Conference play is heating up and new NFL draft prospects continue to emerge across the country. There are many notable individual matchups across the nation as the Big Ten gives us a couple of good trench battles while the ACC sends one of their emerging quarterbacks into his biggest road test of his career. Here’s a look at the Week 5 matchups that have my attention, of course with an NFL draft spin.
Missouri WR J’Mon Moore vs. LSU CB Tre’Davious White
We may only see a handful of true one-on-one matchups in this one as Moore lines up as the left outside wide receiver on 97 percent of his snaps and White has only traveled to right cornerback on 26 percent of his snaps, but when they’re matched up, it’ll be worth watching. Moore has emerged as the top receiver for the Tigers, and he leads all SEC receivers in receptions (26), yards (434) and touchdowns (six). White boasts the No. 3 coverage grade among SEC cornerbacks at 84.6 and he’s allowed only eight receptions on 18 targets for 58 yards to go with an interception and two passes defensed. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of only 29.4 when throwing White’s way and it may be in LSU’s best interest to keep him on the right side to match up with Moore throughout the game.
Michigan State DT Malik McDowell vs. Indiana G Dan Feeney (Note: Feeney is questionable due to concussion symptoms)
Hopefully Feeney is healthy enough to play as this is another outstanding Big Ten battle in the trenches. McDowelll is a potential first round pick and Feeney is one of the best pass blocking guards in the nation, so even 15-20 matchups will be worth the price of admission. McDowell is off to an outstanding start as a pass rusher, grading at 87.8 to rank third in the nation among interior defensive linemen as he’s accumulated five QB hits and eight hurries on his 79 rushes. Something has to give as Feeney has yet to allow a pressure on his 42 attempts and his three-year total now sits at only 14 surrendered pressures on 942 attempts. That’s one pressure every 67 pass-blocking attempts, so beating Feeney for pressure is rare though McDowell could give him trouble if they match up head-to-head.
Mitch Trubisky vs. Florida State defense
While Florida State has struggled to cover on the back end and Trubisky’s receivers have are well-rounded and sure-handed (only one drop on 103 catchable passes, best drop rate in the nation), this will still be a big test for Trubisky in his first big road game. He ranks fourth in the nation in adjusted completion percentage at 79.2 percent overall and he’s fourth in adjusted completion percentage on the deep ball (20-plus yards) at 54.5 percent. While Florida State has given up big plays in the passing game, their top three cornerbacks — Tarvarus McFadden, Marquez White, and Marcus Lewis — have surrendered only 14-of-32 targets to be completed (43.8 percent) to go with four interceptions.
Trubisky has continued to improve on a weekly basis, but this should be his biggest test to date.
Wisconsin LT Ryan Ramczyk vs. Michigan Defensive line
We’ve been touting Ramczyk for weeks and he now faces one of his most difficult tests of the season when going up against Michigan’s entire defensive line. He’s been pegged as an All-American offensive tackle through four weeks and he’s only allowed one QB hit on 129 attempts so far this season. Ramczyk will face a number of strong edge rushers including fellow NFL draft prospects Taco Charlton — limited to 59 snaps this season, but was Michigan’s best edge rusher a year ago — and Chris Wormley. The Wolverines will mix in recently-named No. 3 true freshman Rashan Gary as well as Chase Winovich. All three edge rushers can get after the quarterback, so this should be Ramczyk’s biggest test since Week 1 against LSU.
The other matchups to watch include Ramczyk in the running game against Michigan’s defensive tackles. Wisconsin likes to run a lot of man schemes which involves Ramczyk down-blocking on the nearest defensive tackle. There he’ll find Maurice Hurst (82.7 run defense grade), Ryan Glasgow (81.4 run defense grade) and Matthew Godin (80.3 run defense grade). With talent up and down the Michigan defensive line and Ramczyk early-season success, this will be one of the best matchups of the entire weekend.
Other matchups to watch:
South Alabama TE Gerald Everett vs. San Diego State LB Calvin Munson
Everett is second among the nation’s tight ends in receptions and first in yards, while Munson is one of the best linebackers in the country. They should meet in space a few times throughout the game.
Michigan TE Jake Butt vs. Wisconsin linebackers
Whether it’s Jack Cichy or T.J. Edwards in the middle of the field, they’ll be challenged by Butt who works the middle of the field as well as any tight end in the nation.
East Carolina WR Zay Jones vs. UCF CB Shaquill Griffin
Jones moves all over the formation and he has the nation’s No. 3 receiving grade at 84.3 while Griffin plays both sides on the outside and he has the No. 26 cornerback grade in the nation.