College football is entering the midseason. Storylines are forming and teams are making their pushes for the postseason. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 7.
1. LSU’s Offense vs. Florida’s Defense
Joe Burrow has improved as much as any player in the country from last season to this year. His play has led LSU to an undefeated record this season and a big win over Texas. He has passed for 1,864 yards and 22 touchdowns while bringing new life to the Tigers. Now the Tigers, will play a Florida defense that stepped up big time against Auburn last week.
In their biggest game of the season, the Gators allowed just 13 points to Auburn. They had three interceptions and one fumble recovery, which really limited what the Tigers could do. Florida has allowed just 9.5 points per game and they rank 32nd in passing yards allowed per game this year. They have had to play well with the offense having to deal with quarterback injuries this season. Can the defense come up big in another big game?
2. A lot of Offense in the Red River Rivalry
Oklahoma and Texas will meet up in a huge matchup this weekend. It will be matchup that has College Football Playoff and Big 12 Championship implications. While defenses win championships in most conferences, the team that could stake their claim to the Big 12 early in the season might be whoever has the best offense.
Jalen Hurts has gotten off to a better start that Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray for the Sooners. He has passed for 1,523 yards and rushed for 499 more. The offense ranks second in points scored, fourth in rushing yards and fifth in passing yards. They are the clear frontrunners to win the shootout in the Cotton Bowl this weekend.
Texas has some offensive talent in their own right. Sam Ehlinger has led the offense to new heights this season with 1,448 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes. The Longhorns rank 17th in passing yards, and 13th in points per game at 41.8. They have had a fairly average running game so far this season, but if things go their way on Saturday, they Ehlinger could lead them to victory.
3. Is Penn State for Real?
Penn State has started off the year with a 5-0 record. That isn’t much of a surprise, as they haven’t played the toughest schedule to date. Their defense has been lights out, while new quarterback Sean Clifford has filled the shoes of Trace McSorley admirably. All of the new success will be put to the test this week against Iowa.
Night games in Iowa are a tough environment to go into. This will be Clifford’s first big test on the road. Iowa has allowed just 8.8 points per game and play tough football. They may have lost to Michigan this past week, but they will test Penn State this week. If the Nittany Lions can come out on top, they can prove they are legitimate.
4. Jonathan Taylor’s Heisman Campaign
One of the players leading the Heisman Trophy race this season is Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. He already has 745 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in the first five games of the season. Taylor has also totaled 12 catches for 114 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Running backs don’t often win the Heisman Trophy these days, but Taylor might be able to do it this year after the start he has had.
This week poses a stiff test for Taylor. The Wisconsin Badgers play a physical Michigan State defense who will make it tough for him to pick up yards. They rank fourth in the country in rush defense, allowing 55.8 yards per game. The Spartans are vulnerable though, as Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins just rushed for 172 yards against them. If Taylor can have a similar game, he’ll only help his Heisman stock.
5. Can Memphis Keep Their New Year’s Six Bowl Hopes Alive?
Memphis has done well over the past few seasons to be contenders in the AAC and this year is now different, as they sit at 5-0. They are ranked 23rd this week and could win the AAC and go to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game if they finish out the year strong. This week they play Temple, who could give them a run for their money in this game.
Temple is 4-1 this season with their only loss coming to Buffalo. They allow just 17.2 points per game and have a pretty average offense. The Owls have this game at home, which could make it a trickier game for Memphis. The Tigers’ offense will have to come up big time for them to win this game on the road.