Skip to main content

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel should be better vs. LSU this time

There are several must-see games on this week's college-football schedule. UCLA and Arizona State will clash in a key Pac-12 South division battle, and the Oklahoma State-Baylor game has high stakes in the Big 12 Conference race. There's another outstanding matchup in Baton Rouge, La., as Texas A&M comes to town to take on the LSU Tigers. Also, Oregon and Arizona will square off in what figures to be a high-scoring affair. I've identified five key players to watch in these intriguing games. The headliner is a name everyone will recognize, but the last player on the list is a relative unknown:

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel vs. LSU

Last season, Manziel struggled against LSU's NFL-prospect-laden defense. He failed to throw a touchdown and was picked off three times in the Tigers' 24-19 victory. I expect Manziel to play much better in the rematch on Saturday. He's leading the nation in completion percentage (73 percent) and has accounted for 39 touchdowns (31 passing, 8 rushing). If he puts on a show against LSU's defense, it could put him in the driver's seat to take home his second Heisman Trophy.

Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey vs. Oregon

Carey led the nation in rushing last season, and he's enjoying another stellar campaign this fall. He's currently sixth in the FBS in rushing (1,353 yards), and he has 12 rushing touchdowns. He is the centerpiece of the Arizona offense and is likely to carry a heavy load this week when the Wildcats take on the Ducks. Stanford pulled off the upset against Oregon two weeks ago largely because of its dominant rushing attack. Carey will need to put up monster numbers in this contest in order for the Wildcats to hand the Ducks their second loss of the season.

Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert vs. Baylor

Gilbert had a phenomenal game last week, intercepting two passes and racking up nine tackles. He'll have a huge stage to display his cover skills this week, as the Cowboys battle the nation's premier offense. Baylor is averaging 61.2 points per game (best in the FBS) and 384.4 passing yards per game (third in the FBS). Gilbert has picked off six passes this season (tied for third in the FBS), and he will have plenty of chances to add to that total on Saturday.

LSU DT Anthony Johnson vs. Texas A&M

Johnson is one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the country. His numbers don't jump off the stat sheet (three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss), but he's a disruptive force against both the run and pass. He has the first-step quickness to split double teams and the lower-body strength to hold the point of attack. Texas A&M has two outstanding offensive tackles, but Johnson will be a handful for its interior offensive linemen.

Arizona State WR Jalen Strong vs. UCLA

Strong has ideal size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) and excellent ball skills. He has been productive throughout his sophomore campaign and he's coming off a huge game against Oregon State. He caught seven passes for 107 yards last week, and I'm expecting another big output from Strong against UCLA on Saturday night. His size, length and athleticism will be a matchup problem in the red zone.

Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content