Plant Your Flag on Saturday

Plant Your Flag: Week 8 Preview

We apologise for the lack of Plant Your Flag goodness last week. With only two of our eight guys in action, we gave them a week off. However, we have heard from the clamouring hordes who yearn for an update. We hear you, and we have responded. Here are your Week 8 previews. 

What a week we have in store. If you didn’t already know, Big Ten football is back on Saturday. That means a return for Ash’s quarterback Justin Fields, and my very own Pat Freiermuth of Penn State.

Ash’s Picks

QB – Justin Fields, Ohio State

Week 7: No fixture
Week 8: v. Nebraska

Everybody has decided that Fields will be the second QB off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. Everyone except Justin Fields, that is. He had 41 touchdowns in his first year in Ohio, to just 3 interceptions. If Ohio State is able to make a push for the CFB playoffs, Fields will get a chance to topple Clemson and Lawrence. Could it be enough to take the #1 overall pick? Highly unlikely, but it’ll be fun watching him try. The Buckeyes should breeze past their Big Ten opponents in 2020.

They face up in Week 8 against a Nebraska team that went 5-7 overall in 2019. However, three of those defeats were within a score. The Cornhuskers have recruited well prior to the year, and will be expecting to take another step forward in 2020. The loss of JD Spielman will be tough, but keep an eye on freshman Zavier Betts.

The Buckeyes will be too strong for a Nebraska team that is still improving.

RB – Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

Week 7: Lost 28-14 v. Texas A&M
Week 8: Bye

Hill was out in the game v. The Aggies. Head Coach Mike Leach said that Hill was absent from last week’s game due to unspecified personal reasons. There has been no update to suggest that he will be back for the Bulldogs’ game against Alabama on 31st October.

WR – Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

Week 7: Game v. Baylor postponed
Week 8: v. Iowa State

Tylan Wallace’s performances so far this season have people taking notice. He has 325 yards and 2 touchdowns already this season, and is averaging over 17 yards per catch. The Cowboys are now favourites to top the Big XII. They will have been disappointed not to take on Baylor last week, but a COVID outbreak in Waco put the brakes on the game.

The Iowa State Cyclones are coming off the back of three consecutive wins. They are conceding 28 points per game, though. Whatever the result, expect a high-scoring game in Stillwater this weekend. If there’s points to be had, Wallace will eat.

TE – Kyle Pitts, Florida

Week 7: Game v. LSU postponed
Week 8: Bye

There were unconfirmed rumours prior to the Gators’ game against LSU that Pitts was carrying an injury going into Week 7. The postponement, and this week’s bye, should clear up any issues. If there are any, that is.

Some are beginning to speculate that Pitts could be a top ten draft pick in April. If TJ Hockenson can go there, then so can Pitts. We’ve seen in recent weeks how NFL defenses are struggling to handle Chase Claypool. At two inches taller, Pitts is very much a Tight End and not a receiver. However, with comparable weight (c. 240 lbs) and speed, it’s hard to see how defences can shut him down.

For the sake of his draft stock and career, it is paramount that he stays healthy. Here’s hoping that he does.

Tom’s Picks

QB – Trey Lance, NDSU

Days until Trey Lance becomes an NFL quarterback: 187

RB – Travis Etienne, Clemson

Week 7: v. Georgia Tech
Week 8: v. Syracuse

Travis Etienne fell victim to his team’s success in Week 7, and did not see much action in the later stages of the game. On a day where Clemson obliterated Georgia Tech with their brilliance, we found that Etienne was indeed human. He had a first half fumble which was recovered by the opposition. He had just 11 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and a further 29 receiving yards.

This weekend’s matchup v. Syracuse should follow a similar script. Clemson are a juggernaut at the moment, and Syracuse won’t be able to stop it. If Trevor Lawrence runs up a score like he did in Week 7, Etienne might be seeing the side-lines late in this one, too.

WR – Tamorrion Terry, Florida State

Week 7: v. UNC
Week 8: @ Louisville

Last week’s shock win for Florida State over the Tar Heels came without their leading receiver, Tamorrion Terry. He had just 21 receptions for 275 yards and a touchdown before requiring a knee procedure. It’s not yet certain how long he will be out for, but he will certainly miss this week’s matchup with Louisville.

Terry’s draft stock has taken hit after hit this season. For starters, many turn their nose up at bigger receivers (*cough* we see you, DK Metcalf truthers). The Semioles’ poor start to the season, and now this injury, have hurt his stock. In a deep receiver draft class, it isn’t impossible that Terry could now be a Day 3 pick in April.

TE – Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

Week 7: No game
Week 8: @ Indiana

Baby Gronk is back. If Penn State are to have another impressive year (they went 11-2 in 2019), they’ll need another impressive year from Pat Freiermuth.

Freiermuth had 507 yards and 7 scores last year. A shortened schedule this time out means that those figures will be hard to replicate. Journey Brown will lead this offense in rushing, and so opportunities for Freiermuth will be limited. In the passing game, he is QB Sean Clifford’s most reliable target.

The Indiana defense was dealt a bow in September when news broke of a season ending injury for Senior Safety, Marcelino Ball. If fit, he would have likely been tasked with limiting Freiermuth on short and intermediate routes. Without him, Freiermuth should feast.

Before the season, Freiermuth was most analysts’ TE1. Not anymore. Kyle Pitts is having a monster season at The Swamp. Where the Nittany Lion has an advantage is his contributions to blocking assignments. Whether Pitts is taken first or not, Freiermuth will be a First Round pick.

@5yardcollege – where Saturdays are for rushing, too

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