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college football
NFL Draft

College Football Week 0 Matchups To Watch

  • Justin Melo
  • August 26, 2022
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College football marks its triumphant return this Saturday with Week 0. It perfectly lines up with our latest TDN100 reveal. 

Though the action-packed schedule begins with Week 1, there are seven appetizing FBS vs. FBS contests on the schedule this Saturday. The headliner is undoubtedly the Big Ten overseas showdown in Ireland between Nebraska and Northwestern.

The beginning of the college football season officially welcomes the 2023 NFL Draft period. Let scouting season commence! Several NFL draft hopefuls are scheduled to be in action Saturday. We’ve identified three intriguing player-vs-player matchups we’ll be paying extra-special close attention to.

PETER SKORONSKI (NORTHWESTERN OT) VS. OCHAUN MATHIS (NEBRASKA EDGE)

One of the most dominant offensive linemen in all of college football, Northwestern’s Peter Skoronksi begins his journey to the 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday. Skoronski’s profile indicates he could develop into the first offensive tackle selected next April. Skoronski is incredibly poised in pass protection and is rarely defeated by EDGE rushers who try to attack his outside shoulder with speed. It makes Skoronski an ideal blindside protector for today’s pass-happy league.
He’ll face a legitimate test when he lines up opposite Nebraska’s Ochaun Mathis. Mathis is aiming to make an immediate bang for the Cornhuskers’ defense following his decision to transfer to the program from TCU. An All-Big-12 performer at TCU, Mathis chose Nebraska over Texas, which qualifies as a major victory for the program. 

Mathis possesses legitimate juice as a pass rusher, having recorded 4.0 sacks, seven tackles for loss, and three pass breakups last season. Skoronski versus Mathis is must-watch television for NFL scouts.

JOSH DOWNS (UNC WR) VS BJ BOHLER (FLORIDA A&M CB) AND SECONDARY

The No. 42 overall player in August’s TDN100, North Carolina’s Josh Downs is the most talented receiver playing this weekend. One of the ACC’s most dynamic athletes, Downs hauled in 101 passes for 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns last season while showcasing chemistry alongside NFL-bound quarterback Sam Howell. Downs won’t have Howell peppering him with targets this season, but he should remain incredibly productive nonetheless. 

Downs is a well-developed route-runner with notable burst. Downs attacks leverage and understands how to make himself available for his quarterback. He’s due for another massive season.

Florida A&M lacks the pedigree of North Carolina, but cornerback B.J. Bohler is an underrated prospect and NFL draft hopeful. HBCU programs have churned out NFL-worthy cornerbacks with terrific success as of late—both Joshua Williams and Decobie Durant were just drafted in the fourth round—and Bohler may be next in line. 

Bohler appeared in 12 contests for the Rattlers last season. The Orlando, Florida native recorded 52 total tackles, four interceptions, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery en route to being named to the All-SWAC Defensive First Team. Bohler is Florida A&M’s best shot at slowing down Downs on Saturday.

ISAIAH LAND (FLORIDA A&M EDGE) VS. NORTH CAROLINA OL

Florida A&M’s Isaiah Land may be the best draft prospect at the HBCU level in college football. Land led the entire nation in sacks (19.0) and tackles for loss (25.5) last season. Land is undersized at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, but his premier production proves he’s extremely capable of applying constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. 

Land is on a mission to prove he’s a legitimate NFL prospect. North Carolina is the most talented program on A&M’s schedule. A standout performance against a quality ACC opponent this weekend would do wonders for Land’s draft stock and overall reputation.

Land will encounter a Tar Heels offensive line that experienced an abundance of change this offseason. Both Marcus McKethan and Joshua Ezeudu departed the program for the NFL as draft picks of the New York Giants. Last year’s starting right tackle Jordan Tucker signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent (he’s since been released). There’s a new offensive line coach in Jack Bicknell Jr. (who previously worked alongside Phil Longo at Ole Miss). 

North Carolina has some things to work out up front before they begin playing their best. Land appears poised to take full advantage.

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Justin Melo