Anthony Fasano, Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar. All 2nd round TE picks of the Cowboys, all failed to produce for them. There's so much bad luck involved with that string, I think they've learned to stay away from this combination.
Missouri 51, Tennessee 48
This game had a few special talents on display with Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. Both are juniors with the potential to be first-round picks next April. Richardson has been the more consistent of the two this season, but Hunter has been red hot lately.
Early in the game, Richardson exploded into the backfield with a burst and swim move to start a tackle for a loss. He hustled downfield on the same drive to help get in on a tackle of a wide receiver after a gain of 22 yards. The effort by Richardson on the play was incredible. Few defensive linemen pursue downfield like that or even have the speed to get in on the play.
Richardson did a nice job of shedding a block and making a tackle on a few running plays. Quarterback Tyler Bray took off on a run at one point, and Richardson chased him down to limit his gain.
Richardson totaled seven tackles with an assisted tackle for a loss. The Volunteers have a good offensive line that kept him from getting any sacks on Bray.
Richardson is a speed player for the NFL. He is at his best when he can fire into his gap to get penetration into the backfield. When teams go straight at him in a downhill running attack, they do a better job of keeping Richardson under wraps. This performance won't hurt or help him significantly, he looks like a future first-round pick in 2013 or 2014.
Hunter had a slow start to the season, but the junior has been on fire lately and continued that streak against Missouri. He made a catch along the sideline on the first drive about 15 yards downfield. A corner overpursued and Hunter slashed across the field for a 42-yard gain. He was wide-open running across the deep middle of the field a bit later, but Bray held onto the ball too long and then badly overthrew an incompletion. An accurate pass could've produced a gain of about 30 yards.
Still, Hunter made a phenomenal 28-yard catch a short time later. He had a step on the corner running down the sideline, but Bray underthrew the ball. Hunter adjusted and cut back inside the corner to make a leaping reception. Many throws like that are intercepted because receivers are unable adjust or simply give poor efforts.
Hunter showed his extra effort again when he tipped away a downfield pass away downfield for an incompletion on a poorly thrown ball to save Bray from an interception. Hunter caught a pass on a dig route during the third overtime and turned upfield to dive into the end zone. He totaled nine catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Hunter made nice catches to move the chains throughout the game. He used his speed to get open and his 6-foot-4 frame to make tough catches on high passes. This showing will help Hunter's bid to be a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Even though Hunter is a potential first-rounder, teammate Cordarrelle Patterson may be the more explosive receiver. Patterson showed some more versatility when he took a carry and threw a pass downfield for a big gain. Patterson then took a pitch around the right side to score a six-yard touchdown on the very next play. Missouri returned the following kickoff for a touchdown, but he returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards.
Patterson took a reverse into the end zone in the second quarter after breaking the ankles of a defender with a juke move. Patterson then high-stepped by another defender and high-stepped into the end zone. He was unjustly flagged for a penalty for unsportsmanlike to cancel out the score. It was an extremely minor celebration and an awful call. The ESPN announcers went crazy at what a horrible decision it was by the officials. Bray threw a bullet to tight end Mychal Rivera for an actual touchdown on the very next play. It was a superb diving catch in the back of the end zone.
Patterson had another good gain on a run. He was stuck behind the offensive line but eventually broke free to the left side to get good yards. Patterson caught three passes for 53 yards against the Tigers. He also ran the ball five times for 28 yards and threw a 28-yard pass.
Patterson is a great athlete with big-time speed, but he is a raw as a wide out and needs more development before going pro. The junior would be better off returning for his senior season to get better and make a run at the first round in 2014. If Patterson enters the 2013 NFL Draft, he would probably be a second-day pick.
Overall, Bray had a good game against Missouri. He threw some lasers for completions downfield and his decision-making was better than in many other contests this year. He did have some overthrows, but Bray completed 37-of-54 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns.
Bray has totaled 934 yards passing over the past two games. He hadn't had a good enough year prior to this hot streak to go pro. Bray could be a first-round pick in 2014 if he plays like this as a senior.
Bray has a cannon for an arm and pocket presence. His accuracy and decision-making are the big areas he needs to improve.
Tennessee guard Dallas Thomas had probably his worst outing of the year. He was called for a false start twice in the first quarter. The penalties caused Thomas to be benched in the second quarter, unless he had an injury that was unreported. The redshirt senior returned to the field after halftime.
The benching seemed to rattle Thomas. He wasn't as rock solid as he normally is. His run blocks weren't sustained as long, and his pass protection allowed more penetration than normal. With all the good games he's had this year and in his career, this outing shouldn't held against him. Tennessee is a mess and benching Thomas was a questionable coaching decision. He looks like a top-50 pick as a guard who should be able to start quickly in the NFL.
The final prospect worth mentioning is Volunteers senior tight end Mychal Rivera. He had a monster game in the biggest outing of his collegiate career. Rivera ripped off huge pass plays and really exploited the middle of the field. He had a number of big plays other than his diving touchdown, by exploiting the middle seam as the safeties focused on Hunter and Patterson.
Rivera showed nice speed, hands and route running to constantly get open against the Missouri secondary. He had 10 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown. This effort will help Rivera's cause to be drafted next April.
UCLA 44, Washington State 36
There were a few NFL draft prospects on display in this Pac-12 contest. All of them are sleeper prospects for the second-day of the draft or the mid-rounds. Among them, the player who has probably helped his stock the most this season is Washington State senior outside linebacker Travis Long.
Long is tied for 10th in the nation with 9.5 sacks and has been a natural fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. The senior had been playing 4-3 defensive end over the previous seasons. He had another active night against UCLA to help his cause next April.
Long recorded his first sack versus the Bruins during the first quarter. He stayed back a few yards off the line of scrimmage as an inside linebacker. When the quarterback scrambled forward, Long chased him down for the sack.
Long helped Washington State's comeback effort early in the fourth quarter with his second sack. This sack also started out with him lining up as an inside linebacker. T he quarterback scrambled to the right as Long fired upfield to weave his way by blockers and run down the signal-caller. It was a nice decisive rush from Long.
The senior had good run defense all night, too. He made eight solo tackles and was a leading cog in containing UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin. Long finished the night with nine tackles, three tackles for a loss and two sacks.
It could have been an even bigger performance if Washington State gave him more plays to rush the passer off the edge. Long looks like a potential second-day pick who will function well in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker that moves around the defensive formation.
Franklin became the Bruins' all-time leading rusher, and he has had a superb senior season. Franklin is sixth in the nation in rushing with 1,270 yards and eight touchdowns. He is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. The senior had a mixed performance versus the Cougars.
After a blocked punt by UCLA, Franklin gave it right back with a fumble. As he went into the line behind the left side, a Washington State defender slapped the ball out of his hands and it was recovered by the Cougars.
Franklin redeemed himself in the second quarter with a 16-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass. He showed nice patience to set up a block before accelerating to the end zone. Franklin went airborne to bounce off a defender and fly over the goal line.
The senior had some good gains during the third quarter. He had a nice 15-yard run around the left side dodging defenders. Franklin made some nice cuts for a 10-yard gain and followed that with another reception of over 10 yards. Those plays helped set up more points for the Bruins.
Franklin finished with 66 yards on 19 carries and four receptions for 45 yards and a score. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder looks like a mid-round pick next April. He could be part of a running back rotation and handle third-down duties.
A player who has helped Franklin this year is Bruins senior tight end Joseph Fauria. He has been improved blocker and UCLA's second leading receiver. Fauria has been deadly in the red zone and proved that again versus the Cougars.
The senior caught his ninth touchdown of the season with a beautiful red-zone route. He lined up in the slot and he went straight off the snap for a few yards before jab stepping to the outside and slanting to the deep middle of the end zone. It was an easy nine-yard touchdown catch for Fauria.
Fauria made a great catch on the next possession. He went over a defensive back to make a tough reception on the jump ball. The defensive back tipped the ball, but Fauria controlled the ball as he landed on his back. The gain went for 30 yards to Washington State's 10-yard line and set up a UCLA touchdown on the next play.
Fauria also moved the chains with a catch of about 12 yards on a quick out. He drew a pass interference in the end zone on a fade route, too. The 6-foot-7 tight end had a mismatch with a short cornerback, and all the defender could do was pull Fauria to the ground to avoid giving up a touchdown. The senior totaled 70 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
Fauria has 31 receptions for 417 yards in 2012. This tape will help his efforts to be a second-day selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
UCLA senior defensive end Datone Jones could be another mid-round selection. The Bruins lined up Jones mostly at defensive tackle against the Cougars, and he had some success. Jones made a huge splash play on special teams on Washington State's opening driver when he fired through the line and rejected a field goal attempt. It looked like a blocked shot in a basketball game. A teammate scooped up the ball and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
Jones contributed to a tackle for a loss after he worked down the line to stuff a running back on the perimeter. Jones had a near sack in the second quarter after lining up above the center. Jones fired by the center off the snap with a swim move to pressure the quarterback into an incompletion. It was a lightning fast rush by Jones.
The senior was close to another tackle for a loss after swimming by a guard, but couldn't grab the running back and that allowed a big run down the field. Jones totaled three tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss.
The 6-foot-4, 275-poundercould serve as a 4-3 end or 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. He also could move inside to rush the passer as a tackle in passing situations. Jones is a solid mid-round prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft, and this performance will help him.
Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24
If your favorite NFL team needs to add some offensive line talent, this was the game for you to watch. There were five potential first- and second-round picks on the offensive lines for Alabama and Texas A&M: Aggies left tackle Luke Joeckel, right tackle Jake Matthews, Crimson Tide guard Chance Warmack, Crimson Tide center Barrett Jones and right tackle D.J. Fluker. All of them saw a good test with defenses that feature future NFL players.
The Aggies defensive front was playing the Alabama line tough in the early part of this contest. Jones was run over for a tackle for a loss in the first quarter. The Crimson Tide's line wasn't controlling the line of scrimmage in the first quarter.
The Alabama offensive line turned things around during the second quarter. Warmack and Jones helped open up an 18-yard run for running back Eddie Lacy. Fluker had a nice edge block to spring Lacy for a good gain, and the Crimson Tide went behind Warmack for a short touchdown run. Lacy had a great run on a short dump off pass where he bounced off some defenders to get a gain of 21 yards. That helped set up Alabama's second touchdown late in the first half.
The Crimson Tide's line was up and down over the course of the second half. The line had some good pass protection to keep generally clean pockets for A.J. McCarron, but it didn't dominate like it normally does. Jones had a holding call in the fourth quarter since he took the defensive tackle to the ground. This game will mostly hurt the draft stock for Jones. It was his worst performance of the season as he struggled with the Aggies' speed and athleticism on the inside.
Warmack and Fluker held their own and shouldn't see a change in either direction with how they played against Texas A&M. Lacy was impressive while totaling 92 yards on 16 carries and four receptions for 35 yards.
The Alabama line had the tough task of taking on Texas A&M junior defensive end Damontre Moore. He entered the weekend as one of the nation's leaders in sacks with 11.5. Moore was mostly quiet for the first three quarters, but he chased down McCarron for a sack early in the fourth quarter. Moore had some other good rushes and left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio got away with some holds, especially in the fourth quarter. Moore got in on some run tackles and had a steady motor from start to finish. He looks secure as a high first-round pick if he enters the 2013 NFL Draft.
Overall Joeckel and Matthews played well against the Crimson Tide. Joeckel was beaten for what should've been a sack during the second quarter, but Manziel bailed him out by shedding the tackle. Other than that play there were a few pressures, but the Aggies duo did a good job of preventing the edge rush getting to Manziel. The signal-caller didn't make his tackles' job easy all the time as he scrambled around close to defenders, but neither one was really beat.
Joeckel and Matthews blocked well in the ground game. They allowed Manziel to pick up yards around the corners and helped to move the line for two short touchdown runs by Christine Michael. This performance will help Joeckel and Matthews to be first-round picks.
The player who may have helped his stock the most was Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope. The senior has been red hot over the past month after a slow start to the season. He was seeing one of his biggest tests of the year against Alabama's talented secondary. Junior cornerback DeMarcus Milliner and senior safety Robert Lester are both future draft picks with Milliner having the potential to be a first-rounder.
Swope caught a short touchdown pass after getting wide open in the back of the end zone. It was busted coverage, and the senior wide out was standing all by himself, without a defender within 10 yards. He made a number of other catches for short gains.
Swope took over in the fourth quarter. He got open between the safeties in zone coverage and made a huge catch while taking a big hit. Swope knew the massive shot was coming between the two safeties, but hung tough to make the make the reception. The gain went for 42 yards and also had a 15-yard penalty tacked on for the Crimson Tide trying to take his head off on the hit.
Swope made another huge play on the next possession on a wheel route. It was a great play that saw Swope burn two defenders, including Lester, for another 42-yard gain. The next play saw Texas A&M burn Milliner for a 24-yard touchdown. Receiver Malcolm Kennedy ran a corner post from the slot and got a step on Milliner.
Swope totaled 11 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot, 206-pounder looks like a dangerous slot receiver for an NFL offense. He has deceptive speed and quickness to get separation. Swope has good hands and is tough. Alabama gave him some bone-rattling hits, but those only seemed to fire up the senior. Swope could be a nice sleeper selection on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Milliner had a nice tackle on a perimeter run in the first quarter inside the 10-yard line, but he was injured and had to go into the locker room. Milliner came back to the field shortly later. After giving up that 24-yard touchdown, he had a leaping pass batted on a blitz near the line of scrimmage. Milliner had a hot start to the season, but his play has cooled off over the last few weeks. He needs to finish the year strong, and this tape won't help him.
Lester was beaten for a long gain on a deep post in man coverage for a 32-yard gain inside the 10-yard line. He had a nice tackle after running down Manziel from behind for a short gain on a safety blitz. Lester had a missed tackle along the sideline during the third quarter that allowed the receiver get good yards. He has had some up-and-down games in 2012, and his struggles against Texas A&M will probably hurt his cause on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Alabama junior outside linebacker C.J. Mosley was one of the few Crimson Tide defenders who matched up well against the Aggies' high-paced, explosive offense. Mosley had some huge plays. He pushed Manziel out of bounds a couple yards short of a first down on a fourth-down carry. Mosley came on a blitz in the third quarter and sacked Manziel after shedding a block from the running back. It was a lightning fast blitz off the edge by Mosley that was a yard short of being a safety. He had another good rush that helped Jesse Williams get a sack.
Mosley made a nice open-field tackle at the start of the fourth quarter. He is a fantastic athlete with the speed to make plays all over the field. The junior looks like a potential first- or second-round pick if he enters the 2013 NFL Draft.
Two other prospects are worth mentioning. Texas A&M senior outside linebacker Sean Porter was active. He had a nice tackle in run support. A big hit in the third quarter popped a deflection that Porter snatched for an interception. He had some good tackles in run defense in a tape that should help him as a second-day prospect.
Alabama senior defensive tackle Jesse Williams missed a tackle on a screen that allowed a run to get a first-and-goal on a third-down completion. He picked up his first sack of the season during the fourth quarter, and it was a coverage sack that saw him run down Manziel. Overall Williams had a solid day.
LSU 37, Mississippi State 17
For the majority of three quarters, LSU's star defensive ends were held in check against Mississippi State. Both Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo were non-factors in the pass rush. They helped a solid run defense, but overall the Bulldogs' tackles were having success against the Tigers' junior speed-rushers.
Mingo had a botched pitch fly right to him during the first quarter, but he couldn't handle the ball and it bounced around before it was recovered by LSU. That was the only play either end was close to making until the final frame.
The switch was flipped in the fourth quarter, and Montgomery and Mingo started to flash their pass-rushing prowesses. Montgomery got things started with a nice pressure. He was close to a sack, but was a hair late to let the throw get off for a gain. Montgomery got home on the next play. He gained leverage on the tackle around the corner to sack Tyler Russell. The quarterback helped Montgomery by holding onto the ball too long. The very next play Mingo beat the right tackle with a speed rush to shove Russell to the ground for a sack.
Mingo had another hard hit on Russell on the next drive. Montgomery had an impressive rush a couple plays later as he bull rushed the left tackle into Russell for an incompletion. Overall, this outing probably won't hurt or help Mingo and Montgomery. They both are first-round athletes and just need to become more consistently productive.
Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks is also a potential first-round pick, but he has been slowed down lately by a knee injury. The last two games against Alabama and Texas A&M have been his worst outings of the year after playing extremely well in the first half of the season.
Banks had tight coverage and almost picked off a deflected pass. He had a nice tackle on a short dump off and almost had an interception on the play. One has to wonder if the senior corner would've picked those passes off if he was playing at 100 percent.
Banks had a good tackle on a swing throw on the third quarter. LSU rarely threw the ball to Banks' receivers as he had good coverage in man and zone. He didn't make any splash plays as a result, and his draft stock shouldn't see a real impact from this tape.
LSU junior safety Eric Reid had a mixed outing for the Tigers. He was late coming over to the tight end on a nine-yard touchdown pass. Reid was shading the left side of the offensive line, while the tight end came off the right. Reid was the deepest defender and got caught watching the quarterback rather than the receivers going vertical down the middle.
Reid later had a hard tackle on a short pass in the open field. He was the last man on defense and had a good tackle on the signal-caller running up the middle. Reid blasted the outlet back on a check down pass during the third quarter.
Reid was late coming over the top during the fourth quarter to help on wide receiver Chad Bumphis running open down the field. The ball was well-thrown and Bumphis extended to make the catch for a gain of 40 yards. Reid had some nice tackles against the Bulldogs, but it was generally the same familiar story with him having problems in pass coverage. He may be better served returning for his senior season to improve before entering the NFL Draft.
The final prospect worth mentioning is Bumphis. He had a huge night against the LSU secondary. Bumphis had a number of good catches to move the chains and a 15-yard touchdown catch with a corner post from the slot. He totaled 140 yards on nine receptions. This performance will help Bumphis to be a mid-round pick next April.
Georgia 38, Auburn 0
This blowout featured the top player in the 2013 NFL Draft class: Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. The relentless pass-rusher has put together a phenomenal junior season and has been one of the best players in college football. He was his normal disruptive self against Auburn and was living in the backfield.
Jones beat the right tackle early to tackle the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. Jones recorded a tackle for a loss after the signal-caller was flushed towards the line of scrimmage by nose tackle John Jenkins. Jones was held in the second quarter and drew a penalty. He was held again on the very next play, but made a tackle in pursuit for a short gain.
Jones fired into the backfield on a third-and-2 to record a sack. Auburn had a horrible blocking scheme that the left tackle let the standout linebacker run by for a running back to pick him up. Jones juked by the back to get on the quarterback in an instant. Jones combined with inside linebacker Alec Ogletree to get another sack late in the fourth quarter.
Jones was a relentless force versus Auburn, and this game will help to confirm his status as a high first-round pick for the 2013 NFL Draft. Jenkins also had a good outing with disruption at the point of attack. Auburn couldn't move him, and he bull rushed down the middle on a number of plays. This was a good tape to help Jenkins cause as an early-round pick.
Georgia senior safety Bacarri Rambo was his normal active self. He had a couple of good tackles and broke up a deep pass down the middle of the field. The play after his breakup, Rambo missed a tackle in the open field that could've limited a 33-yard gain to under 10 yards. Rambo was in the right place at the right time on the first play of the fourth quarter with a badly overthrown pass going straight to him.
Rambo also dropped an interception on a deep ball in the end zone. It was like a punt thrown up for grabs, but the ball bounced out of his arms. Overall, it was a nice night for Rambo in his bid to be a second-day pick.
Two Auburn prospects are worth mentioning. Senior wide out Emory Blake started strong. He had two receptions for close to 40 yards on a drive in the first quarter. After making a great leaping catch, he fumbled the ball away after being rocked by Georgia safety Shawn Williams. Blake totaled 104 yards on six receptions. He is a mid-rounder who needs a strong Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine to make up for a final season with weak quarterback play holding him back.
Junior defensive end Corey Lemonier was quiet for the majority of the game. He had a tackle in pursuit down field, showing great effort to tackle the running back after a 15-yard gain. Lemonier had an impressive fourth-quarter sack on which he stunted to the inside, rocked the guard off balance and jetted into the backfield to tackle the quarterback.
Lemonier didn't have a significant impact other than that play. He has a first-round skill set as an edge-rusher, but should be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Lemonier doesn't have the size and strength to hold up on the edge in a 4-3. If he returns for his senior season, he could add weight to appeal to more teams.
Stanford 27, Oregon State 23
There was a nice passing game matchup of NFL draft prospects in this Pac-12 battle. Stanford tight end Zach Ertz is one of the top tight ends in the nation, while Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer has been having a great senior season to cap off a good collegiate career.
Ertz fumbled the ball away on the first drive of the game because he held it too loose from his body. Ertz laid out for a diving catch bit later though. He managed to tap a foot down before falling out of bounds. It was a highlight-reel catch for a good gain of about 15 yards.
Ertz had a good block on Poyer to help free up his teammate to cross the goal line for a score. Poyer was taken for a ride on the back of a wide receiver A little bit later for a few yards after making a short catch. Poyer forced a fumble though a few plays late by ripping at the ball while running back Stepfan Taylor was going to the ground. Ertz got behind Poyer on a deep post ust before halftime for a good gain to set up a 51-yard field goal attempt with only a second on the clock.
Stanford took the lead in the fourth quarter with the game-winning score on a pass to Ertz. He beat Poyer on a slant to the inside for the 13-yard touchdown. Ertz totaled 75 yards on nine receptions against Oregon State. It was an impressive day for him as a receiver and blocker, with his fumble being the only sour note.
Poyer was the opposite. Aside from his forced fumble, it was an unimpressive performance. He struggled often to disengage from blocks in the ground game and his effort in run defense seemed to suggest that he was taking some plays off. Poyer also allowed separation in pass coverage and was beaten for the game-winning score. This performance suggests that Poyer is a second-day pick rather than a potential first-rounder.
The senior Taylor had a game that mirrored Ertz's performance. Taylor started the game well with runs for good yardage. He had his first fumble of the season, courtesy of Poyer, just before halftime. Taylor had a superb 40-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the third quarter. It was a simple dump off at the line of scrimmage. He cut by one defender and stiff-armed another defender into the ground at the 10-yard line to break free into the end zone.
Taylor ran the ball well and showed good power, balance and cutting ability. He is a three-down back for the NFL with starting potential. Taylor is underrated and deserves more praise than he receives. Taylor totaled 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. It was his 19th career 100-yard game. He looks like a sleeper pick for the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
South Carolina 38, Arkansas 20
It has been a rough year for Arkansas, but redshirt senior quarterback Tyler Wilson and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton have been one of the most productive duos in the country. Against South Carolina, Wilson was going to have to withstand a furious pass rush led by Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The ability to move the ball while withstanding the pass rush could help the signal-caller's draft stock.
Wilson hit Hamilton in stride running across the field early, and the big wide out broke a tackle to sprint down the sideline for a 40-yard gain. An Arkansas penalty canceled out the big play however. Wilson took a massive hit from Clowney late in the first quarter on a read option going toward Clowney's side of the field.
When Clowney didn't get to Wilson, the quarterback moved the ball well with some nice precision passes in the first half. He hit Hamilton for a 28-yard gain after running a deep post against zone coverage. Wilson finished the drive by taking a shot from Clowney while throwing a perfect strike on a dig route for a six-yard touchdown pass.
Wilson threw a beauty to the back shoulder of Hamilton on the next drive for a 30-yard gain. Cornerback Victor Hampton had good coverage, but the ball was perfectly placed and Hamilton turned back at the right time to make a nice catch. That drive led to a field goal.
Wilson was getting hammered by Clowney and his teammates throughout the first half. Senior defensive end Devin Taylor put a hard hit on Wilson that looked to injure his leg. The signal-caller hobbled around, but kept playing. Taylor helped start a sack of Wilson on the final play of the first half to negate a potential Hail Mary toss into the end zone.
Wilson made his first real mistake during the third quarter, and it was a costly one. He forced a short throw into double coverage, and it was picked off by South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger. The pass was off the mark and behind the receiver in a tight window. Swearinger returned the interception about 60 yards for a touchdown.
Wilson threw his second pick on a deep go route that he overthrew. The cornerback chased it down the bad overthrow and it was almost like a punt. Wilson threw a touchdown pass to a wide open receiver in the end zone during garbage time. Wilson finished the day completing 25-of-41 passes for 273 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. It was an average performance for him that shouldn't impact his draft stock significantly.
Hamilton totaled four receptions for 71 yards. This tape won't help him. Taylor had a strong game, but he's had a quiet senior season as a pass-rusher. This performance should help him as a mid-round prospect.
Purdue 27, Iowa 24
There was a nice battle in the trenches between NFL draft prospects in this game. Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short was going against Iowa center James Ferentz. Short started out the 2012 season on fire, but has slowed down lately while playing with an ankle injury. He had an ugly game last week against Penn State with little impact. The senior had a complete turnaround versus the Hawkeyes.
Short made his presence felt early on with a tremendous play on a third-and-1. On a zone-right running play, he fired by the guard to tackle the back for a loss of one and force a punt. Short blasted by the left guard on the next drive for his second tackle for a loss.
Short started a sack late in the first half with a nice power and speed rush up the middle. He shed his block with violent hands and chased down the quarterback. Short was the first player to start the tackle by grabbing the legs of the signal-caller, but a defensive end helped finish the tackle so the athletic tackle will probably get half a sack.
In the third quarter, Short shed Ferentz's block and sped into the pocket to sack the quarterback. Again an end jumped in a second late, so Short may only get another half sack. He had a nice run stuff and another tackle for a loss during the third quarter. Short fired into the backfield to tackle the running back for a loss of three yards.
This performance will definitely help Short's draft stock. He was playing with phenomenal leverage. Short was shedding blocks with power and great closing speed on the ball carrier. This tape will help his cause to be a first-round pick next April. Ferentz struggled with Short and Purdue's heavy defensive tackles. Ferentz looks like a mid- to late-rounder.
Another draft prospect who had an active day was Iowa senior cornerback Micah Hyde. He made a big play on the first drive of the game to help get his offense back on the field. Purdue went to a perimeter run on a third-and-short situation, and Hyde cut down the ball-carrier for no gain with a superb tackle that took the legs out from underneath the back.
Hyde had a couple of bad missed tackles to allow extra yardage. He came back to slap a ball away on a third down for an incompletion on an out route. Hyde was in man coverage and recovered quickly to break up the pass. He also saved a touchdown on a 56-yard run by sprinting across the field to knock the running back out of bounds.
With only seconds remaining in the third quarter, Hyde made a big play to help his team get back in the game. He shaded the defensive end before the snap and a fumble rolled right to Hyde. He picked up the ball and ran about 10 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. There was no skill involved, but Hyde was Johnny on the Spot to take advantage of a gift from the Boilermakers.
Hyde later drew a holding penalty on a corner blitz as he was ripped to the ground to stop him from getting to the quarterback. The very next play saw Hyde pick up a fumble that squirted out of a pile and return it for a long gain, but the review ruled the runner was down.
Hyde had good coverage throughout the day, and Purdue was rarely throwing his direction. He has excellent length and is tough to get the ball around. Some NFL teams may think of making Hyde a free safety. He would be a good pass defender against tight ends and has the size to help tackle running backs. If Hyde stays at corner in the NFL, he should play in mainly a zone scheme. Hyde looks like a second-day prospect.