Ohio State’s warpath through the September schedule continues. Penn State continues to play with their food. The bi-polar Terps were back on that Dr. Jekyll vibe this weekend. It was a chaotic slate of college football across the country, but by and large the Big Ten “held serve”. Heavyweights Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all won on Saturday, setting up one of the marquee match-ups to date next week.
But how did our NFL Draft prospects fare? In an ever fluid state of affairs, some trends are becoming difficult to ignore. Here are five things that we learned in Week 4 of the college schedule from Big Ten prospects.
Miles Sanders Is RB1 (In the Big Ten)
No, this is not an overreaction to Sanders’ 200 yard performance on Friday night vs. Illinois. Sanders did not make my preseason top 5 running backs in the conference, but that’s because New York Giant RB Saquon Barkley had dominated the snaps in Happy Valley.
Finally out of Barkley’s shadow, Sanders has terrific short area quickness and is a dynamic threat on the second level. I’ve been impressed with Sanders’ ability to create extra yards by beating the first would be tackler.
We’ll find out just how good the Penn State back is next week when the Buckeyes come to town.
Noah Fant Is Still A Thing
Close your eyes and imagine something for me. Your team has the best tight end in the country and yet he only gets 7 catches for 41 yards in your team’s first two games. Go ahead, we’ll wait for you.
This interruption has been brought to you by the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Right. Welcome back. That seems pretty silly, doesn’t it? The Hawkeyes think so too, because after barely using Fant vs. Northern Illinois and Iowa State, the Hawkeyes used much more Noah Fant the last two weeks. Against Wisconsin in a narrow loss, Fant was a factor with two receiving touchdowns.
Elite production (30% of Fant’s career catches have been touchdowns) and elite traits will make Fant a desirable early selection when he enters the draft pool.
— HawkeyeHQ.com's Ryan Jaster (@Hawkologist) September 23, 2018
Brian Lewerke’s Inconsistency Hasn’t Gone Away
After sitting on the shelf last week, Lewerke and the Spartans were chomping at the bit to get back in the action. It was a good start, with the team jumping out to a 21-7 halftime lead over the Hoosiers.
Much of that came on the gifted right arm of Lewerke, who was 11/18 passing for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns at the mid-point. After half?
3/7 passing for 28 yards and 2 interceptions.
“Not great, Bob!” Lewerke’s first three games have reaffirmed my belief that he’s a potential franchise quarterback, but the select few silly decisions and performances of this nature are major roadblocks.
Dwayne Haskins Is A Cheat Code
Meanwhile, in Columbus, Haskins dropped a 21/24 passing, 304 yard, 5 touchdown performance on Tulane.
Yes, it’s Tulane. But you’d expect this kind of domination against Tulane. Haskins is completing over 75% of his passes for the season and his touchdown:interception ratio is an astounding 16:1.
As Haskins settles in, the only question now is how long will the Buckeyes be able to enjoy him before the NFL comes calling? In a barren and frustrating QB landscape, Haskins’ domination and arm gifts are going to get a lot of rave reviews.
Should the Buckeyes make a deep run in the CFB Playoff, Haskins may feel he’s accomplished everything he’d have liked to and go pro. Time will tell.
— Buckeye Videos+ (@BuckeyeVideos) September 22, 2018
Parris Campbell Is Coming Along Nicely
Let’s not forget about Haskins’ teammates, who have done a lot of RAC work for him through the first month of the season. WR Parris Campbell is an intriguing player who is coming along well in his final season.
In June, I made an observation that has (thankfully) made me look like I know what I’m talking about with this football thing:
For me the most intrigue is with Michigan's combo of Patterson/Peoples-Jones….but most upside goes to Haskins-Parris Campbell (who can FLYYYYY) https://t.co/8eQQ400SIZ
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) June 27, 2018
Campbell has been the leader in the receiving room, he leads the team in yards (299) and touchdowns (5) through four games. The Buckeyes have spread the ball around (4 different receivers are currently between 299 and 200 yards), but getting Campbell’s workload up and keeping his explosive play ratio high has been key to the unstoppable nature of the Buckeyes.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) September 22, 2018