2018 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 3



This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2018 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2018 NFL Draft Stock page.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.


Other Weeks:
 
USC img   Texas img
USC 27, Texas 24
Updated Sept. 16, 2017

  • USC quarterback Sam Darnold has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to lead USC back into the National Championship picture this season. The Trojans were almost knocked off in this contest, but Darnold battled and made enough plays to help guide his team to an overtime victory. 

    At the end of the first quarter, Darnold scrambled away from blitzing linebacker Anthony Wheeler, and should have thrown the ball away, but he hesitated and Wheeler chased him down for the sack. Just before the half, Darnold made an excellent play. He started out looking to his left before pump faking, climbing the pocket while moving his eyes across the field, and then tossing a well-placed pass that threw open Deontay Burnett for a touchdown. Darnold put the pass right on the money about 30 yards downfield. 

    At the end of the second quarter, Darnold had a pass that was on the money hit his receiver in the hands and deflect up in the air. The ball was picked off and returned for an interception in some bad luck for Darnold. On the final play of the half with no time on the clock, Darnold scrambled and found his back Ronald Jones wide open in the middle of the field. Jones was able to make some defenders miss and get a few blocks to break down the field for a 56-yard touchdown. 

    Darnold threw another interception early in the fourth quarter, but this one was clearly his fault. Darnold had a tight end wide open in the middle of the field, but he didn't get his feet set and threw off his back foot. The ball sailed and floated right to Texas safety Deshawn Elliott for the pick. It was a terrible pass by Darnold and very uncharacteristic for him. On the next drive, Elliott dropped an would-be interception after he read the eyes of Darnold. 

    With the game on the line, Darnold moved the ball down the field, ripping it to open receivers in 45 seconds to move the ball for a game-tying field goal. At midfield, Darnold made a superb play to avoid an edge rusher who was running free. Darnold climbed the pocket before throwing a jump pass to a receiver to get the Trojans set up to tie the game with a field goal and force overtime. In the first overtime, Darnold threw a perfect pass to an open Burnett for a score. 

    Darnold was 28-of-49 for 397 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Longhorns. Overall, this wasn't his best tape as Texas was able to knock him off his game and force some uncharacteristic mistakes from him. Still, Darnold made some great throws that displayed his accuracy, ball placement, anticipation, and mobility within the pocket to help avoid the rush. Darnold was able to do enough to get his team a tough victory, so the bottom line is this tape shouldn't hurt Darnold's draft grade at the end of the day. 

    >
  • Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson is one of the most athletically gifted players in the country, but he hasn't always played up to his skill set. Jefferson made some quality plays against USC to illustrate his rare ability. 

    In the third quarter, Jefferson showed great speed to run across the field and then tackle a receiver along the sideline about 20 yards downfield. Shortly later, Jefferson made a nice play in pursuit with a hard open-field tackle on a third down to get his defense off the field. Early in the fourth quarter, Jefferson shot behind the line to notch a tackle for a loss. A few plays later, he contributed to a tackle coming from zone coverage to take a receiver down and force USC's offense back to the bench. In the fourth quarter, Jefferson fired through the hole to get a hard tackle for a loss.

    This was a solid tape for Jefferson that showed better consistency than his Week 1 performance against Maryland. Jefferson is a first-round athlete, but he needs to produce more in the weeks to come in order to be a Thursday night pick. 

  • USC cornerback Iman Marshall is one of the top cornerback prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, but he didn't have a performance that would indicate that. In the second quarter, Marshall got away with a holding as Texas wide receiver Collin Johnson would have had him beat deep down the sideline if it weren't for the hold. Just before the half, Marshall had a lot of contact on Johnson, but the big wideout was able to out-fight Johnson for a back-shoulder reception. 

    Johnson beat the jam of Marshall at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter to get a step of separation running down the sideline. The 6-foot-6 Johnson laid out to make a diving catch for 24 yards to finish the play. 

    While this tape doesn't help Marshall, he was going against a wideout who is a potential first-rounder for the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson is freakishly big and presents a size mismatch against just about any cornerback in college football or the NFL. This wasn't a good tape from Marshall, but it shouldn't be a huge negative on his draft grade. 

  • Texas left tackle Connor Williams is one of the top tackle prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft, but unfortunately, this was the last time that evaluators will get a chance to watch Williams for some time, who went down with an injury at the start of the second quarter. It turned out to be a torn meniscus in his left knee along with a sprain of a few knee ligaments. Williams will have surgery and is said to be out indefinitely. The injury could have a huge impact on his draft grade, so his status will be watched closely. 

  • USC edge defender Porter Gustin is another draft prospect who sustained a potentially serious injury in this game. Just before the half, Gustin had an excellent rush using speed to get upfield and then dipped under the right tackle to get a sack. Gustin repeated the same routine on the next snap to get another sack. 

    Unfortunately, that was the last noteworthy play from Gustin in the game as he didn't play in the second half. USC stated it was because of a toe surgery that Gustin had earlier in the week before the game, and afterward, the program announced that Gustin has a bicep injury that was feared to be a tear. His status is worth monitoring.






Clemson img   Louisville img
Clemson 47, Louisville 21
Updated Sept. 16, 2017


  • Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was tremendous in the firs two weeks of the season, but his prolific play came to an end as Clemson's talented defense was able to slow up the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. After two punts, Jackson led Louisville down the field, using his feet to rip off some yardage before rolling out and throwing a well placed jump ball to his tight end in the end zone for an 11-yard score. While that drive was good, Jackson otherwise was off the mark and inaccurate in the first half. Clemson was harassing him, and Jackson looked uncomfortable in the pocket. That led to him having consistent overthrows of his receivers as he sprayed the ball around the field. At halftime, Jackson was only 8-of-20 for 83 yards through the air.

    After the break, Jackson had a chunk run called back by a penalty. He then forced a throw to a well-covered receiver as Jackson was fooled by Clemson's coverage. Cornerback Dorian O'Daniel sunk underneath a receiver and made an easy interception as Jackson forced the pass. O'Daniel streaked down the field for a 45-yard pick-six.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Jackson made a nice play to dodge a defender and scramble outside the pocket before lofting in a 36-yard touchdown pass to a wide open receiver. Jackson added another touchdown pass in garbage time and a 78-yard completion in busted coverage in the final two minutes of the game. He also had an easy interception dropped in what could easily have been a 99-yard pick-six. Jackson finished completing 21-of-42 for 317 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

    Overall, this tape is going to hurt Jackson's draft grade. He was inaccurate as a passer when the game was close. A lot of Jackson's completions and yards came in garbage time. There is no doubt that Jackson is a great athlete. He is a quick-twitch runner who has a powerful arm. However he needs more refinement for the NFL in terms of being an accurate pocket passer.

  • Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was the signal-caller who really shined in this high profile game. Bryant has ripped defenses in his first three games as a starter and that continued against Louisville as Bryant completed 22-of-32 passes for 316 yards with a touchdown. Bryant also ran for 26 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. Bryant made some beautiful passes downfield laying out some pretty touch throws. He dropped in some accurate balls into tight windows to receivers Ray Ray McFloud, Hunter Renfrow and Deon Cain. Bryant (6-4, 220) has only three games of experience but he keeps this level of play up he's going to emerge as an early-round prospect for the NFL.

  • The only Louisville defender who impressed was edge rusher James Hearns. Scouting sources have told me that they think Hearns has early-round potential, and he showed it against the Tigers. Midway through the first quarter, Hearns burned the right tackle with a spin move to the inside to start a third-down sack that got his defense off the field. Hearns was seeing a lot of double teams after that play before Louisville started moving Hearns around. In the third quarter, Hearns used speed to get by the left tackle and track down Bryant for his second sack. This was a nice bounce-back performance for Hearns after an unimpressive game a week ago against North Carolina.





    Mississippi State img   LSU img
    Mississippi State 37, LSU 7
    Updated Sept. 16, 2017


  • LSU edge rusher Arden Key was making his season debut as he missed the first two games while working his way back from a shoulder injury. Entering the season, team sources said they had Key as the No. 1 prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft. Key was seeing a tough challenge to open his season as Mississippi State has pro prospects in dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and left tackle Martinas Rankin.

    Key was pretty quiet in the early going while rotating in and out of the game. In the final minute before halftime, Key made a nice play in run defense to set the edge and set up tackle of no gain for teammate Christian LaCouture. A few plays later, Key used his speed to run around the corner of the right tackle. Key showed a second gear of explosion to close and agility to get turned back toward the line of scrimmage. He jumped on the back of Fitzgerald to get his first sack of the 2017 season. Key got in on a goal-line tackle of Fitzgerald a few plays later.

    Midway through the third quarter, Key had a good pressure and a near sack causing Fitzgerald to throw the pass away. With Key coming off an injury, LSU rotated him out of the game a fair amount and he was on a pitch count. With Mississippi State opening a big lead and then running the ball, that hurt Key's playing time even more. Overall, this was a fine start to the season, as Key flashed his special pass-rushing skills.

  • Rankin played well for Mississippi State. He was solid at protecting Fitzgerald while also getting a push in the ground game. In the first quarter, Rankin pulled to hit a block at the second level for a 16-yard gain. Key then rocked Rankin back and then cut inside to get to Fitzgerlad with a hard shot just after the ball was released. Aside from that play, Rankin was very reliable in pass protection. If he continues to play well throughout the season, he could rise into a late first-rounder and left tackle candidate.

  • Fitzgerald was solid to lead Mississippi State to an impressive win over the 12th-ranked team in the nation. Early in the second quarter, Fitzgerald led a drive with some short passes before showing his power to run up the middle and leap over the scrum to get the ball across the goal line for the first score of the game. Only 10 seconds before halftime, Fitzgerald rolled out before cutting downfield to dive into the end zone with a 3-yard score.

    As a passer, Fitzgerald put the ball in the end zone with a few throws. With five minutes remaining in the third, Mississippi State ran a play-action fake that got a receiver wide open for an easy 45-yard touchdown pass from Fitzgerald in busted coverage. Fitzgerald later threw another touchdown pass this time from 20 yards out. He rolled to his right and had a receiver streaking open down the seam. Fitzgerald lofted a touch pass in to put Mississippi State up 37-7. Fitzgerald finished completing 15-of-23 passes for 180 yards with two touchdowns. He ran for 88 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns.

    For a college quarterback, this was an excellent performance. From an NFL scouting perspective, it was rather average. Fitzgerald made a few throws to the perimeter but his passes were generally short throws to open receivers. He is going to need to show more as a pocket passer in order to be early-round pick.

  • LSU running back Derrius Guice was held in check by the Mississippi State defense as he ran for 76 yards on 15 carries. In the second quarter, Guice got going breaking a run to the outside to dart downfield for a 25-yard gain. That was his longest run of the night. With Mississippi State opening up a big lead, LSU wasn't able to establish the run and get Guice going. This game shouldn't have an impact on his round grade.

  • LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark has gotten some media buzz in recent weeks, but he was held to three receptions for 23 yards against Mississippi State. Early in the first quarter, Chark got open for a 66-yard touchdown pass running down the sideline, but the score was called back as a different receiver was called for a terrible offensive pass interference penalty. The flag robbed Chark of the score and the receiver just had a collision while running his route. It was a horrible call. In the third quarter, Chark got open downfield for a long completion that could have had him racing to the end zone for a 78-yard touchdown but Chark dropped the pass. Overall, this was a mixed outing for Chark.





    Notre Dame img   Boston College img
    Notre Dame 49, Boston College 20
    Updated Sept. 16, 2017


  • There was the potential for a great draft matchup in this game with Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey going against Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry. Both are likely first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. McGlinchey has a first-round talent next to him in guard Quenton Nelson, and Landry is one of the best pass rushers they could face all season. Unfortunately, Landry battle McGlinchey very much as he typically lined up at left defensive end over the right tackle.

    McGlinchey and Nelson were definitely the more impressive players in this contest. In the first quarter Notre Dame got a 65-yard run as McGlinchey, Nelson, and tight end Durham Smythe opened up a huge hole for their back.

    That set the tone for the game as the Fighting Irish controlled the line of scrimmage. McGlinchey and Nelson were constantly blasting defenders back and opening holes. Nelson is a true bulldozer at the point of attack who can ride defenders around the field. Many left tackles are finesse players, but McGlinchey is an exception, as he is a tough run blocker.

    In the third quarter, Notre Dame went behind Nelson on third-and-goal from the one to get the score. Nelson used his power to get a push and allow his back to get across the goal line. The great play by the Fighting Irish offensive line led to a prolific game running the ball. Notre Dame running back Josh Adams ran for 229 yards on 18 carries while quarterback Brandon Whimbush ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns. Notre Dame had a total of seven rushing touchdowns against Boston College.

    Nelson was absolutely dominant at the point of attack. This tape was evidence of why he is the top guard prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft and deserving of being a first-round pick. McGlinchey also will have this tape to help his chances of being a Thursday night selection.

  • On the majority of his plays, Landry was stationed over the right tackle. In the second quarter, Landry lined up over McGlinchey at right end on a few plays, and McGlinchey negated his speed rush. In the third quarter, Landry lined up over McGlinchey on a second-and-goal play that was a touchdown run to the other side. McGlinchey and Nelson buried Landry on the play, with Nelson tossing Landry around the field with ease.

    Landry also had some ugly plays in run defense. For example, in the third quarter, Landry was pushed back and couldn't shed the block of a tight end while the back went right by him to get downfield for a 36-yard run. In the fourth quarter, Landry was juked at the point of attack by the Wimbush on a long touchdown run. For a first-round edge defender, it was disappointing to see Landry not break down and make that tackle in space.

    Landry almost had a sack burning the right tackle with a speed rush in the second quarter, but other than that play, this was an ugly tape for Landry. He got pushed around in the ground game and didn't produce impact plays in the pass rush. This tape made Landry look more like a late first-rounder who is a better fit in a 3-4 defense for the NFL. He could be undersized and lack strength to hold up as a base end in a 4-3 defense.

  • Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown has a high first-round skill set, but he is having a frustrating season. While Brandon Wimbush ran for over 200 yards, he was awful passing the ball and could not take advantage of his stud receiver. St. Brown's inept quarterback was only 11-of-24 for 96 yards with an interception in this game. Wimbush was terribly inaccurate. St. Brown was open on a deep out and a crossing route close to the end zone, and both plays saw Wimbush sail the ball incomplete over his 6-foot-5 receiver.

    St. Brown was seeing a lot of double coverage, just like he was last week against Georgia. He finished with only one catch for three yards. In the fourth quarter, St. Brown hit a good block downfield to help spring Wimbush on a long touchdown run. The pathetic passing of Wimbush could put a big damper on St. Brown's draft grade if he ends this year with meager production.




    Florida img   Tennessee img
    Florida 26, Tennessee 20
    Updated Sept. 16, 2017


  • Unfortunately, a lot of the top draft-eligible talent was out of this game. Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett remain suspended, while Tennessee was without junior wide receiver Jauan Jennings after he suffered an arm injury in the season opener.

    The star of this game was Tennessee running back John Kelly. Kelly has taken over replacing Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd with impressive results for the junior from Detroit. In the season opener, he scored four touchdowns against Georgia Tech, but Kelly was even better versus the Gators. Kelly showed impressive quickness at the point of attack to hit the hole and accelerate to the second level. He also was very good as a receiver out of the backfield, showing smooth athleticism as a route-runner.

    Even though Kelly (5-9, 205) isn't a heavy back, he runs with power, as he is put together well. Kelly powered through a ton of tackles in the second half, running through Gator defenders and putting his team back in the game. Kelly had a 38-yard touchdown run to cut Florida's lead, but Kelly showed bad judgment with a taunting penalty after the score. That gifted Florida a short field that they turned into points. Kelly then had more tough runs to get Tennessee in position for a game-tying field goal.

    Kelly finished with 141 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown while catching six passes for 96 yards. This was a phenomenal game from Kelly, as he showed NFL evaluators that he has a serious combination of quickness, athleticism, toughness and versatility. Kelly's stock is definitely on the rise with how he is playing as a junior.

  • Florida senior slot cornerback Duke Dawson had an eventful start to the season against Michigan with a pick-six. He kept up his active play against Tennessee. In the first half, Dawson almost had an interception, but slapped the ball away. Dawson was in on a lot of tackles and was a willing run defender out of the slot.

    Midway through the third quarter, Dawson had an interesting goal-line series. He dropped an interception in the end zone that would have been huge for the Gators. There was a taunting penalty after that play that gave Tennessee a first down. Dawson was then beaten for some separation on a back-shoulder throw, but the Tennessee receiver dropped a touchdown. The next play, Dawson made an open-field tackle inside the five to force a third-down play. A Tennessee receiver ran a terrible route and that let Dawson cut underneath to make a point saving interception at the 1-yard line. That turned out to be a huge impact play for the Gators.

    In the fourth quarter, Kelly ran through a few tackle attempts by Dawson. He is a willing run defender but size limitations hurt him against power backs. Dawson is a solid slot corner prospect for the NFL who could be a nice mid-round pick.

  • Florida junior left tackle Martez Ivey had an underwhelming season opener against Michigan. Ivey played better against Tennessee, as he was more sound in pass protection. He can be a little too finesse in pass protection, as he lets rushers get upfield too much. Ivey has quick feet and athleticism on the edge, but he could use more strength for the NFL.

  • Florida edge rusher Jordan Sherit could be a nice day-three pick as a situational edge rusher for the NFL. He had a strong debut against Michigan and was active against Tennessee. Sherit drew a holding penalty, made a clutch open field tackle near the end zone to force a field goal, and made a tackle for a loss firing into the backfield to stop a back.

  • Tennessee tight end Ethan Wolf is a balanced tight end who can contribute as a blocker or receiver. He had some good blocks to spring Kelly. With just five minutes remaining in the game, Wolf ran a nice route to get open running into the end zone. He secured the catch with a safety coming over the top for a 28-yard touchdown that cut Florida's lead to 20-17. Wolf finished with three receptions for 37 yards.

    Wolf looks more like a backup rotational tight end rather than a three-down starter in the NFL. On a lot of plays, he struggles to get separation in man coverage, but he is athletic enough to contribute some as a receiver and find soft spots in zone coverage. Wolf looks like a mid-round talent for the 2018 NFL Draft.





    Memphis img   UCLA img
    Memphis 48, UCLA 45
    Updated Sept. 16, 2017


  • UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen had an electric start to the season, leading one of the most prolific comebacks in college football history in Week 1. He almost had another comeback win, but came up short on the road at Memphis. Rosen had some great passes, but also made some critical mistakes that were huge plays in letting his team get upset by Memphis.

    Early on in the first quarter, Rosen threw a dart into a tight window to a convert a third-and-16 and set up a short touchdown run. The only bad part of the play was Rosen staring down his receiver, but Rosen threw a frozen rope to get the better of tight coverage.

    In the second quarter in a goal line situation, Rosen worked under center at the 5-yard line. He rolled out on a play-action bootleg to throw a short touchdown pass. Rosen then made a bad decision to throw off his back foot into double coverage deep down the field. The pass was like a punt that was thrown completely up for grabs. It fell incomplete, but that was a play that Rosen should have thrown away, as it easily could have been intercepted.

    Just before the half, Rosen had a 1-yard touchdown run as Memphis completely bought a play fake and Rosen strolled into the end zone with a rare rushing touchdown for the pocket passer. Rosen then threw a perfect bomb to hit his receiver in stride for a 65-yard touchdown. Rosen took the snap under center, did a play-action fake before laying out the deep ball about 45 yards downfield. That score cut Memphis lead to 34-31.

    After getting in the face of his defense to get the ball back for him, Rosen made a terrible decision. Rosen scrambled to his right before throwing back across the field. A linebacker jumped the pass to easily pick it off. He raced down the field for a pick-six. It was Rosen's first interception of the season and a painful one for the Bruins. It shouldn't have been his first pick of the year, as Rosen had a few interceptions dropped in the season opener against Texas A&M.

    Rosen came back to quickly move the ball down the field before lofting in a pretty back-shoulder touchdown pass from 21 yards out. Backed up in his own end zone, Rosen lofted in a perfect touch pass to tight end Caleb Wilson for a gain of almost 30. He kept ripping the ball down the field before finding tight end Austin Roberts down the seam for a 22-yard touchdown to finish off an impressive 6-play, 99-yard drive.

    With Memphis up 48-45 midway through the fourth quarter, Rosen had UCLA in the red zone. Rosen was under pressure and threw a jump pass to a receiver to avoid a sack. The receiver wasn't on the same page, as he kept running rather than stopping his route like Rosen thought he would. That led to an interception for Memphis returned to midfield. The final possession to try to tie the game stalled out around midfield. Rosen completed 34-of-56 passes for 463 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

    This tape showed NFL evaluators some pro style attributes to Rosen. While he works from shotgun on the majority of his plays, he also takes some snaps from under center, and that is becoming a rare thing to see in college football. Rosen isn't a running threat at quarterback, but he did execute some bootlegs and rollouts to make throws on the run. Rosen had a number of bad decisions that really hurt his team. He was careless with ball security on a number of plays that eventually came back to bite UCLA. Rosen showed that he has a great arm, throws a tight spiral, and is a lethal pocket passer, but needs to improve his ball security and decision-making.

  • Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson is a prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft, and he really helped himself against UCLA. On his first drive of the game after a long run of 89 yards set up Ferguson at the goal line, he finished it with a bootleg pass to a crossing receiver in the end zone. Ferguson was then inaccurate on a touch pass as he had a back streaking down the field on a wheel route open for what could have been a huge play for Memphis.

    Midway through the first half, Ferguson had an interception on a deflected pass that his receiver should have caught. Memphis came back to get a long touchdown on a screen pass that was an easy toss for Ferguson. Ferguson then made a nice play to move his eyes and stop a rollout that was well defended. He reset and delivered a good throw to his receiver for a gain of about 30 yards. To end that drive, Ferguson took a snap from under center and set up a screen. That led to a 42-yard touchdown for Memphis.

    Ferguson threw a well placed 41-yard deep ball Anthony Miller to beat tight coverage right before halftime. His receiver made an incredible play, hauling in a diving reception as Miller completely laid out for the ball. The next play, Ferguson went back to Miller as he led his receiver into the end zone past the cornerback for a 33-yard touchdown. It was a perfect pass by Ferguson with Miller running a pretty route.

    After the half, Ferguson was in a groove, throwing some passes with precision downfield. He tossed his fifth touchdown pass of the game to Miller as the wideout fought through defenders to reach the ball across the goal line. With UCLA leading 45-41, Miller rewarded Ferguson on a slant as he made a great hands catch behind him before slipping away from a few tacklers and breaking down field for a good gain. It was a great play by Miller. Ferguson rolled out to throw what would be the game-winning touchdown pass.

    Ferguson competed 23-of38 for 398 yards with six touchdowns and an interception. He too had a few risky decisions and got lucky on a couple of those plays. Still, this was an impressive performance from Ferguson. He made some excellent touch passes from the pocket with accuracy and precision. Ferguson showed some field vision and a quality skill set. This tape will definitely help his draft grade.

  • This was a great tape from Miller that will help his draft grade immensely. He absolutely dominated the UCLA secondary, as they had no defender that could contain him. Miller showed impressive route-running with speed to get separation, very good hands, run-after-the-catch skills, and a gritty style of play. In the ground game, Miller is a fighter who blocks through the whistle. Miller totaled nine receptions for 185 yards with two touchdowns.

    With how Miller played against UCLA, the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder showed that he could be a second-day candidate as a slot receiver prospect for the NFL. With his quickness, shifty moves, hands, and route-running, Miller gave proof that he could be a weapon out of the slot. This tape will help send Miller's stock up significantly.





    Oklahoma State img   Pittsburgh img
    Oklahoma State 59, Pittsburgh 21
    Updated Sept. 16, 2017


  • Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington would probably have been going against one of the top safeties for the 2018 NFL Draft in Pittsburgh's Jordan Whitehead, but unfortunately Whitehead was serving the final game of a suspension to open the season. Even if Whitehead was on the field, that probably wouldn't have changed the result as the Cowboys dominated Pitt from start to finish.

    To start the game, Rudolph had a well-thrown deep ball that flew through the hands of his receivers incomplete. He came back to find a receiver running wide open down the seam for a 59-yard touchdown in busted coverage.

    Late in the first quarter, Rudolph made a tremendous play. He shed two tackles to buy time and avoid the sack. Rudolph then reset his feet and delivered a pass downfield to his receiver knowing he was about to get lit up by a defender closing on him. The receiver made the catch and did the rest breaking a few tackles while running another 40 yards or so for a 69-yard touchdown. Rudolph then had a well-placed ball to find a receiver open crossing in the front of the end zone to complete an 8-yard touchdown pass.

    Rudolph was out of the game in the early going of the second half. He finished the game completing 23-of-32 passes for 497 yards with five touchdowns. Rudolph showed good size, a quality arm, escapability and better accuracy than last year, fitting some balls into tight windows. Rudolph has to improve his anticipation. He has to see receivers break open rather than throwing them open or leading them open. In college, that isn't a big deal because his spread system gets targets wide open, but in the NFL, a lack of anticipation is a big weakness for a signal-caller.

    There will be some evaluators who really like Rudolph and feel their team can improve some of his weaknesses. Rudolph's stats are vastly inflated by his college system and an easy schedule that lacks even decent defenses. In this evaluator's opinion, Rudolph is more of a second-day prospect rather than a Thursday night pick.

  • Washington had his way with Pitt's secondary, recording five receptions for 124 yards. In the second quarter, Washington made a superb hands catch with a defensive back draped all over him. Washington then made a 31-yard reception over a cornerback down the sideline. After the half, Washington got away with a push-off for a gain of almost 40 yards downfield. Washington is having a good senior year, but hasn't been challenged by NFL cornerback talent yet.

  • Pitt wide receiver Jester Weah is on the Senior Bowl watch list and the former track athlete is supposed to be Pitt's leading receiver. However, he was shut out against Oklahoma State. In the first quarter, Weah was open running down the field for a 51-yard touchdown but Max Browne overthrew him. Weah ran a nice route with a stop and go to burn the man coverage. That was the only noteworthy play from Weah against Oklahoma State. Even in garbage time, he wasn't producing receptions or yards against backups. This tape won't help Weah to get an invitation to Mobile or the East-West Shrine in St. Petersburg.


    Other Weeks:

    2018 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 1
    2018 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 2
    2018 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 3
    2018 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 4





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