College Football: Week 5 USC at Washington

#21 University of Southern California (3-1) vs #17 Washington Huskies (3-1)

***

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA | PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Coach: Clay Helton

USC Players to watch

***Freshman DE Drake Jackson (6-4/275)

While just a true freshman, Drake Jackson is a freakish athlete, leading the team in tackles for loss and sacks. He has excellent get off, he’s shown plenty of power, and football IQ. Look for him to spend a lot of time flushing opposing quarterbacks out of the pocket.

Senior WR Michael Pittman, Jr. (6-4/215)

Pittman Jr’s dad, Michael Pittman, played in the NFL for 11 years for the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning the super bowl in 2003 with the Buccaneers while starting at running back. Pittman Jr. has racked up 31 receptions — including 10 for 232 last week against Utah — so far this season.

Senior MLB John Houston, Jr. (6-3/220)

Entering the 2019 season, Houston has 167 tackles, including 6 for losses (with 2.5 sacks), plus 9 deflections, a fumble recovery, a forced fumle and an interception in his career.  He has appeared in 37 games in his career, with 23 starts.

***rFreshman CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart (6-2/205)

In the secondary, USC will have redshirt freshman Isaac Taylor-Stuart back from concussion protocol. Stuart, a highly touted recruit out of Helix High in La Mesa (Calif.), was forced to sit last week’s game after he was not medically cleared to play. He enters the game with 7 solo tackles and 1 PBU.

***

WASHINGTON HUSKIES | PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Coach: Chris Peterson

Washington Players to watch:

*Junior QB Jacob Eason (6-6/227)

Jacob Eason of the Washington Huskies throws a pass.
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Eason spent 2016 and ’17 in Georgia. He sat out 2018 per NCAA transfer rules. He’s threw for 349 yards and 4 touchdowns in the season opener vs Eastern Washington, but was limited to 162 passing yards and no touchdowns in week two vs Cal. The former Lake Stevens High star with the explosive right arm said before the BYU game that he thought the offense was still trying to find it’s identity.

*Junior RB Salvon Ahmed (5-11/195)

“He’s a game changer,” Offensive Coordinator Butch Hamdan said. “He’s a guy that if you make a small mistake, fit the wrong gap or take a bad angle, then he can break a game wide open.” Ahmed, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds, missed the game last week with an unspecified leg injury. He’s currently got 246 yards in three games.

Senior NB Myles Bryant (5-8/182)

Bryant is versatile enough to play any of the five positions in the secondary. He was named Second Team All-PAC-12 last year. This year, he’s picked up where he left off. So far this year, Bryant has 24 tackles and two Ints. He projects at nickel at the next level.

Senior LT Trey Adams (6-7/334)

In 2017, Adams had an ACL injury, and in 2018 a back injury. Should he stay healthy, Adams looks like a first round prospect. He possesses impressive athletic ability for a such a big man. He’s quick, agile, and very light on his feet when playing in space. From a measureables and athleticism standpoint, Adams has all the tools to go high in this year’s draft.

***

Husky Stadium Field Turf
Sept 28 | Seattle, Washington

College Football: Week 4 Notre Dame at Georgia

#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0) vs #3 Georgia Bulldogs (3-0)

***

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH | INDEPENDENT

Coach: Brian Kelly

Notre Dame Players to watch

Senior QB Ian Book (6-0/208)

Book is 11-1 since taking over as a starter. He has a 6-0 TD/INT ratio after the first two games of ’19. Last year, he proved to be a better runner than expects and this year, he is the team’s leading rusher with 23 carries of 127 yards. Book’s strength is his pocket presence. Notre Dame averages close to 40 points per game with Book under center. If his OL gives him time, he’ll test the Bulldogs’ secondary.

Senior MLB Asmar Bilal (6-2/227)

Bilal replaces the departed Dru Tranquill in the middle of the Notre Dame defense. Bilal bring an instinctual awareness to the position, along with a physicality desired by HC Brian Kelly. physical presence in the middle. Bilal is second on the team in tackles heading into the Georgia game.

Senior DE Julian Okwara (6-5/240)

There was a lot of talk this off-season about Okwara’s potential to break Justin Tucks season sack record of 13.5. However, Okwara and fellow DE Khalid Kareem are off to a slow start in 2019. Through two games, Okwara and Kareem have combined for just seven tackles, two tackles for a loss and one sack in two games.  If Okwara has dreams of being a first round draft pick, this is the game he needs to show his maple moxie.

*Junior RG Tommy Kraemer (6-6/319)

Kraemer moved over from right tackle to play inside at right guard. His ability to pass protect and keep Book on his feet will be one of the keys to his game. The line has 4 returning starters , with over 60 career starts. So, far the running game hasn’t gotten going, so opening some holes against this Georgia defense and eating up the clock will be part of a successful game plan.

***

GEORGIA BULLDOGS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Kirby Smart

Georgia Players to watch:

*Junior LT Andrew Thomas (6-5/320)

Should Thomas declare after his junior season, he’ll be considered can’t miss first round pick. His ability to keep opposing defensive ends off QB Jake Fromm is this strength. This Georgia OL is one of the best in the country and should make a push at the Joe Moore Award (Nation’s top OL).

*Junior QB Jake Fromm (6-2/220)

Fromm took over from an injured Jason Eason in 2017. The true frosh had a solid season. He played well enough that Eason transferred to Washington State. Last year, Fromm put up another solid season, but was overshadowed in by the emergence of Trevor Lawrence and stellar play of Tua Taguvailoa. Georgia has several tough games on their 2019 schedule, Fromm getting off to a strong start against #7 Notre Dame would be good news for Bulldog fans.

*Junior RB D’Andre Swift (5-9/215)

Swift has over 350 yards from scrimmage in his first three games. With the departure of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, Swift is Georgia’s bell-cow in 2019. Georgia coach Kirby Smart recently said of Swift, “I think his biggest skill-set is making sure that other people are buying into the principles and values of the organization. … When Swift does that, that has a huge impact on the confidence of our team.” 

Senior S JR Reed (6-1/195)

Since transferring from Tulsa, Reed has started 32 consecutive games at safety, showing a nose for the football (four interceptions, two fumble returns for touchdowns) and a hard-hitting style that has made him one of the team’s leading tacklers each of the past three seasons.

His father, Jake Reed, played a dozen seasons in the NFL as a receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. He retired in 2002 with 450 receptions, 6,999 yards and 36 touchdowns.

***

Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium – Grass
Sept 21 | Athens, Georgia

College Football: Week 3 Eastern Michigan at Illinois

Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-1) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)

***

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES | MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Coach: Chris Creighton

Eastern Michigan Players to watch

Senior RB Shaq Vann (5-10/215)

Look for the senior running back to put up some decent numbers in 2019; he’s currently on pace for 750 rushing yards and 25 receptions out of the backfield. In 2018, Vann led all Eagles running backs with 590 yards on 135 carries and totaled five touchdowns. In 2019, Vann was named a team captain.

Senior QB Mike Glass (6-0/212)

HC Chris Creighton prefers mobile quarterbacks. Glass is currently the team’s number two rusher, behind Vann. Last year, Glass played in 8 games, throwing for just over 1,000 yards.

Senior DOG/CB/LB Brody Hoying (5-11/203)

Hoying is the tempo setter on this year’s Eagle’s defense. He leads the team in sacks, tackles-for-loss; he has a interception and a forced fumble. In 2018, Hoying earned MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete and Academic All-MAC recognition.

Senior ROV/CB Vince Calhoun (5-11/200)

Voted to several All-MAC teams last year, Calhoun started all 13 games, accumulated 84 tackles, 2.0 TFL, one sack, and three interceptions on the year; he also earned a season and career-high 12 tackles at Buffalo (Sept. 15). He is currently second on team in total tackles with 16.

***

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI | BIG10 CONFERENCE

Coach: Lovie Smith

Illinois Players to watch:

Senior RB Reggie Corbin (5-10/200)

Running back Reggie Corbin hasn’t played since the first half of a Week 1 win against Akron after suffering a hip pointer. He traveled to UConn last week, and was dressed, but didn’t play. He returns to action vs Eastern Michigan. Corbin, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, gives Illinois a big-play threat.

Senior QB Brandon Peters (6-5/220)

Peters, a Michigan grad-transfer, finally gives Lovie Smith a legitimate quarterback. Last week vs UConn, Peters completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 227 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. A good game this week will help him get prepare for a tougher test against conference-rival Nebraska next week.

Senior DE Oluwole Betiku (6-3/250)

Betiku is a grad-transfer from USC. He is off to a blazing start under HC/DC Lovie Smith. Betiku is leading the nation in sacks, he already has 5.0 sacks in only two games, along with 6.5 tackles-for-loss. “If you just look at his athletic ability, you assume he can rush the passer, too,” Lovie Smith said. “I’m anxious to see him take another step this week. The sky’s the limit.”

Senior RG Richie Petitbon (6-4/316)

Lovie also brought in Alabama grad-transfer, Richie Petitbon to bring some veteran leadership to the offensive line. The former Washington, D.C. prep standout, has helped Illinois average 380 yards per game so far in this young 2019 season.

***

Memorial Stadium FieldTurf
Sept 14 | Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

College Football: Week 3 Stanford at UCF

Stanford Cardinals (1-1) vs #17 University of Central Florida Knights (2-0)

***

STANFORD CARDINALS | PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Coach: David Shaw

Stanford Players to watch

***Sophomore CB Paulson Adebo (6-1/189)

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) intercepts a pass, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.
(AP Photo/John Hefti)

The redshirt sophomore from Mansfield, Texas, is one of the top DB’s in the nation. He is on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list; the Jim Thorpe Award watch list; the Bednarik Award watch list; the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list; and has been named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America first team.

*Junior QB K.J. Costello (6-5/215)

Stanford has quite the track record of turning out NFL quality quarterbacks. Costello looked to be next in line; however, he’s been off to a slow start in 2019. The offense has only produced 17, and 20 points in the first two outings. Look for Costello to exploit UCF’s decimated backfield and get himself back on track by putting up big numbers.

*Junior TE Colby Parkinson (6-7/250)

Parkinson should have himself a career year in both receptions and yardage. A big, physical, target for Costello that can sit down in the zone, or run up the seem. He was one of the nation’s top talent’s coming out of high school, this should be his year to live up to that billing.

*Junior OT Walker Little (6-7/313)

It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Little declare for the draft after his junior season, but he’s injured and out for the season. He was one of the highest rated left tackles in the college game, with size and agility. In 2017, Little was Stanford’s first true freshman to start at left tackle since 2000 (Kirk Chambers). In 2018, Little protected the blindside of QB K.J. Costello, who finished with second-most passing yards in a season in school history. The line won’t be the same without him.

***

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA | AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach: Josh Heupel

UFC Players to watch:

****Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel (6-0/185)

Through two weeks’ Dillon has thrown five touchdown passes and zero ints. “I thought for his first time out there, being a true freshman, he managed everything and handled everything really well,” HC Josh Heupel said. “He was a good decision-maker in some of our run-pass stuff and did a good job in the pass game. Overall, pleased with what he did.”

Senior LB Nate Evans (6-1/241)

A leader on the defense, Evans racked up 99 tackles as a junior, with 2.5 sacks. He was also named All-AAC last year. He highlighted his season by scoring his first collegiate points on a 94-yard fumble recovery at ECU. In year two with DC Randy Shannon, look for Evans to put up even bigger numbers this year.

Senior DE Brendon Hayes (6-3/293)

Brother Martin product Brendon Hayes has been a key part of UCF’s young defensive line. Last year, he made 44 total tackles with 23 solo; recovered one fumble and recorded three sacks for a loss of 20 total yards. He was also named All-AAC Second Team in 2018. Hayes already has two sacks in 2019.

*Junior FS Richie Grant (6-0/184)

Grant was UCF’s interception leader last year, earning First Team All-AAC, along with senior CB Nevelle Clarke. Clarke has been suspended for the first six games of the year due to a failed drug test; and with the recent injury to CB Brandon Moore, Grant will be asked to step his game up to another level.

***

Bright House Networks Stadium Grass
Sept 14 | Orlando, Florida