CFB Conference Title Games: Player Matchup Preview

The College Football regular season is in the rear view mirror. It’s ‘do-or-die’ from here on out and the conference title games will have a say in how the playoff picture shapes up. Scouts will be intrigued to see how prospects perform on the biggest stage. Here’s five matchups that will be worth your attention this weekend.

Zack Moss v Troy Dye

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The Pac-12 gets its chance to shine in primetime on Friday night. Utah remain in the hunt for a playoff berth but they’ll need to see off Oregon to stay alive. The Utes defense gets much of the plaudits but the offense has been no slouch this year. Running back Zack Moss leads the Pac-12 in rushing yards and touchdowns and made Pro Football Focus’ All-American team. He is a physical back who thrives on punching holes into opposition defenses. Highlighted by this stat:

But don’t think that Moss is one dimensional, he still possesses the speed to take runs to the house. See below:

The Ducks will have to contain Moss if they hope to upset their rivals chances of advancing into the playoffs.

A big part of that will be defensive leader Troy Dye. The linebacker has tallied 2 sacks, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections and 1 forced fumble. Despite having to play multiple weeks with a cast on his arm, due to a broken thumb. The stats show how diverse Dye is. He is athletic and rangy with question marks over his physicality. That will be tested against Moss. Dye may be able to get to Moss but can he control him when he gets to him?

Parnell Motley v Denzel Mims

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Parnell Motley enjoyed somewhat of a breakout game versus Oklahoma State in rivalry week. It’s not been all plain sailing for the cornerback in Norman but he is finishing his Sooner career in style. Motley is a strong tackler who has four forced fumbles but projects ideally as a nickel corner at the next level. He ranks seventh in forced incompletion % for FBS cornerbacks and will need to be at his best to break up the relationship between Baylor’s Charlie Brewer and receiver Denzel Mims. 

Mims secured an invite to the Senior Bowl and is a big, physical target who has the ability to make outrageous plays. His large catch radius makes him an easy target for Charlie Brewer, who has established Mims as his go-to target. The Sooners edged a close game against the Bears in Week 12 and Mims went off for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. If Baylor are to stay in the playoff picture then Mims will be an important piece.

Joe Burrow v Jake Fromm

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Joe Burrow effectively secured the Heisman Trophy with his end of season form. Despite only one year of outstanding production the LSU quarterback looks to have nailed down his spot at the head of the 2020 NFL Draft. He became the most prolific passer in SEC history with 4.366 yards and tied the TD record of 44. With only 87 incompletions the whole season and a 78.3 completion percentage, Burrow is accurate and decisive leading the Tigers. He faces his stiffest challenge to date against a talented Georgia defense.

Bulldogs Quarterback Jake Fromm will face direct comparisons with Burrow when the two meet on Saturday evening. Fromm is more of a game manager without the ability to truly take games away from the opposition. He is at his best as a complement to a strong running game, something Georgia are used to having. However, he will be without some of his biggest weapons. Receiver Lawrence Cager will miss the game through injury, this stat highlights just how important Cager has been to Fromm:

Meanwhile, freshman wideout George Pickens will sit the first half through suspension and running back D’Andre Swift will play through a shoulder injury. It will be a stiff task for Fromm but not one he will back down from.

Bryce Perkins v Isaiah Simmons

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Bryce Perkins accounted for a staggering 475 of the 492 yards the Virginia offense accumulated against in-state rivals Virginia Tech last week. The Cavaliers signal caller is a true ‘dual-threat’ Quarterback, highlighted by his 687 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground this year. Significantly, Perkins appears to be at the peak of his powers most recently:

He will be a unique test for the Clemson defense who will need to be aware of his athleticism and power in the run game. A Cavaliers win would be a huge upset but Perkins is an x-factor that adds a degree of unpredictability.

One man Perkins will need to keep in his sights is Tigers defensive phenom Isaiah Simmons. Simmons is a do-it-all linebacker/safety hybrid. He is a downhill thumper who can blitz the QB. Equally adept at covering tight ends or shifting to nickel corner he should be a perfect fit for the modern-day NFL defense.

With 14.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks, Perkins will need to keep his eyes peeled for the roaming Simmons.

Davon Hamilton v Tyler Biadasz

Photo Credit: Dan Harker,

The Ohio State defense is a talented bunch. So much so that they could account for three first rounders come the 2020 NFL Draft. Chase Young, Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade have made appearances in many a first round mock, including our very own Oli Hogkinson’s. However, Young is not the only defensive lineman Wisconsin should be aware of this weekend.

As a fifth year senior, the light appears to have come on for nose tackle Davon Hamilton. After only 2 ½ sacks in his first three years, Hamilton has accounted for 5 sacks in 2019 alone. With Young taking focus away from the interior, Hamilton has thrived. He shows explosion to get into the backfield and his 8 tackles for loss shows the traction he gets against offensive linemen. His performance will be vital to slow down the Badgers’ greatest threat, running back Jonathan Taylor.

Hoping to make holes for Taylor will be Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz. For now, he appears to be the consensus number 1 interior lineman in the country. He made the Pro Football Focus Big 10 and All American teams and graded out as a top five player at his position throughout his college career. However, he will have worrisome memories from when these two met earlier in the season. Hamilton overpowered the polished center on a few snaps and the battle should make for interesting viewing.

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at