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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Penn State 24, Wisconsin 21
There was a good draft matchup in the trenches of this Big Ten battle. Penn State defensive tackle Jordan Hill and outside linebacker Gerald Hodges were taking on the Badgers ground game led by running back Montee Ball, center Travis Frederick and left tackle Ricky Wagner. Frederick was the only non-senior, and Hill illustrated that Frederick should return for his senior season to get better before going pro. Hill was a monster against Wisconsin.
Hill was in the backfield all night and was a dominant force as a pass-rusher. His first tackle came as he ran down the line of scrimmage to help bring down Montee Ball for a gain of just one yard. Hill had a textbook block shed of a block on the same drive and was able to tackle Ball at the line. Hill had a great rush a bit later to plant quarterback Curt Phillips into the turf just after the ball was thrown.
On the next possession, Hill recorded his first sack. He started to his left before shedding Frederick to cut back to the right and tackle Phillips. The next down saw Hill hold his ground at the line of scrimmage to get in another tackle of Ball for no gain.
Phillips took off on a run in the third quarter, and after a gain of a few yards, he was leveled by Hill. The Nittany Lions senior hooked around the left side on the next play to get another hard hit on the Badgers signal-caller right after the pass was release. Hill then swallowed up Ball near the line of scrimmage on consecutive downs for short gains.
Hill tossed Frederick aside on the following drive to start a tackle for a loss on Ball. In crunch time late in the fourth quarter, Hill came up with a big sack when Wisconsin was driving and trying to tie the game. Hill shed the guard and exploded down the pocket to flatten Phillips for his second sack.
Hill added another tackle of Ball on first-and-goal. Hill used a swim move on third-and-goal to get by Travis Frederick and tackle Ball for a loss of a couple of yards.
Hill totaled 12 tackles, three tackles for a loss and two sacks against the Badgers. The 6-foot-1, 292-pounder has real speed and explosiveness at the line of scrimmage. He also is strong and holds his ground at the point of attack. This performance will help Hill's cause to be a second-day pick next April.
It was a quieter game for Hodges playing without injured middle linebacker Michael Mauti. Hodges got pressure on a blitz early on, but the quarterback got the throw off for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Hodges took a bad angle on the next Wisconsin possession that helped allow a gain of 24 yards on a fly sweep. Hodges tracked down Ball after a run of about 15 yards around the left side. Hodges fired through the backfield in the third quarter and chased down Ball from behind for no gain. Hodgers totaled seven tackles on the day. He could be a second- or third-rounder next April.
Ball was bottled up on the majority of his carries for short gains. Still, he ran around the right side in the first half for a 17-yard touchdown that made history. That score gave the Ball the all-time lead for career rushing touchdowns in FBS history. Penn State's defense was focused on stopping the run, and the stop unit kept the Badgers' ground game from controlling the game. Ball ran for 111 yards on 27 carries with the score.
Ball will need to test well over the offseason to make sure he goes on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft. If Ball doesn't test well, he could slide into Day 3.
Wagner had a fine game as a pass-protector, but he struggled to get any push in the ground game. Frederick had an ugly performance as Hill had his way with him.
The Badgers are playing Frederick out of position at center. He was much better as a guard in 2011. Frederick should return for his senior season to improve before going pro. Wagner has second day potential next April.
Oklahoma 51, Oklahoma State 48
The late season surge for Sooners quarterback Landry Jones continued in a comeback win over rival Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder has a big-time skill set with a strong arm, accuracy and the ability to make all the throws. The senior's college career has been a roller coaster and he has struggled to pull out comeback wins and play well in big games. Jones has showed growth this season by leading his team to a last minute win at West Virginia and now an overtime victory over the Cowboys.
Things did't start off well as Jones made a bone-headed throw in the first quarter. He was getting pressure and moved up in the pocket. Jones threw a weak dump off pass that was easily intercepted and returned to inside Oklahoma's 10-yard line. The receiver he was throwing to had four defenders around him, and any quarterback should know better than to throw that pass.
Jones made a good read on the next possession and lofted in a perfectly thrown ball over the deep shoulder of a receiver slashing toward the sideline. The gain went for 33 yards, and it truly took a great throw to beat tight coverage. Jones missed an open Kenny Stills in the end zone on the drive, and the Sooners had to settle for a field goal.
Jones threw his first score on an easy dump off pass to fullback Trey Millard, who coasted into the end zone. The signal-caller's second score came later in the first half when he threw a bullet on a quick slant.
Jones was fortunate not to throw pick on an out route to Stills late in the second quarter. The ball was deflected in the air, yet Stills was able to snatch it down for a touchdown in the front of the zone. Jones had enough velocity to get it by the defensive back and Stills made a tremendous catch while getting his feet in bounds in the end zone. Some NFL cornerbacks would turn that into an interception.
With the Sooners down in the third quarter, Jones threw an accurate pass down the middle of the field for a big gain. He moved the ball with some precision passes on other drives, but had a bunch of them end in field goal attempts and fumbles from his teammates.
Jones had an impressive fourth quarter drive to get his team into overtime. He started at the Oklahoma 14-yard line and completed 10 passes for short to intermediate gains to set up a 4-yard touchdown run with only a few seconds on the clock. The Sooners signal-caller finished the game having completed 46-of-71 passes for 500 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
This late season surge should really help Jones to at least be a second-day selection next April.
Stills totaled nine receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. He has had a quality junior year and could be a second-day pick if he enters the 2013 NFL Draft. He would be better off returning for his senior season.
The other star of the game was Oklahoma State junior running back Joseph Randle. He has had a quality year and continued that against Oklahoma. Randle totaled four touchdowns against the Sooners and showed impressive toughness to repeatedly bang the ball into the end zone.
The juniot scored his first touchdown from a yard out with a nice second effort to get across the goal line. He dove through Oklahoma linebacker Tom Wort a few minutes later to get into the end zone again.
Randle caught a dump off pass in the second quarter and juked Sooners safety Tony Jefferson to break free down the sideline for a gain of about 20 yards. The ball-carrier had a good run of about 15 yards to the 3-yard line. Randle had a nice run after halftime for about 10 yards and ran through a tackle by Jefferson.
Randle's third touchdown of the night came on a 5-yard trap run where he banged off a tackler to get into the end zone. Randle ran up the middle on a third-and-goal and powered through a few defenders for a 7-yard touchdown.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder ripped off about 50 yards on three carries during the fourth quarter. All of them went up the middle, and he dodged defenders to get downfield and set up a touchdown for the Cowboys. Randle totaled 113 yards on 21 carries with four touchdowns against the Sooners. He also caught two passes for 29 yards. Oklahoma State should've handed him the ball more often. Randle looks like he could be a second-day pick if he enters the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jefferson is another early-rounder, but he had a mixed day against the Cowboys. Jefferson had a nice tackle on a perimeter run for no gain. He blasted a receiver deep downfield in the second quarter, but the wide out held onto the ball for the catch. Running from across the field, Jefferson showed nice burst to break off his man and bail out his cornerback from giving up a long touchdown.
Jefferson made a nice instinctive play heading into halftime to move up and break up pass. He made a touchdown-saving tackle on Randle in the open field a few plays later.
On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Jefferson edged up, and his receiver kept running behind him to get wide open for a long touchdown. The Sooners saftey looked like he got caught guessing on the route.
Jefferson was flagged for a pass interference in the end zone after he held the receiver from getting open. Jefferson hit Randle on a short pass a few plays later to help force an incompletion. Jefferson demonstrated nice instincts during the fourth quarter to fire up and tackle the quarterback for no gain on a sneak.
Jefferson totaled 14 tackles and a tackle for a loss against Oklahoma State. He had some good moments with hard tackles, good instincts, some touchdown-saving tackles and covering a lot of ground for his defense. There were the negatives like the touchdown, the pass interference and some missed tackles. It was a mixed outing, and right now, Jefferson looks like a future second-round pick.
Notre Dame 22, USC 13
In the game watched by the nation, the Fighting Irish put their NFL talent on display. Notre Dame senior inside linebacker Manti Te'o has had a tremendous season and entered the game as a Heisman Trophy contender. USC was playing without senior quarterback Matt Barkley (shoulder), but the Trojans still have NFL talent on both sides of the ball.
Te'o wasn't having a big impact during the first half. He made some run tackles, but all of them were after gains. Te'o made a huge play in the second half after dropping into pass coverage. He was very instinctive to cut back under Marqise Lee to make a play on the ball. Te'o extended to make his seventh interception of the season to set up the Fighting Irish in Trojans territory. It was an extremely intelligent play as Te'o started to his left before looking back to see Lee running a crossing route behind him. Te'o reversed field and made the catch for Notre Dame.
The senior had tight coverage on Lee running to the back of the end zone later in the fourth quarter to help produce an incompletion. This tape helps display what a great pass-defender Te'o. That is an essential commodity to be a high first-round pick as a linebacker. He validated the hype with another great game in a legendary senior season.
Te'o isn't the only potential first-round pick for the Fighting Irish. Senior tight end Tyler Eifert could be a late first-rounder next April. He had a leaping 15-yard reception in the first quarter. Eifert made a juggling catch for a first down on the same drive after taking a hit by the defensive back as the ball arrived.
Eifert had a big gain of 36 yards during the third quarter after the cornerback fell down. He totaled 69 yards on four receptions. It was a quality performance from Eifert where also had some good blocks in the ground game.
USC junior wide receiver Robert Woods has had a disappointing season. He's been hampered by an ankle injury all year, and Lee took over as the No. 1 receiver in the Trojans' offense. Woods' first catch of the game went for about 10 yards, and he made a superb catch on the next play going high while taking a hard hit along the sideline. Woods finished the drive by snagging an 11-yard touchdown on a post route while running to the back of the end zone.
The junior made three catches of over 10 yards on a drive in the fourth quarter to move the chains for USC. Woods had 92 yards on seven receptions against Notre Dame. If he decides to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft, his junior season makes him look more like a second-day pick rather than a first-rounder.
Another potential second-day selection for USC is senior safety T.J. McDonald. He had a good open field tackle on a receiver on the first drive, and if McDonald hadn't make the stop, the wide out could've run for a long touchdown.
McDonald contributed some other tackles in run support and in pass coverage, but didn't make any splash plays. He also took some bad angles and seemed a touch slow to diagnosis some plays. McDonald needs to play well at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine to help his draft stock.
USC senior center Khaled Holmes was having a strong first half in run blocking and pass blocking against Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix. Things started to go bad in the second quarter when Holmes had a terrible shotgun snap for a fumble that cost his team a third-down attempt at the end zone. He was really struggling with Nix after that.
Holmes was beaten for a sack on a speed rush during the third quarter. Nix blew by Holmes shortly later to bring down the back for a tackle for a loss on a third-and-1 carry. Nix was giving Holmes fits in pass protection and in run blocking.
when USC got the ball back to the goal line in the fourth quarter, Holmes got zero push and was repeatedly blown backward to stuff running plays. It was a rough night overall for the senior that won't help his draft stock.
Nix, on the other hand, had a great night with huge plays and constant disruption. He looks like a future first-round pick in 2013 or 2014, and this tape will help that bid.
The star of the game for the Fighting Irish offense was running back Theo Riddick. The senior ripped off yards in chunks and displayed some nice vision with cutting ability. Riddick (5-11, 200) ran for 146 yards on 20 carries including a 9-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He entered the night with 734 yards on the season as part of a committee approach, but the senior helped himself to be a potential late-rounder next April.
South Carolina 27, Clemson 17
Clemson junior quarterback Tajh Boyd and junior wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins have had huge 2012 seasons, but in the weak ACC, they haven't played many good defenses. The duo had some nice production against Florida State in a road loss, but that was really the only tough defense Clemson has played all year. That would change against South Carolina in this in-state SEC rivalry game.
Boyd showed great mobility on two different plays in the first quarter. He ran for a first down and spun out of a sack to throw a pass downfield to Sammy Watkins for a big gain. Boyd ran into the end zone from three yards out to cap off the drive.
The Tigers signal-caller dropped in a 43-yard touchdown to Hopkins on the next possession. He ran a go route down the field and gained separation from the corner. The pass was thrown a little late, but Hopkins made a fantastic catch over two defenders and held onto the ball while taking the hits.
That was Hopkins' only reception of the night in a disappointing performance that featured a few dropped passes. The junior could be a second-rounder if he declares for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Boyd was lucky wheb an interception was canceled out by a pass interference penalty. It was questionable call that easily could've been a no call. He later threw a terrible pass off his back foot as he was getting hit. The ball was completely up for grabs in the middle of the field and Devonte Holloman came down with the pick for the Gamecocks. The pass was very uncharacteristic for the Clemson quarterback.
Boyd threw his second pick of the afternoon in the fourth quarter after he was pressured by superstar Jadeveon Clowney. The pass was thrown off the mark and Boyd didn't see a defender trailing in zone coverage.
Hopkins got open deep in zone coverage during the fourth quarter, but he dropped the well-thrown pass by Boyd. That was the Tigers' last shot as the Gamecocks ran the clock out after Clemson was forced to punt.
Boyd finished the night 11-of-24 for 180 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 37 yards on 18 carries with a score, but that yardage total is misleading because it takes away yards lost on sacks. It was an ugly night that illustrated that Boyd should return for his senior season to continue improving for the NFL. Boyd needs to improve on his accuracy and field vision.
Tigers senior running back Andre Ellington was mostly held in check by the Gamecocks. He ripped off a nice run of close to 20 yards before being chased down by Devin Taylor. Ellington was held to short gains on the majority of runs. He totaled 61 yards on 14 carries and looks like a potential mid-rounder next April.
Taylor has been an underachiever the past two seasons after an impressive sophomore campaign in 2010. He had an active night against the Clemson. A couple of plays after running down Ellington, Taylor had a pass batted away. He had a nice rush to the inside during the third quarter and almost sacked Boyd, but after escaping Taylor, Boyd was brought down by Clowney. There were other rushes where Taylor put some heat on the quarterback. He looks like a mid-rounder who would be best as a 3-4 defensive end.
Clemson senior cornerback Xavier Brewer is an unknown player, but he had an impressive night. Brewer had a sack and an interception in the end zone on back-to-back plays during the fourth quarter. This performance helps him to get on teams' radar.
Florida 37, Florida State 26
Finally, the Florida versus Florida State rivalry game had national relevance again, and as usual there was a lot of NFL talent on display. Two potential first-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft are Seminoles junior cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive end Bjoern Werner. They've both had strong seasons along with senior defensive end Tank Carradine.
Rhodes had solid coverage on a slant early on, but a perfectly thrown pass created a gain of eight with Rhodes making a quick tackle. Werner beat right tackle Chaz Green with a speed rush for a sack. Werner had his second sack late in the first half when he read a trick play to sack Jeff Driskel for a big loss.
Both Rhodes and Werner had good plays in the third quarter. Rhodes broke on the ball and knocked a pass away. He used all of his 6-foot-2 frame to stretch out to break up the play. That was one of the rare plays on which Florida threw at Rhodes.
Werner caught a fumble on a muffed exchange to set up a Florida State touchdown. He beat Green again with a juke and speed rush for another sack. Werner and Green had some good battles in the ground game, but the Gators mostly ran to the other side of the line. This tape should help Werner and Rhodes to be first-rounders.
Florida senior left tackle Xavier Nixon was getting the better of Tank Carradineall night. It was an ugly performance for the breakout senior as Nixon was dominating regularly. Carradine got a coverage sack at the start of the fourth quarter after being blocked on the play. Driskel scrambled forward and Carradine chased him down from behind. He fell awkwardly late in the game and looked like he suffered a serious injury.
This performance will help Nixon and hurt Carradine. The Gators had a lot of success running straight at Carradine, and he did not hold his ground well at the point of attack. Both players could contend to be selected on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft next April.
Florida senior running back Mike Gillislee is another player who has broken out in 2012. He ran well against one of the best defenses in the nation. Gillislee was getting some good yardage in the early going and powering his way through tackles for some extra yards. He showed nice burst and power in the second quarter to plunge into the end zone for a 9-yard score. Nixon paved the way for Gillislee as Carradine was pushed downfield on the play.
Gillislee put the Gators in the lead during the fourth quarter with a 37-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Seminoles' defense. He made some superb cuts to dodge two defenders and break free down the field. Gillislee totaled 140 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns versus Florida State. It was a great game from the senior with how hard he ran against one of the top-ranked defenses in the nation. Gillislee looks like a second-day selection during the 2013 NFL Draft.
Seminoles senior quarterback E.J. Manuel has helped his draft stock this season with improved play. However, he hadn't played a tough defense all season and the Gators have one of the top defenses in the nation. Manuel was going to have to contend with defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and safety Matt Elam, two talented junior defenders who are expected to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Manuel dodged Floyd on the first drive to throw the ball down the field for a 27-yard gain. The drive ended after the signal-caller was pressured and threw a bad pass off his back foot up for grabs. Elam skied high in the air to come down with an interception for the Gators.
Late in the second quarter, Manuel didn't see junior outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins drop into zone coverage and threw a pass right to him. Manuel had a 22-yard run jst before halftime to set up a 50-yard field goal for Florida State.
Manuel threw his third interception at the start of the third quarter after his receiver stopped his route and the pass was slightly overthrown. Manuel was lucky that Florida couldn't score off the last two picks. He came back to throw a short touchdown pass on the next possession. Manuel ran in a short touchdown on a bootleg to give the Seminoles the lead after a Gators turnover.
Manuel scrambled and fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter after getting leveled by Florida linebacker Lerentee McCray. The turnover set up the Gators to score the go-ahead touchdown on the next play. The hit knocked Manuel out of the game for a possession.
The Seminoles signal-caller took a bad sack late in the fourth quarter as Floyd charged into the pocket and wrestled him to the ground. Floyd had another hit on Manuel on fourth down to help cause an interception. Floyd had massive performance and really helped himself against Florida State. He was extremely disruptive. Floyd could be a first- or second-round pick next April in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Manuel ran for a 22-yard touchdown on the final play of the game. He completed 18-of-33 passes for 181 yards, a touchdown pass, two running scores and three interceptions. This performance definitely hurts Manuel's draft stock. The picks, the fumble and taking a costly sack were avoidable mistakes from the senior quarterback. Manuel looks more like a third- or fourth-rounder than a second-round pick.
Elam had a good a tackle for a loss on a first-and-goal. There was a run play in the fourth quarter where he was caught standing around watching his teammates make a tackle when he could've gotten in on the play. Overall, Elam played a good game, but it looked like he left some plays on the field.
The final prospect worth mentioning is Florida defensive tackle Omar Hunter. He came up with two tackles on third-and-1 situations in the first half for no gain. Both plays forced punts from Florida State. Hunter is a third-day pick, but helped himself against the Seminoles.
Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 14
This rivalry game had a nice draft matchup with Virginia left tackle Oday Aboushi going against Virgnia Tech junior defensive end James Gayle. Both have the potential to be draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. Aboushi hasn't faced many dangerous pass-rushers this year, while Gayle has had an easy slate of offensive tackles.
Aboushi did well as a pass-protector all day. He didn't allow any pressure and mirrored edge-rushers well. Aboushi got downfield and hit a nice block to spring his back for a big gain on a screen pass. Aboushi wasn't getting any push at the point of attack in the ground game. He wasn't getting dominated or missing blocks, but was just generating a series of stalemates at the line of scrimmage.
During the fourth quarter, Aboushi tried to save his left guard from giving up a sack, but Aboushi was a second late to get the block on the tackle who got in for the sack.
The senior had a mostly solid game, but wasn't overwhelmingly dominant. His pass blocking is definitely far ahead of his run blocking. Aboushi's lack of strength pushes him down into the second-day of the 2013 NFL draft, but he has some developmental potential.
Gayle was a non-factor in the pass rush for the vast majority of the game. He was active in run defense, but didn't stand out. Gayle was mainly rushing from left defensive end and didn't go against Aboushi. Gayle cut to the inside during the fourth quarter and got a hit on the quarterback. He had an outside pressure a few plays later after gaining some leverage on the tight end.
Gayle was getting some nice rushes late in the game and putting some heat on the quarterback. However, he didn't make any plays, and this game won't be any help to him. Gayle totaled five sacks this season, but has a Bowl game left. He looks like a mid-round pick who should return for his senior year.
Ohio State 26, Michigan 21
Unfortunately, the best draft matchup in this game never happened. Ohio State senior defensive end John Simon is the Big Ten's leader in sacks and was slated to take on Michigan junior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, a projected first-round pick. Simon was held out of the game with a knee injury after a four-sack performance last week against Wisconsin. That was the final contest of his collegiate career as the Buckeyes are banned from the postseason exhibitions.
Ohio State didn't miss Simon in the early going. Freshman Adolphus Washington beat Lewan with a speed rush around the corner to record a strip sack that was recovered by the Buckeyes. Lewan was having success on the ground, other than that sack, and in pass protection. He allowed a pressure on one play during the second quarter, but that was more on the quarterback for holding onto the ball too long.
Lewan was beaten by end Nathan Williams in the fourth quarter around the corner and Lewan's knee buckled. Williams started a sack that turned into a fumble recovery for Ohio State. The turnover came in Michigan territory and set up points for the Buckeyes. Lewan laid on the ground holding his knee, but he came back to the field when the Wolverines got the ball back.
Aside from a couple of plays, Lewan had a good day, but those two plays where he was beaten were extremely costly for his team. Lewan has a lot of ability as a starting left tackle in the NFL, but he isn't a finished product.
The junior needs to work on his foot speed and getting depth in his pass drops. His run blocking would be improved if were to get better technique with his knee bend. Lewan looks like a first-round pick in an underwhelming 2013 offensive tackle class, but as a player, he would be better off developing his game for another year before going pro.
Another potential first-round pick is Ohio State junior defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. He had a fast start to the season, but has cooled down in the second half of 2012.
Hankins showed nice pursuit early on against Michigan and got in on a tackle along the sideline on a bubble screen. He had a nice run stuff at the goal line for no gain early in the second quarter. Hankins powered through a double-team after halftime to blow up a short yardage third-down run. That caused a pile and the running back to be stopped short of first-down yardage.
Hankins helped create a gang tackle for no gain during the fourth quarter. He put a hit on the quarterback on the very next play after the signal-caller stepped up in the pocket to avoid Williams. Hankins lowered his shoulder and planted it in the chest of the quarterback to pop the ball out. Hankins showed nice awareness to cut back to the inside on the play after his blockers stretched the play out to the perimeter.
Overall this was a good tape from Hankins that should help him with NFL evaluators. He was a load at the point of attack who held his gap and wasn't moved around. Hankins has top 20 potential if he enters the 2013 NFL Draft.
LSU 20, Arkansas 13
This SEC contest was the final collegiate game for the Razorbacks' quarterback Tyler Wilson and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton since the team's disappointing season left it short of qualifying for Bowl appearance. Going against the duo was an LSU defense that features a lot of early-round talent for the 2013 NFL Draft. The Tigers have four juniors in defensive end Sam Montgomery, defensive end Barkevious Mingo, safety Eric Reid and linebacker Kevin Minter who could be first-round picks in the 2013 or 2014 NFL Drafts.
Wilson moved the ball well on his first drive with some precision passes. He hooked up with Hamilton on a shallow cross and a quick out for two first downs. Wilson also took off for a nice run to get a first down. The drive ended when Arkansas fumbled the ball away at the 2-yard line.
The first throw of the Razorbacks' second possession was a poorly thrown ball and a bad decision by the signal-caller. He threw into double coverage with a pass well short of his receiver running a go route down the sideline. It fell into the cornerback for an interception and LSU had the ball at the Arkansas 40-yard line.
Wilson threw a fastball in a tight window to Hamilton a bit later, but the senior wide out let the ball fall incomplete as it hit off his pads. He should've made a hands catch rather than trapping it against his body. The drop forced the Razorbacks to punt instead of what would've been a third-down conversion.
Wilson showed nice escapability on one play by getting away from Montgomery and Mingo. They were about to sandwich him, but he stepped up in the pocket to run for almost 10 yards on the play. Wilson also had a gain of 20 to Hamilton on a short pass that he turned up the field.
Wilson made two great throws in the third quarter. The first was one that helped open up Hamilton for a good gain in the middle of the field. The next toss went into the end zone with a perfectly placed 28-yard touchdown toss over the helmet of the cornerback.
Wilson threw two good passes for nice gains early in the fourth to move the ball to the 1-yard line, but Arkansas had to settle for a field goal after Wilson was stopped on a QB sneak on third down. Hamilton injured his ankle in the fourth quarter, and came back to the field, but wasn't the same. He finished with 10 receptions for 99 yards. Hamilton had a quality tape against LSU that should help him to be an early-rounder next April.
Wilson finished the day completing 31-of-52 passes for 361 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He had good pocket awareness but missed some reads at times. Wilson was reasonably accurate, but couldn't push his team over the top. He has a nice skill set to be a potential first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Mingo had a nice pursuit tackle along the sideline on a short pass. He was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Wilson in the final minute of the second quarter. Mingo laid another hard hit on Wilson during the fourth quarter. Mingo had some nice rushes from time to time to pressure the quarterback, but he didn't record any sacks. Mingo is a first-round athlete, but his junior year production has been disappointing with only four sacks on the season.
Montgomery didn't apply as much pressure as Mingo or record a sack. Montgomery was solid against the run. The junior finished out the regular season with seven sacks and looks like a future first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The LSU defender who had the best game was Minter. He had a number of nice run tackles and did a good job of being around the ball. Minter showed some nice man-coverage ability in pass coverage. He was called for a couple of pass interference penalties. Minter had good coverage, but he was a little too aggressive with contact to draw the flags.
Overall, Minter showed nice ability to play man coverage and the instincts to get in position to make tackles while dropping into zone. It was an impressive performance from Minter that will help to show NFL teams that he has three-down ability. Minter looks like a first- or second-round pick for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Reid was pretty quiet throughout the first half. He came alive in the third quarter with a nice open-field tackle on a short completion. Reid later stripped the ball away from a running back. The ball flew in the air and Reid caught the loose ball. The officials ruled it wasn't a fumble because forward progress had been stopped.
Otherwise, Reid got in on some hard hits on receivers downfield and in the run game. He looked better in pass coverage against Arkansas than he has in other games this season. This tape should help Reid. He's been beaten numerous times by other passing attacks this season, so some improvement is a good sign. Reid could be a late first-round or second-round pick next April, if he declares.
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