Friday, October 15, 2010
Mailbag: DeRuyter's D and Gameday
By ESPN.com staff
Good stuff this week, everybody. Enjoy the games. I'll be here all day tomorrow, starting with Texas A&M and Missouri.
James in Omaha, Neb., asks: Taylor Martinez vs. Texas, Over/Under: 125 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs?
David Ubben: I'll take the over on the yardage. Push on the touchdowns.
Nick in Columbia, Mo., asks: If my Mizzou Tigers and those Oklahoma Sooners win this weekend, what are the chances that College GameDay comes to Columbia Oct. 23rd?
DU: I wouldn't bet on it, but if I were you, I'd be cheering on Texas Tech and Texas to knock off Oklahoma State and Nebraska, who might both be undefeated when they meet up in Stillwater next week. The same goes for Arkansas, who can knock off Auburn on Saturday to keep both the Tigers and LSU from being undefeated and in the Top 10 when they play next week.
MarkJ in Columbia, Mo., asks: What will be a bigger factor in the MU-A&M game, Tim DeRuyter's blitzing 3-4 D or the crowd noise at Kyle Field?
DU: They'll definitely both have an impact, but it's definitely Tim DeRuyter's D. These teams ranked dead last in the Big 12 pass defense last year, but find themselves as one of five teams holding opponents under a 60 percent completion rate and limiting the big plays. Missouri gave up 20 touchdowns through the air last year. This year? Three in five games. Texas A&M has given up just seven after allowing 22 last year, and that includes games against Brandon Weeden and Ryan Mallett, two of the most prolific passers in college football this year. The Aggies have kept the pressure on the quarterback they got so much last year, but they gave up plenty of big plays over the top because of that pressure. They're getting fewer sacks this year (eight in five games vs. 35 in 13 last year), but in the two games I've seen them play, the pressure has been there for most of it. The second half against Oklahoma State is a notable exception, but they had Mallett pretty flustered last week. If they did that to him, you'd have to like their chances of doing the same to Blaine Gabbert on Saturday.
Against Oklahoma State, Texas A&M made a fantastic (and successful) effort in the first half to shut down the bubble-screen game that Missouri has used so much early this season. But once Hunter got going on the ground for Oklahoma State, it opened things up downfield for Weeden to start hitting Justin Blackmon and others, which then reopened the screen game.
Missouri doesn't have the running backs or receivers Texas A&M and Arkansas have, but its offensive line is definitely better than both. I'm a little on the fence about Missouri's ability to run the ball against the Aggies, but no doubt, if they succeed, it's going to relieve a lot of that pressure in the pocket on Gabbert, who is going to have to connect on some balls downfield to win in College Station.
Kenny in Elkhorn, Neb., asks: So far, you lead all the bloggers in win percentage for the weekly predictions. What does the winning blogger receive/should receive at the end of the regular season? I'd say a ticket to Glendale and a Taylor Martinez jersey sounds pretty good.
DU: Well, that number is probably inflated because 12-team leagues have a few more gimme games early in the season, but I'll take it. The prize is up for debate, but as long as my game-used jersey is sold to me by the university, we shouldn't have a problem.
Mack Brown in Texas asks: David, do you think Harry Potter is available to put a hex on that Martinez kid Saturday? I heard he uses magic?
DU: You do know Harry Potter isn't a real person, right? Call Merlin, maybe. Or David Blaine. I'll see if Criss Angel can catch a flight to Lincoln.
Jerrod Johnson in College Station, Texas, writes: Sorry - I meant to throw this e-mail to someone else.
DU: No problem, just don't do it again. This one could have ended up in worse places.
Matt in Bancroft, Neb., asked: I know Kansas isn't that great but after a 59-7 whooping K-State put on the Jayhawks, K-State can't be too bad. And after the pounding they got from Nebraska, how legit is Nebraska?
DU: It's a good question, and for as ugly as that blowout looked, you have to wonder what Texas' coaches and players thought about it, considering what Kansas State looked like last week.