Latest posts by Joe Broback (see all)
- Ranking the past 10 Heisman Trophy winners - December 14, 2019
- 2019 Heisman Trophy: Why each finalist should and shouldn’t win - December 10, 2019
- Joe Burrow, Justin Fields, and Jalen Hurts all made the right decisions - December 9, 2019
We’re entering the final stretch of the 2019 college football season, which is a depressing thing to write. Luckily for us, however, the intensity only increases. Four undefeated teams play each other in Week 11, and the playoff implications couldn’t be more obvious. Minnesota hosts Penn State, while Alabama and LSU battle it out later in the day. We know there are storylines to follow, but we’ll see specific matchups that determine the outcomes of these games. Not only do they impact the game, but some of these players’ draft stock could rise and fall as well. Talk about a great way to start the homestretch.
College Football players to watch
Tua Tagovailoa/Joe Burrow
This seems obvious, but two potential Heisman winners facing off against each other is must watch television. Tua Tagovailoa sat out the last two weeks to recover from a high ankle sprain, and his health plays a major role in this game. A healthy Tua does damage to opposing secondaries (2,166 yards and 27 touchdowns passing), but how will that ankle hold up? If he’s not healthy, that paves the way for his rival to take control of the game.
Burrow’s been the biggest surprise for a player in college football. On a team not known for electric offenses, Burrow singlehandedly elevated LSU into a dominant offense. His 30 touchdown passes through 10 weeks already broke a school record, and he’s looking to add an upset over Alabama to his resume. Every Heisman Trophy winner needs an iconic win. Will this be Burrow’s?
This could say Minnesota’s team as a whole, but a ton of pressure lies on Morgan’s shoulders. This will be the biggest game in Gophers football history, and Morgan must play well. In the past, Minnesota quarterbacks struggled against elite competition, and Morgan’s looking to break that trend. With 18 passing touchdowns through eight games, he’s on pace to break the school record for passing touchdowns in a season. He might not need to play at an elite level, but a couple touchdown passes would be huge for the upset bid.
Brewer’s quietly having a great season at quarterback for the Baylor Bears, who are 8-0 heading into Week 11. He must now face the best secondary he’ll see all year. Jeff Gladney, Vernon Scott, and Innis Gaines are some of the best at their positions, but so is Brewer. A win keeps the Bears playoff hopes alive, but it all comes down to how well their quarterback plays.
Cam Akers/AJ Dillon
Since their teams are a combined 9-9, Akers and Dillon are largely forgotten in the college football world. Guys like Jonathan Taylor, Chuba Hubbard, and Travis Etienne receiver most of the attention thanks to team success, but these two can ball. Dillon’s yet to play a game in which he didn’t rush for 100 yards or a touchdown. Akers rushed for 367 yards and five touchdowns over the last three games, and should break 1,000 yards on the season this weekend. That’s enough to tune in to this one.
Matchups to watch
Alaric Jackson/Tristan Wirfs vs. Wisconsin front seven
Iowa’s offensive tackles have NFL potential, but they’ll be tested this weekend against the Badgers. Wisconsin’s front seven is currently tied for sixth in the country for sacks, and will dial up pressure at any moment. Wirfs and Jackson are the pillars of the offensive line, but you can bet the Badgers won’t back away from challenging these two.
Isaiah Hodgins vs. Washington secondary
Oregon State’s wide receiver produced a solid season as a sophomore, but he’s following that up with a breakout year. This week will be his toughest test yet. Hodgins has 12 touchdown receptions this season, but faces a Huskies secondary that’s allowed just 11 all year. Something’s gotta give, and Washington will have their eyes on Hodgins everywhere he goes.
Bama/LSU receivers vs. Bama/LSU secondaries
You didn’t think we forgot the most important matchup to watch this weekend, did you? This matchup is filled with current and future stars on both sides. Alabama’s receivers all can be considered stars. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle have game changing abilities, but they’re not the only ones in this game. Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and Terrace Marshall can torch secondaries too. However, they’ll both face secondaries ready for the task at hand.
Nick Saban’s produced some great secondary players, but none faced a task like this group. Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II give the Tide two of the best corners in the country, but slowing down the Tigers receivers won’t be easy. Shyheim Carter and Xavier McKinney play huge roles as well. Luckily, their offense gives defenses just as much trouble. Grant Delpit’s one of the best safeties in college football, but he can’t stop the Tide by himself. Fellow senior Kristian Fulton and freshman Derek Stingley Jr. must step up to the plate to slow down an explosive Alabama offense.