CFB: PLAYER MATCHUPS TO WATCH IN WEEK 8
The picture gets slightly clearer as we head deep into the College Football season. A playoff hopeful has their chances dashed each week, and those with a resume fit for the final four become scarcer. The marquee game on Saturday will be Ohio State and Penn State, where we will start our weekly matchups piece.
Marvin Harrison Jr vs Kalen King
Marvin Harrison has lived up to the top 5 draft prospect billing in 2023. One thing he will be keen to do is show out against quality opposition. His 32 yards against Notre Dame were underwhelming, and Penn State will offer a sterner test than the likes of Maryland and Purdue. That said, it’s the Buckeye offense that has stuttered more than Harrison himself. He has continued to show the speed, body control and big play ability expected of one of the most lauded prospects in recent years.
Seeing Harrison line up against Penn State corner Kalen King will be exciting. King has also been a regular fixture in most first-round mock drafts. He is yet to be beaten for a touchdown in 2023 although his PFF grades haven’t been as strong as previous seasons. His missed tackle rate of 21.1% is a slight concern, and he will need to be switched on to avoid Harrison breaking free and accruing yards after the catch.
Bo Nix vs Cameron Ward
Another week, another high-profile Pac-12 quarterback shootout. Bo Nix came off second-best against Michael Penix, but it was still a decent showing for the Ducks’ QB last weekend. He threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns, showing he still has a chance to go on Day 2 in next year’s draft. Nix will be looking to shake off the defeat and keep Oregon in the playoff conversation.
Washington State’s Cam Ward is another QB whose stock has been on the rise. Up until two weeks ago, the Cougars had been unbeaten and one of the surprise stories of the year. The defeat to Arizona saw Ward register another disappointing display following his two-interception showing against UCLA. If he has aspirations of declaring for this year’s draft, Ward must bounce back. That may be easier said than done against a strong Oregon defense.
Clark Barrington vs Dontay Corleone
Baylor went to great effort in the offseason to bolster their offensive line. That included bringing over the Barrington brothers, Clark and Campbell, from BYU. It hasn’t quite gone to plan for the Bears, who have an uninspiring 2-4 record so far. Center Barrington has graded out fairly well with PFF, but his stats have been much leakier than his BYU career. He has given up ten pressures, including three sacks, through 7 weeks. Now, he faces one of the stiffer tasks on this year’s schedule.
Cincinnati’s nose tackle Dontay Corleone generated plenty of buzz during summer scouting. He is a bowling ball-shaped nose tackle who will put Barrington under a lot of pressure. Despite his frame, Corleone has the ability to get to the quarterback but has taken a step back in his ability to stop the run. He will look to add to his single sack this year and kickstart the Bearcats’ first season in the Big-12.
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 stripehype.com