CFB: Week 2 Player Matchups
Week 2 of college football is upon us, and outside of Alabama vs. Texas (see our preview here), there isn’t a huge host of blockbuster games.
That said, there is plenty of opportunity for surprises and standout performances. We’ve selected three key matchups between players that will be worth watching.
Jimmy Horn Jr. vs Omar Brown
Colorado was the biggest story of week 1. It was insanely impressive to defeat one of last year’s National Championship finalists despite overturning their whole roster. Everyone will watch on Saturday to see if it was a one-hit-wonder. Their opponents this week, Nebraska, are coming off a turgid loss to Minnesota.
Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule will have plenty of concerns over his offense, but he can be encouraged by the defensive showing. Slot cornerback Omar Brown was targeted nine times, only allowing 30 receiving yards and grabbed an interception. Brown is a second-year transfer, having impressed at Northern Iowa previously. His job this week will be significantly more difficult.
Travis Hunter grabbed the headlines for Colorado, taking over 100 snaps on both sides of the ball. He wasn’t the only receiver to get over 100 receiving yards, though. Jimmy Horn Jr. had 11 receptions for 117 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Having only got 38 targets for South Florida in 2022, Horn is already seeing an upturn in production. His speed will test Brown, and he hopes to take advantage of the attention Hunter draws from opposing defences.
Matt Lee vs McKinnley Jackson
The Texas A&M defensive line has plenty of stars but not much production. One of the players who has drawn some attention from NFL scouts is nose tackle McKinnley Jackson. He flashed potential in 2022 with seven tackles for loss, showing his ability to get in the backfield.
He will be pitched directly against Miami center Matt Lee. Lee arrives, having played for four seasons at UCF and only conceded four sacks in his entire career. Paired with Alabama transfer Javion Cohen, the interior of the offensive line now has some much-needed experience.
Lee impressed on his Hurricanes debut, earning a 77.3 PFF pass-blocking grade. Tyler Van Dyke benefitted massively from the upgrade in protection and will hope to have time in the pocket once more against the Aggies.
Bucky Irving vs CJ Baskerville
I must admit, coming out of summer scouting Bucky Irving was my favourite running back. He possesses a game-changing turn of pace and excellent elusivity in tight spaces. He ran for 1,064 yards in 2022 and had another electric week against Portland State.
Even though he only had four rushing attempts, he ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns. That works out at a whopping 27.4 yards per carry! This Oregon offense will certainly be riding high after running out 81-7 winners.
Looking to slow down the Ducks will be Texas Tech, particularly defensive chess piece CJ Baskerville. He plays a hybrid linebacker/safety role called the ‘Star’. He took 20 snaps in the box last week and 32 in the slot. His athleticism means he will come downhill and get into the backfield but will also be expected to match up with Irving in the passing game.
In what is a highly anticipated season for the Red Raiders, it got off to a poor start. A surprise defeat to Wyoming means they will be looking to fire back and cause an upset. Facing a confident Oregon offense, though, may be an uphill battle.
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