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 9:
#1 Ohio State at #25 Penn State
Game Result: Ohio State 37 | Penn State 17
The Matchup: A week after allowing Indiana's James Hardy (14 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns) to almost single-handedly defeat his Nittany Lions, Justin King had a lot to prove against another playmaker in Ohio State's Brian Robiskie. King, who's one of the nations best cover corners, faired well against Robiskie but had trouble with his athleticism. King isn't the most physical corner in the country and doesn't usually challenge a receiver at the line of scrimmage, and he didn't press Robiskie too often on Saturday night. Robiskie finished with four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Robiskie's touchdown came late in the first quarter as the Buckeyes were on the PSU nine-yard line. Quarterback Todd Boeckman dropped back and threw the ball to Robiskie's outside shoulder on a comeback route. Robiskie drove King off of him in the endzone and came back to make the touchdown reception. King finished with four tackles, three that were against Robiskie, and broke up a pass intended for him as well. King didn't get his full redemption in this game because his team didn't give the Buckeyes their first loss of the year.
#12 USC at #5 Oregon
Game Result: Oregon 24 | USC 17
The Matchup: Oregon's multi-dimensional threat, quarterback Dennis Dixon, showed his athletic ability against USC not only by passing the ball, but he flashed his elusiveness as a runner. Dixon rushed the ball 17 times for 76 yards and a touchdown and completed 16-of-25 passes for 157 yards. Dixon's rushing touchdown got the Ducks on the board first in the opening frame when he scored from two yards out. USC's Rey Maualuga had an outstanding game on defense, but only had one tackle against Dixon, which came at the end of a nine-yard run. Maualuga played well in coverage and against the run, collected 11 tackles, one for a loss, and recovered a fumble. The Trojans defense did a solid job overall containing Oregon's two top rushers, Dixon and Jonathan Stewart. Three USC defenders -- Keith Rivers, Taylor Mays, and Sedrick Ellis -- had 12 total tackles, while Maualuga and Lawrence Jackson had 11 tackles. Coming into Saturday's contest, USC allowed just 64 yards on the ground per game. As a team, Oregon recorded 183 yards on the ground (Stewart had 25 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns), which ended up being the difference in the game.
#9 Kansas at Texas A&M
Game Result: Kansas 19 | Texas A&M 11
The Matchup: The battle between Cody Wallace and James McClinton was won by Wallace, but Kansas' defense made A&M's dominant rushing attack look ordinary. Coming into the game, the Aggies ground game averaged 260 yards a game, while the Jayhawks defense allowed just 74 rushing yards a game. Although McClinton had just three tackles, one for a loss, the Jayhawks did a great job containing Stephen McGee, Jorvorskie Lane, and Mike Goodson and holding them to their average of 74 yards combined. Wallace and the Aggies offensive line did a great job protecting for McGee and allowed just one sack against a tough Jayhawks defense.
#21 California at #4 Arizona State
Game Result: Arizona State 31 | California 20
The Matchup: California jumped out to an early 13 - 0 lead in the first quarter, but Arizona State proved to be too much in the end and defeated the Golden Bears, 31-20. Cal's senior receiver Lavelle Hawkins has had a great season thus far, but he didn't have one of his better statistical games against the Sun Devils. He had five receptions for 30 yards, but had a touchdown erased early in the second quarter. At the ASU seven-yard line, Cal's quarterback Nate Longshore found Hawkins on an out pattern, which was made possible by a DeSean Jackson pick at the one-yard line. Hawkins caught the pass but knew it was coming back when he saw the flag in the air. On the ensuing play, with Cal at the ASU 21-yard line after the pass interference call, Longshore found the culprit of the interference call, Jackson, for 21-yard touchdown strike. The Sun Devils defense played well after Jackson's touchdown and didn't allow Cal to score the rest of the game. ASU's star safety Josh Barrett had a nice game, as he played well against the run and led his team in tackles against Cal. Barrett had seven tackles, two for a loss, but wasn't a major factor in coverage. This was a huge conference win for the fourth-ranked Sun Devils, as they're now 5-0 in the Pac-10, in their quest for a national championship.
Houston at UTEP
Game Result: Houston 34 | UTEP 31
The Matchup: The Houston offense usually likes to attack the opposition through the air, but this game was all about the running game. Senior running back Anthony Aldridge has been great all season long and was dominant in this contest, as he rushed for 204 yards on 27 carries. But the Cougars managed to get their biggest playmaker involved, receiver Donnie Avery. Avery didn't have one of his best games, but he caught five passes for 48 yards. Avery, just two weeks ago, had 13 receptions for 346 yards and two touchdowns against Rice. UTEP's safety Quintin Demps, who plays an all around game, had three tackles, one of which was in defense against Avery. Demps also played a key role in the return game for the Miners. He fielded four punts for 81 yards, which included a 29-yard return and two kickoffs for 21 yards.
Keep An Eye On...
Anthony Aldridge, RB - Houston (Sr.): At 5-foot-9, 170-pounds, Aldridge isn't the biggest running back in the country, but he's one of the most elusive and versatile backs you've never heard of. In addition to his 204 yards rushing against UTEP, Aldridge also caught six passes for 43 yards. So far this season, including his big game against the Miners defense, Aldridge has totaled 1,063 yards on 161 carries and nine touchdowns. Not to mention his 31 receptions for 341 yards and four touchdowns. At his size, he will most likely be a situational running back at the next level. But in those situations, when he's in the backfield, Aldridge is a playmaker that defenses have to game plan against.