As I said earlier though, that’s really not necessarily something I see happening.
This week’s matchups include:
1) Ryan Cantrell, center, versus Dan Chacreton, defensive tackle
Cantrell will have a tough job on Saturday’s game in that not only will he have the responsibility of making the line calls against a sophisticated blitz-happy defense, but he’ll be lined up across from two lightning-quick, gap-shooting defensive tackles. The best of those two is Chacreton, who weighs between 255 and 260 pounds. While Cantrell will have to be wary of Chacreton and any blitzers following behind him, Chacreton will need to keep Cantrell from locking on in the run game. If Cantrell is able to hit Chacreton early and bull him in the run game, he should wear the smaller tackle down, meaning big gains for the Jayhawks on the ground, and a Jayhawk victory.
Larson is a smart, technically sound defensive end who has four tackles for loss through three games. Shannon, who has started at every position on the offensive line at least once in his college career, is the same player, but on offense. Larson has one advantage on Shannon in that he has longer arms, which could aid him when the Golden Panthers drop back to pass. At the same time, Shannon has the guile to keep Larson off the back of his quarterback Wayne Younger. Younger is a running threat, so it will be even more important for Larson to keep contain and box Younger inside the tackles.
McClinton is one of the top tackles in the Big 12, a quick and strong player with a motor that never stops. He has 16 tackles already this year, including four behind the line. He’ll be matched up with a true freshman at center who is neither as quick, nor as strong, as McClinton is. Serini has played solid football so far this year, but he’ll require the help of both guards if he wants to slow down McClinton. This could be a problem as any double-teaming would open up linebackers to run downhill and make plays. If Serini can deal with McClinton just by getting a chip block by a guard, it would make things much easier. Unfortunately, McClinton is so quick, he’s halfway into the backfield by the time a lineman thinks about chipping him.
4) Marcus Henry, wide receiver, versus Lionel Singleton, cornerback
Henry has been one of the top receivers in the conference so far this year, snatching 19 balls for 355 yards and two touchdowns. Singleton is a solid tackler who will make Henry work for it. Henry has both the size and speed advantage, so it Singleton doesn’t jam him, or wrap up when Henry catches the ball, a big play isn’t far away. At the same time, if Singleton sits in zone, he possesses the ability to come up and hit Henry when the ball arrives. Henry dropped several passes last week, and he’ll be looking to make up for it this week. Physically here, there’s no comparison. Singleton’s chance relies on him getting in Henry’s head.
5) Mike Rivera, linebacker, versus A’mod Ned, running back
Ned has the potential to be one of the top runners in the Sun Belt. He showed that in high school when he led a highly competitive Broward County in rushing. Ned has also shown some skills in college, rushing for five yards per carry this year. One of Ned’s biggest strengths is his vision. Rivera’s job, as the weak side linebacker, will be to close off Ned’s cutback lanes and making sure that he doesn’t have anywhere to go. Last week, Toledo was able to have some success late with running the ball. Don’t expect that this week as the Jayhawks will clamp down. A big part of that effort will have to be Rivera.
There are very few matchups that the Golden Panthers can exploit to win this game. FIU will be overwhelmed by the superior size and speed in Lawrence. Todd Reesing will have a big game against a mediocre FIU secondary while Brandon McAnderson and Jake Sharp should have a field day against an undersized FIU defensive line. The Golden Panthers don’t really have enough offensively to challenge the Jayahawks’ defense.
Florida International 7