Category Archives: In-game reports

Wisconsin vs. Iowa, 9-22-18: In-game report

Last Saturday’s Big Ten matchup featured two teams with common offensive ideologies, but a difference in execution decided the game in its final minutes.  Wisconsin defeated Iowa, 28-17, behind a fourth quarter 10-play, 88-yard drive in the waning moments.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

14 D’Cota Dixon 5’10, 198 Wisconsin S-Senior

Dixon is the veteran leader of the secondary for the Badgers. Wisconsin uses Dixon in a variety of ways and his performance doesn’t dip no matter the role.  Against Iowa, Dixon spent time as the eighth player in the box to help in run support, played as a single high safety and even contributed a forced fumble on the punt coverage team.  If that wasn’t enough, Dixon shadowed slot receivers and split tight ends in man-to-man coverage on a few occasions.  Dixon projects to be a middle round pick in the upcoming draft and what separates playing time for young players in the NFL is their ability to contribute in a variety of ways.  He checks off that category,  and look for him to continue his solid play across the board.

23 Jonathan Taylor 5’11 221 Wisconsin RB-Sophomore

There might not be a better marriage of offensive system and player in college football than Wisconsin and Jonathan Taylor. Taylor makes the Badgers downhill, grind it out possession-by-possession style work.  Week after week, quarter after quarter, Taylor imposes his will on opposing defenses and rarely seems tired.  Despite only being a sophomore, his technique stands out. The New Jersey native is patient with his pulling guards and rides their hip before exploding to the outside.  Taylor is able to keep his body fresh and save his legs because he is astute with his reads and never gives opposing defenders “a clean hit.”  Don’t let the fundamentals fool you, Taylor still has some open field make you miss ability in his game, and a good example was his side step of Iowa’s defensive tackle after the lineman went unblocked up the middle.  The Wisconsin running back runs with knees high and his shoulders low, leaving little for defenders to tackle.  Taylor finished with 113 yards on 25 carries.

Opposing speedsters

Iowa’s sophomore wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6’1, 175) and Wisconsin’s junior wide receiver A.J. Taylor (5’11, 203) play similar roles on different teams.  Both stretch the defense horizontally and vertically for their respective units and put the fear of the big play in the minds of opposing defensive coordinators, whose first priority is to stop the rushing attack.  Taylor is used on deep passes to the outside and he can be a problem in the slot running across the middle of the field.  Taylor caught the game-winning touchdown after he beat Iowa linebacker Jack Hockaday on a vertical route concept.  Smith-Marsette was used on an end around, where he picked up 20 yards on the ground.  In the pass game, Smith-Marsette is averaging 18 yards per catch and -as the numbers would indicate- he’s usually running routes for big plays.  If you ever watch Wisconsin and Iowa and wonder why teams don’t put eight or nine men in the box at all times, matchup nightmares like Taylor and Smith-Marsette may be the answers.

Boise State vs. Oklahoma State, 9-15-18: In-game report

Two high-flying offenses met in Stillwater on Saturday.  However, Oklahoma State was victorious against Boise State, 44-21, because of  its work in the trenches. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

94 Jordan Brailford (6’3 250) Oklahoma State DE- Junior

Brailford didn’t have to utilize any of his pass rushing moves to tally two sacks against Boise State.  Brailford was able to get to the quarterback using his quickness off the line. The junior defensive end showed an ability to play with his hand in the dirt and standing up.  He was the first to the football on multiple occasions during the game. However on one possession, he didn’t cash in, missing a tackle because he went too high on Boise State running back Alexander Mattison (5’11, 211).  Brailford finished last season with five sacks and through three games this season, he already has four. The Cowboys as a whole have 16 on the season.  As NFL teams continue to prioritize situational pass rushers, Brailford has shown scouts early on that his name should be thrown into the mix.

4 Brett Rypien (6’2 202) Boise State QB-Senior

Rypien has thrown 10 touchdown passes to zero interceptions in three games this year.

A quarterback that is going under the radar is Brett Rypien, the current active leader in passing yards in the FBS.  At 6’2, 202 pounds, the senior has a light frame but he doesn’t lack toughness. Despite, being sacked seven times and taking over 10 hits, he kept his composure by not throwing an interception.  Rypien impressed with his ability to hold linebackers and safeties with his eyes. The quarterback hit tight end John Bates (6’6, 247) over the middle for a first down conversion after holding Oklahoma State’s linebacker with his eyes. Rypien may not have the physical tools to “wow” scouts in the NFL, but he does check the box when it comes to the fundamentals of the position: using his eyes, working through his progressions and getting his team into the right play.  For the season, Rypien has thrown 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions.  Going forward, it would be beneficial for Rypien to try and preserve his body a little more if possible by getting rid of the ball quicker and settling for throw aways as opposed to sacks. It’s worth noting, the Broncos will probably not play a team as strong along the defensive line as they did against the Cowboys for the rest of the regular season.

Oklahoma State’s work in the trenches

The Cowboys and the Broncos both play a high volume passing brand of football.  Oklahoma State was more effective on offense and on defense because of the exemplary work along both lines. Rypien took seven sacks whereas Oklahoma State’s quarterback Taylor Cornelius (6’6, 232) was sacked three times. The Cowboys also rushed for 176 yards on 38 carries while the Broncos rushed for 38 yards on 31 carries.  On defense, the Cowboys had four different players record a  sack.  In a modern game that is dominated by receivers and quarterbacks hogging the headlines, Oklahoma State’s offensive line and defense line just went out and handled business.

 

Houston vs. Arizona, 9-8-18: In-game report

The University of Arizona’s offense was supposed to be a challenge for Houston’s defense led by junior defensive tackle Ed Oliver (6’3 292).  In fact, the opposite happened as Houston routed the Wildcats 45-18.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

10 Ed Oliver (6’3, 292) Houston DT-Junior

Oliver (No. 10 pictured) has posted four tackles for losses in two games thus far in 2018.

Pundits have Ed Oliver as a consensus Top 15 pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft and he didn’t disappoint against the Wildcats. The junior commanded double teams throughout the game, which allowed his defensive counterparts to capitalize with big plays. Oliver’s best series of the afternoon came on back-to-back plays, where he didn’t even record a stat.  On two separate short yardage situations (third down; fourth down) in the first half, Oliver was able to eat up two offensive linemen and still push the line of scrimmage in the backfield.  His push created tackles for losses for his teammates on both plays.  The junior has started every game of his career and wins with effort.  Arizona junior quarterback Khalil Tate (6’2, 215) was forced to move off of his spot in the pocket numerous times because of Oliver’s inside pressure.  What stood out to me was Oliver’s willingness to stay involved in plays and chase Tate from behind, which negated any potential cutback lanes.  Oliver finished with five tackles and a pass deflection.

Houston defense

Davis (No. 1 pictured) contributed 51 tackles, two tackles for losses and four interceptions for the Cougars in 2017.

The Cougar defenders around Oliver made the most of their opportunities as well.  The team totaled seven sacks and forced two interceptions.  Eight players were credited with at least half of a sack and senior defensive back Garrett Davis (6’2, 210) came down with two interceptions.  Davis now has six interceptions in his career. Most impressively, the Cougars defense managed to keep Khalil Tate corralled and turn him into a pocket passer rather than a runner. Houston excelled in gap integrity and leverage, forcing Tate to work through his reads and be patient rather than giving him alleys to run. Tate finished with just eight rushing yards.

Cougars up tempo offense

It was an all-around dominating performance for the Cougars offensively.  The offensive line, quarterback and skill position players all deserve credit. The Cougars had 254 passing yards and 297 rushing yards.  As the numbers would indicate, Houston did a good job of remaining balanced between run and pass; thus keeping the Wildcats defense guessing.   Early on, Kendal Briles, the Cougars offensive coordinator, showcased some of the RPO concepts which made his father’s Baylor Bears teams so successful.  Houston forced Arizona to cover the field horizontally and vertically and make tackles in space. The Cougars first touchdown of the game came on a passing touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Marquez Stevenson (6’0, 190), who took a swing pass and made the Arizona defensive backs miss in space while breaking a couple of tackles.  Quarterback D’Eriq King (5’11, 195) finished with 246 yards passing and four touchdowns.

6 Shun Brown  (5’10, 188) Arizona WR- Senior

Brown has “wiggle” in his game.  The Wildcats used Brown on a couple of quick screens to get him one-on-one in open space.  Brown is a matchup nightmare when he gets a slot corner or a linebacker in the open field.  He finished with 73 receiving yards on nine catches. The senior wide receiver from Shreveport, Louisiana, is also a force in the return game.   He had a 15-yard punt return on Saturday and for his career has two punt return touchdowns.

 

West Virginia vs. Tennessee, 9-1-18: In-game report

In a heavily anticipated non-conference battle in Charlotte, North Carolina, West Virginia strong-armed Tennessee in the trenches, en route to a 40-14 victory.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

7 Will Grier (6’2, 223) West Virginia QB-Senior

Grier, pictured, went over the 300-yard passing mark for the 10th time as a Mountaineer.

Will Grier, West Virginia’s Heisman candidate, didn’t disappoint. The senior completed 25-of-34 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns.  Grier (6’2, 223) showed a natural feel in the pocket and looked like a quarterback who knew what he wanted to do snap-to-snap.  His patience shined throughout the game.  Perhaps his best throw of the afternoon came on a fade to senior wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. (6’2, 215), pictured left, where he placed the ball perfectly to the receiver’s outside shoulder for a touchdown.  The senior enjoyed strong pass protection and only helped himself by being able to avoid the rush with his quick feet.  However, Grier would be better served at the next level if he’s able to develop the ability “to climb” in the pocket rather than shuffle from side-to-side, like he did on too many occasions against the Volunteers.  All things considered, he put together a performance worthy of a player who many pundits believe will be one of the better quarterbacks in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

18 David Sills V (6’4, 210) West Virginia WR-Senior

For the eighth time over the course of the last two seasons, Sills V registered at least two receiving touchdowns in a game.

All good quarterbacks need a receiver who can make plays. For Grier, that receiver is Sills V.  Sills V used his size “to box out corners”, making it hard for the Volunteers secondary to work against him. The senior wide receiver also showed he can run the complete route tree and bend his knees/ upper body to get in-and-out of his breaks. The former Mountaineers signal-caller finished the afternoon with seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

9 Tim Jordan (5’11, 230) Tennessee RB-Sophomore

Jordan was one of the lone bright spots for the Volunteers, who looked inept on offense.  Jordan, only a sophomore, was able to use outside carries off tackle to rack up 118 rushing yards on 20 carries. He broke a run outside to score a touchdown in the third quarter. Jordan had a good game but the Tennessee offensive line will have to improve in both the pass and run blocking departments to compete in the SEC.

Mountaineers defense

West Virginia’s defense was aggressive from the jump.  Senior defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (6’4 307), a former USC Trojan, started off the game with a quick rip move to derail a run up the middle on the first play of the contest.  On the next drive, Bigelow once again beat a Volunteers interior lineman off the snap to record a tackle for loss. He finished the contest with two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.  The Mountaineers defense went about 20 players deep and used various defensive packages to stifle the Volunteers, especially on third downs.  On the outside, West Virginia used a lot of man coverage and did it quite effectively.  The Mountaineers allowed Tennessee to convert on just 35-percent of its third down attempts (5-of-14), while allowing a paltry 301 yards of total offense (172 passing yards, 129 rushing yards). 

Western Michigan vs. Syracuse, 8-31-18: In-game report

The Western Michigan Broncos and the Syracuse Orange engaged in a high scoring back and forth battle on Friday night.  However, the Orange used an overpowering first half to defeat the Broncos, winning by a final score of 55-42.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

17 Jamal Custis 6’5, 224 Syracuse WR- Senior

Custis’ 168-yard receiving performance exceeded his career total entering 2018 (142 yards).

Former Syracuse wide receivers Amba Etta-Tawo and Steve Ishmael were workhorse-types who could be depended on to carry Syracuse’s offense at times.  Custis’ performance on Friday night indicates that he is capable of similar production.  The senior wide receiver put the team on his back in the first half, making two spectacular over the shoulder grabs, one of which resulted in a touchdown.  He finished the night with six catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns.  His best grab may have come in the second half when after running towards the sideline at full speed, he reached back with his left hand for an impressive one-handed grab.  He then used his size to bull his way into the end zone after making a defender miss in the open field.  What really stood out from Custis was his willingness to use his 6-foot-5-inch frame to block on the outside for running backs.

Syracuse linebackers

The high scoring affair underscored a largely disappointing night defensively for both teams.  But a few Orange linebackers did stand out.  Senior inside linebacker Ryan Guthrie (6’2, 224) flashed sideline-to-sideline speed and finished with four tackles, one of which was for a loss.  The sideline-to-sideline speed did get Guthrie in trouble when he ran himself out of a play that resulted in a Western Michigan 64-yard rushing touchdown.  Senior outside linebacker Kielan Whitner (6’0, 215) showed a willingness to play with discipline.  In the first quarter, on a run play to the opposite side of the field, Whitner stayed even with the right tackle in order to maintain his gap control in the event of a cut back and then chased down Western Michigan’s running back from behind for a tackle for loss.  The former strong safety finished with six tackles, an interception and a pass deflection.

Syracuse offensive production

Senior quarterback Eric Dungey (6’4, 226) is the commander of the offense and sort of a Swiss Army knife, when it comes to his ability to run and pass.  Dungey ran for 200 yards (13.3 yards per carry) and passed for 184 yards while accounting for three total touchdowns. The senior will have to work on his accuracy, as he completed just seven of his 17 pass attempts and routinely missed receivers in stride.  Head coach Dino Babers did a great job of mixing up the team’s play calls and formations.  Look for Syracuse to continue to run a heavy dose of read option, shotgun and traditional multiple tight end and fullback sets going forward.  In total, the offense scored 55 points and racked up 560 yards.

7 D’Wayne Eskridge (5’9, 190) Western Michigan WR- Junior

Eskridge, a former state champion 100-meter and 200-meter state champion at Bluffton HS (Ind.), went over the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career versus the Orange.

Eskridge plays an aggressive game at wide receiver. The junior wide receiver makes all of his routes look the same because of his explosiveness off the line.  In the first quarter, Eskridge attacked the backpedaling cornerback before stopping on a dime for a 15-yard gain. Eskridge is skilled at using minimal steps to get in and out of his breaks.  He finished with eight catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns. The wide receiver could improve his route running a bit.  In the first half near the goal line, Eskridge rounded his slant route and allowed Syracuse junior cornerback Scoop Bradshaw (6’0, 176) to come underneath him, deflect and nearly intercept a pass.

 

DRAFTNASTY’s In-Game Report: Western Carolina vs. Wofford, 10-7-17

DraftNasty traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina for a SoCon showdown between the Western Carolina Catamounts and the Wofford Terriers.

Western Carolina

 21 RB Detrez Newsome (5’10, 210, Sr.)

Uses timely patience as an asset in WCU RPO zone scheme. Uses the slow to, fast through approach. Shows good vision and understands when he has the two-way go when he has lead blockers on the perimeter. Displays a controlled spin move and has confidence spinning to either side. Would like to see him get behind his pads more, as well as hit the gas pedal to stretch the defense more on zone stretch plays.

96 OLB Tahjai Watt (6’5, 220, Sr.)

Watt did a good job of extending the option attack of the Wofford Terriers due to his length. There were times after forcing the pitch; he displayed how much ground he could cover laterally to help out on the run. He was also effective defending the pass both as a drop and pressure player. His lack of weight is cause for concern.

1 WR Steffon Hill (6’0, 195, Sr.)

More quick than fast. Used in a variety of the Catamounts RPO game (hitches, swings, option). Lined up primary on the outside, but shows the quickness and niche for creating short separation fit for a slot receiver.

8 CB Tra Hardy (5’11, 185, Sr.)

Physical at the LOS. Forced Wofford’s receiver to take the longer path, due to his discipline of keeping his shoulders square and shuffling his feet versus the wide receivers release. He needs to improve on transitioning out of his break more fluidly. He does return kickoffs.

Wofford

21 LB Colton Clemons (6’0, 245, Sr.)

Clemons is a downhill thumper. What you have to like about him, is his consistency with downhill movement and scraping to fill the C and D gaps. He will finish on plays and drop his hips to drive through tackles. A great example of this came when he scooped Detrez Newsome on a screen play in open field. Recorded an interception in the 1st half.

90 DT Miles Brown (6’1, 320, Jr.)

The show starts in the middle with Miles Brown. He has an impressive get-off, which allows him to shoot the gap and create penetration in the backfield. His powerful lower half and stubby build allows him to quickly eat the up the cushion of interior lineman. Throughout the game he lined up as a shade, 2i, 3, and 4i. He made plays at each of the techniques he played. His short arms does bring a cause of concern.

24 CB Devin Watson (5’11, 195, Jr.)

Read and diagnosis routes quickly. Will drive on the out breaking route in ‘read’ coverage. Understands when to carry the No. 1 receiver in ‘read’ coverage after the No. 2 receiver climbs vertical. Will attack blockers and establish a presence versus screens. Lateral movement is questionable in space.