Thursday, September 27, 2007

Week 5 Spotlight

Last Week: After having the highlight reel that was Graham Harrell (640 yds, 5 TDs) and Michael Crabtree (230 yds, 3 TDs) of Texas Tech, the Stomach Staples dominated Week 4 winning (211-185). The win erased the entire overall deficit and has given the Stomach Staples a (707-700) lead overall, heading into Week 5.

Week 5 for Joe Pa's Stadium Cleaning Service:

QB - Dennis Dixon, Oregon -
The Ducks are the surprise team in the Pac-10, and that is in large part thanks to Dennis Dixon. Known for his running abilities, Dixon has shown his medal as a passer this season, throwing for 932 yards and 11 TDs in just 4 games. He will face his biggest test this evening, when the #6 Cal Bears come to Eugene. He will get every opportunity to shine against a mediocre defense, but will need to keep pace with Cal's high octane offense.

QB - Cullen Harper, Clemson - Another surprise at quarterback this season has been the play of Cullen Harper at Clemson. The running of James Davis and CJ Spiller will always give Clemson plenty of chances in the passing game, and it looks like Clemson finally has someone that can exploit it. Harper has thrown for 964 yards and 12 TDs in 4 games this season. He will need to continue that output this weekend against a Georgia Tech team that has been let down by their defense during their 0-2 ACC start.

RB - Steve Slaton, West Virginia - Last season, South Florida derailed the Mountaineers title hopes. This season, West Virginia is looking for redemption against #18 South Florida. Expect the Mountaineers to take care of business in the rematch, and do it by sticking to what they do best. That would be giving the Bulls a steady dose of Steve Slaton. Possibly the best back in the country, Slaton has run for 502 yards and 9 TDs in his first 4 games.

RB - Ray Rice, Rutgers - For those that don't think Steve Slaton is the best running back in the country, it's because they are in the Ray Rice camp. The Rutgers back has picked up right where he left off, running for 431 yards and 8 TDs in his first three games. Rutgers will face their first true test of the season in Maryland, but with the weakness of Maryland's offense, expect Rutgers to have the ball a lot, which means Ray Rice will wear down the Maryland defense.

WR - Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers - Teams have their hands full with Ray Rice when they face Rutgers. This allows Tiquan Underwood to get free at least once or twice a game. Maryland will focus and put a lot of men in the box to stop Rice, and it should allow Underwood to build on his 20 catches for 500 yards and 3 TDs that he has racked up in the first 3 games of the year.

WR - Lavelle Hawkins - While DeSean Jackson garners much of the attention for the Cal passing game, it has been Hawkins who has been the go-to guy in the Cal passing attack. The wide receiever has had 25 catches for 315 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first four games this season. Look for those numbers to continue to improve as Cal will be locked in a shootout with #11 Oregon this weekend.

Rutgers Offense - While Maryland has a solid defense, their offense has been unable to keep their defense off the field this season. This will prove to be a problem when they face Rutgers high powered attack. Rutgers averages 525 yards a game and 46 points, featuring a balanced attack that strikes with the deep pass after establishing Ray Rice on the ground.

Penn State Defense - The Nittany Lion defense learned a valuable lesson this weekend against Michigan. They can't afford to give up any points if they expect to win. The defense held Michigan to 14 points (7 of which was due to Morelli dropping the ball on his own 10), despite being on the field most of the second half. Penn State's defense will shut down the Illinois ground game, and with it Illinois' offense.

Week 5 Picks
(home team in bold)

#5 West Virginia (4-0) over #18 South Florida (3-0)
#6 California (4-0) over #11 Oregon (4-0)
#9 Wisconsin (4-0) over Michigan State (4-0)
Georgia Tech (2-2) over #13 Clemson (4-0)
#21 Penn State (3-1) over Illinois (3-1)
Florida State (2-1) over #22 Alabama (3-1)
#10 Rutgers (4-0) over Maryland (2-2)
#7 Texas (4-0) over Kansas State (2-1)
UCLA (3-1) over Oregon State (2-2)
Virginia (3-1) over Pittsburgh (2-2)

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