|Bill Wippert/Associated Press|
|Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack strengthened his draft stock in the season opener against Ohio State.|
If there were any college football fans that didn't know about Buffalo senior linebacker Khalil Mack before Saturday's game against Ohio State, they sure know about him now.
While the Buckeyes blasted Mack's Bulls 40-20, Mack might have been the best player on the field in Columbus, Ohio. It was not that much of a surprise -- heading into the season, there was talk of NFL teams eyeing him as a potential 2014 first-round pick. He led Buffalo on Saturday with 9.5 tackles and made 2.5 sacks and an interception, which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Buffalo finished with four sacks and nine tackles for loss against a Buckeyes team that was returning four starting offensive linemen.
NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah Tweeted during the game about the reaction he was seeing from NFL evaluators.
My phone is blowing up with texts from personnel guys that are impressed with Khalil Mack. He's a stud!â Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) August 31, 2013
Mack (6 feet 3, 251 pounds) now has 58.5 tackles for loss in his career; he is 16.5 shy of setting the NCAA career record for tackles for loss.
Mack will get a chance to show off against another major opponent next Saturday at Baylor. In eight career games against "Big Six" conference competition, Mack now has 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
In March, while weighing in at 245 pounds, Mack was clocked at 4.65 seconds in the 40 by NFL scouts.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.