What to watch out for in College Football's Week 11
College Football is heading to crunch time. Week 11 sees two of the nation’s best teams face one another in LSU and Alabama. However, that’s not the be all and end all. There is plenty of interest elsewhere and Rory Daniels gives you five storylines you might want to keep an eye on.
Star-studded matchup in Tuscaloosa
There will be plenty of build up to this barnstormer this week on The Touchdown, so I’ll keep it brief. Who’d have thought that this SEC matchup would likely be decided by the two passing attacks?
My eyes will certainly be on the wide receiver vs cornerback battles. The Alabama trio of Jeudy, Ruggs and Smith have grabbed all the headlines early in the year. Add in sophomore Jaylen Waddle and you can see why the Tigers will have to be at their best to slow Bama down. LSU’s Kristian Fulton and Grant Delpit will be looking to convince evaluators they can deal with the best college football can throw at them. Don’t forget about freshman phenom Derek Stingley. He has been arguably the best player in the defensive backfield and will be an important factor with so many threats to defend.
On the other side of things will be another couple of intriguing matchups. Justin Jefferson has shown excellent route running ability and polish that has led to his rise up draft boards. Paired with sophomore Ja’Marr Chase it is no wonder Joe Burrow has enjoyed unheralded success. Tasked with shutting them down will be Trevon Diggs. Diggs has dealt with injuries but looked back to his best with a pick six against Arkansas. He has also has a trusty non draft eligible partner in Patrick Surtain II. This one should be an epic!
Somebody’s 0 must go!
There’s always a buzz when two unbeaten teams go head to head. I fully believe Penn State will carry on their good form and take down the Minnesota Golden Gophers but there will be plenty of draft eligible talent to take note of. The Nittany Lions defense has been one of the top units in the country.
They possess great speed with sophomore linebackers Ellis Brooks and Micah Parsons. Their edge rushing duo of Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney have accounted for 10.5 sacks this season and should keep Tanner Morgan on his toes. Should Morgan get some time in the pocket he will be on the hunt for receiver Tyler Johnson. Johnson has excellent ball skills and wins in contested situations. He has got somewhat lost in the shuffle of an exciting receiver class but a good performance against Tariq Castro-Fields may help propel him back into the nation’s conscience.
Is time running out for Jordan Love?
At the start of the year Jordan Love was in the conversation as a dark horse for the first round of next year’s draft. Things haven’t really panned out for him so far. Love has recorded only 9 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. In particular, he has struggled when facing better opposition. His worst games have been against Wake Forest, LSU, Colorado State and BYU.
Love is now running out of games where he can change the narrative. His matchup against Fresno State is one such opportunity. The raw talent will excite scouts but if he can’t show enough accuracy then it will scare NFL teams off. Rumours are already swirling that the gunslinger QB could return for another year at the collegiate level, potentially as a high profile transfer.
Time to focus on Tight Ends
We’ve talked plenty about the riches on offer at the wide receiver position but things have been relatively quiet on the tight end front. One man that will be looking to change that is Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins.
Hopkins this week accepted his invite to the Senior Bowl and could be in contention to be a first round choice come April. Having accounted for 140 receiving yards against Maryland earlier in the season, Hopkins once again flashed his potential against Nebraska last week. Showing off his ability to separate and come up with big-time catches.
Hugely clutch play from Purdue TE Brycen Hopkins. He lives for making plays down the seam. pic.twitter.com/23YQYHB8pa— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) November 2, 2019
The Boilermakers have lost their main receiving threat in Rondale Moore making Hopkins’ role even more important. It will be interesting viewing to see how Northwestern’s linebackers hold up in coverage vs Hopkins, particularly well-respected leader Paddy Fisher.
Looking for fun? Jamie Newman is your guy
Wake Forest Head Coach Dave Clawson has a mantra about injured players. Starters cannot be dislodged permanently through injury. That was the reason why Jamie Newman came straight back into the lineup having recovered from a shoulder injury against Louisville.
Newman was the catalyst that led to the crushing 44-10 victory over NC State. This week saw the Demon Deacons land a spot in the top 25 of the CFB rankings for the first time in their history. Their mercurial Quarterback is a big reason why they came in at number 19. A true playmaker who can punish defenses through the air or through the ground.
This week Wake Forest head to Virginia Tech, who remain in the hunt for the ACC Coastal division. It could be a tight one and a good watch for the neutral. Virginia Tech cornerback Jermaine Waller will be suspended for the first half and it will be interesting to see if Newman and his main target Sage Surratt can take advantage and build an early lead.
Feature Image Credit: RollTide.com
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.c