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CFB 2023: Week 9 Recap and Week 10 Preview
Monday, 2023 October 30 - 5:00 pm
Michigan was on bye; Penn State struggles but beats Indiana; N.C. State scores an important upset against Clemson.

Michigan vs Purdue, 7:30 PM NBC
Seems like Michigan has a lot of night games this year; I'm sure being ranked #2 has a lot to do with it.

Purdue is, well, mediocre. They've played a lot of semi-decent teams, with wins against 4-4 Virginia Tech and 3-5 Illinois. But they've lost everything else. The loss to Fresno State doesn't look so bad in hindsight (the Bulldogs are now 7-1) but they just got hammered by Ohio State 41-7 and then lost to Nebraska 31-14.

Texas transfer QB Hudson Card is getting just 6.2 YPA on the year and has thrown 7 interceptions against 8 touchdowns. His favorite target is Deion Burks, who's really the team's only consistent big play threat, with last year's two top receivers now gone. They return a pretty good running back in Devin "Crazy Legs" Mockobee. But both the running and passing game are hampered by an ineffective offensive line.

The defense also has its ups and downs. It's not a great sign when your two top tacklers are defensive backs; one is true freshman Dillon Thieneman. The only lineman cracking top 10 for tackling is transfer DE Isaiah Nichols. I think we can expect a heavy dose of Blake Corum this game early on, hopefully followed by a heavy dose of Donovan Edwards.

Prediction: Michigan 42, Purdue 6.

Penn State 33, Indiana 24
This game was tied late in the fourth quarter, after Drew Allar's first career interception resulted in an Indiana field goal. But Allar finally got the green light to throw downfield, completing a 57-yard touchdown bomb. A strip sack resulting in a safety followed, and Penn State escaped.

Should Penn State be worried? Well, Indiana scored on a 90-yard touchdown pass and a 69-yard touchdown pass. The latter was some kind of weird coverage bust, as Penn State's corner blitz left a wideout completely undefended. So yeah, maybe there's some work do to in the secondary. But otherwise the defense held up okay.

The offense is still a work in progress. Allar gets jittery under pressure and the blitz pickups have not been great. Kaytron Allen has proven to be pretty steady at RB, but we're going to need to see more out of Allar when Penn State gets off-schedule. He hasn't shown the consistent ability to convert third-and-medium passes when needed, and that might be trouble against the likes of Michigan.

Penn State at Maryland, 3:30 PM Fox
This is definitely a trap game. Maryland is 5-3 on the year, having blasted Virginia, Michigan State, and Indiana. They hung close with Ohio State for a while. The last two weeks have been a slide, though, with losses to a mediocre Illinois team and a bad (though perhaps improving) Northwestern team. The passing offense is generally not the issue... star QB Taulia Tagovaiola remains a serious threat. The defense has been serviceable if not dominant. I think mostly Maryland has been plagued by untimely turnovers and occasional big-play busts.

I think Maryland will present a challenge for Penn State. The Lions will need to get pressure on Tagovaiola to avoid giving up big passing plays. On offense, the coaches need to take the brakes off Allar and make some plays downfield. Sacks and turnovers are likely to play a big factor. Penn State should have the athletes to win, but it might be scary at times.

Prediction: Penn State 27, Maryland 21.

N.C. State 24, Clemson 17
I definitely did not see this coming, even though I did say Clemson "is a team that seems to find ways to lose". They certainly did just that Saturday, outgaining N.C. State 364-202 but committing two backbreaking turnovers, both of which led to N.C. State touchdowns.

The most important player on State's roster is turning out to be Kevin Concepcion, who was both the team's leading rusher and leading receiver, accounting for a full two-thirds of State's offensive output for the day. The freshman frequently proved too fast for Clemson's defensive backs. Look out for this guy over the next few years, assuming State can hang on to him.

Otherwise, State's offense remains a bit of a mess. QB M.J. Morris is serviceable but not a playmaker; the OL isn't getting much push; and none of the running backs are making much of a contribution. Frankly, if this game were played five times, Clemson would probably win four of them. But State had just enough magic to carry the day. With the win, bowl eligibility seems much more likely, particularly with other ACC teams continuing to struggle.

N.C. State vs. Miami, 8:00 PM ACCN
Miami is 6-2, coming off wins against Clemson and Virginia. They also have an early season win against Texas A&M. All of those wins are solid, but slightly less impressive in hindsight. There's also a puzzling loss to Georgia Tech, but maybe the Yellow Jackets are better than we thought, having just beaten UNC last week.

Miami has a strong-armed passer in Tyler Van Dyke, who's completing 70% of his passes with 16 touchdowns on the year. There's a committee of running backs getting 5.3 YPC. The defense isn't as fierce as we've seen in past seasons, but still pretty solid, particularly against the run.

I think State will try the same gameplan they used against Clemson, using as many wrinkles as possible to get Concepcion open while relying on the defense to keep them in the game. But the Miami offense might prove to be too much in the end.

Prediction: Miami 31, N.C. State 17.

Last Week's Notable Results
  • #1 Georgia 43, Florida 20. Not much of a game after all.
  • #3 Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 10. Another slog for OSU, mostly because of 3 turnovers.
  • #5 Washington 42, Stanford 33. Another surprise struggle for Washington against a weak team.
  • Kansas 38, #6 Oklahoma 33. A huge upset. It turns out Kansas might be legit.
  • #8 Oregon 35, #13 Utah 6. Utah... not so much.
  • Arizona 37, #11 Oregon State 24. Arizona is on fire lately.
  • #14 Notre Dame 58, Pitt 7. Notre Dame is back on track.
  • Georgia Tech 46, #17 UNC 42. What is happening to UNC?
  • #18 Louisville 23, #20 Duke 0. Louisville is hot; Duke is falling apart.
  • #23 UCLA 28, Colorado 16. The hype continues to fall away from Colorado.
  • #24 USC 50, Cal 49. Cal was a missed two-point conversion away from the upset. USC is still bad at defense; their title hopes are all but gone.
  • Minnesota 27, Michigan State 12. MSU might have just given up on the season.
  • Northwestern 33, Maryland 27. Maybe Maryland isn't that good? Or is Northwestern doing better under their interim coach?
Next Week's Big Ten Games
  • Ohio State at Rutgers, 12:00 PM CBS
  • Wisconsin at Indiana, 12:00 PM BTN
  • Nebraska at Michigan State, 12:00 PM FS1
  • #9 Penn State at Maryland, 3:30 PM Fox
  • Illinois at Minnesota, 3:30 PM BTN
  • Iowa at Northwestern, 3:30 PM Peacock
  • Purdue at #2 Michigan, 7:30 PM NBC
Other Games to Watch
  • #25 Kansas State at #7 Texas, 12:00 PM Fox
  • #12 Notre Dame at Clemson, 12:00 PM ABC
  • #14 Missouri at #1 Georgia, 3:30 PM CBS
  • #10 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 3:30 PM ABC
  • Cal at #6 Oregon, 5:30 PM Pac12
  • #5 Washington at #24 USC, 7:30 PM ABC
  • #13 LSU at #8 Alabama, 7:45 PM CBS
  • #16 Oregon State at Colorado, 10:00 PM ESPN
  • #20 UCLA at Arizona, 10:30 PM FS1
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Posted by Ken in: sports


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