2015 NFL Draft: College Football Game Recaps – Week 6

This section breaks down many college football games each week and highlights how 2015 NFL Draft Prospects have performed. Or look at the 2015 NFL Draft Stock page (link coming soon).

By Charlie Campbell.
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Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22
  • This was the best game for draft matchups in Week 6 of the college football season. There were two good pass-rushing prospects to watch in Nebraska’s Randy Gregory and Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun. Both have first-round potential, with Gregory being a possible top-10 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Nebraska needed Gregory to have a big game pressuring Spartans junior quarterback Connor Cook, another potential first-round pick.

    In the first minute of the game, Cook had a pass deflected, and Gregory showed great awareness to snatch the pass for an interception. Cook came back to hit a 55-yard touchdown to wide-open receiver Tony Lippett. In the second quarter, Cook threw a perfectly accurate pass into a tight window between two defenders. He did it again on a third down with a ridiculous throw between two defensive backs. The accuracy on that pass was breathtaking and few quarterbacks could make both of those two throws. He had a similar toss in the fourth quarter.

    Howerer while Cook had some spectacular throws, he had a lot of other passes off the mark and was feast-or-famine with completions. The junior finished completing 11-of-29 passes for 234 yards with a touchdown and an interception. From an NFL perspective, Cook was better than the numbers indicate as he threw some dimes into tight windows and showed mobility to buy time. However, he needs to get more consistent. It wouldn’t be surprising if Cook returns for his senior year.

  • Gregory had a good game for Nebraska. He had some pressures that forced Cook to scramble away and caused some incompletions. Gregory also did a generally good job defending the run and was solid on the perimeter. This was a quality game from Gregory.

  • With big expectations entering 2014, Calhoun has had a slow start to the season, but that has changed recently, and it definitely was the case against Nebraska. Calhoun was the disruptive speed rusher that he was in 2013. In the first half, Calhoun had a number of good plays in run defense and making tackles. He also got a hit on the quarterback in the end zone just after the pass was thrown. In the second quarter, Calhoun scooped up a fumble inside the Spartans’ 10-yard line and returned the fumble close to midfield.

    Calhoun burned the right tackle late in the second quarter with a speed rush to get a sack. After halftime, Calhoun and Marcus Rush had the quarterback going to the ground, but he got a pass off for an incompletion. Calhoun had a number of good pass rushes late in the game, but wasn’t able to get to the quarterback for sacks.

    Overall, Calhoun had his best game of the season as he made a number of tackles in run support, got to the quarterback multiple times, and generated lots of pressure and some splash plays. This tape helped Calhoun get his draft stock back on track; he looked like a future first-rounder against Nebraska.

  • Nebraska senior running back Ameer Abdullah has been one of the best backs in college football this year. NFL sources have been impressed with Abdullah as he’s carried the Cornhuskers’ offense. This was his worst game of the season though. The Spartans’ tough defense was selling out to stop Abdullah and daring Nebraska to pass the ball.

    Abdullah had a fumble in the first half and couldn’t find any running lanes. He totaled 45 yards on 24 carries with two short touchdown runs. Abdullah didn’t play poorly, but the smaller slashing running back needs lanes to be effective and isn’t a power runner.

  • Michigan State junior cornerback Trae Waynes had a good game overall for the Spartans. He had tight coverage to help force an incompletion on Nebraska’s first third down of the game. Late in the first quarter, Waynes had tight coverage on wide receiver Kenny Bell along the sideline. Waynes read Bell’s eyes and hands to turn around and make an interception.

    It wasn’t all good for Waynes as he was flagged for a pass interference when he was too physical with a receiver. Waynnes had a second pass interference penalty that was very questionable. He had blanket coverage on a number of throws and did well on the island in press-man.

    Late in the fourth quarter, despite Waynes having good coverage on a receiver running along the sideline, the wideout got away with a push-off to create enough separation for a pass to fall in for a 33-yard gain. However, Waynes later clinched the game for Michigan State as he intercepted a pass with 30 seconds remaining.

    It wasn’t a flawless performance, but Waynes came away with two interceptions and showed his ability to be a physical press-man corner. He could be a first-round pick in 2015 or 2016.

  • Michigan State senior safety Kurtis Drummond had a rough game against Oregon in Week 2, but has since bounced back. He was very active against Nebraska and always around the ball. Drummond also made a nice contribution on special teams as he downed a punt on the one-yard line.

    Drummond was beaten by the slot receiver on a corner post for a third-down conversion. A few plays later though, he almost made a diving interception. Late in the fourth quarter, Drummond undercut a route and had an interception sail through his hands to the receiver who turned up field for a long gain. Drummond also contributed to the Spartans limiting Abdullah. Overall, it was quality outing, but Drummond missed some opportunities and left some big plays on the field. Those lapses are evidence of why Drummond is more of a second-day pick rather than a first-rounder.

    Auburn 41, LSU 7
  • There was a great draft matchup in this game between Auburn speed receiver Sammy Coates and LSU’s talented secondary led by safety Jalen Mills and cornerback Jalen Collins. While Coates has had a slow start to the season, he exploded against LSU.

    It was a rough night for Mills, and it started with him getting beaten by the slot receiver on an out route for a 19-yard gain and a third-down conversion. Shortly later, Mills was late helping his cornerback coming over the top, and Coates out fought the corner to make a catch and stumble into the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown. Mills gave a poor effort to tackle Coates before the end zone as well.

    Not long after that, Coates used his size to shield Mills from the ball and made a leaping catch for 38 yards over the LSU safety. Mills had good coverage, but Coates used his size advantage to make the play. Just before halftime, Coates got open in zone with a ran after the catch for a gain of 29 yards.

    In the second quarter, Collins had tight coverage on Coates to force an incompletion on a third-down throw deep down the field. Mills had great coverage in the second half to slap a pass away for an incompletion in the end zone. He also made a touchdown-saving tackle on a running play downfield.

    Coates finished with four receptions for 144 yards. This was an excellent tape for him as he showed the speed to make big plays down the field with the size, strength and concentration to make contested catches. If Coates ends up being a first-round pick, this tape will have helped him achieve that draft grade.

    Overall, Mills had a rough night in coverage and also got run over by a running back. This tape won’t help him. Collins played well, plus Coates’ big plays didn’t come at his expense. Collins’ performance versus Auburn should help his draft grade.

  • LSU left tackle La’el Collins has been putting together a good junior season, and this may have been his best game yet considering the level of competition. All night, Collins was rock solid. He handled Auburn’s speed rushers and mirrored them when they tried to turn the corner. Collins also withstood bull rushes and also got movement in the ground game. There were plays where the junior threw defenders into the turf like dolls. Collins showed nice strength to sustain blocks until the whistle. This tape definitely will help hi draft grade.

    Mississippi State 48, Texas A&M 31
  • An emerging prospect during the first half of the 2014 season is Mississippi State junior quarterback Dak Prescott, and he continued his strong play with a huge performance against Texas A&M. From start to finish, Prescott was superb.

    For one of those great moments, Prescott made a money throw to help get his receiver open for a pass of about 25 yards that set up a short touchdown run for the Bulldogs. The junior signal-caller made a few more good throws on his next drive, including an impressive back-shoulder toss to get another touchdown for Mississippi State. Prescott also did the job with his legs and strength as he pounded the ball into the end zone on the goal line.

    After missing a touchdown with an overthrow, Prescott converted a third-and-goal with a fastball on a slant for six. In the third quarter, he threw a dime to his receiver over the head of the cornerback, and his receiver took off for a 52-yard touchdown. It was a perfect pass that displayed arm strength and accuracy from the pocket as Prescott worked off his primary read and found the receiver in man coverage.

    Prescott laid out another deep ball that would have gone for a long touchdown, but he made up for it with an 11-yard touchdown run.

    Against Texas A&M, Prescott completed 19-of-25 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns. He ran for 77 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns on the ground. It was a Heisman-type performance to lead Mississippi State to a win over the sixth-ranked Aggies. Prescott showed NFL scouts a lot to fall in love with as he passed accurately from the pocket with impressive field vision to work through his progressions and throw to the right receiver. Prescott has a strong arm, mobility and toughness. His ball placement and security were very good against Texas A&M. This was a great tape for Prescott.

  • Aggies left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi is considered to be a potential high first-round pick, but he didn’t play like it against Mississippi State. Bulldogs junior middle linebacker Benardrick McKinney is a future starter in the NFL and an early-round prospect who lines up in a variety of spots. He was the player who came to play in this matchup.

    McKinney got the better of Ogbuehi on one play and that set a tone for the day. In the second quarter, McKinney stood up over him to rush the quarterback. McKinney beat Ogbuehi with quickness and strength to get a sack of Kenny Hill. Later on, Ogbuehi was beat for another sack as he didn’t sustain his block and the defensive end was able to get to the quarterback on a second effort for a coverage sack.

    That happened again as Ogbuehi had the player blocked initially, but hustle and pass coverage led to Hill holding the ball, and the end got off Ogbuehi to get a sack. Overall, this was not a good tape for Ogbuehi as he gave up three sacks and some other pressures. He struggled to sustain blocks and allowed sacks that he shouldn’t have. It was very uncharacteristic and won’t help Ogbuehi’s chances of being the first tackle selected or going high in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

    McKinney had a good performance, but he also had some missed opportunities. McKinney dropped an easy interception after a tipped pass in the second half, but he came back to close on a back in a hurry and plant him in the ground. McKinney looks like a three-down starter for the NFL and should grade out in the first couple of rounds.

    Notre Dame 17, Stanford 14
  • Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat is a considered to be a top tackle prospect, and the junior is having a season. The Notre Dame game didn’t start well for him as he had some false-start issues, but aside from that he won his blocks all day.

    In pass protection, Peat didn’t have issues with Notre Dame’s defensive ends. He showed his athleticism and quickness on a few plays. For one, Peat hit a big block on a linebacker in the second level to spring the running back for a touchdown that gave Stanford the lead with little time left in the fourth quarter. Peat also had a bone-crushing block on a screen downfield. He showed serious agility and quickness to hit that block.

    Peat looked better in pass protection than his run blocking against the Fighting Irish, but the rest of the Cardinal offensive line really struggled. Peat was the only Stanford lineman who had a respectable showing.

  • Some draft pundits are big fans of Notre Dame senior cornerback Cody Riggs, who had the challenge of going against Stanford wide receiver Ty Montgomery. Riggs didn’t have a great game, but Montgomery really struggled to catch the ball as it rained throughout the contest.

    In the second quarter, Riggs had close coverage, but Montgomery dropped a pass that wasn’t easy catch. Montgomery got open on some other throws, but Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan couldn’t get him the ball. Montgomery’s frustrating game continued as he dropped an easy completion for a first down with room to run inside the Notre Dame 20-yard line. He had another drop in the third quarter after getting open. In the fourth quarter, the senior had a nice kick return of over 40 yards.

    Montgomery had only four receptions for 12 yards against the Fighting Irish along with five carries for 14 yards. He really struggled to catch wet passes, and this was an ugly tape for the normally reliable Montgomery.

    Riggs almost had a sack in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get Hogan to the ground. Riggs wasn’t bad in coverage, but was fortunate that some completions he should have given up were dropped by the receivers.

  • Stanford cornerback Alex Carter has early-round potential, but he didn’t impress against Notre Dame. It wasn’t a disaster, but Carter has had better performances. He was beaten by Corey Robinson for a gain of 13 yards, and to make matters worse, Carter was whistled for a face mask on the play. That 28-yard gain was a huge play in the Fighting Irish taking the lead with a field goal drive. This tape won’t do anything to help Carter.

  • Across the field from Carter is senior cornerback Wayne Lyons. He had an ugly game that made him look like a late-round selection or undrafted free agent. Lyons got lost in coverage on a number of plays and allowed separation frequently. On Notre Dame’s game-winning drive, Lyons was called for a critical pass interference in the end zone. He also was part of busted coverage on Ben Koyack getting wide open for a 23-yard touchdown with only a minute remaining. Lyons hurt himself against the Fighting Irish.

  • Stanford defensive lineman Henry Anderson had a disruptive game. He was tough at the point of attack and did a good job defending the run. Anderson also got pass pressure on Everett Golson. Late in the fourth quarter, Anderson pushed his blocker into the backfield to knock down Golson on an attempted quarterback draw. That was a big play that would have been huge it it weren’t for the busted coverage on Koyack’s touchdown a play later. Still, Anderson was impressive.

    Ole Miss 23, Alabama 17
  • There were two good safety prospects in this game with Alabama�s Landon Collins and Ole Miss� Cody Prewitt having immediate starting potential for the NFL. Both players were being tested by some good receivers; the top wideout in college football is Alabama junior Amari Cooper, while Ole Miss sophomore Laquan Treadwell would challenge Collins.

    Nobody had been able to contain Cooper, but Ole Miss did better than anyone thus far. In the first half, Cooper had four receptions for only 22 yards. Cooper moved the chains on some catches following intermission, but the Rebels kept him from making any game-changing plays, as Cooper had nine receptions for 91 yards. This tape probably won�t hurt Cooper�s draft stock.

  • Prewitt had a solid game for the Rebels. He made a number of tackles in run support and helped defend the deep part of the field. It could have been a bigger game as Prewitt had a pass hit him in the breadbasket, but the Alabama tight end got a hand in to break up the interception. Prewitt should have held on to the ball. In the third quarter, Prewitt flew into the backfield to get a tackle on Blake Sims. Prewitt also made a clutch open field tackle on T.J. Yeldon on the final drive of the game. This tape should help Prewitt�s draft stock.

  • The player who hurt his draft stock in this game was Collins. He had a lot of trouble in pass coverage, and this tape will cause NFL teams to question whether Collins has the coverage skills to run with receiving tight ends and backs out of the backfield.

    Collins was beaten by tight end Evan Engram for a potential 50-yard touchdown but Ingram dropped a well thrown pass by Bo Wallace. Shortly later, Collins wasn�t so lucky, as Vince Sanders beat him for a 34-yard touchdown. Collins took some false steps to the other side of the field and that let Sanders get open behind him for the score. Collins showed poor eye discipline on that play and let Wallace manipulate him.

    Only a few minutes later, Collins was burned again on the game-winning score. Running back Jaylen Walton fired to the corner of the end zone, and Collins was late reacting as Walton ran right by him to get open for the score.

    Collins is a heavy hitter and a good defender as the eighth man in the box, but in the passing-driven NFL, teams are looking for safeties who can cover receiving threats at tight end, in the slot and out of the backfield. This tape will show that Collins could have problems in this regard, and that could scare some teams off.

  • Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace has played better as a senior, but he�s been inconsistent throughout his college career. Wallace came through with some big time throws against Alabama to have the game of his life. Wallace threw some great passes down the field in the fourth quarter to lead Ole Miss to take the lead. Wallace had some perfect tosses that burned Collins including the 34-yarded to Sanders.

    Wallace made another great read to beat Collins for the game-winning score on the 10-yard pass to Walton. It was a perfect throw leading Walton away from the defender. Wallace completed 18-of-31 passes for 251 yards with three touchdowns. It could have been an even bigger day if his receivers didn�t drop some well-thrown passes. This game could be a real spark to Wallace�s draft stock and cause teams to start giving him more consideration.

  • Alabama junior running back T.J. Yeldon had a good day as he ran for 123 yards on 20 carries. However, junior running back Kenyan Drake suffered a gruesome leg injury and looks like he could be hurt significantly. In all likelihood, Drake was returning for his senior year anyway, but a serious injury would cement that.

    Florida 10, Tennessee 9
  • Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler had a coming-out party against Tennessee last year. The Volunteers were focused on that not happening again, as they sent some double teams toward him, but the Gators moved Fowler around to get him some one-on-one rushes. Once again, Fowler was excellent for the Gators. Fowler made an early impact when he beat the left tackle with speed rush to start a sack of Justin Worley.

    Fowler had a devastating hit on a running back during the third quarter where he slammed him into the turf. Later, with the Gators clinging to the lead, Fowler made a clutch sack on a third down as he burned the left tackle again. Fowler had other good rushes to get pressure on the quarterback late in the game. This was a very good tape that illustrates why Fowler is a future first-round pick.

  • Tennessee inside linebacker A.J. Johnson has the athletic ability to do anything on the football field. He was facing a tough, physical running back in Florida junior tailback Matt Jones. Florida struggled to move the ball when Jeff Driskel was in the game. Johnson had some good run tackles, as the Volunteer defense attacked downhill and dared Florida to throw the ball. Jones ran tough despite the overloaded fronts he faced.

    Johnson met Jones in the hole and stuffed a few runs. On an ugly play, Johnson missed a tackle on slip screen to a receiver and that allowed a 12-yard gain for Florida. Johnson then came untouched on a blitz to pressure Driskel into an overthrow that was intercepted.

    Johnson later chased down Jones down the field to make a touchdown-saving tackle. Johnson got washed out on some run plays, but he also flew behind the line to get a tackle for a loss late in the fourth when Florida was attempting to run out the clock.

    Johnson put together a good tackle total and had a mixed outing in terms of getting off blocks and reading his keys.

    Jones ran for 114 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown. This was a good tape for Jones in some hidden ways, as he did an impressive job of blocking. He executed some blitz protections and battled while also serving as a fullback lead blocker on some quarterback option runs. On one play, he popped Johnson to spring his quarterback for a quality gain. Jones provided a good tape for NFL evaluators.

  • Lastly, Tennessee junior wide receiver Pig Howard (5-8, 186) happens to be small, but is a play-maker. He put that on display against Florida with some clutch catches in the fourth quarter. He had 79 yards on six receptions. Howard is sleeper prospect to watch as a slot receiver candidate.

    Arizona 31, Oregon 24
  • Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is considered to be one of the top quarterback prospects for the NFL, but his performance against Arizona did not make him look like a player who is worthy of going at the top of the 2015 NFL Draft. Before the season, one general manager told WalterFootball.com they thought that Mariota was overrated, and this game gives that GM some evidence for his belief.

    In the first half, Mariota was off on his passes. It started when he missed a throw into a tight window. Midway through the first quarter, Mariota lofted a pass deep along the far sideline, and the throw should have been intercepted, but the safety wasn’t able to hang on after getting hit by the wide receiver. It wasn’t a good read or throw by Mariota. He should have thrown another interception in the second quarter, but the corner couldn’t control the reception. On the next play, Mariota lost the ball to a blind-side strip sack. After that, Mariota had a shot at a long completion as his receiver had the corner beat running down the sideline, but the signal-caller put too much air underneath it, and the receiver couldn’t make a diving catch.

    Mariota caught a pass on a halfback option in the first minute of the second quarter. He then got rocked, but broke a tackle at the five-yard line before colliding in the end zone and fumbling the ball just after scoring.

    Early in the third quarter, Mariota made a nice play working through his progressions before firing a bullet to a receiver running down the sideline. To finish the drive, Mariota threw his receiver open leading him to the back of the end zone for a short touchdown pass.

    Down by 10, Mariota threw some nice passes to lead a field goal drive to start the fourth quarter. Later, he converted a fourth-and-11 with a strike to an open receiver. Mariota hit a short slant to tie the game two plays later.

    After Arizona retook the lead, the Oregon offensive line let Mariota down again as he was sacked and stripped of the ball by Arizona sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright. Mariota has a bad habit of not securing the ball while scrambling and getting tackled, but that can be corrected. All night, Wright and other Wildcasts harassed Mariota as they overwhelmed the Ducks’ injury-depleted offensive line.

    Mariota completed 20-of-32 passes for 276 yards with two touchdowns against Arizona. While the numbers weren’t bad, he didn’t put his teammates on his back and push them to victory. Mariota had opportunities for big plays and missed a number of throws with poor accuracy and ball placement. This tape won’t help his chances of being the first quarterback taken or the No. 1 overall pick.

  • There was a good draft matchup in this game with Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu taking on two tough receivers in Arizona’s duo of Austin Hill and sophomore Cayleb Jones. Overall, Ekpre-Olomu had a good performance in coverage, but it wasn’t a perfect game.

    In the first half, Ekpre-Olomu shut out Jones. Ekpre-Olomu was tested by Jonesin late in the second quarter on a deep ball throw to the end zone, but Ekpre-Olomu had him covered and slapped the pass away. After halftime, Arizona got Jones the ball on a screen, but Ekpre-Olomu got around a block and chased Jones down from behind. Separately, Ekpre-Olomu was called for a pass interference in the end zone midway through the third quarter.

    Shortly after that, Ekpre-Olomu was run over by a running back at the eight-yard line, and that back darted into the end zone with Ekpre-Olomu on the ground. Ekpre-Olomu got some revenge by forcing a fumble with a tackle in the flat, but the officials made a questionable call that the ball wasn’t actually fumbled.

    Jones (3-50) was contained by Ekpre-Olomu, while Hill (3-12) was a non-factor as Arizona’s rushing offense did the heavy lifting. Overall, Ekpre-Olomu’s ability to maintain coverage and not allow separation was impressive. This tape should help his draft stock and hurt the receivers.

  • Lastly, the star of the game was Arizona senior running back Terris Jones-Grigsby. After backing up Ka’Deem Carey in 2013 and 2012, but Jones-Grisby made the most of his opportunity against Oregon. Jones-Grisby ran hard with 115 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 95 yards. Jones-Grigsby (5-7, 195) is a compact runner, and this performance will cause area scouts to take notice.


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