|USA TODAY Sports|
|UCLA freshman Myles Jack had a huge game Saturday, while LSU FB J.C. Copeland missed a big opportunity.|
Each Monday during the college football season, NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah identifies five things that are chugging along smoothly and five things that are off the rails.
1. Stanford defense
Before Thursday night's matchup, Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas predicted the Ducks' offense would put up at least 40 points on the Cardinal defense. The Stanford defense wasn't quite as accommodating as Thomas expected, holding the Oregon offense to 14 points (the other Oregon TD came via special teams). Stanford's front seven dominated the line of scrimmage, limiting Oregon's potent rushing attack to 62 rushing yards. The pass rush was also outstanding, harassing Marcus Mariota throughout the game and forcing him to fumble the ball on two occasions.
2. UCLA LB/RB Myles Jack
Jack is only a freshman, but he has been easy to notice while watching UCLA games this fall. He is an explosive linebacker with range, instincts and toughness. He had another outstanding defensive performance Saturday night, racking up eight tackles and recovering a fumble. However, his most impressive work was done on the other side of the ball. Because of injuries in the backfield, UCLA gave Jack some work at running back, and all he did was pile up 120 yards on six carries. His 66-yard score was a thing of beauty. He exploded to the perimeter, threw a stiff arm on one defender and out-raced the rest of the Arizona secondary. The Bruins would be crazy not to get him more involved on offense the rest of the season.
3. Alabama QB AJ McCarron
Once again, McCarron delivered a sound, mistake-free performance to lead Alabama to a 38-17 victory over LSU. He didn't put up a lot of yards (179), but he tossed three touchdowns and avoided throwing an interception for the fifth straight game. He doesn't have a huge arm, but he makes up for it with excellent timing, touch and decision-making. Scouts around the NFL are split on McCarron, but he has compiled a very impressive college résumé.
4. Baylor QB Bryce Petty
Baylor silenced some of its critics on Thursday night, pasting Oklahoma 41-12. Petty had already generated some buzz in NFL circles before his five-touchdown performance (three passing, two rushing) against the Sooners. That buzz is going to continue to grow louder if he keeps playing this well down the stretch. He has excellent size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), solid arm strength, and he's been very careful with the football (only one interception this season).
5. Missouri WR Dorial Green-Beckham
On Saturday night, Green-Beckham put on a red-zone pass-catching clinic. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound sophomore hauled in four touchdowns in the Tigers' 48-17 win over Kentucky. Three of his four scores covered less than 10 yards, and the fourth was from just outside the red zone (22 yards). His size, leaping ability and ball skills make him a matchup nightmare for opposing cornerbacks. He still needs to refine his route-running skills when he's outside of the red zone, but NFL teams are going to fall in love with him when he's eventually draft eligible.
1. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
Mariota's numbers weren't bad (20 of 34, 250 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs), but the Oregon signal-caller's play was below his normal standard against Stanford on Thursday night. He underthrew a wide-open deep ball early in the game, and he also missed a couple of underneath throws. He also held the ball too long at times, resulting in three sacks and two fumbles. He was a non-factor as a runner (minus-16 rushing yards), but that could be explained by a nagging knee-injury.
2. Wake Forest offense
I didn't expect Wake Forest to pull off an upset against Florida State, but I did expect the Deacons to put up a better fight than we witnessed Saturday. The offense was particularly putrid. It produced 166 total yards and three points (Florida State won 59-3). They had as many turnovers (seven) as they did completions (7 of 25 passing). Their passing game produced 63 yards. Florida State's defense is loaded, but the Seminoles weren't even challenged by this offense.
3. Utah QB Travis Wilson
The Utes came close to knocking off another top-25 team -- they handed Stanford their only loss -- but they melted down in the fourth quarter, falling to Arizona State 20-19. Utah held a 19-7 lead entering the fourth quarter, but they were outscored 13-0 for the remainder of the contest. Quarterback Travis Wilson had a chance to save the day, but he was intercepted on both of the Utes' final two drives. He finished the game with 121 passing yards, and he only completed 6 of his 21 pass attempts.
4. Michigan run game
Last week, the Michigan run game produced minus-44 rushing yards against Michigan State. Apparently, one week wasn't enough time for the Wolverines to solve their issues in this department. Nebraska held Michigan to minus-21 rushing yards Saturday. That's a two-week total of minus-65 rushing yards. Michigan didn't have a single run over seven yards.
5. LSU FB J.C. Copeland
Copeland is arguably the top fullback in the country. He has outstanding size, and he's a thumping lead blocker for Jeremy Hill. He doesn't get many carries (13 this season), but he was given a golden opportunity against Alabama on Saturday night. LSU moved the ball right down the field on their opening possession, setting up a 2nd-and-goal from the Alabama 3-yard line. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger handed the ball to Copeland, and he came within two feet of scoring before he had the ball poked out of his hand by linebacker Tana Patrick. Bama recovered the ball, and LSU didn't score on the possession. The final score was lopsided, but without this fumble, the game might've taken a different turn.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.