Murray should put together a fine game this weekend.
Given this weekend’s Week 6 college football matchups, there are several players around the nation ready to light up the stat sheet.
Whether it’s through the air or through the ground, defenses will get burned this weekend. Players will put in performances to astound, impress and amaze.
That is, unless you happen to be the defensive coordinator of one of those aforementioned defenses.
Needless to say, these 10 players should find Saturday quite enjoyable.
Carr could win this game throwing off the floor.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 69.2 CMP%, 1,445 YDS, 14 TD, 3 INT, 145.8 QB RAT
Key Performance: Aug. 29 vs. Rutgers (W 52-51 OT), 52-of-73, 456 YDS, 5 TD, 1 INT, 143.6 QB RAT
Week 6 Matchup: at Idaho (1-4)
Nobody will try and convince you that the Bulldogs can play defense; the team ranks No. 114 in scoring defense (38.3 PPGA). But as long as Derek Carr is their quarterback, Fresno State will always have a chance to win.
The opening week matchup against the Scarlet Knights proves as much.
No matter how bad the Bulldogs defense was—and they were bad—Carr always had an answer. He kept putting points on the board with so much ease that Rutgers finally decided the only way it could win the game was to go for two and prevent the senior from taking the field again.
Against the Vandals, Fresno State shouldn’t face as much difficulty.
Idaho ranks No. 116 in scoring defense, allowing 38.6 points per game. Everyone but 0-4 Temple has put up 40-plus points on the team. Furthermore, the Vandals rank No. 112 against the pass, allowing a nation-leading 14 passing touchdowns.
If that wasn’t enough, opposing quarterbacks have averaged a QB rating of 147.0 against the team.
Carr could easily have five touchdowns by halftime.
Kelly has been tremendous for the Sun Devils this season.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 61.4 CMP%, 11 TD, 4 INT, 145.3 QB RAT, 27 CAR, 124 YDS
Key Performance: Sept. 28 vs. USC (W 62-41), 23-of-34, 351 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT, 177.6 QB RAT, 4 CAR, 79 YDS
Week 6 Matchup: at Notre Dame (3-2)
While former head coach Lane Kiffin and the Trojans offense have been the laughing stock of college football over the last month, the team’s defense has not.
That makes putting up 62 points on USC last weekend look all the more impressive for the Sun Devils, especially so against a unit that hadn’t allowed more than 14 points in its first four contests.
Next up are the Irish.
But if Oklahoma’s first-year quarterback Blake Bell can pick apart the Notre Dame secondary, why can’t Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly—over 4,400 yards and 40 touchdowns in his career—fare even better?
Thus far, the Irish have ranked No. 53 in scoring defense (23.8 PPGA), No. 58 in pass defense efficiency (123.2), No. 67 against the pass (230.2 YPGA) and No. 112 in turnovers gained (four). Furthermore, the unit has conceded 10 touchdowns through the air already.
Clearly, Notre Dame is a shell of its former self on defense.
Expect Kelly to have an impressive showing in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Mason has paced the Tigers ground game.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 65 CAR, 338 YDS (5.2 YPC), 4 TD
Key Performance: Sept. 21 at No. 6 LSU (L 35-21), 26 CAR, 132 YDS, 2 TD
Week 6 Matchup: vs. No. 24 Ole Miss (3-1)
OK, true, the only thing that matters in the end is getting the win. However, in the defeat to LSU, the Tigers displayed that not only will they never go down lightly, but also that the team has a pretty good run game.
Having Tre Mason in the backfield certainly helps.
His two touchdowns helped Auburn’s cause in that game, and his performance throughout the season has the team’s rushing attack ranked No. 22 (232.2 YPG). The junior has quickly grown to become one of the leaders on this offense.
Against a Rebels squad that was recently exposed by Alabama, that run of success should continue.
Ole Miss ranks No. 57 in rushing defense, having allowed 149.3 yards per game and six touchdowns on the ground. That includes being gashed for 254 yards and two touchdowns by the Tide during last weekend’s 25-0 loss.
Did we mention that Alabama ranks just No. 70 in rushing?
Given quarterback Nick Marshall’s inconsistencies, Mason will have to take the reins to help the Tigers record their biggest win of 2013.
It's been a walk in the park for Bell thus far.
Season Stats: 2 GP, 73.1 CMP%, 645 YDS, 6 TD, 0 INT, 176.9 QB RAT
Key Performance: Sept. 14 vs. Tulsa (W 51-20), 27-of-37, 413 YDS, 4 TD, 0 INT, 202.4 QB RAT
Week 6 Matchup: vs. TCU (2-2)
In two starts this season, Blake Bell has made all of us wonder what exactly head coach Bob Stoops was on when he named redshirt freshman Trevor Knight the starting quarterback during the preseason.
Not only has he displayed tremendous patient, but the junior has also commanded the offense in such a fashion that hasn’t been seen in Norman since Sam Bradford was slinging the pigskin around. Bell’s been that good.
However, after proving the critics wrong that he could indeed throw the ball against the Golden Hurricane, Bell did something the previous four starters in school history couldn’t: win their first road test.
Now, back at home in front of the Sooner faithful, expect Bell to go to work against the Horned Frogs and their No. 76 pass defense (238.0 YPGA).
Bridgewater (center) is gunning for the Heisman in 2013.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 71.8 CMP%, 1,214 YDS, 14 TD, 1 INT, 204.7 QB RAT
Key Performance: Sept. 1 vs. Ohio (W 49-7), 23-of-28, 355 YDS, 5 TD, 1 INT, 240.4 QB RAT
Week 6 Matchup: at Temple (0-4)
If Teddy Bridgewater fails to boost his Heisman candidacy following this one, then quite frankly, the junior isn’t deserving of college football’s most-coveted award.
The Owls’ secondary hasn’t just been bad, it’s been awful. The team ranks No. 121 against the pass and No. 94 in passing defense efficiency, allowing opposing quarterbacks an average QB rating of 143.9.
Thus far, three of the four quarterbacks Temple has faced have topped 300 yards through the air. That even includes Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees, who scorched the defense for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Last year, the Cardinals disposed of the Owls with relative ease, 45-17. Bridgewater threw for 324 yards and five touchdowns on the day.
Expect this one to be even uglier.
Atkinson III (left) has the Irish believing they can run the ball.
Season Stats: 5 GP, 38 CAR, 269 YDS (7.1 YPC), 2 TD
Key Performance: Sept. 28 vs. No. 14 Oklahoma (L 35-21), 14 CAR, 148 YDS, 1 TD
Week 6 Matchup: vs. No. 22 Arizona State (3-1)
Leading up to last week, it was widely believed that the Irish lacked a decent rushing attack. It was deemed a large reason as to why the team dropped its Week 2 showdown at Michigan—Notre Dame only mustered 96 yards on the ground.
Following George Atkinson III’s performance last weekend, the team is optimistic that the backfield is turning the page.
Sure, the Irish still rank No. 93 in rushing (134.6 YPG). However, putting together 220 total yards on the ground against a stout Sooners defensive line is no small feat.
A showdown with the Sun Devils should only help aid the progress.
If Notre Dame is bad at running the ball, then Arizona State is downright atrocious at stopping it. The team ranks No. 92 in the nation, conceding 192.3 yards per game on the ground.
Furthermore, the Sun Devils are No. 79 in scoring defense.
To put it simply: USC, yes USC, racked up 41 points against this, for lack of a better word, defense. That includes producing a pair of running backs over 120 yards and a game total of 247.
You know Atkinson III must be licking his chops ahead of this matchup.
Miller will be at his best against Northwestern.
Season Stats: 2 GP, 69.4 CMP%, 406 YDS, 6 TD, 1 INT, 175.3 QB RAT, 40 CAR, 165 YDS (4.1 YPC)
Key Performance: Sept. 28 vs. No. 23 Wisconsin (W 31-24), 17-of-25, 198 YDS, 4 TD, 0 INT, 187.3 QB RAT, 22 CAR, 83 YDS
Week 6 Matchup: at No. 16 Northwestern (4-0)
With ESPN’s College GameDay in attendance, and in front of what should be a pretty hostile environment at Ryan Field, many believe the Buckeyes should be on upset alert.
However, as long as quarterback Braxton Miller is under center, the team looks to be in good shape.
Following a sensational sophomore campaign, the junior was a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy coming into the season. However, a knee injury has limited him to just two full starts in Ohio State’s first five games.
But even that couldn’t stop Miller from putting together one of the best performances of his career last weekend against the Badgers.
Now, the Buckeyes travel to face a Wildcats defense that has struggled to stop the pass. The Unit ranks No. 117 in the category (308.8 YPGA) while also having conceded eight touchdowns through the air.
Using a combination of both his arms and his legs, expect Miller to help Ohio State extend the nation’s longest active winning streak to 18 games.
Mariota will have to put the Ducks offense on his back this weekend.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 56.1 CMP%, 9 TD, 0 INT, 162.6 QB RAT, 21 CAR, 295 YDS (14.0 YPC, 5 TD
Key Performance: Sept. 14 vs. Tennessee (W 59-14), 23-of-33, 456 YDS, 4 TD, 225.8 QB RAT, 6 CAR, 27 YDS, 1 TD
Week 6 Matchup: at Colorado (1-2)
The Ducks are expected to be without running back De’Anthony Thomas on Saturday. However, with Marcus Mariota in tow, the team will be just fine.
A Heisman-favorite, the sophomore has certainly backed up the claim with his play. But although he’s demonstrated he can throw the ball efficiently enough, it’s his mobility that has given opposing defensive coordinators fits this season.
However, against the Buffaloes and their No. 115 passing defense, Mariota might rely on his arm more than anything.
Last weekend, Colorado was destroyed by Oregon State to the tune of 44-17. During the romp, Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion stole the show, throwing for 414 yards and six touchdowns.
To the Buffaloes credit, the team does have the No. 10 run defense in the country. However, that’s only more reason for Mariota to look to the air.
And as he proved against the Volunteers, that’s something Mariota is fully capable of doing.
Seastrunk (right) has powered the Bears high-flying offense.
Season Stats: 3 GP, 38 CAR, 417 YDS (11.0 YPC), 6 TD
Key Performance: Sept. 7 vs. Buffalo (W 70-13), 17 CAR, 150 YDS, 3 TD
Week 6 Matchup: vs. West Virginia (3-2)
Maybe it’s the program's less-than-storied history, the level of competition or the fact that the team plays in the Big 12; regardless, the Bears have quietly managed to fly under the radar with the nation’s top offensive attack.
On the ground, the team boasts the No. 5 rushing attack, averaging 307 yards per game. Running back Lache Seastrunk is the driving force behind that.
Sure, the Mountaineers present the best defense that Baylor has faced all season. However, the team struggles to stop the run, ranking No. 67.
Unfortunately, West Virginia’s poor production on offense should keep the defensive unit on the field longer than it would like. That’s when Seastrunk and his nation-best 11 yards per carry will do the most damage.
Expect the junior to make a run at 200 yards.
Murray has his Bulldogs thinking national championship.
Season Stats: 4 GP, 68.1 CMP%, 1,338 YDS, 11 TD, 3 INT, 191.1 QB RAT, 21 CAR, 20 YDS, 3 TD
Key Performance: Sept. 7 vs. No. 6 South Carolina (W 41-30), 17-of-23, 309 YDS, 4 TD, 0 INT, 244.2 QB RAT
Week 6 Matchup: at Tennessee (3-2)
The bad news? The Bulldogs may be without star running back Todd Gurley. The good news? Quarterback Aaron Murray will ensure it doesn’t matter.
After facing three Top 10 squads in the first four games of the season, Murray and Georgia will play host the lesser-talented Volunteers.
This is a team that ranks No. 74 in scoring defense and No. 82 against the pass. Not only that, but Tennessee somehow managed to make Oregon’s Marcus Mariota look like a stellar passer in a 59-14 loss last month.
Now, imagine what a quarterback that is more accurate and more lethal through the air can do.
Murray should lead a Bulldogs pummeling of the Volunteers. In the process, he should give his Heisman hopes a boost as well.