Plant Your Flag on Saturday

College Football: Plant Your Flag, Week 12

Before we even knew the season was in full swing, the home straight of the regular season appears in Week 12. We’ve got news of an opt-out for Florida State receiver Tamorrion Terry, and some Heisman hype for Ash’s QB Justin Fields.

Ash’s Picks

QB: Justin Fields, Ohio State

Week 11: Won 49-27 v. Rutgers
Week 12: v. Indiana

If Justin Fields does take the Heisman Trophy, he may be in receipt of a dollop of good fortune. Fields has been exceptional this season, but the absence of Trevor Lawrence in recent weeks has magnified the attention on his performances.

Last week, he showed once more why he is so highly touted by talent analysts across the game. Fields completed 24/28 passes for 314 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has as many touchdowns this year (11) as he does incompletions.

The Hoosiers are 4-0 to start 2020. This game could be the Buckeyes’ biggest test of the regular season. Indiana is averaging 210 passing yards allowed per game so far. That doesn’t mean that Fields will be stifled – Ohio State is averaging 303 air yards per game.

In any other year, Fields would be a certain favourite for the greatest individual accolade in college football. The problem is that this isn’t any other year. Can Fields continue the Clemson Curse?

RB: Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

Kylin Hill has opted out.

Hill’s season is long over after he decided to opt out. He had an incredible opening game in the 2020 season, ripping apart the LSU defence.

After that? Not so impressive. Hill will be hoping to be a Day Two pick in the NFL Draft. With some evidence of pass catching ability on tape, he’s looking like a late second round/early third round pick.

WR: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

Week 11: Won 20-18 @ Kansas State
Week 12: @ Oklahoma

Tylan Wallace accepted his much anticipated invite to the Senior Bowl this week. There, he will hope to pit his abilities against the college game’s top defensive backs.

Wallace missed last week’s win over Kansas State with an injury sustained in practice. Prior to that, he led the Big XII in receiving yards (558 for 4 touchdowns). He will be hoping to bounce back quickly, after his 2019 season was disturbed by a knee injury that kept him off the field for 11 months.

This weekend’s game with Oklahoma (a rivalry affectionately known as Bedlam) could be the most significant of his college career, if he is cleared to play. The Sooners are the favourites going into this game, but that doesn’t discount Mike Gundy’s side. The Oklahoma defence is far stronger against the run than the pass, so expect Gundy to scheme some deep balls to his primary receiver this weekend.

The myth that the Big XII doesn’t produce good defence is on its way to extinction. Nevertheless, Wallace can give his draft stock a major boost with a dominant performance over some big name corners in the Senior Bowl when the time arrives. For now, beat Oklahoma.

TE: Kyle Pitts, Florida

Week 11: Won 63-35 v. Arkansas
Week 12: @ Vanderbilt

Pitts’ health has been a barrier this year. Understandably, he was taken out of the Georgia game after a horrendous targeting hit. The illegal contact has caused Pitts several issues, unsurprisingly concussion among them.

He will not be available for this weekend’s game at Vandy. Pitts has to undergo a surgical procedure on his nose, again stemming from that ugly hit from Lewis Cine.

Pitts will want to be back on the field as soon as possible to reaffirm his position as TE1 in this year’s draft class. The Gators are not looking likely to make the playoffs, so every game counts. Florida faces Kentucky (home), Tennessee (away) and LSU (home) to end their 2020 campaign. Of course, a significant Bowl Game awaits, too. If Pitts can finish the season strongly, an early-to-mid First Round draft selection awaits.

Tom’s Picks

QB: Trey Lance, NDSU

Trey Lance will not play again this season.

The rise of Zach Wilson has led to Lance sliding down some draft boards. Not mine. Lance’s running style is something we’ve not seen before in the NFL. Of course, there have been dual-threat guys that have enjoyed varying success. But have we seen a bulldozer with cannon for an arm?

Lance’s unconventional skillset will no doubt ward off some “safety first” front offices. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t an NFL GM out there who thinks he can turn Lance into a star.

There’s now just 159 days until Trey Lance is an NFL quarterback.

RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson

Week 11: no fixture
Week 12: @ Florida State

Etienne was shut down by the Notre Dame run defence a fortnight ago. His average of 1.6 yards per carry was by far the worst of his 2020 campaign, paling in comparison to his 5.2 yard career average. He also had his third lost fumble of the season.

Do not get me wrong: Travis Etienne is RB1 in this draft class. That’s not to say that there are question marks over his ability to protect the football. He is in desperate need of a “get right” game. This weekend’s trip to a stripped bare Florida State program should provide the relief he is in need of. The Seminoles have lost three straight since defeating UNC in Week 8, and their defensive front will be without DT Marvin Wilson.

WR: Tamorrion Terry, Florida State

Tamorrion Terry has opted out.

It’s been an eventful year for Terry. The Florida State wideout has struggled with a knee injury, and has now opted out of FSU’s remaining 2020 fixtures. He will now begin his preparation for the NFL Draft in April.

TE: Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

Week 11: Lost 30-23 @ Nebraska
Week 12: v. Iowa

Penn State is putrid this year. That shouldn’t fool you into thinking that Pat Freiermuth is having a bad season, too. In the Nittany Lions’ previous two defeats to Maryland and Nebraska, he had 13 receptions for 194 yards. We’re always told to scout the player, not the helmet. This is a case of scout the player, not the program.

This week, Freiermuth and friends face the visit of the Iowa Hawkeyes. After a slow start, the Iowa defence is looking mean, conceding just 14 points in its last two fixtures. Baby Gronk will doubtless be called upon to shoulder some of the offensive responsibility as the Nittany Lions attempt to salvage some pride in their season.

In our recent mock draft, Freiermuth fell to the 33rd overall pick, and the New York Jets. A second round selection is looking ominous. If an NFL franchise does get Baby Gronk with just a Day Two draft pick, they’ve bagged themselves a steal.

@5yardcollege – where Saturdays are for rushing, too

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