Predicting Week 7's Biggest Performers
With several favorable matchups across the nation, expect certain players to register some big-time performances in Week 7.
Some will thrive under pressure against top-ranked foes. On the other hand, some will take advantage of beaten and battered opposition.
Regardless of the method, the final stat sheet should end up being pretty impressive.
Here are five players who will increase their stock following this weekend’s slate of games.
Connor Halliday, QB, Washington State
Week 7 Opponent: vs. Oregon State (4-1)
After a 3-9 campaign in 2012, the Cougars are no longer considered an easy win on the schedule. A more potent offense can be credited to that.
Thanks to quarterback Connor Halliday, Washington State boasts the No. 8 passing attack in the nation.
The junior has thrown for 1,993 yards and 13 touchdowns on 65.2 percent passing. He’s topped 340 or more yards passing in four of six games. That includes a 521-yard, three-touchdown performance against Cal last weekend.
Halliday’s success should only continue against a horrendous Beavers secondary.
Through five games, Oregon State ranks No. 92 in scoring defense (31.6 PPGA), No. 68 in total defense (405.6 YPGA) and No. 92 against the pass (258.8 YPGA). Furthermore, the unit has given up 11 touchdowns through the air.
Against an equally as powered passing attack—the Beavers rank No. 2 in the nation—this one has all the makings of a shootout.
With each side’s offense seeing plenty of the ball, expect Halliday to keep the Cougars scoring with ease.
Tyler Murphy, QB, Florida
Week 7 Opponent: at No. 10 LSU (5-1)
Believe it or not, the injury to starting quarterback Jeff Driskel could have been the best thing to happen to the Gators.
After a sluggish start over the first two weeks of the season—including a disappointing 21-16 loss to Miami—the Florida offense has finally started to shift into gear. The team has now put up 28.3 points per game over the last three contests.
The reason is simple: quarterback Tyler Murphy.
In three appearances, the junior has thrown for 530 yards, five touchdowns and one interception on 72.2 percent passing for a QB rating of 181.5. He’s also had success on the ground, rushing for 135 yards and two scores on 24 carries.
While we've all heard about the mystique about playing the Tigers at Baton Rouge under Les Miles, we've also seen the decline in a usually stout defensive unit.
Through six games, LSU ranks No. 52 in scoring defense (24.7 PPGA), No. 44 in total defense (367.0 YPGA), No. 65 against the rush (159.5 YPGA) and No. 34 against the pass (207.5 YPGA). Furthermore, the team has conceded an atrocious 17 touchdowns to opposing offenses already.
Not to mention, the Gators should have no problem moving the chains.
The team ranks No. 22 on third-down conversions (49.3 percent). On the other hand, the Tigers only rank No. 44 in third-down defense (36.6 percent).
Look for Murphy to find success in both throwing and passing the ball, keeping LSU’s defense on its heels and leading Florida to a stunning upset.
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Week 7 Opponent: at No. 3 Clemson (4-0)
It's been a surprising season for an Eagles team that already has more wins (three) than they did all of last year (two). But the biggest surprise has easily been the play of running back Andre Williams.
Through five games, the senior has rushed for 768 yards and seven touchdowns on 133 carries. That includes four efforts of over 100 yards and two of over 200. Williams most notably had a 263-yard, five-touchdown performance against Army last weekend.
Although Boston College will go into Death Valley as heavy underdogs to face the undefeated Tigers, expect Williams to continue his success.
The Tigers defense has been questionable when it comes to stopping the run, ranking No. 79 in the category, allowing 171.2 yards per game. Furthermore, the unit has conceded nine touchdowns and a generous 4.5 yards per carry on the ground.
After gashing the Florida State defense for 149 yards on 28 carries a couple weeks ago, Clemson's defense shouldn't be any harder to break.
Expect Williams to “be a dude” this weekend.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
Week 7 Opponent: vs. No. 2 Oregon (5-0)
Many thought Huskies running back Bishop Sankey (131 CAR, 732 YDS, 7 TDs) would have met his match against No. 5 Stanford and its fierce run defense last weekend.
It made sense, given that the Cardinal ranked in the Top 20 in stopping the run, allowing 3.5 yards per carry and just a tad bit over 100 yards per game. Not to mention, the unit had conceded just two rushing touchdowns on the ground.
Surprisingly, Sankey had no issue continuing his stellar 2013 campaign, rushing for 125 yards and two scores in a 31-28 loss.
Against another highly ranked opponent, and at home, expect Sankey to do much of the same, maybe even more.
Although the Ducks come in with the No. 32-ranked rush defense, allowing 126.4 yards per game and 3.14 yards per carry, the team has only faced one rushing attack ranked No. 60 or better. In that game, Tennessee and its No. 32-ranked ground game accumulated 178 yards on 38 attempts (4.7 YPC).
To slow down a high-powered offense such as Oregon's, it's vital that Washington hold possession of the ball as long as it can.
And as long as Sankey is in the backfield, the Huskies shouldn't have a problem doing just that.
Anyone, Offense, UCLA
Week 7 Opponent: vs. Cal (1-4)
This matchup pits one of the best offenses in the nation against one of the worst defenses.
If this isn't a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is.
The Bruins enter the weekend ranked No. 5 in scoring offense (48.0 PPG), No. 4 in total offense (561.8 YPG), No. 14 in rushing (259.8 YPG) and No. 21 in passing (302.0 YPG). Furthermore, the team has scored a total of 25 touchdowns.
On the other hand, the Golden Bears rank No. 122 in scoring (45.0 PPGA), No. 121 in total defense (524.0 YPGA), No. 110 against the run (219.8 YPGA) and No. 115 against the pass (304.2 YPGA). The team has conceded 25 touchdowns thus far.
Essentially, it’s up to UCLA on how it wants to dominate.
Under center, the team boasts dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley (1,301 TOT YDS, 14 TDs). In the backfield, running back Jordon James (626 TOT YDS, 6 TDs) is just as lethal. Heck, even kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn may put in a performance for the ages.
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Bruins top 700 yards of total offense in a Baylor-esque performance.
This one will not be pretty.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.
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