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. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota: Mariota put together another outstanding performance, leading Oregon to a commanding 45-24 win over Washington. He completed 24 of 31 passes for 366 yards and three scores. He also rushed for 88 yards and a score. I loved Mariota's size/speed combination when I studied him over the summer, but I had reservations about his touch and accuracy as a passer. He looked much improved against the Huskies on Saturday.
2. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel: Manziel hasn't played in a high-profile game since that epic battle against the University of Alabama. However, he has continued to play at an elite level, and he had another impressive outing against Ole Miss on Saturday night. Manziel threw for 346 yards and also compiled 124 rushing yards. He didn't throw any touchdown passes, but he did rush for two scores. He also led two impressive late-game drives to pull off the come-from-behind victory, 41-38. His combination of athleticism and creativity allow him to extend plays better than any other quarterback I've ever evaluated.
3. Clemson WR Sammy Watkins: Watkins is one of the most electric offensive weapons in the country. He quietly posted another impressive stat line against Boston College, topping the 100-yard mark (101 yards) and producing a touchdown grab for the fourth time in Clemson's six contests. His touchdown catch was vintage Watkins: He blew right by the BC cornerback, tracked the ball over his shoulder and outraced the safety to the endzone. His big-play ability is his calling card, but he's also improved as a route-runner this fall.
4. Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks: Cooks is one of the most underappreciated players in the nation. He puts up solid if not spectacular numbers every single week. In a blowout win (52-24) over Washington State, Cooks hauled in 11 balls for 137 yards and two scores. He leads the nation in receiving yards (944) and touchdown receptions (11). Cooks has elite speed, and he's very instinctive with the ball in his hands. He has produced at least two touchdown receptions in five of the Beavers' six contests.
5. Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat: Texas pulled off the shocker of the weekend, upsetting Oklahoma, 36-20. Longhorns quarterback Chase McCoy played one of the best games of his career, but the story of this game was the play of the Texas defense. The Longhorns' front seven dominated the Oklahoma offensive line. Jeffcoat harassed Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell throughout the game, collecting two sacks. He doesn't have elite quickness or power, but he is a technician with his hands. He is viewed as a mid-round prospect by NFL scouts, but that could change if he keeps playing like he did against the Sooners.
Things we learned
From Johnny Manziel's heroics in a thriller at Ole Miss to Marcus Mariota's dismantling of Washington, here are 37 things we learned from college football's seventh weekend. More ...
1. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan: Stanford suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, falling to the Utah Utes, 27-21. Hogan produced solid numbers, completing 15 of 27 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown. However, with Utah selling out to stop the Stanford rushing attack, Hogan needed to make more plays down the field for the Cardinal to remain undefeated. Hogan has excellent toughness, and he's won a lot of big games early in his career, but he needs to develop into a more accurate passer.
2. Missouri QB James Franklin (injury): Franklin played outstanding against Georgia before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He threw for a score and rushed for a score before he injured his shoulder and was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter. Franklin hasn't received much national attention, but he is an accurate passer with outstanding mobility. I was very impressed with his decision-making and poise. This is a huge blow to the Tigers' squad.
3. Oklahoma QB Blake Bell: Bell struggled mightily against the Longhorns on Saturday afternoon. The junior signal-caller only completed 12 of 26 passes and he tossed two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score. He had a tough time maneuvering around the pocket pressure the Texas front created. He has seen his passing yardage total drop each of the last three weeks.
4. Northwestern offense: The Northwestern offense failed to produce a touchdown in a 35-6 defeat at the hands of Wisconsin. They totaled only 241 yards and were an anemic 2 for 17 on third down. The Northwestern offense only possessed the ball for 21 minutes and 45 seconds. After a strong 4-0 start to the season, the Wildcats have now dropped back-to-back games inside the conference.
5. Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief: Moncrief entered the season as one of the highest-rated senior wide receivers in the nation. Unfortunately, he has been wildly inconsistent this fall. Coming off his best performance of the season against Auburn (6 catches for 122 yards), Moncrief only registered one catch for three yards against Texas A&M on Saturday night. He has only topped the 100-yard mark one time this season, and he's been held under 75 yards in five of the Rebels' six contests.