There were some exciting Head 2 Head matchups this past weekend that featured some of the top prospects in the nation against each other. Here are the results of the Head 2 Head matchups I previewed for Week 2:
#16 Arkansas at Alabama
Game Result: Arkansas 38 | Alabama 41
The Matchup: Darren McFadden continues to prove that he's the best running back in the nation every time he's on the field. McFadden rushed for 195 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns against a tough Alabama defense. He's so dangerous in any situation that he causes matchup problems for the opposition and migraines for defensive coordinators. Wallace Gilberry played a nice game for Alabama. He didn't collect a sack in the contest, but he totaled six tackles, 1.5 of which for a loss, and batted down a ball at the line of scrimmage.
In-Game Analysis: McFadden truly showed how clutch he was against Alabama, scoring both of his touchdowns just a few minutes apart to open up the fourth quarter. His first TD got the Razorbacks within seven points and his other TD, just a few minutes later, tied the game at 31. Neither of his touchdowns was highlight-worthy, but they kept the game close down the stretch. A tough break for Arkansas -- and possibly the factor that cost them a win -- was that McFadden wasn't available to them down the stretch due to a hamstring injury. Alabama escaped with a three-point win.
Keep An Eye On: Alabama, WR – D.J. Hall (Sr.): D.J. Hall had an outstanding game against the Razorbacks. He caught six passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Hall has had a solid start to the 2007 season, totaling 13 receptions for 291 yards and two touchdowns during the first three weeks . He's truly a receiver to keep an eye on the rest of the season.
#9 Louisville at Kentucky
Game Details: Louisville 34 | Kentucky 40
The Matchup: This was truly one of the best quarterback matchups you'd ever want to witness -- Louisville's star quarterback Brian Brohm versus Kentucky's star quarterback Andre Woodson. Brohm entered this game as a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, while Woodson was being hyped as a player with a lot of potential and a player that doesn't receive much hype. When it is all said and done, Woodson will receive a lot more hype after his performance against Louisville. Woodson had an outstanding game, completing 30-of-44 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns. Brohm was very good in this contest as well. He completed 28-of-43 passes for 366 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The reason why Woodson shined more that Brohm was the way he led Kentucky to a victory over the ninth-ranked team in the nation. Woodson threw three of his four touchdowns in the second half, including a 57-yard touchdown with 36 seconds remaining in the game to lead the Wildcats over the Cardinals.
In-Game Analysis: If you talk about clutch performances, Woodson proved that he's a primetime player to all of his doubters. Kentucky was down 34–33 with a minute remaining in the game and they were at their own 47-yard line on a 4th-and-1. Woodson was in the shotgun, he took the snap and completed a six-yard pass to tight end Jacob Tamme for a first down. After committing a 15-yard penalty on 2nd-and-nine, the Wildcats moved back to their own 41-yard line and faced a seemingly insurmountable 2nd-and-24. With 39-seconds left on the clock, Woodson was in the shotgun again. He took the snap, looked right, then looked left and found Steve Johnson wide open downfield. Johnson caught the ball at the 27-yard line and was home-free putting the Wildcats on top 40–34 with 29-seconds remaining. But you can never count out Brohm. With 21-seconds remaining in the game, Louisville got the ball back starting at their own 20-yard line. Brohm's first attempt on 1st-and-ten went incomplete. On 2nd-and -ten, Brohm found Trent Guy -- who earlier in the game ran back a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown -- for a 23-yard completion putting the Cardinals at their own 43-yard line. With five-seconds remaining, Brohm threw up a Hail Mary pass in hopes of a miracle. Harry Douglas came down with it at the ten-yard line and ended the game. This was high sports drama at its best.
Keep An Eye On: Louisville, WR – Harry Douglas (Sr.): One of the nation's best -- but unknown -- receivers is Louisville's Harry Douglas. Douglas is a small, but speedy receiver with great hands and a quick burst. Against Kentucky he posted 13 receptions for 223 yards and a touchdown. For the season, through the first three games, Douglas has hauled in 26 receptions for 474 yards and four touchdowns.
#1 USC at #14 Nebraska
Game Details: USC 49 | Nebraska 31
The Matchup: Coming into this game, Nebraska's Marlon Lucky has been tremendous. He's shown the ability to be a featured back with the numbers he posted through the first two games –- 54 carries for 323 yards and four touchdowns. But going up against a tremendous USC defense, Lucky was unlucky as he was held to 33 yards on 17 carries. A big reason for Lucky's ineffectiveness was the play of USC's Keith Rivers, one of the top linebackers in the nation. He collected 10 tackles (7 solo, 3 assisted) and was flying around the ball all night long. He was outstanding against the run and very good in coverage. This was just an outstanding performance by Rivers.
In-Game Analysis: Nebraska had a difficult time establishing their running game against USC. Lucky is their primary rusher and he struggled all night long. His longest rush of the game was a 13-yard run, and when you're trying to defeat a team of USC's stature, you have to have a running game that's effective.
Keep An Eye On: Nebraska, WR – Maurice Purify (Sr.): Purify is an intriguing prospect who possesses great size and skills. At 6-foot-4, 210-pounds, Purify is a tremendous deep threat that displays game breaking ability. Against USC, Purify had seven receptions for 80 yards in the loss.
#24 Hawaii at UNLV
Game Details: Hawaii 49 | UNLV 14
The Matchup: This was a different kind of game for Heisman candidate Colt Brennan. Usually Brennan is the benefactor of throwing touchdowns, not rushing touchdowns. But in this game against UNLV, Brennan threw for two touchdowns while rushing for three in Hawaii's blowout victory over UNLV. Brennan had an outstanding game passing the ball, completing 26-of-32 for 298 yards. He was accurate and made big plays all game. UNLV struggled defensively against Hawaii's potent offense, but linebacker Beau Bell, their star defender, lived up to the hype. He recorded 12 total tackles (8 solo, 4 assisted) and a sack in the loss. Bell was all over the field, but didn't get much help from his teammates.
In-Game Analysis: Brennan again showed why he's one of the most dangerous weapons in college football. Despite all three of his rushing touchdowns coming from inside the five-yard line, Brennan still led Hawaii to another victory. His two passing touchdowns against UNLV gave him a total 12 for the season. I don't know if there is another quarterback in the nation that is as dangerous as Brennan when it comes to putting up big numbers.
Keep An Eye On: Hawaii, WR – Davone Bess (Jr.): A speedy receiver with a knack for getting in the endzone, Bess has game-breaking ability as a receiver and in the return game. Against UNLV, Bess only managed five catches for 49 yards, but in Hawaii's offense everyone touches the ball. Last season, he totaled 96 receptions for 1,220 yards and 15 touchdowns. This season, through the first three games, he has 22 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns. By season's end, Bess' numbers will be up there with the nations best.
Mississippi at Vanderbilt
Game Details: Mississippi 17 | Vanderbilt 31
The Matchup: The Vanderbilt defense, led by Jonathan Goff, was outstanding against an Ole Miss offense that has one of the best running backs in college football, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Goff had 12 total tackles (10 solo, 2 assisted) and a sack in the victory. He was all over the field and caused Mississippi fits on offense. Meanwhile, Green-Ellis wasn't able to get on track all game. He carried the ball 21 times for 66 yards and no touchdowns. His longest run of the day was only for 10 yards. Goff and Vandy's defense were flying around the ball and making play after play, holding Ole Miss to under 300 yards of total offense.
In-Game Analysis: Anytime a defensive player achieves 10 solo tackles in a game, that's a special performance. Goff is an outstanding player who shows excellent sideline-to-sideline ability. Even the best running backs in the nation have a difficult time having success against him. Playing in a difficult SEC conference, Goff is always presented with a tough challenge, and he always seems to shine when times are difficult. He's a special player who will only get better with more experience.
Keep An Eye On: Vanderbilt, WR – Earl Bennett (Jr.): The best receiver nobody has ever heard of, Earl Bennett is a stud. He's one of the amazing receivers in the country. Against Ole Miss, Bennett caught 11 passes for 100 yards. Through three games, Bennett has 28 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns. Only a junior, if Bennett declares for the NFL Draft after this season, he's a potential mid-to-late first round selection.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.