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
By Charlie Campbell.
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Baylor 52, Kansas State 24
This game turned into biggest upset of the college football season and served as further confirmation that Kansas State quarterback Colin Klein is not a high-level pro prospect. Klein is a great college player, but does not have starting potential in the NFL, and even his backup status is questionable. Klein struggled against, and lost to, one of the worst defenses in college football.
The senior night started out alright as he tied the game at seven with an eight-yard touchdown toss on a crossing route. Things started to go poorly for Klein in the second quarter as he threw a ball up for grabs to a well-covered receiver and the defensive back came down with an interception.
Klein threw a nice pass down the deep middle of the field late in the second quarter for a gain of about 40 yards. He threw a bad pass a few plays later for a near pick, but was fortunate the defender only knocked the pass down, rather than coming down with a catch. Klein threw a seven-yard touchdown pass on a slant to Chris Harper on the next play.
The second half wasn't any better as Klein threw a bad pass in the middle of the field on the Wildcats' first drive. The ball was overthrown past two receivers and fell into the deep safety for an interception. Klein sailed a short pass on his next posession that was deflected and almost intercepted. He then telegraphed the next pass, which was batted away. Klein had a one-yard touchdown run after a Baylor interception set up Kansas State on the goal line.
Another ill-advised pass hit off a defenders hands after Klein threw to a receiver who was well covered by two players. The signal-caller made the same mistake a few plays later by throwing into double coverage once again. The defender made an easy jumping interception in front of the receiver. Things got worse as Kelin would later be stuffed on four consecutive carries from the six-yard line, falling short of the end zone each time.
The senior's accuracy was shaky all night against Baylor. His throws were sailing consistently and he was lucky that he didn't throw five or six interceptions. Klein ran for 54 yards (39 net) and a touchdown on 17 carries. He completed 27-of-50 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. This game is clear proof that Klein is a late-round pick who could serve as the third quarterback while a team tries to develop him into the backup quarterback.
Baylor has a potential first-round pick in wide receiver Terrance Williams.The senior has had a tremendous season as one of the nation's leaders in receiving yards. He didn't have a huge performance against Kansas State, but contributed some big plays for his offense.
Williams had a great block on a cornerback to help his quarterback, Nick Florence, run into the end zone for a go-ahead score. Williams beat the cornerback running a go route in the second quarter. The ball went through the wide out's finger tips for an incompletion, but if he had laid out, he may have been able to make the catch.
Williams scored on the next drive on a 22-yard strike. He burned cornerback Nigel Malone on a slant and the safety was late coming over the top. Williams went deep again during the next possession, but this time he was called for a pass interference after pushing off on the cornerback.
Williams caught a quick out for 10 yards in the third quarter and added about another 10 yards after slashing to the middle of the field. He was mugged running into the end zone and knocked to the ground on an incompletion. For some inexplicable reason, the receiver didn't receive a pass interference penalty.
Williams came back to lay out for a diving catch. He ran a deep post to burn Malone and the safety. Williams' highlight-reel reception went for 43 yards and set up Baylor at the Kansas State nine-yard line. That set up a touchdown run and a 45-24 lead for the Bears.
Williams totaled 87 yards on five receptions with his score. This tape will help bolster to his cause as a first-round pick.
The final prospect worth mentioning is Baylor wide receiver Tevin Reese. He burned the safety on a double move early in the game for a 38-yard touchdown. Resse made a few other receptions to help move the chains for the Bears and totaled five receptions for 61 yards. He is a small, fast slot-receiver prospect for the NFL. If Reese enters the 2013 NFL Draft, he could be a mid-round selection, but he would be better off returning for his senior season.
North Carolina 37, Virginia 17
There was some good NFL talent on display in this historic ACC title game. The top-rated prospect was North Carolina redshirt sophomore running back Giovani Bernard. He has been having a great season to lead the way for the Tar Heels. The Cavaliers built their game plan around stopping Bernard. They had some success, but that opened up the passing game to have a big night with a vulnerable deep part of the field.
Bernard was held in check for most of the first half. He muffed a punt in the third quarter and it was recovered by Virginia.
Bernard took a toss sweep at the end of the third quarter for a gain of close to 20 yards. He then ran a nice route to get wide open early in the fourth. The redshirt sophomore ran down the seam out of the backfield for a 23-yard touchdown catch.
Bernard totaled 57 yards on 15 carries with four receptions for 47 yards and a score against the Cavaliers. It was his second lowest total of the season, but he flashed his trademark speed and cutting ability.
Another thing Bernard did pretty well was pass block. He isn't the biggest of running backs, but Bernard showed good intelligence to get in the right position to get hits on blitzers to buy his quarterback a little more time.
If Bernard enters the 2013 NFL Draft, he could be the first running back selected as a first- or second-round pick. The guess here is that he is going to bolt for the NFL rather than take another injury risk in college.
One player who has helped Bernard to a big season is guard Jonathan Cooper. He had a strong performance versus Virginia. Cooper's speed and athleticism are truly phenomenal for an interior offensive lineman.
Cooper had a great block in the second quarter to spring a long run for his running back. He was excellent in pass protection, too. This tape will help Cooper and shows why he is a first- or second-round pick.
On the other side of the ball, there was some nice talent going against each other. Virginia senior left tackle Oday Aboushi was taking on a talented North Carolina defensive line led by senior tackle Sylvester Williams and end Kareem Martin.
Martin beat the right guard in the first quarter with a speed rush to the outside to get a sack. He had three tackles against the Cavaliers. Martin must return for his senior season and get better before entering the draft. He has a lot of ability, but is not reaching his potential.
Virginia had some success running at Williams early on. He came back to use his speed to fire by the guard and whip down the running back for a tackle for a loss. Williams was taken out by Aboushi a few plays later with a cut block.
Aboushi was flagged for an unnecessary roughness after he finished a double-team block on Williams. It was a pretty standard play where Williams was shoved to the ground after falling to his knees. It wasn't a bad or dirty hit, but it came too late after the whistle. It was a costly penalty that hurt the Cavaliers' drive.
Williams had a great get-off during the third quarter to swim by the guard and track down the quarterback for a sack. Williams fired into the backfield a bit later to grab the running back, but he couldn't bring the ball-carrier down, and the back squirted away for a gain of three or four yards.
Williams took his game to another level in the final two quarters and was a real disruptive force. He totaled eight tackles and a sack against Virginia. Williams could get consideration late in the first round, but might be a better fit in Round 2.
The Cavaliers used some different blocking schemes, and Aboushi was often helping his weak guards block defensive tackles. The team would regularly use double tight end sets to block defensive ends with its tackles helping on the inside. As a result, Aboushi didn't see as many pass-blocking opportunities on his own defending the edge.
Aboushi had a good night overall. He wasn't beaten for pass pressures and held his own as a run-blocker. The senior is a good technician and very athletic. Aboushi looks a little short on strength and isn't physically dominant enough to be a first-rounder. He looks like a nice value on Day 2.
Another potential second-day pick is North Carolina inside linebacker Kevin Reddick. He has had an inconsistent senior season. Reddick is strong and fast, but his instincts are questionable. He fired into the backfield during the first quarter to record a tackle for a loss. Reddick contributed some other run tackles.
The senior had an ugly play during the third quarter when he blitzed, but didn't read the play, and chased the quarterback - who didn't have the ball. That left wide open space for the running back to get a good gain into the Tar Heels' secondary.
Reddick totaled six tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss versus Virgini. His athletic ability should standout at the Combine, but as a player, he looks more like a mid-rounder.
Stanford 17, Oregon 14
The Oregon Ducks have been lighting up the scoreboard all year long, but that was until they faced a team that plays with actual physicality and good fundamentals. The Stanford Cardinal has one of the best defenses in the Pac-12 with a powerful unit that is a hard-nosed team. Oregon senior running back Kenjon Barner has had a huge season, but that came to end against Stanford. Cardinal linebackers Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov had the challenge of shutting down Barner and the Ducks high-powered offense.
Stanford stepped up and played a tremendous game. Thomas was a non-factor, but Skov showed glimpses of the player he was in 2010 before his knee injury that cost him the 2011 season. Skov came up with a clutch tackle on a fourth-and-short for no gain inside the Cardinal five-yard line. He and Thomas combined for a stuff on Barner for no gain on the next possession.
Skov had a tackle for a loss in the third quarter after getting a good hit on Barner. The Stanford defense was controlling the line of scrimmage all night and playing with great gap integrity. Skov was a big part of a great effort that held Barner to 67 yards on 21 carries. This tape definitely helps Skov and hurts Thomas, who was virtual non-factor.
Barner will be hurt by this performance, and it could push him further into the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft. A physical defense controlled him, and he continued to prove that he goes down at first contact. If Barner doesn't have big lanes and space, he struggles to get yards. Barner looks like a third-down scat back for the NFL.
The star of the game was Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz. He is one of the best tight ends in the nation and proved it with a clutch night to lead his offense. Ertz caught a number short passes before grabbing a 15-yarder for a first down on slant. He moved the chains with another catch in the middle of the field.
Ertz continued to make good catches for intermediate gains to move the chains. He made two big catches for about 30 yards on a drive late in the fourth quarter. Ertz turned into a defensive back on a bad throw on the same drive to slap away a potential interception. Ertz caught a gain of 10 on the next play. He then made a circus catch in the back of the end zone on first and goal, but was ruled out of bounds. The play was reviewed and ruled to be a touchdown. That tied the score at 14 with 1:35 left and Stanford won in overtime.
Ertz caught 11 passes for 105 yards and a score. No other Cardinal even had four receptions or 40 yards receiving, so that illustrates what a huge part of the passing game that the tight end was. He has been playing well as a receiver all year despite subpar quarterback play. His blocking has been sound as well. This performance could help Ertz to crack the top 50 next April.
The highest-rated player in the game was Ducks defensive end/outside linebacker Dion Jordan. He's had a big senior season and played with a shoulder injury after missing last week. Jordan was quiet in the early going, but he got in on a tackle for a loss with a few teammates.
Jordan read a draw play late in the third quarter and stuffed Stepfan Taylor for a loss. Jordan was a non-factor other than those plays. His pass rush was shut down and he wasn't disruptive. Perhaps Jordan's injury was bothering him, but this definitely wasn't a game that will help his stock.
The workhorse for Stanford has been senior running back Stepfan Taylor. The well-rounded back is an underrated prospect who has three-down potential for the NFL. He had some tough runs against Oregon. Taylot fought hard for extra yards and did the heavy lifting for the Cardinal's offense. His running also helped his defense by keeping the Ducks' offense on the sideline.
Taylor finally found some daylight at the end of the third quarter and broke into the secondary. He took a standard hit and tackle, but fumbled the ball away to Oregon. It was a critical turnover in Ducks' territory.
Taylor bounced back to help move the chains. He had a few good runs to help the Cardinal get in position to tie the game. Taylor totaled 157 yards on 33 carries. If you take the fumble away, it was a great game - but you can't do that. The fumble could've cost his team the win, so his stock probably won't be- helped or hurt for this performance despite his tough running. Taylor looks like a sleeper pick on Day 2 next April.
Oklahoma 50, West Virginia 49
Two quarterbacks with NFL potential were going head-to-head in this game. West Virginia senior quarterback Geno Smith has first-round potential after a huge season to help his cause. Sooners senior quarterback Landry Jones has been inconsistent in his senior season and throughout his collegiate career. Both quarterbacks need to finish the year well to help their draft stock for next April.
Smith has the luxury of two great big-play receivers in senior Tavon Austin and junior Stedman Bailey. Taking on the tough task of defending that trio was one of the best safeties in the nation, Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson. Austin, Bailey and Jefferson are at least second-day picks. Austin was on another level and the star of the game with a prolific night against the Sooners' porous defense.
Austin was tearing up the Oklahoma defense in the first half with carries and receptions. Jefferson repeatedly struggled to tackle him, although ripped he him to the ground on one play. That was the only hard hit on Austin all night. Jefferson made nice open field tackles on Austin on consecutive plays. Austin broke off a big run of 30 yards where he cut around the defense to get free along the sideline before Jefferson pushed him out of bounds.
Smith threw a bad interception on the first drive to a well-covered receiver. The signal-caller had another bad series with some inaccurate throws. He finally got going late in the first half with a 41-yard completion to Austin. There was tight coverage, but the wide receiver made an impressive catch. Bailey also made a great catch along the sideline reaching out and dragging his feet as he fell out of bounds. Smith dropped in a perfect rainbow for a 33-yard touchdown to Bailey for an over the shoulder catch.
Smith threw his second interception on a ball that was thrown too late for Bailey. It hung in the air and that let the cornerback recover to tip the ball up in the air. Oklahoma snatched the ball to set up its offense in West Virginia territory. The pass was inaccurate and not thrown on time.
Austin ripped off a 74-yard touchdown run on a handoff toward the left side In the first minute of the third quarter. Jefferson was blocked well by a receiver, allowing Austin to race down the sideline for the score. He juked Jefferson at the line of scrimmage later in the third and slashed across the field for a 56-yard run.
Jefferson had an ugly missed tackle in the third quarter. Austin made some great cuts on the drive to score another rushing touchdown from a few yards out. Jefferson flew across the field to put a hard hit on Bailey on a big completion downfield, but the receiver held onto the ball. Smith took off on a quarterback run of about 25 yards in the fourth quarter. That set up the signal-caller to flip the ball forward to Bailey for a short touchdown reception. The two-point conversion attempt to tie the game at 38 was too far out of reach for the diving Bailey.
Austin did it to the Sooners again with a 53-yard scamper through their defense. That gave Smith the opportunitu to drop in a short fade pass to Bailey in the corner of the end zone and take the lead midway through the fourth quarter. After an Oklahoma touchdown, Smith burned Jefferson and a cornerback with a deep ball dropped into Bailey on a go route.
Smith finished this contest having completed 20-of-35 passes for 320 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Bailey had 13 receptions for 206 yards with four touchdowns. Smith's stock shouldn't be significantly impacted, while Bailey should be helped by his performance against the Sooners' secondary.
The star of the night was Austin, despite his losing effort. This performance was one of best games of the year by any player in college football. Austin ran for 345 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 81 yards. The 5-foot-9, 171-pounder has the size issue to overcome, but this game and season could get him into the top 50 next April.
If Austin wasn't such an unstoppable force, the headliner would be Jones. He had a career night against one of the worst defenses in college football. He rolled out early on and lofted in a pass to Kenny Stills for 16 yards. Jones threw a perfect pass on a similar play between a group of defenders for his wide out and a gain of about 25 yards. Jones finished the drive with a short touchdown toss after he threw a fastball past a defender.
Jones threw a short pass in the second quarter on a quick slant that turned into a 76-yard touchdown because of four missed tackles by the West Virginia defense. He kept moving the ball on the next drive with some precision passes. Stills had a couple of nice receptions. They capped the drive with a short touchdown pass to Stills as he broke off of contact to get open in the end zone.
Jones and Stills hooked up again in the third quarter for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The signal-caller threw the ball over the head of the defensive back and Stills timed his jump perfectly to catch the ball without the corner having the opportunity to break up the pass. It wasn't all good for Stills as he had a false start penalty.
Jones threw a ball up for grabs early in the fourth quarter and it was poorly placed. The defensive back beat Stills to the spot to come down with the interception. Jones got lucky a bit later when he threw the ball into a crowd of defenders, but the interception was dropped. He bounced back by throwing a touchdown pass to Stills, who was running wide open across the back of the end zone.
The Mountaineers took the lead again, but Jones responded with a career highlight moment when he threw a short slant to Stills for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal. That gave the Sooners a 50-49 victory. Stills caught 10 passes for 92 yards and four touchdowns. This will help his chances on Day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jones had a huge night, completing 38-of-51 passes for 555 yards with six touchdowns and an interception. Even though the senior played a defense that is the equivalent of a wet paper bag, this performance helps him. Not so much because of the numbers, but because he overcame adversity and led his team to a comeback road win. Jones has really struggled in those situations in his collegiate career and really lacked that "it" factor intangible to win. He showed some signs of growth against West Virginia. This performance should help him significantly.
Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14
There was a good battle in the trenches for some 2013 NFL draft prospects in this Big Ten battle. Wisconsin has a big offensive line led by junior center Travis Fredrick and senior offensive tackle Ricky Wagner. They were taking on Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and defensive end John Simon. All four players are first- or second-day picks with Hankins having the potential to be a high first-rounder in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The first play from scrimmage saw Simon beat Wagner for a hit on the quarterback right after the ball was released. Simon had a pressure on a third down later in the first quarter that forced the ball to be thrown away. He also had a pass batted. Simon beat the right tackle with a speed rush on the next drive. He swiped the blocker's hands away and turned the corner to run down the signal-caller.
The Badgers' ground game started the year slowly but has heated up of later behind with running back Montee Ball. He had two nice interior runs during the first quarter behind Frederick for gains of about 10 yards on each carry. Frederick was called for a holding call at the end of the first quarter. Hankins was holding his ground at the line of scrimmage, but wasn't getting off blocks to make tackles. He had zero pass rush all day against Wisconsin.
Ball moved the ball down the field on a drive in the second quarter with a series of good runs down the middle of the Ohio State defense. He capped the possession by recording his 78th career touchdown. Ball had nice patience and burst to weave through the defense and dove through a defender to get into the end zone. By the time Ball got to the three-yard line, he would not be denied the end zone.
Simon got his second sack on a hustle play in the third quarter. Wagner had Simon blocked, but the quarterback rolled outside of the pocket to his left and Simon was able to chase him down. He logged his third sack a short time later when he shed Wagner with his hands and took down the signal-caller. Simon started another sack in the fourth quarter after stunting around the outside after starting to rush from over the guard.
This was a great game from Simon that showcased his ability to be a pass-rusher. He is very physical, has a great motor and good technique. Simon looks like a quality second-day selection.
Hankins finally made a play where he burst through the line and swallowed up Ball for a loss of a few yards just before the fourth quarter. That was one of the few plays that Hankins made in a very underwhelming performance versus the Badgers. However, in his defense, the Buckeyes were moving him around a lot and playing him at defensive end a fair amount. He's better lining up over the guard and center. Still, it was a bad tape from Hankins.
Ball had a run of close to 30 yards midway through the fourth quarter to bring the ball to the Buckeyes 21-yard line. He tried for the NCAA FBS record for touchdowns on fourth-and-one from the two-yard line. Ball went to sky over the line, but fumbled the ball away as he got hit. Ohio State recovered the ball. Ball totaled 189 yards on 38 carries with a touchdown and a fumble. This performance won't help or hurt him significantly. Wagner and Frederick were average overall. They had good and bad moments going against a tough front seven.
UCLA 38, USC 28
The Los Angeles rivalry had some talent on display for the 2013 NFL Draft. The highest-rated prospect in the game was USC senior quarterback Matt Barkley. He and junior wide out Robert Woods have had a tough year with less production compared to 2011. UCLA, on the other hand, has made a huge improvement since last season and would present a tough challenge for Barkley.
The game started poorly for Barkley as his first throw was an interception. He struggled to get in rhythm throughout the first half. Barkley had some good throws, but drives stalled out with some turnovers. He threw a good pass to a wide open Woods during the second quarter for a gain of 31 on a deep cross. Barkley threw down the middle for a touchdown a few plays later. His second touchdown toss came on a short throw to tight end Randall Telfer.
Woods was struggling to get separation for most of the game. He dropped a pass after a hard hit on a wide receiver screen. Woods and Barkley hooked up for a 16-yard gain when Woods leapt high to come down with a reception late in the third quarter. He fielded a punt at his own 10-yard line on the final play of the third quarter and ran backward for a loss of seven yards to the three. It was a dumb mistake on Woods' part.
The junior made up for it on the ensuing drive with a diving catch of about 15 yards to midfield. Barkley blew the drive though with his second interception. It was a poorly thrown ball and wasn't close to one of his receivers on a short toss.
Barkley made a clutch play to roll out and loft in a pass to Marqise Lee downfield on USC's next possession. They finished the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass on a quick slant. Barkley converted the two-point attempt when Woods made a leaping catch over a cornerback who was on top of him. That score put the Trojans down 31-28.
Following UCLA's next touchdown drive, Barkley moved the ball into Bruins' territory. He was rocked on a blind-side sack that had him laid out on the field with trainers attending him. That was his final play of the game. He completed 20-of-38 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. This performance won't help Barkley and is a typical performance in his senior season: consistent flashes of brilliance and flaws.
Woods caught five passes for 68 yards and struggled to get separation in man coverage. He did better against zone, but Woods just doesn't look like the same player with his injured ankle. The junior's struggles this year make him look more like a second-round pick than a first-rounder.
Another potential second-day pick is UCLA senior tight end Joseph Fauria. He had a nice catch along the sideline to move the chains. Fauria ran an out route in the front of the end zone late in the first quarter. The ball was lofted in and Fauria came back to the ball. He caughti it and turned upfield to cross the goal line for a 17-yard touchdown.
Fauria ran an out route towards the sideline later in the second quarter for a gain of about 15 yards and a first down. Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin burst into the end zone on the very next play for a 16-yard touchdown. He side-stepped a defender in the hole and burst up the field.
Fauria made a tremendous catch on a third down late in the fourth quarter, slipping and reaching back for the football to get UCLA a first down in USC territory. He totaled 62 yards on four catches with a score, but he had a bigger impact than those numbers illustrate. Fauria has to continue to improve his blocking ability for the NFL. That is currently the big weakness to his game, but he stands a good shot of being a second-day selection given the demand for receiving tight ends.
UCLA senior running back Johnathan Franklin is a potential mid- to late-round pick. He's had a superb senior season as the bell cow of the Bruins' offense. Franklin churned out tough yards against the Trojans throughout the game. The senior had a nice 22-yard run in the fourth quarter where he was patient and pushed his blockers to set up extra yards.
Franklin put the game away late in the fourth quarter with a 29-yard touchdown run. He started up the middle before bouncing outside and racing down the field for a big score. Franklin had a massive day to help his team get a win. Not only did he show nice balance, patience and burst, but he also showed some toughness against USC. Franklin ran for 160 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. This tape will help his cause to be a mid-rounder.
Another Trojans player who has hurt his stock this season is safety T.J. McDonald. His mixed performance continued against the Bruins. Having already overpursued, McDonald was juked at the line of scrimmage by Brett Hundley. McDonald had a nice blitz off the edge in the second quarter to help set up a sack for a teammate. McDonald made a diving sack on a third-down blitz in during the third quarter after bouncing off a block.
McDonald took a terrible angle and missed a block on Franklin's fourth-quarter touchdown run that put the game away for UCLA. This performance won't help McDonald and could hurt him due to his disappointing run defense.
The player who really helped himself in this game was Bruins junior linebacker Anthony Barr. He showcased great pass-rush ability with a couple of sacks and the speed to consistently pressure the quarterback. Barr beat up on a weak USC line, but he's had a massive junior year to turn himself into a NFL prospect.
Mississippi State 45, Arkansas 14
There was a nice draft matchup in this SEC battle. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton were going against a tough secondary led by senior cornerback Johnthan Banks. All three have early-round potential with Banks and Wilson widely viewed as future first-round picks.
Early on, Wilson and Hamilton were moving the chains and connecting regularly. Hamilton had a nice reception against Banks for nine yards and dodged Banks to get an extra yard before the safety brought him down. Wilson finished the drive by throwing a rope down the seam to Hamilton. It was a great throw to fit the ball in between the safety and linebacker. Hamilton made the catch for his fifth touchdown of the year.
Wilson threw his second touchdown pass on the next drive via a dump off to running back Dennis Johnson for a five-yard score. Hamilton saw some double coverage and still drew a pass interference. Banks had good coverage on Hamilton with an instant tackle on a short reception. Banks made a 20-yard punt return just before halftime weaving his way by tacklers to midfield.
Wilson made a big play during the third quarter when he scrambled up in the pocket and lofted in a nice pass for a gain of about 20 yards. However, he made a bad decision on the very next play. Wilson stared down Hamilton and telegraphed a pass on the outside. The cornerback undercut the route for an easy interception.
Wilson moved the ball on a few possessions, but saw his teammates turn the ball over on a couple of fumbles. Wilson and Hamilton hooked up on a back shoulder catch for a gain of 20 yards in the fourth quarter. It was phenomenal grab with superb body control from Hamilton to keep his feet in bounds while stretching out to make the catch and fall out of bounds.
Wilson was not on the same page with Hamilton a few plays later. The signal-caller threw the ball as if Hamilton was going to keep running, but the wide out pulled up and the ball flew to Darius Slay for an interception. Slay got away with a bad hold on Hamilton running down the field before breaking off to make the pick.
Wilson finished the game completing 24-of-30 passes for 238 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hamilton had 89 yards on seven receptions with 30 yards of those coming on one touchdown catch. Banks and Mississippi State did a pretty good job of defending Hamilton after a slow start.
This game was indicative of Wilson's season. He had some great plays and showed some real NFL-level passing potential, but also had some ugly mistakes and missed opportunities. Wilson is aided by the demand for quarterbacks. He could go in the first round, but his senior season hasn't had first-round type of production. Hamilton is an early-rounder, and this tape won't hurt or help him significantly.
Two other prospects are worth mentioning. Mississippi State linebacker Cameron Lawrence was all over the field. He had a double-digit tackle total and recovered a fumble in the third quarter. Bulldogs senior defensive tackle Josh Boyd has had a quiet year, but he played well against the Razorbacks. Boyd stuffed a short third-down run, and was regularly firing into the backfield off the snap. Both players had good tapes for scouts in this contest to help their bids to get drafted in April.
Michigan 42, Iowa 17
The 2013 NFL Draft has had a disappointing year out of the offensive tackle class. LSU's Chris Faulk has missed the season with an injury and Alabama's D.J. Fluker has struggled in pass protection. There is an opening for other junior offensive tackles to fill the need for edge pass-protectors at the next level. One player who has stepped up is Michigan junior left tackle Taylor Lewan. He has had a strong season to put himself into first-round contention for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lewan played a virtually perfect game against Iowa. He had a number of nice combo blocks where he shoved the end off the snap to pass him off to a guard, then Lewan fired up to a linebacker to hit a block on the second level. Michigan went behind Lewan for a short touchdown run in the first quarter. He had a great block on cornerback Micah Hyde in the final minute before halftime to spring his running back on a backside screen pass for an 18-yard touchdown. The second half saw more of the same as Lewan owned the line of scrimmage. No Iowa defender was effective against him.
Lewan was utterly dominant. He was riding defensive linemen out of their gaps in the ground game. Lewan showed impressive strength to push them around and sustain his blocks. Lewan was rock solid in pass protection, too. Iowa was incapable of challenging him. He mirrored any kind of edge rush and the bull rushes that were attempted were a waste as the junior didn't give up any ground. This tape helps Lewan's cause to be a first-round pick in 2013 or 2014.
Hyde could be a second-day selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. He had a hard hit on a run by Denard Robinson early in the second quarter. Hyde had perfect coverage on a wide out on a post route into the end zone later on the drive. Hyde was hit by his own safety, but still managed to slap the ball away. If the safety hadn't hit Hyde, the corner may have been able to come up with an interception.
Hyde was late in reacting to a perimeter run to his side, and he barely pushed the running back out of bounds short of the end zone. Hyde was called for a holding a few plays later on fourth-and-goal, but the penalty was declined as Michigan had scored a touchdown. He had another tackle on a pass to Roy Roundtree along the sideline.
Hyde had a bad missed tackle on a screen during the third quarter. That let Robinson reverse field to get a gain of 20 yards. Hyde bounced back with a big play. He dropped in zone coverage and read the quarterback to make a leaping interception inside the Iowa 20-yard line. This tape could help Hyde, but it was really more of a mixed outing.
Robinson is a Michigan legend and was playing one of the final games of his illustrious collegiate career. He doesn't have the arm to be a pro quarterback, but the senior is a great athlete who could play running back or wide receiver in the NFL.
Thus, it was fitting that in Robinson's first play he lined up at running back and ran the ball. The Wolverines threw a swing pass to him on the next play. Those two plays totaled seven yards. He totaled 98 yards on 13 carries with two receptions for 24 yards. Robinson could be a third-day pick next April.
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