#18 Illinois at Iowa
Game Result: Iowa 10 | Illinois 6
The Matchup: Rashard Mendenhall has been tremendous this season and one of the country's best running backs. But a stout Iowa defense had an answer for him. Coming into the game, Iowa was allowing just 113.8 rushing yards a game while Mendenhall was averaging 128.7 yards on the ground. Iowa continued its dominance against the run holding Mendenhall to just 67 yards on 15 carries and no touchdowns. Mendenahll, who's an excellent receiver out of the backfield, added three receptions for 27 yards. Iowa's top interior presence, junior Mitch King, didn't have a major impact on this game. He only contributed one tackle to the Hawkeyes' effort, but his play on the line was key to the defense's success.
Keep An Eye On....
Iowa, OLB - Mike Humpal (Sr.): Humpal has been a huge surprise for the Hawkeyes this season. He's shown great presence and instincts on defense and has been a tackling machine. Humpal has been the driving force for the Iowa defense this season. He's totaled 73 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, a sack, and two interceptions. Against Illinois he was all over the field. He collected 18 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, and a sack in the win.
#23 Texas at Iowa State
Game Result: Texas 56 | Iowa State 3
The Matchup: This was a game to forget for the Cyclones offense as they didn't manage to score a touchdown against a motivated Longhorns defense. Iowa State's receiver Todd Blythe led the Cyclones with three receptions for 39 yards. Texas' Marcus Griffin started, but didn't collect a tackle in the lopsided Longhorns victory.
Keep An Eye On...
Texas, WR - Nate Jones (Sr.): With Longhorns star receiver Limas Sweed out for the remainder of the season, senior Nate Jones becomes the go-to-guy in the passing game. Jones, who's in the midst of a breakout season, had seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown against Iowa State. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Jones has good hands and runs smooth routes. He has 43 receptions for 480 yards and three touchdowns through seven games -- and his production will only increase as the season progresses.
Texas A&M at Texas Tech
Game Result: Texas Tech 35 | Texas A&M 7
The Prospects: Texas Tech, QB - Graham Harrell (Jr.) vs. Texas A&M, DT - Red Bryant (Sr.)
The Matchup: How good is Graham Harrell? Is it the system he plays in at Texas Tech, or is he just a tremendous talent? At this point, who cares? Because all he does is post amazing numbers. Against Texas A&M, Harrell completed 30-of-37 passes for 425 yards, threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Harrell also had a rushing touchdown in the win. Displaying pinpoint accuracy against the Aggies defense, he completed 81 percent of his passes. He continued to showcase freshman receiver Michael Crabtree, who has an incredible 78 receptions for 1,244 yards and 17 touchdowns this year, and had eight receptions for 170 yards against A&M. Aggies star defensive tackle Red Bryant didn't have much success getting in the face of Harrell, nor did any of the Aggies defenders. Bryant only managed a single tackle in the loss.
Keep An Eye On...
Texas A&M, TE - Martellus Bennett (Jr.): Bennett leads the Aggies in receptions with 24 and has amassed 276 yards and a touchdown so far. At 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, Bennett is a huge target for an offense and possesses excellent skills. He's a former basketball star for the Aggies who's now committed to football full time. In A&M's loss to Texas Tech, Bennett hauled in four receptions for 35 yards.
Indiana at Michigan State
Game Result: Michigan State 52 | Indiana 27
The Matchup: Indiana wide receiver James Hardy is one of the premier deep threats in the country and proved why against the Spartans this past weekend. He entered the game averaging 19.2 yards a reception and added to that average this past weekend. He had six receptions for 121 yards (20.2 YPC) and a touchdown. Hardy's touchdown came on a 39-yard pass from Hoosiers quarterback Kellen Lewis. He also hauled in a 49-yard reception along the right side that set up an Austin Starr 47-yard field goal. Michigan State continued their excellent play on offense and defense. Junior safety Otis Wiley, who backed up senior Travis Key, only contributed one tackle in the Spartans' blowout victory.
Keep An Eye On...
Michigan State, RB - Javon Ringer (Jr.): A tremendously quick, versatile runner, Ringer brings the complete package to the football field. Ringer has an explosive first step and elusive speed and he displayed those qualities against Indiana. He had 29 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Ringer is not only an elusive runner, but he's been a workhorse for the Spartans offense this season. Out of seven games so far this season, Ringer has carried the ball 20 or more times in four games. At 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, Ringer isn't the biggest back in the country, but his shiftiness enables him to elude punishing hits.
Nevada at Boise State
Game Result: Boise State 69 | Nevada 67
The Prospects: Boise State, RB - Ian Johnson (Jr.) vs. Nevada, OLB - Ezra Butler (Sr.)
The Matchup: There wasn't much defense played in this crazy game, as it was a back and forth battle all night long. Boise State running back Ian Johnson had an outstanding game, rushing for 205 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, and caught four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. He showed great vision, patience and elusiveness against the Wolf Pack. Johnson's two touchdowns, one came on a 72-yard scamper, and the other was the game-winning touchdown in the fourth overtime that gave the Broncos the victory. Nevada's star linebacker Ezra Butler had a good game in a high-scoring contest. Butler finished with nine tackles and forced a key fumble against Johnson in the fourth quarter. Johnson took a handoff around the right end where Butler greeted him with a vicious hit, and forced a fumble, which he recovered. The fumble resulted in a Brett Jaekle 35-yard field goal that gave Nevada a 44-41 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Keep An Eye On...
Ryan Clady, OT - Boise State (Jr.): Clady, who's one of the top offensive tackles in the country, did a great job protecting his quarterback Taylor Tharp, who completed 26-of-35 passes for 320 yards, threw for four touchdowns and an interception against Nevada. The Boise State offensive line didn't allow a sack in the game, and gave Tharp the time he needed to help the Broncos get the victory. Clady has played outstanding all season and displays great lateral movement and technique in pass protection
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his NFL draft analysis on the web and on the radio since 1999.