Week 11 was a big one for college football. Minnesota proved themselves to be legitimate contenders against Penn State and the “Game of the Century” lived up to the hype as LSU came out with the win.
But it wasn’t just the marquee that put on a show. SMU and East Carolina proved that no Vegas over/under could hold back the Mustangs and the top Group of Five QB prospect, Jordan Love, reemerged following few bad weeks in a row.
Holton Ahlers, QB East Carolina
East Carolina surprised many fans as they hung tough with Cincinnati, last week, and they followed it up with an even more exciting game against SMU. As they hung 51 points in the loss, the sophomore Ahlers led the FBS with 498 passing yards and six TDs while completing 76.2% of his passes. Ahlers ranks 11th in the FBS in passing yards and is currently averaging 7.8 adjusted yards per attempt. The air raid attack of ECU makes the passing game difficult to evaluate for the next level, but his production as a sophomore makes Ahlers a player to keep an eye on.
ECU is on bye this week but returns to take on the lowly UConn Huskies on the 23rd. This could be another big game for Ahlers.
DK Billingsley, RB Troy
Billingsley posted his fourth 100-yard performance of the year, last Saturday, against Georgia Southern. More notably for scouting purposes, he caught three passes bringing his season total up to 17 receptions for 116 yards. For the year, Billingsley has 779 rushing yards at a 6.1 yard per carry average and he has nine TDs. This level of production as a sophomore is, at a minimum, worth watching.
Troy travels to Texas State as a 7-point favorite. With Texas State allowing more than 220 rushing yards per game, this could be a game worth checking in on.
Tyler Snead, WR, East Carolina
One week after C.J. Johnson had his breakout week for East Carolina, it’s his teammate Snead that put on the stellar receiving performance of the week. His 240 receiving yards led the FBS, and he tacked on three TDs. For the year, the redshirt freshman has 571 yards and five TDs. He’s also contributed to special teams with 17 kickoff returns and 12 punt returns. Snead’s 5-foot-7-inch frame and small school pedigree makes him unlikely to be an early NFL Draft pick, but this type of versatility could earn him a roster spot.
Other Notable Players
It’s been quite a few weeks since Jordan Love showed why he has NFL scouts intrigued. His 388-yard, two-TD game did exactly that as he also completed 76.9% of his passes.
Shane Buechele held up his side of the shootout against Ahlers. He passed for 414 yards and five TDs en route to his team’s 59-51 win.
Josh Johnson rushed for 168 yards and two TDs on 20 carries in UL-Monroe’s win over Georgia State. Despite splitting the workload, the junior RB has already surpassed 1,000 yards for the year.
Tra Barnett is quietly putting together a strong senior campaign for Georgia State. He’s already eclipsed 1,100 yards and 10 TDs on 178 carries. His draft stock might be non-existent due to his lack of prior year production, but this type of efficiency could earn him a scout look during the draft process.
JoJo Ward had over 100 receiving yards for just the second time this year, but his 170 yards ranked seventh, nationally. Barring something unforeseen, Ward will finish with his best college season to close out his career.
James Proche is making the most of his time as the primary target with Reggie Roberson out of action. He caught 14 passes for 167 yards and two TDs for SMU in the win.
Week 5 Group of Five Matchups of the Week
Navy at Notre Dame
I mean … Notre Dame isn’t in a Power Five conference so this isn’t cheating. This matchup of ranked teams is easily the top game not featuring a team in the Power Five. Coming off of a bye week, the 7-1 Navy team takes a significant step up in competition as Notre Dame is the first-ranked team they’ll play in six weeks. For devy purposes, Notre Dame brings in two pass catchers with NFL potential: Cole Kmet and Chase Claypool. Service academies regularly give teams trouble so this game could be closer than the 7-point spread implies.
Appalachian State at Georgia State
This game features two good senior RBs. For Appalachian State, it’s Darrynton Evans leading the attack with 883 yards and 10 TDs and Zac Thomas balances the offense with 1,671 passing yards. The aforementioned Tra Barnett and senior QB, Dan Ellington, have led the team as they’ve averaged 36 points per game. The 62.5-point Vegas total would indicate that this game could turn into a high-scoring affair.