What We Learned In College Football Week 3

Who’s Up?

Luke Falk, QB, Washington State:  Luke Falk struggled last week and received a fair amount of criticism for his performance. Washington State named Falk the starter earlier in the week (like there was ever any doubt) and he rewarded his team with one of the best games of his career. He was commanding, efficient, and accurate Saturday against Oregon State. Falk threw for 396 yards and 6 touchdowns. Falk still has a lot of work to do to establish first round consideration but it was a strong way to rebound from last week.

Who’s Down?

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville:  It wouldn’t be fair to say that the lights were too bright for Lamar Jackson Saturday night. It was, however, a night that the reigning Heisman winner would like to have back. Jackson showed signs early in the season that he has improved on his footwork, his ability to get through progressions, and his accuracy. When things weren’t clicking early on for the Cardinals, Jackson regressed to his old ways. To give credit where credit is justly due, Clemson is going to make a lot of good offensive players look bad this season.

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU:  Sutton had 4 touchdown grabs against UNT last week, but was only targeted 7 times for 1 catch this week against TCU. There were a lot of variables going into this disappointing stat-line including TCU shading extra coverage towards Sutton’s side of the field all game long. NFL teams may not be too concerned with Sutton for not being able to make more of his 7 targets as they would be curious as to why SMU didn’t find more creative ways to get their best player the ball.

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming:  Allen needed a strong performance against Oregon after struggling opening day against Iowa. Allen was worse Saturday going 9 for 24 for 64 yards. Wyoming does not feature a roster that is built to compete with power 5 programs like Iowa and Oregon so no one was expecting him to gun-sling his team to victory. With that said, these performances are unacceptable. Allen has all of the raw ability needed to be a stud but it just isn’t there yet. It would be hard to imagine that there are too many teams at this point who have a first-round grade on Allen.

I See You

Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State :  The Bulldogs came to play Saturday night and a lot of players jumped off the screen. One player, and he is only a sophomore, was defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. Simmons is a handful and is a future SEC star. Simmons had 1.5 sacks and tallied 7 tackles and was consistently getting into LSU’s backfield all night.

Who is The Winner of The Main Event? 

Martinas Rankin vs. Arden Key Saturday Film Session Week 3

Mississippi State’s offensive line consistently won the line of scrimmage Saturday night over LSU. Rankin, the team’s best lineman, had a solid night. Rankin did a nice job in the run game as his strong hands steer his man to open holes. He also is athletic enough to get to the second level and pull when called upon. Rankin certainly has the ability and athleticism to become a steady blind-side protector in the NFL. Rankin was beat on a couple of plays, however, and will need to improve his consistency. Martinas was beaten on a swim move early in the game but QB Nick Fitzgerald was able to get the ball out in time. Rankin was also beat later on in the game, giving up a sack, as he had taken one false step in his drop. When Rankin is positioned and centered correctly he is difficult to beat.

Saturday night was Arden Key’s debut as he has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. It took Key a while to get into a groove against the Bulldogs but put his stamp on the game once he did. Key took almost all of his snaps from LSU’s “Buck” position which is the Tiger’s rush LB in a 3-4. He rushed the passer from both the weak and strong side and even dropped into coverage a few times as well. Three plays really stood out for Key. One one occasion, Key showed that he was going to rush pre-snap but dropped off into coverage. Miss State had so much respect for Key that they shifted their protection over to him and Fitzgerald was sacked from the other edge. The second play that jumps off the tape was an option play ran towards Key. Key set the edge forcing Fitzgerald to keep it up the middle. Arden is such an explosive athlete that he not only set the edge but also helped make the play in the backfield. The third play, of course, was the sack that Key had towards the end of the first half where he just ran right around the RT.

Both players did some nice things on the night. Mississippi State may have won the game but Arden Key wins the individual match-up. Arden does not appear to be a complete player at this point as he is not elite against the run and is a work in progress in coverage. He is a very explosive and springy pass-rusher, however, and he appears to be the best at getting after the QB in this draft class. He will need to bulk up a bit and develop some counter-rush moves but he very much looks like a top-10 pick. It wasn’t likely that he would be able to have such an impact in his first game considering that he couldn’t have been in proper game shape and certainly hasn’t seen a lot of reps in practice-but he did.

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