Week 11 of college football featured a lot of highlights, lowlights, and downright head-scratching moments. Watching the slate of games Saturday, here is what I came away with.
- Michigan is really good in a boring way. The Wolverines were sans Jim Harbaugh on the sideline with their top ten showdown against Penn State and they still managed to handle the Nittany Lions with relative ease. Michigan is simply a damn good football team and the way they win is pretty damn straight forward. They run the ball beautifully with Blake Corum while getting a little extra juice from Donovan Edwards from time to time and then JJ McCarthy is a smart, safe passer who can take advantage of loaded boxes with big throws. Defensively Michigan can bring a ton of pressure with blitzes or just control the line of scrimmage with their front four. We’ll see how things go when they eventually have to play Georgia, but for now they’re just really, really hard to beat.
- No. I won’t stop talking about Marvin Harrison Junior. Ohio State made quick work of Michigan State in a 38-3 beat down and Marvin Harrison Junior accounted for three of Ohio State’s scores, two through the air and one on the ground. He continued to be a big play threat that can stretch the field and create yards after the catch. On the season, Harrison has caught 59 passes for 1,063 yards and 12 scores while picking up another score rushing the football. He is the first Buckeye to go over 1,000 receiving yards in two seasons which is pretty bonkers when you consider the talent Ohio State has produced at receiver even in the last few years. When you watch Ohio State this year, it is clear how crucial Harrison is to the offense. The Buckeyes have been hot and cold all year on that side of the ball but can always trust #18 to get things going for them. Harrison is a special, special player and it shows in different ways every week.
- Watching Washington is such a treat. There are so many exciting offenses in college football right now. FSU, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, and Oklahoma are just a few teams worth tuning into every week to see how they move the ball. None of them quite match Washington for me. Michael Penix is playing masterful football right now and does such a great job pushing the ball downfield to Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk. Penix is averaging 9.7 yards per attempt, which means Washington is averaging nearly a first down every time he releases the football. That is hard to wrap my head around. Factor the emergence of Dillon Johnson as a supporting piece in the Washington running game and the Huskies are just an absolute joy to watch.
- I’m still trying to make sense of Jayden Daniels as an NFL prospect. Jayden Daniels is coming off one of the best performances ever by a college football quarterback. Against Florida, he passed for over 370 yards and three scores while rushing for 234 yards and two more scores, averaging almost 20 yards per rush. No college quarterback has ever eclipsed 350 yards through the air and 200 yards on the ground in the same game. It was a video game like performance. Daniels, in his second season at LSU, is third in the country in passing yards with over 3,100 while throwing for 30 touchdowns to only four interceptions. Meanwhile, he has rushed for over 900 yards and scored eight times on the ground. The fifth year player has benefited massively by transferring from ASU to LSU where he has looked confident, comfortable, and stayed healthy. While we can and should just enjoy Daniels as a spectacular college quarterback, it’s worth wondering where he fits in the NFL. Daniels fits comfortably into the “Throw Far, Run Fast” archetype that is so easy to love. He has a big arm and has no qualms about using it. He is careful with the football, doing a good job of avoiding turnovers. He plays well within structure but also can create with his legs and arm. There are valid concerns that he is an older prospect and a smaller prospect. He is listed at 6’4”, 210 but looks much smaller on the field. His accuracy is spotty and he can still grow in terms of of pocket awareness. Overall, there is a lot to work with and it will come down to whether or not he can continue the rate of improvement he has been on over the last three years.
Offensive Player of the Week: Jayden Daniels, Quarterback, LSU
Naturally. Jayden Daniels single handedly dismantled the Florida defense for four quarters. He made huge plays with his arm and legs to punish the Gators. The Tigers put up 701 yards of offense and Jayden Daniels accounted for 606 of those yards. Legendary performance.
Defensive Player of the Week: Kitan Oladapo, Safety, Oregon State
Oregon State is enjoying one of their best seasons in a long time as they stand at 8-2 and ranked #12 in the nation. While their offense has been a huge factor in that success, the Beavers defense has some serious playmakers helping them win games. Saturday’s massive 62-17 win over Stanford would not have been possible without a stellar defensive performance and a standout game by senior safety Kitan Oladapo. Oladapo has hardly been a ballhawk in his four year career at Oregon State, but managed to pick two passes of on Saturday. More than just forcing turnovers, he led a secondary performance that made it impossible to find open space for the Stanford passing game, leading to six sacks for the Beavers. Oladapo is a highly experienced and very competent back end defender and Saturday may have been the best game of his career.