2013 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps - Week 6
This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2013 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2013 NFL Draft Stock page.
By Charlie Campbell.
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Oregon 52, Washington 21
There were a few good prospects worth watching in Oregon's romp over Washington. In Week 5 of the college football season, Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant had a huge night to help Washington pull off an upset of Stanford. Trufant was going to see the best point machine he'll play all year in Oregon's talented offense.
Trufant maintained tight man coverage throughout the night. He made a huge play early on to help stop an Oregon drive. Trufant had perfect coverage on his receiver and tipped the ball up in the air. Teammate Shaq Thompson then made a diving interception for Washington. Trufant blew up a wide receiver screen for no gain later in the second quarter.
Trufant had an ugly play in the second quarter. He first let Josh Huff make a catch in zone and was then fought off with stiff arm for 10 more yards and a touchdown. It was a poor tackling attempt in the open field. Trufant did well against the Ducks in coverage for the most part and chipped in some stops. He totaled five tackles and a pass broken up. This game shouldn't hurt his stock, but won't help it significantly either. Trufant looks like a second-rounder right now.
Another potential defensive Day 2 prospect is Oregon defensive end/outside linebacker Dion Jordan. He had a quiet outing against the Huskies. The Ducks lined up the 6-foot-7, 243-pounder as a defensive end and outside linebacker. He was dropped into coverage on a number of passing plays and did pretty well getting depth in his drop. Jordan is a good athlete in the open field for such a large defender.
The drawback to using Jordan in the open field is that he has reduced opportunities to get after the signal-caller. Jordan did chase down Washington quarterback Keith Price on a scramble and slap the ball out while tackling the quarterback, though. The ball rolled out of bounds, but it was still a nice pursuit play from Jordan. He finished with two tackles and that forced fumble.
Jordan needs to add weight and strength to shed blocks. Linemen can have success when they get their hands on him. He is only an NFL fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker unless he can add 20 pounds.
Oregon senior running back Kenjon Barner has had a hard time standing out in college even though he is a talented back. Barner used to be behind LaMichael James, who was previously the Ducks' star back. Now sophomore De'Anthony Thomas receives most of the attention, but Barner is having a quality senior year and looked good against the Huskies.
Oregon used Barner to run along the perimeter and straight at Washington. He ran well up the middle, too. Barner obviously has special speed and a burst to hit the hole. He also has good vision and phenomenal patience. Barner does a superb job of letting his blockers get to a spot and waiting to hit the accelerator until they get in position to hit their blocks.
Barner fumbled the ball away in the third quarter, but whistles saved him as he was ruled to have had his forward progress stopped. Barner totaled 122 yards on 20 carries. His longest run was only 11 yards.
Barner (5-11, 195) is a running back who needs lanes. He doesn't get yards after contact and is not going to power out of tackles. Barner's role in the NFL has to be as a back who operates primarily in spread formations and the passing game. He could run out of the I, but won't move the pile or shed tackles, so that puts pressure on his blockers to be flawless in order to get a good gain on the play. Barner looks like a mid-rounder at the moment.
West Virginia 48, Texas 45
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has been the hottest draft prospect in college football this year after starting the season on fire. He has been lighting up defenses with wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. Smith had not, up to this point, played a challenging defense with a true pass rush. That was set to change as Texas has potential first-round picks in defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat. The Longhorns also feature early-round picks in their secondary with cornerback Carrington Byndom and safety Kenny Vaccaro.
Smith moved the ball well ealry on. He threw a quick slant to Bailey, who had beaten Byndom on the play for a short touchdown on West Virginia's first drive. Smith hit Austin for a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Mountaineers wide receiver sat down in the middle of the zone and raced through the open field for the score.
Texas started ramping up the pass rush before halftim, and Smith wasn't getting the ball out as quickly. Jeffcoat started a sack after cutting to the inside and running down Smith. The pass rush got to him again a short time later when Okafor beat the right tackle with a speed rush. He dropped his shoulder to get leverage and planted Smith on his back. The hit forced the ball out and Jackson recovered it just over the goal line for a Longhorns touchdown.
Smith threw some darts to move the ball for a touchdown in the third quarter. He threw a bullet to Bailey in the back of the end zone who beat Byndom again. The corner was also late coming over in zone on a throw to Austin that converted a fourth down. Smith and Bailey hooked up for another touchdown on a curl route. Byndom was in zone and passed the receiver off to the safety, and Smith immediately hit his wide out for a score.
Halfway through the fourth quarter with Texas down by three, the Longhorn defensive ends came alive. Jeffcoat drew a holding penalty after he fired by the left tackle on a run. But on the next snap, Okafor made a game-changing play. He bull-rushed the right tackle straight into the Smith. As Okafor fell to the ground, he reached out and slapped the ball out of Smith's hand. Texas recovered the ball at West Virginia's 12-yard line, but missed the field goal attempt.
Smith bounced back to move the ball with some passes, but the Mountaineers locked up their road win on the ground with a potent rushing attack. Jeffcoat and Okafor weren't making a real impact in run defense. Smith finished the night 25-of-35 for 268 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. It was a highly efficient outing as a passer, and the senior made plays he needed to make. This performance should help solidify his standing as an early first-rounder.
Okafor and Jeffcoat look like future first-rounders because of their pass-rush ability, but both could stand to improve their run defense. Two sack-fumbles in this tape should really help Okafor's stock.
Vaccaro had a good game and made his presence felt. He had a nice tackle in run support. The safery also got in on a tackle for a loss on a busted play by the offense. He also had two nice open field tackles on Austin during the fourth quarter. One came on a reverse where Vaccaro crossed the field to trip up Austin before he broke the carry to the open field.
Vaccaro is a reliable tackler who has good instincts and covers a lot of ground. This was a solid performance for the junior, who performed well against the best offense he'll see all season. It should help his draft stock.
Aside from being beaten for those touchdowns, Byndom missed a tackle on Bailey in the open field. It was a rough night for Byndom that will hurt his draft standing.
South Carolina 35, Georgia 7
Some of the best draft prospects in the nation squared off in South Carolina as the Gamecocks hosted the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia has a defense loaded with NFL talent including one of the top defenders in the nation, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. Nose tackle John Jenkins and middle linebacker Alec Ogltree are also potential first-rounders. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore had the tough task of running against them, but he is the consensus top running back in the nation and a potential first-round pick.
Lattimore moved the ball well in the first half as the Gamecocks opened up a huge lead. He plunged into the end zone for a short touchdown in the third quarter. Lattimore ran with power and quickness throughout the evening. He picked up yards after contact and ran the bull with authority. The junior displayed excellent vision and patience against the Bulldogs.
Lattimore totaled 109 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. He also caught two passes for 24 yards. It was an impressive game that confirms Lattimore's high draft grade, especially when you consider he still isn't all the way back from his 2011 knee injury.
Jarvis Jones had his worst game of the season. He made a bad mistake on a read option, following Lattimore instead of following the ball. That allowed quarterback Connor Shaw to run for a big gain through the gap that Jones vacated. He had a coverage sack in the second quarter after he exploded into the backfield. Shaw held the ball way too long and there was no reason for Jones to have gotten a sack on that play.
Georgia's respect for the South Carolina's running ability kept Jones holding his ground off the snap or dropping into coverage. He didn't rush the passer often in the first half. Jones got in on some run stops, but had an ugly play in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-1 when he bit on a hard count and jumped offsides to give the Gamecocks a first down.
Jones wasn't his normal disruptive self, but South Carolina's offense deserves a lot of credit for that. Shaw only threw 10 passes versus the Bulldogs, so Jones didn't see many pass-rushing opportunities. The junior remains a high first-rounder.
John Jenkins was beating his blockers in the first half, but the ball was going away from him. He was a load at the line of scrimmage when he was on the field. One criticism of Jenkins would be his conditioning. The senior was on the sideline quite a bit, and if he could get in better shape that would allow him to log a higher snap count.
The Bulldogs can get away with it because they have another excellent nose tackle, Kwame Geathers, they can rotate into the game, but in the NFL, Jenkins' team may not have that luxury. His pro team will want him to be more than a rotational player, especially if he remains as a nose tackle in a 3-4. Jenkins looks a future first-rounder.
South Carolina senior defensive end Devin Taylor had a quality outing. He had a hit on Murray in the third quarter to force an incompletion. Taylor held up well in the ground game. He got some pass pressure, but never was quick enough to record a sack. Taylor may best in the NFL as a 3-4 defensive end and looks like a third or fourth-rounder right now.
The Bulldogs two well-known safeties, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, didn't have good performances. Williams was burned in zone coverage by a deep receiver. He made a dumb mistake watching the tight end, who was covered well by a teammate, and neglecting his assignment to pick up receivers running deep. That allowed a huge gain for the Gamecocks. Rambo was beat for a jump ball early in the first quarter. Wide receiver Damiere Byrd had steps on Rambo, but Byrd beat him for the underthrown ball. Both Rambo and Williams look like potential second-day selections.
The prospect who could've hurt his stock the most in South Carolina's victory was Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. He was completely ineffective against the Gamecocks. Murray saw a steady pass rush, but didn't show the ability to handle a rush and throw accurately. He had a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage and linebacker Devonte Holloman made a diving interception. Murray came close to a few other interceptions aside from that play. He finished 11-of-31 for 109 yards and an interception. Murray should return for his senior season next year.
Florida 14, LSU 6
There was a ton of NFL talent on the field in this SEC grudge match between LSU and Florida. This wasn't a game to see high-powered offense, but there were plenty of future NFL draft picks on display. The two players who helped their stock the most were Gators safety Matt Elam and running back Mike Gillislee.
Elam was all over the field for Florida. He was laying wood and dishing out punishing hits on LSU ball-carriers from start to finish. Elam flew up to the line on one of the first plays of the game and blasted a running back at the line of scrimmage. In one instance, he was over aggressive with a dumb late hit well out of bounds.
Elam made a huge play in the third quarter, chasing down LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham after the Tigers hit him for a bomb. Elam ripped out the ball as he tackled Beckham. The Gators recovered the fumble, and the clutch play negated a 56-yard gain inside the Florida 30-yard line. Elam had a bone-rattling hit just a bit later to stuff a run. He was very disruptive on LSU's final drives to help the Gators finish out the win.
Elam's official stat line may not have big numbers, but he was Florida's defensive MVP in knocking off the fourth-ranked team in the nation. Elam looks like a second-round pick, but if the junior maintains this level play for the rest of the season, he could break into first round consideration.
Gillislee and the offensive line carried the Gators offense. He had tough runs all day to churn out yardage, move the chains and eat up the clock. Gillislee had one long run that was called back on a holding. He also had a tremendous run of four yards on a third-and-1 where he was stuffed two yards short, but charged backward for the yards to get a first down.
Gillislee started ripping off the yards in good chunks during the third quarter. He moved the ball well and charged into the end zone with a 12-yard touchdown. Gillislee did it again early in the fourth quarter when he bounced a run outside for a score. LSU safety Eric Reid took a bad angle and Gillislee cut easily to the outside to run into the end zone.
The senior totaled 146 yards and both of Florida's touchdown on 34 carries against one of the best defenses in the country. He is having a phenomenal season to push his draft stock up from the late-rounds. If Gillislee maintains his current level of play, he could crack the top 60.
Reid had a disappointing game to continue a down season. His pass coverage has been exploited in other games and Florida made him look bad in run defense. Reid took some bad angles and had some weak tackling attempts. He didn't display instincts like Elam to get in position to stop runs for minimal gains. Reid reacted late to a number of runs that he could've limited.
Reid is clearly missing the other secondary starters from last year's defense: Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Taylor. Reid's struggles in pass coverage in earlier games and now in run defense against Florida make him look like a second-round pick rather than a first-rounder.
LSU features a highly rated defensive line with end Barkevious Mingo, tackle Bennie Logan and end Sam Montgomery all having the potential to be high draft picks. Mingo and Mongomery were going against Gators senior left tackle Xavier Nixon. Nixon really struggled against them last year, but he got the better of the matchup this season. Nixon really excelled in the second half in the ground game and this should help his cause to be a second-day pick.
Montgomery and Mingo were being very disruptive early in the game. Montgomery had a nice hit on Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel to force an incompletion. Mingo had a big play just before halftime. He pressured Driskel to help force a sack for Logan. Logan ripped the ball out and Mingo recovered the loose ball inside the Gators 10-yard line.
As the second half wore on and LSU's offense couldn't control the ball, Florida pounded the Tigers' defense. Montgomery, Mingo and Logan were all getting blocked well at the line of scrimmage. Mingo especially was getting blown out of his gap. The Gators also used his speed and aggressiveness against him by letting him get upfield with runs going through his vacated gap. Mingo made a nice play in the fourth quarter when he sat up after getting knocked down to trip up the back.
Florida only threw 12 passes the whole evening, so it was a tough game for the members of LSU's trio to do what they do best: get after the quarterback. All of three of them need to improve their strength at the point of attack. Mingo only weighs 240 pounds and should only be considered as an outside linebacker by NFL scouts. That makes him an unnatural fit in a 4-3 defense, but his lightning speed off the edge will keep him as a future first-rounder. Montgomery and Logan should remain first-rounders.
LSU offensive tackle Alex Hurst has been put to the test this season after starting left tackle Chris Faulk went out for the year with a knee injury. Hurst played well at right tackle early in the season, but the void on the blind side caused the Tigers to move him to the other side. He was starting his second game at left tackle versus the Gators.
Florida targeted and went after Hurst in the early going, regularly sending two rushers into his gap. He did his best to try to block the end and pass him off to the guard to pick up the blitzer, but the guard struggled to make the correct adjustments. That left Hurst too slow to get to the blitzers. It was a tough assignment, but proof that he should be a right tackle or guard in the NFL.
Hurst did okay overall versus the Gators, but LSU's offense couldn't establish any rhythm after its opening drive. This tape won't help Hurst, but it shouldn't hurt him very much considering he is clearly playing out of position.
There were a couple other prospects of note. Florida senior linebackers Jonathan Bostic and Lerentee McCray had excellent games. Both had sacks on blitzes and nice plays in run defense. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd had a quiet game, but the Gators linebackers and Elam led the way to keep the Tigers from scoring a touchdown. Bostic and McCray are having good senior seasons to help their efforts to be mid-round selections.
Wisconsin 31, Illinois 14
Even though these are two disappointing teams, there were four good NFL draft matchups worth watching with Illinois' defense against the Badgers' offense.
Illinois DE Michael Buchanan vs Wisconsin LT Ricky Wagner
Illinois DT Akeem Spence vs Wisconsin C/G Travis Frederick
Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne vs Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis
Illinois OLB Jonathan Brown vs Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Both Wagner (6-6, 317) and Buchanan (6-6, 250) are more finesse players, so this was a rare Big Ten matchup of speed and athleticism. Wagner got the better of the meeting throughout the game. Illinois flipped Buchanan between right and left end, but he didn't record a sack.
Buchanan deflected passes for incompletions on back-to-back plays. The first came from right end, and the second deflection came from left end, this time on third down. He jumped offsides a bit later. Otherwise, Buchanan was held in check. It was an impressive outing for Wagner as he controlled his linemen on the ground and through the air. This tape will help Wagner and hurt Buchanan.
Terry Hawthorne had a nice open field tackle on Jared Abbrederis in the first quarter to stop Wisconsin short of first-down yardage on a third down. Hawthorne later showed his run support when he looped around the line to cut down Ball for a short gain. Hawthorne also had good coverage on a deep ball for Abbrederis that was slapped away for an incompletion.
Abbrederis had a gain of about 12 yards on a pass in front of Hawthorne. The corner went to lay out the fullback on a wheel route in the first quarter, but looked like he knocked himself unconscious. Hawthorne was incorrectly flagged on the play for a personal foul for going helmet-to-helmet, but he had to be driven off the field in an ambulance.
Abbrederis torched Illinois for a 59-yard touchdown with Hawthorne out. He ran a go route down the middle of the field and was wide open. Abbrederis totaled seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Fortunately, Hawthorne was said to be conscious at the hospital before the game ended and have movement and feeling in all of his limbs. This tape should help the defensive back's draft stock, assuming he doesn't have a serious injury.
Brown had a stop for no gain, and he chased down a quarterback run for a loss along the sideline a few plays later. Brown popped running back James White with a big hit at the point of attack. Brown couldn't quite reach White on a screen pass on the next play, and the ball-carrier broke it for a 62-yard touchdown. Brown was a non-factor in run defense in the fourth quarter after that. He flashes big-play ability, but isn't consistent enough on a down-by-down basis. Brown should probably consider returning for his senior season at this point.
Another matchup that went the Badgers way was in the middle of the line. Akeem Spence really struggled, and Travis Frederick had a lot of success moving him out his gap. Frederick was called for a chop block and a snap infraction, but got the better of Spence all afternoon. Both Spence and Frederick should return for their senior seasons.
Montee Ball ran like garbage for three quarters. He was slow to the hole and running without any confidence. Ball finally started to get rolling at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring his 62nd career rushing touchdown on a short run. It was still a nice play as he juked a defender to break into the end zone. Ball thenhad his another touchdown up the middle, going in untouched. Wisconsin's offense was dominating at the point of attack in the final period.
The Badgers ran the clock out with Ball. The senior resembled how he played in 2011 with more decisiveness and downhill running. Ball finished with 115 yards on 19 carries, but the vast majority came in the fourth. He looks like a mid-round pick.
Arkansas 24, Auburn 7
The Arkansas Razorbacks have been one of the most disappointing teams in college football this season. Senior quarterback Tyler Wilson has first-round ability, but hasn't been able to get into a groove this year as he dealt with a concussion and the upheaval in the program left in the wake of fired head coach Bobby Petrino.
Wilson hit wide receiver Cobi Hamilton (6-80) on a deep cross in stride for a gain of 40 yards on the first play from scrimmage. The signal-caller moved the ball with quick precision passes throughout the first half. Wilson threw the ball accurately and with nice zip, but Arkansas was playing conservatively without shots downfield even though he had clean pockets to throw from.
Wilson got lucky in the third quarter as he was rocked on a blitz and had an interception dropped by the cornerback. The signal-caller barely played in the third quarter, and the Razorbacks had only 20 yards in the period. The fourth quarter didn't see Wilson make any big plays either. His job was made easy as Auburn's offense turned the ball over five times. He completed 22-of-29 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. This outing shouldn't help or hurt Wilson's draft stock.
Arkansas senior running back Dennis Johnson had a nice day. The Razorbacks benched struggling junior running back Knile Davis, who only had three carries for negative three yards. Johnson (5-9, 213) ran the ball well against the Tigers, including a nice 17-yard run showing off his burst. He had two short touchdown runs, too. Johnson totaled 77 yards on 17 carries against Auburn. He is a sleeper running back with some special teams ability who could be a steal in the mid-rounds.
One prospect who had a disappointing game was Tigers defensive end Corey Lemonier. The speed rusher entered with five sacks through four games, including two against LSU. Lemonier had zero impact versus the Razorbacks in the first half. He was being locked down by Arkansas's offensive tackles and was allowing Wilson to have plenty time to get passes off.
Lemonier had some contributions in run defense, but generally was quiet. He didn't get a pass rush against Arkansas. The team was ready for his speed rush, and Lemonier was unable to shed blocks with strength. The 6-foot-4, 246-pounder must get stronger for the NFL. The junior has added some weight from last year, but he still needs to fill out more to be able to disengage from blockers. Lemonier should return for his senior season to improve his chances of being a first-round pick. If he were to enter the the 2013 NFL Draft, it looks he would be more like a second-rounder.
Auburn senior wide receiver Emory Blake has Day 2 potential, but he is having a hard time showing it. Blake laid out for a catch of 15 yards against Arkansas while running open in the middle of the field. He had a short reception in the second quarter, but fumbled the ball away after being hit from behind. Blake was running wide open into the end zone during the third quarter, but the ball was thrown through the back of the end zone. He burned the secondary on a deep post for what should've been a 44-yard touchdown.
Blake caught a 21-yard touchdown a few mintues later. He ran a corner post to get wide open and dive into the end zone. It was busted coverage as his corner played zone and the safeties were in man. Blake caught a number of short passes throughout the game for moderate gains. He totaled 10 receptions for 116 yards and his score. Blake (6-2, 193) is a good athlete who combines some size with speed. If Auburn had quality quarterback play, he would look a lot better. Black could rise higher and validate a second-day grade at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
Rutgers 19, Connecticut 3
This Big East battle put on display one of the most prolific pass-rushers in college football. Connecticut outside linebacker/defensive end Trevardo Williams had 12.5 sacks in 2011 and entered the matchup with Rutgers with 6.5 sacks this year.
The Scarlet Knights allowed Williams to dominate them with four sacks last season, and they made a great effort to neutralize him on Saturday. The primary manner was Rutgers pounding the ball with running back Jawan Jamison. The Scarlet Knighers were ready for Williams' edge speed rush on passing plays, rendering him ineffective.
Williams blew up a run in the backfield during the third quarter, but that was the only impressive play he made all game. The senior was typically playing contain on the edge with runs going up the middle.
Williams is a good athlete, but hasn't developed his pass-rushing moves. His hand usage is terrible. He has to make major improvements in his ability to shed blocks. Williams has no ability to use his hands while moving his feet. Rutgers' offensive tackles were getting a hold of him, and he was a non-factor with his inability to break off a block. Williams currently looks like a mid-rounder who would be a developmental project for a 3-4 defense. A team like Pittsburgh or Baltimore would be a good landing spot for him.
One prospect who had an impressive game was Scarlet Knights junior cornerback Logan Ryan. He had blanket coverage all game. Ryan was solid in man, did well in zone and was very aggressive in run defense.
Ryan had an easy interception on a floating pass that dropped right into his breadbasket. Rutgers was in zone, and Ryan trailed back underneath the receiver. The ball was poorly underthrown for a gimme interception.
Ryan could have the ability to play bump-and-run in the NFL, while keeping pace running downfield with receivers. He looks like an early-round pick in the 2013 or 2014 NFL Drafts.
USC 38, Utah 28
USC senior quarterback Matt Barkley has had a somewhat disappointing season and has seen a challenge as the top quarterback prospect from West Virginia's Geno Smith. Part of Barkley's problems have stemmed from weak pass protection with his new left tackle and banged-up senior center Khaled Holmes (ankle). It was a tough time to be playing injured, as Holmes had to take on one of the top defensive tackles in the nation in Utah's Star Lotulelei.
Lotulelei dominated Holmes and USC early on. Holmes was so focused on blocking Lotulelei on one of the first plays that he snapped a ground ball that went through Barkley's legs. After Barkley chased down the loose ball, he was stripped of the pigskin, and Utah ran the ball into the end zone for a quick lead.
On the next drive, Holmes was called for a holding on Lotulelei. A play later, Lotulelei forced a fumble and recovered the ball. Holmes snapped the ball, and Lotulelei was so fast that when he rocked Holmes back, the ball was fumbled as Barkley never had the snap secured.
The next possession saw Lotulelei toss Holmes to the side and bust into the backfield. He whipped running back Silas Redd to the ground with authority. A few plays later, he shed some blocks and flowed down the line to stuff a back for no gain, but Lotulelei got a piece of the facemask and was flagged for the penalty. He also jumped offsides in the third quarter.
After dominating the early going, USC started double-teaming Lotulelei, and the result was consistent draws against the disruptive defender. Generally, he would hold his ground at the line of scrimmage, but wasn't making splash plays. On the few plays he wasn't double-teamed, Lotulelei was causing havoc by powering his way into the backfield and driving his blocker straight down the pocket. USC also funneled more runs toward the perimeter. With guard help, Holmes was vastly improved at blocking Lotulelei. This tape should help Lotulelei and be a negative for Holmes.
When the pass protection settled down, Barkley got into a groove. He was throwing precision passes all over the field to move the ball with junior wideout Robert Woods and sophomore Marqise Lee. Barkley hit Woods on a deep slant for 41 yards. It was a nice yardage after the the catch as Woods ran across the field and set up blocks to gain extra yards. Barkley then lofted in a perfect 23-yard touchdown strike to tight end Randall Telfer running vertically down the field.
Later on, Barkley and Woods hooked up for the latter's 26th-career touchdown. He gained separation running across the back of the end zone, and it was an easy touchdown toss for Barkley. Early in the fourth quarter, Barkley laid out another perfect pass but the ball was dropped by his receiver. Barkley then rolled out off of play-action and threw a bomb to Marquise Lee for an 83-yard touchdown. Lee ran a post-route, but slowed up slightly to an underthrown ball to make the catch and race to the end zone.
Barkley finished 23-of-30 for 303 yards with three touchdowns. It was a nice bounce-back performance from Barkley after a rough couple of games against Stanford and California. He showed leadership skills by encouraging his teammates after they trailed by 14 early on. His passing was very accurate, while his decision-making was strong. Barkley used the Utah game to help stop the slide in his draft stock.
Woods caught six passes for 69 yards and a score. He played well but doesn't look as explosive as he did as a sophomore. Right now he seems like a pick in the second half of the first round.
One prospect who had a good performance was USC senior safety T.J. McDonald. He was flying around the field all night, dishing out hard hits and making his presence felt. McDonald had a hard hit that was close to forcing a fumble from a tight end, but it did stop the receiver short of first-down yardage on a third-down stop. He broke up a pass to force an incompletion on a third down. McDonald had a number of good tackles in run support. This was another good tape produced by McDonald, a potential late first-rounder.
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