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When The Devy Breaks: Justin Herbert Looks For The Upset

When the Devy Breaks travels the college football landscape, keeping you up-to-date on last week’s results, previewing the big upcoming tilts, and providing updated devy rankings.

One of the best things about college football is that no matter how dominant some teams look — I’m looking at you, Alabama — there’s always a chance we see upsets. Last weekend was no exception. BYU traveled to Wisconsin as 23-point underdogs but won outright 24-21, severely damaging the Badgers’ playoff hopes. LSU was a 10-point underdog at Auburn but managed a 22-21 win, altering the landscape in the SEC West. Troy won as double-digit underdogs against Nebraska in Lincoln sending new head coach Scott Frost to an 0-2 start. Oklahoma State, San Diego State, and North Texas also secured upset wins.

Looking at this week, Florida State will look to stop the bleeding against an excellent Northen Illinois defense at home. Kansas State goes on the road against West Virginia in a battle of opposing offensive philosophies highlighted by Mountaineers’ quarterback Will Grier. And Oregon welcomes Stanford to Eugene for a primetime game featuring two premier talents in Bryce Love and Justin Herbert.

With nearly a quarter of the regular season in the books, things are starting to come into focus.

RECAP

Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler had a monster outing on Saturday against Oklahoma. He scored twice and set a career-high in yards receiving (174). As the clear WR1 in a relatively low-volume passing game, Butler has accounted for a whopping 70 percent of his team’s receiving yards and TDs through two games. His size and athleticism make him an extremely enticing 2019 prospect despite his lack of a true breakout season four years into his college career. He’s a mid-tier prospect at the moment based on age-adjusted metrics but could rise if a team invests significant draft capital in him next spring.

Boise State QB Brett Rypien was under constant pressure against Oklahoma State but still managed to throw for 380 yards and 3 TDs completing 70 percent of his attempts. It was his third-straight game with at least 300 yards passing, 3 TDs and no INTs. He’s one of 19 QBs since 2000 to complete at least 63 percent of his throws with 70 or more TDs and 25 or fewer INTs in a career. At 6 feet 2 inches and 200 pounds, he’s smaller than the typical early-round target for most NFL front offices. But in a relatively weak 2019 QB class, Rypien could be a later-round pick who slides into a backup role.

Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown toasted the Iowa State secondary on Saturday with 189 yards receiving in the first half alone, breaking his own school record. The chemistry between Brown and burgeoning Heisman Trophy candidate QB Kyler Murray is evident and has been building since last season. At just 5 feet 10 inches and 168 pounds, Brown’s speed is his best asset. Former teammate Baker Mayfield went as far as to say he’s faster than Dede Westbrook who ran a 4.34 forty at last year’s pro day. At age 21, Brown lacks a true breakout season, but has a 0.38 Dominator Rating through three games. He’s squarely on my dynasty radar.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Justin Herbert entered the season as the top 2019 QB prospect according to some analysts. His size, ahleticism, and efficiency were key contributing factors to his lofty expectations.  But through three games against inferior competition he’s thrown two or more interceptions twice. Herbert tossed two or more INTs just twice in his previous 16 games. That said, he’s thrown 12 TDs and is averaging 11.1 adjusted yards per attempt this season so a freak out would be premature. Herbert will look for a signature performance on Saturday against a Stanford defense that ranks 4th in Bill Connelly’s defensive S&P+.

So far this season Missouri WR Emanuel Hall has seized his opportunity to become the new WR1 for the Tigers. In the absence of J’Mon Moore, Hall is averaging 143 yards receiving per game and a stunning 23.9 yards per reception. He’s accounted for 32 percent of Missouri’s receiving yards and TDs through three games and is one of 12 players this century to average at least 20 yards per reception on 75 or more career receptions. His lack of a breakout season and experience running varied routes are reasons for concern, but his size and explosiveness are tempting. On Saturday, Hall will face a Georgia defense that has done an excellent job preventing big plays.

It’s not often we highlight prospects at the tight end position but Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. needs to be mentioned. Through three games Smith Jr. has the third-most receptions (nine) and yards receiving (122) on the team resulting in a 0.15 Dominator Rating. Smith Jr.’s athleticism has never been in question. But now attached to one of the best QBs in the country in an offense more focused on the vertical passing game he looks primed for a breakout. TEs are typically devalued in dynasty because of the time it takes them to make an NFL impact. But Smith Jr. could follow a similar career path as O.J. Howard. On Saturday, Smith Jr. will square off against a Texas A&M pass defense that has allowed a ton of big plays.

Check out my updated devy rankings. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or the message boards to let me know what you think.

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