Robert Griffin III and Baylor lost their first game of the season falling 36-35 to Kansas State. Griffin had the ball with three minutes to go but didn’t manage a first down, so no TCU-type heroics this weekend. With the Horned Frogs losing at home to SMU today, that big performance is a bit of a distant memory. Despite huge progress as a passer, Griffin is still a major project with terrible footwork and throwing mechanics – plus he has very little experience in anything like a cultured passing offense. I read one high profile pundit today suggesting Griffin could challenge for the top-ten, which is a ludicrous suggestion. He had five more touchdowns today and 343 yards but threw his first interception of the year. Great leader, better athlete – but a big time project and that limits his stock.
Dwight Jones at UNC had another big day, scoring two touchdowns in a six-catch, 93-yard performance in a 34-20 win over ECU. That’s 514 yards and six touchdowns in five games so far for a player who has found a level of consistency and is now making the most of a complete package of skills. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jones is worth a first round pick, he may be the best receiver in this class.
South Carolina suffered a 16-13 defeat to Auburn thanks to a quarterback mess that is undermining realistic ambitions of a SEC Championship. Stephen Garcia does not look anything like the quarterback of last season, but the coaches clearly had no confidence in him to start the year after an off-season of drama. It’s hurt players like Alshon Jeffery, who at least hit back with a touchdown and five catches for 86 yards against the Tigers. It was far from a faultless performance from the wide out however, who is over rated as a top-ten pick but warrants a general first round grade.
Boise State got revenge over the post-Colin Kaepernick Nevada, but it wasn’t a convincing display. Quarterback Kellen Moore only passed for 142 yards from 33 attempts – an average of 4.3 yards per throw. He also had two interceptions and completed just 19-33 passing. Had Kaepernick been playing today for the Wolfpack, it could easily have been a different story. My take on Moore has been clear from two seasons ago – excellent, storied college quarterback with a future somewhere within the game – but he only warrants an UDFA grade as a NFL prospect.
Ryan Tannehill supposedly had a better day than perhaps the numbers suggest (zero touchdowns, one interception and 247 yards) but it doesn’t hide the fact that for the second week in a row Texas A&M suffered a second half meltdown and threw away a 35-17 advantage at half time to lose 42-38 to Arkansas. Tannehill’s ability to lead his team to victory was a big selling point coming into this season despite limited starts, but he’s already lost to two legitimate opponents now. I’ve maintained a sceptical eye on Tannehill – he’s good given his lack of time on the field at quarterback, but the hype machine has gone into over drive and needs to cool down. I will have tape for this game on Wednesday.
Mohamed Sanu had another productive day for Rutgers, notching seven catches for 65 yards and a score as Rutgers defeated Syracuse in overtime 16-13. He now has 428 passing yards in four games and five touchdowns. He’s a unique prospect at 6-2 and 215lbs because I’d happily give him some snaps at running back, put him in the slot and still use him as an orthodox X or Y. A playmaker who can do just about any role on offense will carry some value to teams in round one, especially with this level of physical talent and now – production.
Matt Barkley broke Carson Palmer’s USC record for most passing yards in a single game in a 48-41 win over Arizona. The Trojans quarterback was back on form after last week’s defeat at ASU, scoring five total touchdowns and making just one interception to go with the 468 yards through the air. Robert Woods was again the main benefactor with 14 catches for an incredible 255 yards and two touchdowns. Barkley will be a top pick if he declares for the 2012 draft, Woods will almost certainly be a top pick in 2013. He has 55 catches this season in just five games with six touchdowns. A star in the making, both at USC and eventually in the NFL.
Geno Smith went 18-30 for 238 yards and three scores in a big win for West Virginia – 55-10 against Bowling Green. Michigan State didn’t have things half as easy against Ohio State, but sneaked trough 10-7 in a game that probably looked as bad as it sounds. Kirk Cousins again was far from spectacular, going 20-32 for 250 yards, one touchdown and a pick.
I’ll have access to game tape tomorrow – so expect some thoughts from Alabama/Florida and Auburn/South Carolina.