassed 100 yards rushing in two of three games when given at least 20 carries.


SMU WR Trey Quinn vs. Tulsa -- Quinn is less a shooting star and more a celestial fixture at this point. Through the first four games of the season, he had caught a respectable 22 passes for 315 yards. Since then he’s been unstoppable, racking up a mind-bending 49 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games. He has caught exactly 17 passes in back-to-back contests. Tulsa’s exactly the kind of defense which he could destroy. In their two games against high-powered passing attacks this season (Oklahoma State and Toledo), Mason Rudolph and Logan Woodside combined to throw for 761 yards with a 9/1 TD/INT ratio. Quinn and QB Ben Hicks should have no problem poking holes in this secondary.


Virginia WR Olamide Zaccheaus vs. Pitt -- It has not been the most consistent of seasons for Zaccheaus, who has posted a few big games -- 169 yards from scrimmage and a score against UConn, 5-100-1 against UNC -- but has been held to fewer than 70 yards receiving in five of seven contests. He’ll land on the bright side of the equation versus the Panthers. Pitt just surrendered 142 yards receiving to Duke’s T.J. Rahming, and we like Virginia’s offense a fair bit more than Duke’s. And even when Zaccheaus’ yardage totals have been found somewhat lacking, he remains a constant target, having caught at least five passes in six of seven games.


Missouri WR J’Mon Moore vs. UConn -- One of our favorite match-ups of the week, if only because Mizzou torches subpar opponents. Moore was having a relatively quiet campaign until he took the field against Idaho on Saturday and then, loud noises, as the wideout went on to post 11 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown. UConn’s worst-in-the-country pass defense is going to cave in similar fashion to this Drew Lock-led attack. Moore has yet to turn in back-to-back 100-yard receiving games, but we like him to finally make good on that front against the Huskies.


****


Falling Stars


Colorado State QB Nick Stevens vs. Air Force -- Admittedly, Stevens is not a sure-thing flameout for this one. He’s been a consistent performer all season, throwing for at least two touchdown passes in seven of eight games. And the Falcons have mostly faced a slew of run-first outfits this year, San Diego State, New Mexico and Navy to name a few. Stevens and the Rams will offer something of a different approach. Keep that in mind with this stat -- Air Force currently leads the country in pass defense, surrendering just over 147 yards on average. Stevens will put that to the test, but we like the Falcons to ace their exam.


UCLA QB Josh Rosen vs. Washington -- The Huskies catch Rosen as hosts and they catch him in an offensive trough. After starting out the campaign like a house on fire, squeezing off three straight games of at least four touchdown passes and five straight of at least three, the junior owns just a 3/4 TD/INT ratio over his last three games. That includes a three-pick effort against Arizona two weekends ago. Washington ranks eighth in the country in pass defense when viewed through the prism of S&P+.


Florida RB Malik Davis vs. Georgia -- Unless you think the Gators’ offense consumed some sort of magic elixir over their bye week, there’s little reason to believe matters will improve against the Bulldogs and their S&P+ No. 1 rushing defense come Saturday. We’re big fans of Davis and what the true freshman has done since climbing the depth chart -- five straight games of at least 90 yards rushing -- but Georgia will be a bridge too far, even for him. Fewer than 50 yards on the ground would not be surprising in this one given Florida’s inability to pass the ball, which will allow UGA to smother Davis with eight-man boxes.


Northwestern RB Justin Jackson vs. Michigan State -- Jackson has turned it up for 264 yards rushing over his last two games, but the recent fun stops here. Sparty has been downright dominant against the run, shutting down the likes of Notre Dame’s Josh Adams (56 yards rushing), Iowa’s Akrum Wadley (30 yards rushing) and Minnesota’s Rodney Smith/Shannon Brooks (a combined 51 yards rushing).


USC WR Deontay Burnett vs. Arizona State -- Sun Devils, defensive masterminds? We probably wouldn’t go that far, but they’ve looked fantastic on that front in wins over Washington and Utah over the past two weekends. The lead receivers for those two teams (Dante Pettis, Darren Carrington) combined to catch 13 passes for 112 yards in those contests. Burnett has been as consistent as clockwork this season -- at least seven catches in seven of eight games -- but we’re banking that ASU has begun to figure something out on defense, like maybe that blitzing to no end has its drawbacks.


Eastern Michigan WR Sergio Bailey vs. Northern Illinois (Thursday) -- The Huskies may not be much to look at offensively, but boy howdy, they’ve played some nice defense this season. S&P+ ranks them as the No. 14 outfit in the country against the pass, a mark which is backed up by traditional statistics with NIU surrendering a smidge over 185 yards through the air on average. Bailey has yet to catch fewer than four passes in a game this season, but also has just one 100-yard receiving effort to his name on the year -- and none since a Week 2 win over Rutgers.


Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk vs. Mississippi State -- Poor, poor Christian Kirk. It’s just impossible to trust the Aggies’ passing offense at this point of QB Kellen Mond’s development. Kirk has surpassed 60 yards receiving in just one of seven games to date. Mississippi State doesn’t make for a good get-right opponent, either. The Bulldogs are surrendering just over 153 yards passing on average, the second-best mark in the country.



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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