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PREVIEW: CFB WEEK FIVE

Clemson, VaTech headline week five

Fri, Sep 29, 2017

By Patrick Woo
Scouting Coordinator

Week 5 Games to Watch

Before getting into the best individual matchups in this weekend’s games to watch, here are some less-than-marquee games that are big opportunities for some under-the-radar prospects. 


New Mexico State at Arkansas, Noon on SEC Network
New Mexico State is up from No. 86 in total offense last year to No. 38 this year. A big reason why is two seniors on offense – RB Larry Rose III and WR Jaleel Scott. Playing in Fayetteville gives them their last chance to impress against a Power Five opponent.

Central Michigan at Boston College, 1:30pm on ACC Network
While most eyes will be on Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry, don’t overlook Central Michigan’s Joe Ostman. He’s a favorite of the coaching staff and leads the team with 3 sacks this season and will have a shot to be a 3-4 linebacker in the NFL.

Murray State at Louisville, 3:30pm on ACC Network
The Racers of Murray State have a corner getting NFL attention in the 6-0, 200 pound D’Montre Wade. The unfortunate news is that Louisville star WR Jaylen Smith will miss this game so Wade won’t get that matchup but will still have a good battle with bigger receivers Dez Fitzpatrick and Seth Watkins.

Miami (OH) at #22 Notre Dame, 5pm on NBC Sports Network
He’s been quiet so far but Miami of Ohio cornerback Heath Harding garnered attention entering his senior season. He’s a generous 5-foot-10 so he has a big test if he gets matched up with Notre Dame’s 6-foot-5 Equanimeous St. Brown. This will be an important game for Harding’s draft stock. 

Troy at LSU, 7pm on ESPNU
Speaking of important games for draft stock, none might be bigger than this one for Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers. Much like Brandon Doughty two years ago, Silvers has to deliver in Baton Rouge to convince NFL teams he can play at the next level. Also worth watching is the Trojans running back Jordan Chunn.

Games to Watch

Northwestern at #10 Wisconsin, 12pm on ABC
Both teams are coming off bye weeks for this conference opener. The Badgers haven’t been tested by an opposing quarterback yet and Clayton Thorson looks to be that guy. But this game is all about the running backs – Northwestern senior Justin Jackson and Wisconsin freshman sensation Jonathan Taylor, who has 438 yards and five touchdowns through three games. Last season, the Badgers held Jackson to 42 yards on 13 carries.
Matchups to watch:
Northwestern RB Justin Jackson vs. Wisconsin LB T.J. Edwards
Northwestern SS Godwin Igwebuike vs. Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli 

Vanderbilt at #21 Florida, 12pm on ESPN
Luke Del Rio gets the start at QB for the Gators after replacing Feleipe Franks last week and leading the win over Kentucky. That makes this QB battle Kyle Shurmur (son of Pat Shurmur) vs. Del Rio (son of Jack Del Rio). Another twist is that Vandy coach Derek Mason’s daughter is a lacrosse player at Florida. How will Vandy rebound from a 59-0 loss to Alabama last week?
Matchups to watch:
Vanderbilt LB Charles Wright vs. Florida OT Martez Ivey
Vanderbilt CB Tre Herndon vs. Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland
Vanderbilt RB Ralph Webb vs. Florida LB David Reese
Vanderbilt OT Justin Skule vs. Florida DE Cece Jefferson
Vanderbilt SS Ryan White vs. Florida TE DeAndre Goolsby 

Houston at Temple, 12pm on ESPNU
Who will start at QB for Houston after Kyle Postma replaced Kyle Allen last week? Better yet, who will be the best QB for Temple after the Owls tried multiple guys last week against South Florida. The Owls have struggled on both sides of the ball this year as Geoff Collins tries to build his program but what a better way to get momentum than beat the Cougars at home. Temple, however, has lost five straight at home but this has been a very good conference matchup in recent years.
Matchups to watch:
Houston LB Matthew Adams vs. Temple FB Nick Sharga
Houston WR Steven Dunbar vs. Temple CB Mike Jones 

Indiana at #4 Penn State, 3:30pm on Big Ten Network
Indiana always has a chance as it proved beating Penn State years ago as Penn State looks to go 5-0 for the first time since 2008. However, the Hoosiers are last in the Big Ten in rushing defense going against Saquon Barkley. QB Richard Lagow exited last week vs. Georgia Southern but should be able to play. The Hoosiers will need to force turnovers and make plays on special teams where J-Shun Harris has returned a punt for a touchdown in two straight games.
Matchups to watch:
Indiana TE Ian Thomas vs. Penn State SS Marcus Allen
Indiana LB Tegray Scales vs. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley
Indiana WR Simmie Cobbs Jr. vs. Penn State CB Christian Campbell
Indiana CB Rashard Fant vs. Penn State WR Juwan Johnson/DaeSean Hamilton
Indiana OT Coy Cronk vs. Penn State DE Shareef Miller

#7 Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30pm on CBS
Tennessee sticks with Quinten Dormady at quarterback after replacing him with Jarrett Guarantano vs. UMass. Georgia’s front seven should make life difficult for the QB and RB John Kelly, who leads the SEC in rushing with 112.5 yards per game. The Bulldogs will be looking for redemption after losing last year’s game on a Hail Mary.
Matchups to watch:
Georgia FS Dominick Sanders vs. Tennessee TE Ethan Wolf
Georgia NT John Atkins vs. Tennessee C Coleman Shelton/Jashon Robertson
Georgia OLB Davin Bellamy vs. Tennessee OT Brett Kendrick
Georgia LB Roquan Smith vs. Tennessee RB John Kelly 

Florida State at Wake Forest, 3:30pm on ABC
Could Wake Forest pull another upset? The Deacons are 4-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. Florida State had a ton of preseason hype and is still the most notable winless team in the FBS. FSU hasn’t started 0-3 since 1976, which was Bobby Bowden’s first season.
Matchups to watch:
FSU OT Rick Leonard vs. WF DE Duke Ejiofor
FSU TE Ryan Izzo vs. WF SS Jessie Bates III
FSU SS Trey Marshall vs. WF TE Cam Serigne 

Arizona State at Stanford, 4pm on Pac-12 Network
These two get a day game after starring in Pac-12 After Dark last week with the Sun Devils game-winning field goal against Oregon and Stanford riding the Bryce Love train to beat UCLA. Whichever team stops the run will win this game.
Matchups to watch:
ASU LB DJ Calhoun vs. Stanford RB Bryce Love
ASU DT Tashon Smallwood vs. Stanford OG David Bright
ASU WR N’Keal Harry vs. Stanford CB Quenton Meeks

#24 Mississippi State at #13 Auburn, 6pm on ESPN
Auburn will have a healthy backfield with both Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson for the first time since last year’s Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs hit a road block in Athens last week against a physical Georgia defense. This Auburn front seven can be physical and attack as well. Is the Mississippi State Cinderella story over already?
Matchups to watch:
MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald vs. Auburn LB Deshaun Davis
MSU OT Martinas Rankin vs. Auburn DE Jeff Holland
MSU WR Donald Gray vs. Auburn CB Carlton Davis
MSU LB Leo Lewis vs. Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway/Kerryon Johnson

Memphis at UCF, 7pm on ESPN2
This is a great American Athletic Conference matchup. Memphis was supposed to be playing a non-conference game at Georgia State this week but Hurricane Irma’s schedule shuffling moved this game up and canceled the Georgia State matchup. Both of these teams are averaging more than 40 points per game. Riley Ferguson and Anthony Miller have been an unstoppable duo while UCF has to replace RB Jawon Hamilton, who’s done for the year but McKenzie Milton has been a dangerous play-making QB.
Matchups to watch:
Memphis FS Jonathan Cook vs. UCF TE Jordan Akins
Memphis OG Gabe Kuhn vs. UCF DT Jamiyus Pittman
Memphis WR Anthony Miller vs. UCF CB Mike Hughes 

#2 Clemson at #12 Virginia Tech, 8pm on ABC
It’s a rematch of the ACC Championship Game but these are two completely different teams now with new quarterbacks. Clemson has already played Auburn and at Louisville with new QB Kelly Bryant while Hokies redshirt freshman QB Josh Jackson hasn’t seen anything like Clemson yet.
Matchups to watch:
Clemson DT Christian Wilkins/Dexter Lawrence vs. VT OG Wyatt Teller
Clemson WR Deon Cain vs. VT CB Brandon Facyson/Greg Stroman
Clemson CB Ryan Carter vs. VT WR Cam Phillips
Clemson OG Tyrone Crowder vs. VT DT Tim Settle 

#15 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 8pm on FOX
Oklahoma State has to pick itself up after last week’s home loss to TCU and get ready to play a wild night game in Lubbock, which is always tough. The Red Raiders are 3-0 and have a much improved defense as David Gibbs finally has his players comfortable in the system.
Matchups to watch:
OSU WR James Washington/Marcell Ateman vs. TTU CB Octavious Morgan
OSU RB Justice Hill vs. TTU LB Dakota Allen

Ole Miss at #1 Alabama, 9pm on ESPN
This game probably will not be as exciting as this series has been in recent years but with Shea Patterson’s play-making ability, don’t count Ole Miss out. Alabama is a 28-point favorite and Ole Miss is not the same team in the trenches it was when it was able to go toe-to-toe with the Tide. The Tide also got LBs Anfernee Jennings, Rashaan Evans and Dylan Moses back from injury last week in the shutout of Vanderbilt.
Matchups to watch:
Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown vs. Alabama SS Minkah Fitzpatrick
Ole Miss DE Marquis Haynes vs. Alabama OT Jonah Williams
Ole Miss NT Benito Jones vs. Alabama C Bradley Bozeman