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College Football 2019: Week6 Preview
Friday, 2019 October 4 - 2:19 pm
Michigan glides by Rutgers, who is bad at football and should feel bad. N.C. State loses to FSU. Penn State stomps Maryland.

Michigan 52, Rutgers 0

Let's not read too much into this game. Rutgers is extremely bad at football; so bad that they fired their coach in the aftermath of the game.

But it was still nice to see Michigan not fumble away their first possession, and actually throw balls to open receivers. This seemed like a season reset, the cupcake opener Michigan should have had.

Shea Patterson had loads of time in the pocket, and was able to take advantage. I don't know how that will hold up against better teams; Patterson has a penchant for bugging out of the pocket early. One nice development to keep an eye on, though, is the number of playcalls that involved rolling him out; he's good at throwing on the run, and limiting his reads to half a field might help him.

He still didn't run the ball much, and I still don't know if that was by design or whether he's still bothered by his injury. The running attack wasn't all that sophisticated. Maybe the Michigan coaches are still saving some surprises for tougher opponents.

We saw a lot of Hassan Haskins at RB, who ran hard and looked like a reasonable option at tailback. We also saw Ronnie Bell as the most targeted receiver, and he seems to have eliminated most of the dropsies from the start of the season; now he routinely makes circus catches and has become an important possession receiver.

So: encouraging, but the jury remains out.

Next week: Michigan vs. Iowa, Noon on Fox

It gets much tougher. Iowa is a senior-laden team and they're playing the same brand of football they've been playing for twenty years. They know their system and their strengths. They're like a mini-Wisconsin in that respect, and that's worrisome.

They're not a full Wisconsin in that they don't have the same talent on offense; they have an experienced, if not terribly accurate, quarterback in Nate Stanley and a handful of talented receivers, but the offensive line and running back positions might be weak spots. If Michigan can get enough minutes out of Michael Dwumfour at DT, we can probably expect that Iowa won't score 28 points in a half the way Wisconsin did.

It'll still be a nail-biter. Michigan might benefit slightly from being at home; that might end up being the difference.

Prediction: Michigan 20, Iowa 19.

N.C. State 13, Florida State 31

Matthew McKay got the hook after a couple of unsuccessful drives here, and now State has a quarterback controversy. And it's not the good kind, where the team is trying to choose from two excellent options. It's the kind where State is trying to figure out if anyone can actually lead the offense against a quality defense. The answer might come in freshman Devin Leary, who came in late after backup Bailey Hockman was injured. Leary looked crisp in his brief time on the field, completing four of five passes for 54 yards.

State continues to struggle with pass defense; FSU (and former Wisconsin) QB Alex Hornibrook exploded for 316 yards and three touchdowns. But really, a lot of that falls on the offense. Two fumbles and a 4-of-16 third down conversion rate led to a lot of opportunities for the FSU offense to score.

Next week: Bye. State gets some time to think about how to fix their offensive issues.

Penn State 59, Maryland 0

Maybe Maryland coach Mike Locksley isn't quite the savant everyone made him out to be after early wins over Howard and Syracuse. Maryland was utterly outmatched in this game. Sean Clifford threw for just under 400 yards. Was the Maryland pass defense terrible, or is Clifford brilliant? Much like the Michigan win over Rutgers, this game might not really tell us all that much.

But with Penn State's offense seeming coming together, this suddenly looks like a very formidable team; they look every bit like a top-ten squad that's capable of challenging Ohio State for the conference title.

Next week: Penn State vs. Purdue, Noon ESPN

Purdue is also not very good. They lost to Nevada, a team that just lost 54-3 to Hawaii. Purdue's starting QB Elijah Sindelar will be out for most of the season with a broken collarbone, and top receiver Rondale Moore is also injured. The Penn State defense has to be licking its chops over this matchup.

Prediction: Penn State 55, Purdue 0.

Last Week's Big Surprises

Clemson almost lost to UNC. UNC scored a touchdown to make it 21-20 and decided to try to win the game with a two-point conversion. It failed, and Clemson survived what would have been a monstrous upset.

Games to Watch on TV

Michigan and Penn State both play at noon, on Fox and ESPN, respectively.

At 3:30 PM, #7 Auburn plays #10 Florida on CBS. #11 Texas plays WVU on ABC.

At 7:30 PM, your Game of the Week is #25 Michigan State at #4 Ohio State, where we'll see for the first time what OSU's offense can do against a real defense. The best part of this game: someone has to lose.

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