10 One-on-One Matchups to Watch in Week 13
As Week 13 of the college football season approaches, several intriguing one-on-one matchups are set to take place.
Some of the nation’s elite quarterbacks will square off against some of the best defenses in the game. Meanwhile, two defensive linemen will battle to see which one can deliver the biggest impact for their respective team. In another match, a linebacker tries to give his team a boost on the offensive side of the ball.
All in all, there are plenty of matchups to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Here are 10 of the best this weekend has to offer.
QB Stephen Morris (Miami) vs. DB Anthony Harris (Virginia)
Week 13 Matchup: Virginia (2-8) at Miami (7-3), Nov. 23, 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU
The Hurricanes have been reeling ever since dropping a stinker against Florida State, 41-14, back on Nov. 2. The team followed that up by losing its next two games.
Now, as losers of three straight games, and without star running back Duke Johnson, Miami needs quarterback Stephen Morris to step up and prevent further damage.
To his credit, the senior has played decently. He’s thrown for 703 yards, four touchdowns and an interception on 59.0 percent passing throughout the last two games.
This weekend, defensive back Anthony Harris might have something to say about that.
Through 10 games, the junior has recorded 74 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, forced a fumble and intercepted seven passes. Furthermore, Harris has intercepted a pass in four consecutive games, picking off five in that span.
Overall, the Cavaliers only rank No. 73 against the pass (234.3 YPG); however, Harris’ presence could create problems for Morris, who has struggled with accuracy this season.
RB Andre Williams (Boston College) vs. Maryland Run Defense
Week 13 Matchup: Boston College (6-4) at Maryland (6-4), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Running back Andre Williams has dominated nearly every defense he’s come across. He’s also a large reason for the significant turnaround the Eagles have made in 2013.
Through 10 games, the senior has rushed for 1,810 yards and 14 touchdowns on 288 yards. That includes topping 160 yards in four consecutive games while finding the end zone seven times in that span.
More impressively, Williams has already recorded four games with 200 yards or more of rushing.
The Terrapins run defense will look to slow down the nation’s top rusher.
Thus far, the unit ranks No. 30 against the run (140.9 YPG). Maryland has given up 16 touchdowns on the ground while limiting opposing running backs to just 3.59 yards per carry.
Will the unit be able to handle the tough task of stopping Williams? Or will the running back just add the Terrapins to his long list of victims?
WR Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) vs. DB Sean Parker (Washington)
Week 13 Matchup: Washington (6-4) at Oregon State (6-4), Nov. 23, 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Even though the Beavers have seemed to cool down in recent weeks—the team has lost three straight—Brandin Cooks still stands as one of the best wide receivers in the nation.
Through 10 games, the junior has caught 100 passes for 1,443 yards and 14 touchdowns. He currently leads the nation in yards and receptions while ranking second in touchdowns.
Furthermore, Cooks has found the end zone in all but two games this season. That number will increase to three if defensive back Sean Parker has anything to say about it.
Thus far, the senior has recorded 47 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and intercepted a team-high four passes. He’s been an integral part to a Huskies secondary that ranks No. 23 against the pass (207.6 YPG).
Not only has the unit limited opponents to just 11 touchdowns, but it also has held opposing offenses to just 5.9 yards per play.
Can Cooks break through and snap Oregon State’s skid?
RB David Cobb (Minnesota) vs. ILB Chris Borland (Wisconsin)
Week 13 Matchup: No. 19 Wisconsin (8-2) at No. 25 Minnesota (8-2), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
The Golden Gophers are making a serious late-season charge, winning four consecutive games heading into this weekend.
Running back David Cobb has been a large catalyst to that success.
Through 10 games, the junior has rushed to 942 yards and seven touchdowns on 175 carries. That includes topping the century mark in four consecutive games—something he only accomplished once in Minnesota’s first six contests.
Badgers linebacker Chris Borland will look to slow Cobb down.
Thus far, the senior has recorded a team-high 80 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. He’s recorded 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks in the last two games alone.
Behind Borland’s play, Wisconsin ranks No. 7 against the run (98.8 YPG). The team has allowed just seven touchdowns on the ground while giving up only 3.09 yards per carry.
Who will outduel the other on Saturday?
DLB/RB Myles Jack (UCLA) vs. DE Carl Bradford (Arizona State)
Week 13 Matchup: No. 17 Arizona State (8-2) at No. 14 UCLA (8-2), Nov. 23, 7 p.m. ET on FOX
For the majority of the season, the Bruins’ Myles Jack has been a major factor on defense.
Through 10 games, the freshman has recorded 68 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, broken up 10 passes, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble. He’s even blocked a punt for UCLA this season; however, his biggest impact may have been in the run game.
With star running back Jordon James shelved with an injury, the Bruins turned to Jack. In two games, he’s made the coaching staff look brilliant, rushing for 179 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries.
Expect defensive end Carl Bradford to put a stop to the show.
Thus far, the junior has registered 36 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and forced three fumbles. He’ll be looking to rebound after being benched in the Sun Devils’ previous game.
Can Jack continue to give UCLA an unexpected boost? Or will Arizona State find the solution to stopping the linebacker-turned-running back?
QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) vs. LSU Secondary
Week 13 Matchup: No. 12 Texas A&M (8-2) vs. No. 22 LSU (7-3), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Quarterback Johnny Manziel has been one of the most exciting players to watch in college football. His style of play and talent once again has him positioned as a Heisman Trophy favorite.
Through 10 games, the sophomore has relied on both his arm and legs to thwart the opposition. He has thrown for 3,313 yards, 31 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 73.0 percent passing while adding another 611 yards and eight scores on the ground.
Could the Tigers secondary cool down the hot-handed quarterback?
Thus far, the unit ranks No. 17 against the pass (200.8 YPG). LSU has allowed 11 touchdown passes while giving up just 6.7 yards per attempt.
Will the unit’s lack of interceptions—six on the season—prove to be costly against a quarterback that doesn’t make too many mistakes?
We’ll find out on Saturday.
QB Jared Goff (Cal) vs. LB Trent Murphy (Stanford)
Week 13 Matchup: Cal (1-10) at No. 9 Stanford (8-2), Nov. 23, 4 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
Although the Golden Bears have had a season to forget, the play of quarterback Jared Goff is certainly a bright spot.
Through 11 games, the freshman has thrown for 3,314 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 60.5 percent passing. Furthermore, he’s topped 280 yards six times this season.
Things could get a little tricky against linebacker Trent Murphy and the Cardinal defense.
Thus far, Murphy has recorded 45 tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 12.0 sacks, forced a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown. He currently leads the nation in sacks and is second in tackles for loss.
Although the Stanford secondary may be vulnerable to the pass—No. 102 in the category (253.9 YPG)—Murphy’s presence alone is enough to generate trouble for Goff. Especially against a Cal offensive line that has given up 31.0 sacks on the year.
Murphy could very well be the difference maker in this rivalry game.
DL Michael Sam (Missouri) vs. DL Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
Week 13 Matchup: No. 8 Missouri (9-1) at No. 24 Ole Miss (7-3), Nov. 23, 7:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
No other defensive lineman has arguably made as much noise as the Tigers’ Michael Sam.
Through 10 games, the senior has record 34 tackles, 16.0 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks, forced a fumble and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Furthermore, Sam has displayed his explosiveness, registering three sacks on three separate occasions.
He has been a key component in a Missouri run defense that ranks No. 14 in the nation (111.9 YPG), conceding a meager 3.33 yards per carry.
On the other hand, the Rebels have a very talented defensive lineman of their own in Robert Nkemdiche.
In eight games, the freshman has put together 23 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and broken up two passes. He had a coming out game of sorts last weekend, recording four tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and his first career sack in a win against Troy.
Both these guys will play a big roll in a key matchup in the SEC.
RB Ka'Deem Carey (Arizona) vs. DE Tony Washington (Oregon)
Week 13 Matchup: No. 5 Oregon (9-1) at Arizona (6-4), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Has there been a better running back in the nation than the Wildcats Ka’Deem Carey?
Through nine games, the junior has rushed for 1,353 yards and 12 touchdowns on 242 carries. Furthermore, he’s topped the century mark in every single game while ranking second in the nation in yards per game (150.3).
Ducks defensive end Tony Washington will look to put a stop to that.
Thus far, the junior has totaled 46 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and forced four fumbles. He’s recorded a tackle for loss in all but two games this season.
Behind Washington’s stellar play, Oregon ranks No. 33 against the run (143.7 YPG). The team has allowed 10 touchdowns on the ground while conceding just 3.46 yards per carry.
Something’s got to give on Saturday.
QB Bryce Petty (Baylor) vs. DB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)
Week 13 Matchup: No. 4 Baylor (9-0) at No. 10 Oklahoma State (9-1), Nov. 23, 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Quarterback Bryce Petty not only has the Bears threatening to make a run at the BCS title, but he also has himself positioned nicely for the Heisman Trophy.
Through nine games, the junior has been dominant. He has thrown for 2,992 yards, 24 touchdowns and an interception on 65.2 percent passing, while adding another 127 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Furthermore, Petty’s 206.2 rating and 12.8 yards per attempt lead the nation.
Defensive back Justin Gilbert could pose a problem for the quarterback.
Thus far, the senior has registered 35 tackles, five pass deflections and intercepted a team-high six passes. He’s taken two back for a touchdown.
Gilbert’s play has been vital to a Cowboys defense that has intercepted 19 passes while conceding just 5.8 yards per attempt. Only Florida State has picked off as many passes as Oklahoma State.
Petty’s accuracy and Heisman candidacy will both be put to the test on Saturday.