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 matchups I previewed for Week 8:
Michigan State at #1 Ohio State
Game Result: Ohio State 24 | Michigan State 17
The Matchup: The Ohio State defense, which has only allowed 62 rushing yards a game, held Spartans star running back Javon Ringer to his lowest output of the season. Ringer, who's averaged 133 yards (178 yards in Big Ten games) on the ground entering this game, finished with 18 carries for 49 yards. The Buckeyes were led by James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman and were able to shutdown the Spartans one-two punch of Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick. Freeman had an outstanding game; he finished with seven tackles, five of which were in defense against Ringer, and half a sack. Freeman showed great lateral movement and was in position to stop Ringer around the end all game long.
#21 Tennessee at Alabama
Game Result: Alabama 41 | Tennessee 17
The Matchup: The Alabama defense did a great job against Erik Ainge and the Tennessee offense. Ainge had a good game as he completed 22-of-35 passes for 243 yards, a touchdown, and an interception -- but he wasn't able to utilize his favorite target Lucas Taylor. As predicted, Alabama's star cornerback Simeon Castille shut down Taylor and held him to just two receptions for 15 yards. Taylor had 11 receptions for 186 yards and a touchdown last week against Mississippi State, but he really struggled going up against a premier cover corner in Castille. Castille finished with four tackles and played great defensively all game long.
Keep An Eye On...
Tennessee, RB - Arian Foster (Jr.): Foster is a big, physical runner who possesses great speed and toughness. He's only a junior, but he has a lot of potential. Alabama's defense played well against the Volunteers, but Foster still managed to gain 91 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. He also had an impact in the passing game, as he hauled in four receptions for 73 yards. One of his receptions went for a 53-yard gain that set up an Ainge to Luke Stocker touchdown connection and gave Tennessee a 14 - 10 lead early in the second quarter.
Miami (Fla.) at Florida State
Game Result: Miami 37 | Florida State 29
The Matchup: The Miami Hurricanes have been using two quarterbacks, Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman, this season in most of their games and they continued to do so against the Seminoles -- but not by choice. Wright, who finished completing 6-of-10 passes for 88 yards, a rushing touchdown, and an interception, was knocked out of the game with just under six minutes left before halftime. He sprained his left ankle while being sacked by FSU's Alex Boston. Geno Hayes, who leads the Seminoles in tackles this season, had a nice game and recorded eight tackles, one for a loss, in defeat.
Keep An Eye On...
Florida State, RB - Antone Smith (Jr.): Smith fits the mold of a Florida State running back: a small, shifty runner who's elusive and has great vision. He's had an up and down year thus far for the Seminoles, but he had a breakout performance against the Hurricanes. He finished with 22 carries for 113 yards. At 5-foot-9, 190-pounds, Smith, who's just a junior, has a lot of upside and will be a player to watch the rest of this season.
#5 Oklahoma at Iowa State
Game Result: Oklahoma 17 | Iowa State 7
The Matchup: Iowa State did a great job defensively against a highly potent Oklahoma offense. Oklahoma's speedy running back Allen Patrick didn't have one of his better games, rushing for just 57 yards on 13 carries, and surrendering a fumble halfway through the first quarter. The fumble occurred when Patrick received a handoff from Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford and took it around the right end for a four-yard gain. Iowa State's leading tackler, Alvin Bowen, shot through the gap, applied a jarring hit on Patrick, and the ball came loose. It was recovered by the Cyclones defensive end Rashawn Parker at the Oklahoma 31-yard line. On the ensuing drive, the turnover resulted in the Cyclones lone touchdown of the day -- a Jason Scales two-yard run. In addition to his key forced fumble, Bowen had a solid game, as he finished with five tackles.
Army at Georgia Tech
Game Result: Georgia Tech 34 | Army 10
The Matchup: Tashard Choice was having a rough first quarter, rushing 9 times for just 24 yards, but he managed to get in the end zone. However, Choice's low rushing total wasn't the worst thing to happen to him in the first quarter. He was helped off the field -- with 2:34 remaining in the opening frame -- after he injured his right knee. Army's best defender, safety Caleb Campbell, had an outstanding game. He collected 14 tackles (10 solo, 4 assisted) in the loss and showed great instincts and awareness. Campbell had one tackle against Choice. It came early in the first quarter on 1st down during Georgia Tech's second offensive series. Campbell held Choice to a two-yard run, but Choice ended the drive with his lone touchdown of the game.
Keep An Eye On...
Darrell Robertson, DE - Georgia (Sr.): Robertson is an athletic defender who is a tremendous edge rusher. He's an undersized defender who plays well against the run. Against Army, Robertson had six tackles, four for a loss, and a sack in the win. For the season, he has 25 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. Robertson is still developing and has a huge upside.
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.