Friday Walkthrough: Big Games in the SEC and in East Lansing

Some big games are on this weekend’s CFB slate. Our Friday Walkthrough will get you ready for all the action including the big rematch between Oregon and Michigan State. Head writer Mark Schofield breaks down what to expect this CFB weekend.

Film Reviews

Here are some pieces about last weekend in college football that you might have missed:

Rosen Makes his Debut: True Freshman Josh Rosen notched his first career start for UCLA last Saturday, and led the Bruins to a non-conference win over the Virginia Cavaliers. This piece breaks down the scheme and execution of his second collegiate touchdown pass.

NCAA Film Review: Mark Schofield broke down three aspects of the weekend’s slate of games from a scheme and film perspective. This article examined the rushing attack for Alabama, the importance of running back Devontae Booker to Utah’s passing game, and the first start for Seth Russell, Baylor’s new signal-caller.

Film Previews

The big game on this weekend’s schedule is the rematch between Oregon and Michigan State. Last season, the Spartans found themselves with a 27-18 lead on the road midway through the third quarter. But Heisman-winner Marcus Mariota led the Ducks on a comeback and the home team scored 28 unanswered points en route to their 46-27 victory. The rematch is Saturday night, and Mark Schofield combed through last year’s game tape to highlight some key offensive concepts to watch for during the rematch.

When MSU Has the Football: The Spartans did not gain a ton of yardage on the ground last year, but two elements were successful in their rushing attack: running behind unbalanced lines and using the counter play. When quarterback Connor Cook looked to the skies, he often found ways to attack the middle of the field.

When Oregon Has the Football: Mariota now calls Nashville home, but the concepts he ran while running the Ducks’ offense remain. See how Oregon used packaged plays to stretch the Spartans defensively, and then attacked the secondary in the vertical passing game.

Vernon Adams Part 1 and Part 2: The Eastern Washington transfer made his first start for the Ducks last weekend. He was knocked out of the game after a blow to the head, but before leaving he fit right into Oregon’s offense, completing 19 of 25 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. These two pieces outline how he was a perfect fit for the Ducks, both in terms of scheme – and traits.

Playoff Implications

The winner of the battle in East Lansing will have a very nice non-conference win to show voters. But for the loser, things only get harder given the tough conference schedule that awaits. The Pac-12 looks to be one of the deepest conferences this year, and Oregon faces Utah, Arizona State, Stanford, and USC later this season. Michigan State’s schedule is not as daunting, but includes trips to the Big House and to Lincoln. Oh, and that trip to Columbus at the end of the year. Two other games to keep an eye on are Oklahoma at Tennessee and LSU at Mississippi State. Tennessee might be the biggest threat to Georgia in the SEC East, and the battle between the Tigers and the Bulldogs is a very big test for the two SEC West teams.

Heisman Implications

While our writers are busy arranging their Heisman Trophy boards in anticipation of the first ITP Heisman Ballot, some notable names announced their candidacies for the prestigious award last week – while others stumbled out of the blocks. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin turned in an average performance against Minnesota last week, completing 27 of 46 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception against the Golden Gophers. These are not the numbers voters were expecting from Boykin and the high-octane Horned Frogs offense. Georgia RB Nick Chubb looked solid in the victory over UL-Monroe, gaining 120 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns, but the SEC schedule begins this weekend with a visit to Vanderbilt. One player that did improve his stock was Alabama RB Derrick Henry. The Crimson Tide runner carried the ball 13 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns in a prime-time clash against Wisconsin; he should put up even bigger numbers this weekend as Alabama hosts Middle Tennessee.

Draft Implications

Many scouts will have their eyes on East Lansing and Michigan State Connor Cook. The senior QB enters 2015 as one of the more discussed quarterback prospects. Some draftniks believe Cook has the tools and traits to succeed in the NFL, while others consider him a second-coming of Andy Dalton at best. A big night against Oregon might move the needle on his draft position. Out west, UCLA linebacker/jack of all trades Myles Jack looks to continue his strong start as the Bruins take on UNLV. North Dakota State and QB Carson Wentz look to bounce back from their opening-day loss to Montana in their home game against Weber State.

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Inside The Pylon covers the NFL and college football, reviewing the film, breaking down matchups, and looking at the issues, on and off the field.


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