Predicting the 10 Biggest College Football Performances of Week 10
Several of college football's top teams will be watching from their couches during Week 10, including the nation's two nastiest offenses, Oregon and Baylor, and the country's toughest defense, Alabama.
But there are still plenty of big-time matchups to look forward to. Two sets of rivals will square off—Miami and Florida State and Michigan and Michigan State. Plus, the Big 12 slate will feature a title-elimination bout between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
Each of those three tilts could be taken over by just one player.
Additionally, with a few cupcake contests on the docket, a few of the sport's biggest stars are set to explode. Who doesn't love a good cupcake now and then?
Keep an eye on the following 10 players, all of which are poised for enormous performances in Week 10.
Antonio Andrews: RB, Western Kentucky
Week 10 Matchup: at Georgia State (0-8)
With a total of 1,180 yards, Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews has more rushing yards than any back in college football.
It just so happens that, this week, the senior has a favorable matchup. Andrews will be barreling through and around the Georgia State defense, which ranks No. 116 in the nation against the run, allowing 228 yards per game.
All eight of GSU's opponents have eclipsed 100 yards on the ground, five of which went over 200 yards. The Panther rush defense was at its worst against Chattanooga, which skipped its way to 401 yards on 60 attempts. Meanwhile, Andrews has tallied 99 or more yards in every game this season. This weekend, he could break 199.
He’s a guy – he’s special. You will see him playing on Sundays.
He’s explosive. He’s fast. He has great vision and balance. He’s got everything an NFL program would love to have on their team.
Andrews proved those words to be true, running for 154 yards and a score in a 37-20 loss to the Ragin' Cajuns. ULL ranks No. 3 in the Sun Belt Conference against the run—Georgia State is last.
Prediction: 29 CAR, 223 YDS, 2 TD
Sean Mannion: QB, Oregon State
Week 10 Matchup: vs. USC (5-3)
Sean Mannion had his first rough game of the season last week against Stanford. That off day against the stingy Cardinal defense still resulted in 271 passing yards and a touchdown.
Even with that rough game, Mannion still leads the nation in passing, and he'll have an opportunity for a turnaround Friday night against USC.
The Trojans have been strong at times against the pass but have struggled against strong offensive teams. Arizona and Arizona State each tallied more than 350 passing yards against USC.
Mannion has finished sixth or better passing in seven weeks this season. Against a suspect Trojan secondary, he'll be right up there once again.
Prediction: 38-of-50, 403 YDS, 4 TD
Carlos Hyde: RB, Ohio State
Week 10 Matchup: at Purdue (1-6)
After sitting out the first three games, Carlos Hyde had a bit of a slow resurgence after a late start to the season. But recently, the senior has caught fire, going for 147 yards or more with two or more touchdowns in each of the last three games.
This week, Hyde is destined for another huge performance against Purdue. The Boilermakers rank 10th in the Big Ten against the run, allowing 192.7 yards per game. In that span, they have been trounced by two strong rushing teams, Wisconsin and Nebraska, for more than 250 yards each.
OSU will do much of the same behind Hyde. Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com recently spoke to OSU great Eddie George about Hyde. The 1995 Heisman Trophy winner had plenty of praise for the Buckeyes' feature back:
Carlos is running like a man possessed right now. He is focused, he’s determined and he has had a great three-week span. But he has a lot to prove still, and I think now that he has become a focal point of this offense he’ll have a chance to do that.
When a player like George gives you that kind of praise, you don't turn around and let him down against Purdue. Expect another huge day from Hyde.
Prediction: 23 CAR, 178 YDS, 2 TD
Jordan Lynch: QB, Northern Illinois
Week 10 Matchup: at Massachusetts (1-7)
The schedule is setting up nicely for Jordan Lynch to post some ridiculous stats.
Massachusetts will be Northern Illinois' second straight opponent with just one win on the year. Last week, Lynch tallied 223 passing yards and four touchdowns, plus 99 rushing yards and a score, against Eastern Michigan (1-7).
The week prior, the senior posted a single-game NCAA record for rushing yards by quarterback with 316 rushing yards and three scores against Central Michigan (3-5).
He's going to have another massive performance this week against UMass, which ranks No. 93 nationally in total defense.
Lynch is No. 4 among all rushers and No. 1 among quarterbacks with 1,031 rushing yards on the year. He'll add a lot more to that total this week.
Prediction: 15-of-23, 213 YDS, 3 TD, 20 CAR, 124 YDS, 1 TD
Ka'Deem Carey: RB, Arizona
Week 10 Matchup: at California (1-7)
After missing the first game of the season, Ka'Deem Carey has more than made up for the missed time.
In six games this year, the junior has amassed 920 yards and 10 touchdowns. He leads the nation with an average of 153.3 yards per game.
He won't have much of an issue keeping that average up this week against California. The Bears rank No. 91 nationally against the run, allowing 189.1 yards per game on the ground.
Earlier this week, Paola Boivin of AZCentral.com made the case that Carey deserves Heisman Trophy consideration, and Boivin has a great argument. The junior has broken 100 yards on the ground in 10 straight games, dating back to Nov. 10, 2012.
He'll add to his Heisman resume and his 100-yard rushing streak this week.
Prediction: 25 CAR, 181 YDS, 2 TD
Brett Hundley: QB, UCLA
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Colorado (3-4)
A player as talented as UCLA's Brett Hundley can only be kept down for so long.
After two poor performances against Stanford and Oregon, the redshirt sophomore is poised to explode against Colorado. Hundley averaged nearly 300 yards per game to start the season but was kept under 200 in the Bruins' losses to the Cardinal and the Ducks.
Against a Colorado defense that comes in at No. 113 in the nation, the UCLA signal-caller will be much better off. The Buffaloes are No. 12 in the Pac-12 against the rush and No. 11 against the pass.
The bad news for the Buffaloes: Hundley can run and throw as well as any quarterback in the nation.
Hundley and the UCLA offense may also benefit from the return of running back Jordon James, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury. Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times tweeted Thursday that, according to head coach Jim Mora, James will be a game-time decision this weekend.
Whether James returns or not, Hundley is going to do his part.
Prediction: 20-of-29, 304 YDS, 3 TD, 15 CAR, 101 YDS, 1 TD
Desmond Roland: RB, Oklahoma State
Week 10 Matchup: at Texas Tech (7-1)
Oklahoma State has found its offensive spark.
The Cowboys struggled on offense at the beginning of the year, especially relative to their explosive attacks in recent seasons. Last week, OSU had arguably its best offensive performance of the season, and it came during running back Desmond Roland's first start.
The junior took over the starting job from Jeremy Smith last week against Iowa State and responded by posting 219 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries.
He was the obvious pick for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, and he'll have a chance to earn more recognition again this week against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have been decent overall against the run but have been much more suspect against tougher conference competition.
Excluding games against Kansas and Iowa State, which are tied for last place without a win in league play, TTU has been gouged for 222.3 rushing yards per contest against Big 12 foes. Roland and OSU will be able to exploit the Red Raider front in the same way TCU, West Virginia and Oklahoma did.
Prediction: 25 CAR, 183 YDS, 3 TD
Johnny Manziel: QB, Texas A&M
Week 10 Matchup: vs. UTEP (1-6)
After facing five SEC foes in the last six games, Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M are going to enjoy a bit of a letup in competition against UTEP this week.
The Miners have proven to be suspect against both the pass and the run this season. They rank 117th in the nation in scoring defense and 108th in total defense, allowing 38.7 points and 467.7 yards per game.
A week after being taken for 524 total yards by Rice, UTEP won't fare any better against Manziel and the A&M offense, which has averaged 48 points and 585 yards per contest.
Manziel has slipped a bit behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston in the Heisman Trophy race, but this game will provide a perfect stat-boosting opportunity.
Prediction: 30-of-38, 421 YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT, 9 CAR, 61 YDS, 1 TD
Lamarcus Joyner: DB, Florida State
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Miami (Fla.) (7-0)
Lamarcus Joyner isn't just one of the best defensive backs in the country. He's also one of the best big-game defenders in the nation.
In Florida State's momentous win over Clemson, Joyner logged eight tackles, forced two fumbles and had an interception. Joyner's effort played a major role in throwing the previously vaunted Tiger offense into complete disarray.
This week, he'll be taking on a Miami offense that is much more mistake-prone. The Hurricane offense is 73rd in the nation with 14 turnovers on the year.
The 'Canes have had just one road ACC game this season, and quarterback Stephen Morris just couldn't handle the situation. Against North Carolina, he threw four interceptions and had a completion rate of just 54.3 percent.
When he arrives in Tallahassee this week, he'll be taking on a more opportunistic defense in an much more intimidating atmosphere. In that scenario, Joyner will shine.
Prediction: 7 TAK, 2 TFL, 1 SACK, 2 PBU, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 TD
Denicos Allen: LB, Michigan State
Week 10 Matchup: vs. Michigan (6-1)
Linebacker Denicos Allen has been having a monstrous year for Michigan State. As a result, MSU is No. 1 in the nation in total defense.
The senior leads the Spartans with 48 tackles and eight tackles for a loss. He has also tallied three sacks, six hurries, one pass breakup and a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
This week, he'll be bearing down on a Michigan offense that has been extremely prone to turnovers this season. The Wolverines are tied for 82nd in the country with a turnover margin of minus-2. They're also No. 100 nationally with 17 turnovers lost.
With Allen and fellow linebacker Max Bullough flying around the field, Michigan's turnover problems will only worsen.
Prediction: 12 TAK, 2 TFL, 1 SACK, 2 QBH, 1 FF, 1 RCV