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When The Devy Breaks: Elijah Holyfield Breaking Through

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.

Five top-20 teams lost to lesser-ranked opponents last weekend. These upsets could have major ramifications on the college football playoff picture. Thanks to a late interception return for a touchdown, Florida beat LSU 27-19. The Gators are now positioned for a potential challenge to the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC East. Mississippi State beat Auburn 23-9 at home led by a huge rushing performance from quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Northwestern went to East Lansing and took down Michigan State 29-19 thanks to a prolific passing effort from QB Clayton Thorson.

The Red River Showdown lived up to its name with Texas beating Oklahoma 48-45. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger accounted for 5 total TDs and no INTs, his fifth-straight game with no turnovers. And finally, Texas A&M took down the previously undefeated Kentucky Wildcats 20-14 in overtime. Aggies’ RB Trayveon Williams rushed for 138 yards, his fourth game this season with at least 125 yards rushing.

Week 7’s slate is highlighted by three matchups between ranked teams with Georgia/LSU as the crown jewel. Penn State comes off a bye looking to avenge their Week 5 loss to Ohio State against Michigan State. Washington will face a stiff test against Oregon at Autzen Stadium while Michigan welcomes Wisconsin to the Big House.

RECAP

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy is beginning to separate himself from the rest of the Crimson Tide WRs. Last week against Arkansas, the 6-foot-1-inch, 192-pound sophomore put up a monster 4-135-2 line, his fourth multiple-TD game this season. As the team leader in receptions, yards, and TDs, Jeudy has accounted for 30 percent of Alabama’s receiving yards and TDs and is averaging an astonishing 18.6 yards per target. At just 19 years old, Jeudy’s prospects are sky-rocketing attached to one of the most efficient college QBs in recent memory, Tua Tagovailoa. If he keeps pace and secures a breakout season at age 19, his chances for future success will only increase.

Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor entered the 2018 season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, so his performance last Saturday against Nebraska (24-221-3) came as no surprise. Wisconsin’s unexpected loss to BYU may have put a damper on the Badgers’ playoff hopes, but Taylor has ripped off at least 113 yards rushing each week and has three multi-TDs games. As a part of a very impressive cohort of players averaging 6.5 yards per carry on at least 425 carries, Taylor remains an elite NFL prospect in the 2020 class.

Kansas State’s Alex Barnes may not be an elite college RB, but his tough running style has produced solid results. Against Baylor’s defense last Saturday, Barnes put up a 22-250-3 line, setting a career single-game high in yards rushing. Because Kansas State QBs are usually heavily involved in the run game, Barnes’ raw stats aren’t very impressive. But he’s posted a 0.36 and 0.57 Workhorse Score (non-QB rushing production) over the past two seasons. At 6 feet 1 inch, 225 pounds, Barnes has NFL size, and according to some scouts, requisite athletic ability. But a strong workout during the draft process is necessary for him to find future fantasy relevance.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK

Because of the unholy amount of talent in Georgia’s backfield over the last few seasons, Elijah Holyfield has gone underutilized and unnoticed in his first two seasons. But with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel gone, the 5-foot-11, 215 pound junior leads Georgia in rushing and has outplayed devy dynamo D’Andre Swift on a similar number of carries. Although we should expect a similar split in touches moving forward, Holyfield remains an intriguing 2019 prospect despite his lack of raw counting stats. Holyfield faces an LSU defense this week allowing just 3.4 yards per carry this season.

After totaling 388 yards rushing in Weeks 1-3, Indiana RB Stevie Scott has come back down to earth against Big Ten competition. But as an 18-year-old freshman ranking fourth in yards rushing in the conference, Scott is a 2021 prospect worthy of note. He’s been truly dominant through five games accounting for 74 percent of the Hoosiers’ non-QB rushing production, on pace for a strong first-year Workhorse Score, a strong indicator of future NFL success. At 6 feet 2 inches, 236 pounds, Scott is an intimidating runner, but his high school workouts numbers leave a lot to be desired. This week he’ll face an Iowa Hawkeyes’ defense allowing just 2.7 yards per carry.

Missouri QB Drew Lock entered the 2018 season as a candidate for the QB1 crown among the 2019 class. But through five games his adjusted yards per attempt (7.8) has decreased sharply from last season (10.2). His TD percentage (5.6) has also dropped from where he finished 2017 (10.5). Comparing stats between half and whole seasons can be deceiving but there’s no denying that Lock has struggled in 2018. Regardless of this current slump, Lock could end up a first round pick next spring given his build (6 feet 4 inches, 225 pounds) and past production. This week he’ll face an Alabama defense ranked 10th in defensive passing efficiency.

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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