10 College Football Players Guaranteed to Light Up the Stat Sheet in Week 15

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IDecember 4, 2013

10 College Football Players Guaranteed to Light Up the Stat Sheet in Week 15

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    Can Hyde (34) keep rolling?
    Can Hyde (34) keep rolling?Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    As we approach college football’s conference championship weekend, several players are ready to put up big numbers.

    At this point in the season, favorable matchups are at a premium, so it comes down to which players want it just a little bit more than their opposition.

    All in all, it makes for just the right ingredients for a stat-padding performance that will grab our attention.

    Here are 10 players who should accomplish as much on Saturday.

QB Blake Bortles (UCF)

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    Bortles has been stellar in the clutch for the Knights in 2013.
    Bortles has been stellar in the clutch for the Knights in 2013.Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 16 UCF (10-1) at SMU (4-5), 12 p.m. ET on ESPN

     

    The Skinny

    An outright AAC title and BCS berth are on the line for the Knights.

    Expect quarterback Blake Bortles to save the day once again.

    Through 11 games, the junior has thrown for 3,038 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 68.0 percent passing. He’s also added another 148 yards and three scores on 69 carries.

    Bortles has come up clutch in recent weeks, though, helping UCF survive scares over South Florida, Temple and Houston.

    Against the Mustangs secondary, it should be much of the same.

    Thus far, the unit ranks No. 115 against the pass (274.5 YPG). SMU has given up a whopping 24 touchdowns and allows 7.4 yards per attempt.

    Anything less than a field day for Bortles would be a surprise.

QB Taylor Kelly (Arizona State)

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    Can Kelly save his best for the Pac-12 title game?
    Can Kelly save his best for the Pac-12 title game?Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 7 Stanford (10-2) vs. No. 11 Arizona State (10-2), 7:45 p.m. ET on ESPN

     

    The Skinny

    There’s a good chance the Sun Devils wouldn’t be where they were if it wasn’t for the play of quarterback Taylor Kelly.

    Through 12 games, the junior has thrown for 3,337 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 62.6 percent passing. He’s also added another 437 yards and eight scores on 127 carries.

    Kelly has saved his best for Arizona State’s seven-game winning streak, though, accounting for 21 touchdowns in that span.

    Against the Cardinal secondary, expect Kelly to continue his strong play.

    Thus far, the unit ranks No. 98 against the pass (254.0 YPG). Stanford has allowed 19 passing touchdowns and has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 61.9 percent of their passes.

    Earlier this season, Kelly had no trouble racking up 367 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinal.

    He should be even more proficient the second time around.

RB Jeremy Langford (Michigan State)

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    Langford will look to keep the Spartans' success rolling on Saturday.
    Langford will look to keep the Spartans' success rolling on Saturday.Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 10 Michigan State (11-1), 8:17 p.m. ET on FOX

     

    The Skinny

    Running back Jeremy Langford has carried the Spartans' offense this season.

    Through 12 games, the junior has rushed for 1,210 yards and 16 touchdowns on 245 carries. He has also caught 18 passes for 119 yards and another score.

    Langford has saved his best for last, though, topping the century mark in seven consecutive games while finding the end zone 12 times in that span.

    His run should continue against the Buckeyes run defense.

    Thus far, the unit ranks No. 5 against the run (100.0 YPG). Ohio State has allowed seven rushing touchdowns while only conceding 3.02 yards per carry.

    The unit, however, was gashed for 152 yards on the ground last week against Michigan.

    Langford should be able to find the same success and more.

RB Lache Seastrunk (Baylor)

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    Seastrunk (left) will try to get back to his dominating ways.
    Seastrunk (left) will try to get back to his dominating ways.Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 25 Texas (8-3) at No. 9 Baylor (10-1), 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX

     

    The Skinny

    It was only a month ago that Lache Seastrunk was considered one of the best running backs in the nation; however, injuries have taken a toll on him in recent weeks.

    On Saturday, though, expect the junior to remind us all why he's one of the best.

    In nine games, Seastrunk has rushed for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns on 126 carries. Most recently, he racked up 94 yards on 24 carries after missing the last two weeks.

    If you recall, this is the same guy who found the end zone eight times in his first four games.

    Don’t expect the Longhorns' run defense to slow him down too much.

    Thus far, the unit ranks No. 78 against the run (176.6 YPG). Texas has given up 20 touchdowns on the ground while conceding a generous 4.31 yards per carry.

    Who could forget how the team coughed up a school record of 550 yards to BYU earlier this season?

    Seastrunk will get his yards and then some.

LB Trent Murphy (Stanford)

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    Murphy (left) has been a force in the backfield all season long.
    Murphy (left) has been a force in the backfield all season long.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 7 Stanford (10-2) vs. No. 11 Arizona State (10-2), 7:45 p.m. ET on ESPN

     

    The Skinny

    No other linebacker has been more destructive in the backfield than Trent Murphy. 

    In 12 games, the senior has recorded 51 tackles (19.5 for loss), 13.0 sacks, forced a fumble, blocked a punt and returned his only interception 30 yards for a touchdown. He leads the nation in sacks while ranking No. 6 in tackles for loss.

    Furthermore, Murphy has recorded at least a sack in seven of the Cardinal’s last eight games, totaling 11 in that span.

    The Sun Devils' offensive line will certainly have their hands full on Saturday.

    Entering Week 15, the unit ranks No. 100 in sacks allowed. Arizona State has allowed 32.0 sacks already for an average of 2.67 per game.

    You can bet that Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly will be familiar with Murphy by the end of this one.

CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)

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    Gilbert has made a living out of making big plays for the Cowboys during his career.
    Gilbert has made a living out of making big plays for the Cowboys during his career.Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 17 Oklahoma (9-2) at No. 6 Oklahoma State (10-1), 12 p.m. ET on ABC

     

    The Skinny

    The Cowboys are just one win over their hated rivals away from a Big 12 title.

    Don’t be surprised if the defense comes up big to help lead the team to victory. More specifically, look for cornerback Justin Gilbert to have an impact. 

    Through 11 games, the senior has recorded 37 tackles, broken up five passes and tallied six interceptions. He returned two back for touchdowns while adding another on a kickoff return.

    Gilbert could make life tough for Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight.

    Thus far, the redshirt freshman has had troubles with accuracy. He has only completed 53.0 percent of his passes while throwing four interceptions in four starts.

    In what should be a high-scoring affair, look for Knight to try to force some passes as he tries to keep Oklahoma in the game.

    That’s where Gilbert’s ball-hawking abilities will come in handy for Oklahoma State.

QB James Franklin (Missouri)

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    Franklin has been great since his return from injury.
    Franklin has been great since his return from injury.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 5 Missouri (11-1) vs. No. 3 Auburn (11-1), 4 p.m. ET on CBS

     

    The Skinny

    Missouri is a completely different team with quarterback James Franklin under center.

    In fact, the team hasn’t lost a game with Franklin yet.

    Through eight games, the senior has thrown for 1,952 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions on 66.9 percent passing. He’s also added another 412 yards and three scores on 91 carries.

    After dusting off the rust against Ole Miss two weeks ago, Franklin got back into his comfort zone against Texas A&M last weekend. He threw for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18-of-28 passing while rushing for 80 yards on 18 carries.

    Expect Franklin to take advantage of a very generous Auburn secondary.

    Thus far, the unit ranks No. 100 against the pass (255.7 YPG). Auburn has given up 14 passing touchdowns and concedes 7.3 yards per attempt.

    Furthermore, Alabama exposed the secondary last week with multiple big plays in the passing game.

    Franklin should do much of the same this week.

QB Nick Marshall (Auburn)

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    Can Marshall keep his extraordinary season going against Missouri?
    Can Marshall keep his extraordinary season going against Missouri?John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 5 Missouri (11-1) vs. No. 3 Auburn (11-1), 4 p.m. ET on CBS

     

    The Skinny

    Quarterback Nick Marshall has been bright spot for Auburn this season.

    Through 11 games, the junior has thrown for 1,627 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions on just 59.2 percent passing; however, he’s shined in the ground game, adding 922 yards and 10 scores on 140 carries.

    In fact, Marshall has rushed for 402 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games alone.

    Although rushing yards will come at a premium against Missouri, the passing game should be wide open.

    Entering Week 15, Missouri ranks No. 112 against the pass (266.3 YPG). The team has given up 15 passing touchdowns and allows opposing quarterbacks to complete 62.9 percent of their passes.

    Marshall may not be known for his passing, but on Saturday, he will prove that it’s by choice and not because he can’t.

RB Carlos Hyde (Ohio State)

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    Can anyone stop Hyde (right)?
    Can anyone stop Hyde (right)?Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 10 Michigan State, 8:17 p.m. ET on FOX

     

    The Skinny

    Running back Carlos Hyde has been tremendous in the Buckeyes’ push for a BCS title appearance.

    In nine games since returning from his suspension, the senior has rushed for 1,290 yards and 14 touchdowns on 165 carries. Furthermore, he has topped the century mark in seven consecutive games, including topping 225 yards in two of the last three.

    Things will certainly be tough against the Spartans' run defense.

    Entering Week 15, the unit ranks No. 1 against the run (64.8 YPG). Michigan State has allowed just five scores on the ground while conceding a meager 2.23 yards per carry.

    The team, however, has yet to face a running back of Hyde’s caliber.

    Not to mention, Hyde has already had his way against other top run defenses, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

RB Devonta Freeman (Florida State)

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    Freeman should pad the stats rather nicely this weekend.
    Freeman should pad the stats rather nicely this weekend.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Week 15 Matchup: No. 20 Duke (10-2) vs. No. 1 Florida State (12-0), 8 p.m. ET on ABC

     

    The Skinny

    After being stifled by Florida’s run defense last weekend, expect the Seminoles' rushing attack to get back on track against the Blue Devils.

    That’s especially good news for running back Devonta Freeman.

    Through 12 games, the junior has rushed for 852 yards and 12 touchdowns on 144 carries. Furthermore, he has found the end zone in all but two games this season.

    In a backfield with multiple options, Freeman has easily been the most dependable back.

    Duke’s run defense shouldn’t slow things down.

    Entering Week 15, the unit ranks No. 72 against the run (170.0 YPG). The Blue Devils have given up 12 touchdowns on the ground this year and conceded a little more than four yards per carry.

    Last weekend, the team was gashed for 225 rushing yards by North Carolina.

    Freeman should thrive.

     

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.

    For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Facebook, on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.