Rivalry Week in College Football Puts Pressure on Some Prospects

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Week 13 In College Football Is Known As Rivalry Week.


Whenever two teams that don’t like each other take the field you never really know what’s going to happen, which is what makes Rivalry Week so fun. There weren’t very many games that were between highly ranked teams.

The most hyped game of the week was #2 Ohio State vs #3 Michigan. One of the biggest rivalries in sports and a game that would end the losing teams hopes of making the college football playoff and solidify the chances of the winner.

The other top games of the week were #1 Alabama vs #13 Auburn and #14 Florida State vs #15 Florida.

#2 Ohio State vs #3 Michigan

Ohio State and Michigan has one of the most storied and fierce rivalries in the sports world. They also have two of the best coaches in college football, Urban Meyer for Ohio State and Jim Harbaugh for Michigan. On top of all that these are two of the best teams in college football.

This game lived up to the hype. It was a physical game throughout, both offenses struggled to get much going against the elite defenses of either team. In the end Ohio State won 30-27 in overtime.

There was some controversy over a spot that the referees gave Ohio State on a 4th down play that kept Ohio State alive on the final drive of the game however. It was hard to tell whether or not Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett actually got the first down. The referees initially said he did get the first down on the field and after reviewing it they ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call.

In the eyes of Michigan fans the call was horribly wrong. For Ohio State fans he clearly had the first down. After the game Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh spent his entire press conference complaining about the referees.

This game will go down in history as one of the best games in this rivalries history.

Both of these teams have a number of top prospects for the 2017 draft, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We’ll look at a few that stood out this week.

Ohio State

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  • Safety Malik Hooker, Redshirt Sophomore, 6’2” 205: Hooker has gone from being unknown at the beginning of the year to now being one of the best playmakers in all of college football. The rangy safety showed off his big play ability again in this game. Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight was facing pressure in his own end zone and threw the ball up just before he got hit, the ball was tipped and ended up in Hooker’s hands. The safety finished the play by running 15 yards for a touchdown. In addition to the pick-six he had seven tackles and half tackle for loss. He’ll be picked somewhere near the middle of the first round.
  • Inside Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, Junior, 6’2” 243: McMillan was a force for his team against their biggest rival. He recorded 16 tackles and a quarterback hurry. The hurry came on the play mentioned above, McMillan was untouched on a blitz and was smart enough to put his hands up to deflect Speight’s pass which lead to a turnover. The junior linebacker is one of the top inside linebacker prospects in the draft class and will likely come off the board in the back end of the first round or early in the second.
  • Running Back/ Wide Receiver Curtis Samuel, Junior, 5’11” 200 (Pictured Above): It isn’t a guarantee that Samuel will forego his senior season and declare for the draft however it is looking more and more likely every time Samuel steps on the field. He plays a major role for the Buckeyes both at receiver and in the backfield. he’s electric with the ball in his hands no matter how he gets it. In this game he caught four passes for 32 yards and carried the ball seven times for 54 yards and the game-ending touchdown. As of now Samuel is considered a second round prospect.   

Michigan

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  • Defensive End Taco Charlton, Senior, 6’5” 272 (Pictured Above): Despite the loss Charlton played really well for his team in this game. He logged nine tackles two-and-a-half sacks and three tackles for loss. Charlton likely helped his draft stock. He’s a late first or early second round prospect.
  • Defensive End/ Defensive Tackle Chris Wormley, Redshirt Senior, 6’5” 302: Wormley is another guy that performed well for the Wolverines in this contest. He racked up five tackles and a sack. Michigan’s defensive line made things difficult for Ohio State the entire game and Wormley and Charlton were two of the main reasons for that. Wormley will probably end up as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme or a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. He’s considered a second round prospect.
  • Safety Jabrill Peppers, Redshirt Sophomore, 6’0” 205: Peppers didn’t play bad in this game. He recorded his first career interception, which might help ease the concerns surrounding his ability to create turnovers a bit. Also he had seven tackles. Although he didn’t play poorly he also didn’t make a large impact either. There was a play where Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett took off up the middle of the field and Peppers had a chance to make an open field tackle to limit the damage. Peppers hesitated and ended up not even putting a hand on Barrett, then Barrett (who isn’t really known for being very fast) out ran Peppers and gained 41 yards.
  • Although Peppers left some plays on the field he’ll still be picked early on in the first round.

#1 Alabama vs #13 Auburn

Alabama and Auburn is another storied rivalry that dates all the way back to 1893. Alabama came into this game as the obvious favorite but in rivalry games sometimes that doesn’t mean much.

The first half of this game was a defensive battle. The score at half time was 13-9 in the favor of Alabama.

The second half however was a different story. Alabama dominated the second half and won the game 30-12.

Alabama has a lot of top draft prospects while Auburn has some NFL talent but not a ton.

Alabama

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  • Inside Linebacker Reuben Foster, Senior, 6’1” 240: Foster has consistently played well all season and seemingly leads Alabama in tackles every single week. This week was no different for Foster. He had eight tackles, half of a tackle for loss, and an impressive four quarterback hurries. The Alabama linebacker is considered by many to be the top inside linebacker in the 2017 draft class and will be taken somewhere in the first round.
  • 3-4 Outside Linebacker Ryan Anderson, Redshirt Senior, 6’2” 253 (Pictured Above): Anderson sometimes gets overlooked because of all of the other future NFL players who play for Alabama’s defense. The senior edge rusher is no slouch. He played well in this game recording six tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, and a quarterback hurry. Anderson is projected to be a second or third round draft prospect.
  • Defensive End/ Defensive Tackle Jonathan Allen, Senior, 6’3” 291: Like Foster, Allen seems to be a big-time difference maker every week. Also like Foster that wasn’t any different this week. Allen logged six tackles and two tackles for loss. He constantly wreaks havoc in the opponents backfield. He’ll be taken early in the first round of the 2017 draft.

Auburn

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  • Defensive End Carl Lawson, Redshirt Junior, 6’2” 253: Auburn’s top pro prospect wasn’t dominant in this game. It’s tough to dominate against a team like Alabama however. Lawson managed three tackles and a quarterback hurry. A great game against an elite team certainly could have helped boost Lawson’s draft stock. His performance likely won’t hurt him much. He’s a late first or second round prospect.
  • Kicker Daniel Carlson, Redshirt Junior, 6’4” 218 (Pictured Above): It is rare for a kicker to get love in an article like this. Carlson, if he indeed goes pro, will likely be the best kicker in the 2017 draft class. He scored all 12 of Auburn’s points in this game. Carlson made four out of his five field goal attempts. The longest one he made came from 52 yards out. The one miss also came from 52 yards away. Carlson could end up being selected somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.

#14 Florida State vs #15 Florida

Like the other two games featured above, this is another big rivalry game. Unlike the other two however these two teams don’t even play in the same conference. Florida plays in the SEC and Florida State plays in the ACC. Both teams still face off every season for in-state bragging rights.

This looked like it was going to be a great game on paper. Florida’s offense isn’t great but their defense is one of the most talented in the country. Florida State has some talented defensive players but usually depend on their offense to wins games.

This game followed a very similar script to the Alabama-Auburn game. It was close in the first half, the score heading into the third quarter was 10-3 with Florida State in the lead.

Then in the second half Florida State took control and cruised to a 31-13 victory over their rival.

Florida State

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  • Running Back Dalvin Cook, Junior, 5’11” 213 (Pictured Above): Cook has been playing extremely well this season. His draft stock has risen because of it and some consider him to be a better prospect than LSU running back Leonard Fournette. In this game he carried the ball 26 times for 153 yards. He also added three catches for 26 yards. He’s an early to mid first round prospect.
  • Defensive End DeMarcus Walker, Senior, 6’4” 280: Walker is another guy that’s had his stock go up throughout the season. Against Florida he logged five tackles, two sacks, a quarterback hurry, and he had two fumble recoveries. As of now he is considered a second round prospect.

Florida

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  • Cornerback Quincy Wilson, Junior, 6’1” 213 (Pictured Above): The Gators may have given up 31 points but it wasn’t really because of their secondary. Wilson played a major role in that with three pass deflections. He added three tackles as well. Wilson is one of the top corners in the nation and will be a first round pick.
  • Cornerback Teez Tabor, Junior, 6’0” 199: Wilson played a role in limiting Florida State’s passing game and so did his partner Teez Tabor. Tabor matched Wilson with three pass deflections. Tabor is also a first round prospect.
  • Defensive Tackle Caleb Brantley, Redshirt Junior, 6’2” 297: Brantley is one of the better defensive line prospects in the 2017 draft class. He played like it in this game. The junior recorded five tackles and two tackles for loss. He also added in a quarterback hurry. He is a first or second round prospect.

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About the Author

Cory Hayes
I attend Central Michigan University, I am majoring in Journalism and minoring in Sport Management. I am a junior. I am from Marysville, MI. I love following sports, both professional and collegiate. I follow the Lions, Pistons, and Tigers very closely, and the college team that I choose to cheer for is Ohio State.