On paper, Vanderbilt was in prime position to be able to stop Paul Johnson's option offense. They feature speed at linebacker and size at corner, two essential components when attempting to shut down a system that has been so consistently enigmatic for defensive coordinators as Johnson's has been. The best way to counteract that type of advantage, as basic as it seems, is with excellent blocking, just like we saw on Saturday from Mikell Lands-Davis and the rest of Tech's wideouts versus a talented Commodore secondary. Nowhere was Lands-Davis' physicality showcased more impressively than on the 15-yard touchdown by Dedrick Mills, when Mikell laid out Vandy linebacker Zach Cunningham on a quite literally explosive block. That's just one of the many advantages that come along with playing a guy who was recruited as a B-Back at wide receiver; you get the best of both worlds with physicality and the potential for offensive productivity.
Clemson's offensive production, which was just short of stagnant through the first two games of the season, took a massive step forward last week at an unquestionably inopportune time for the Jackets. Of course, it's important to remember that the Tigers' 59-point outpouring came against a South Carolina State team that gave up a touchdown on a kickoff by catching the ball in the end zone and promptly throwing it to a referee without taking a knee. The State player noticed his error, but not until Clemson was able to take a 21-0 lead with a shade over 5:00 left in the first quarter. Nevertheless, Deshaun Watson threw for three touchdowns and Wayne Gallman ran for another. That can't happen on Thursday, or we'll be looking at loss number one in an ugly fashion. Tech's ability to contain those two -- Watson and Gallman -- will decide the game.
If you weren't able to catch Tech's 500 yards of offense in last weekend's win over Vanderbilt, GTBob has you covered with the full game now on YouTube. If you want to show your high school offense-preaching friends that the 2016 team resembles the 2014 squad more than the 2015 one, that's the game for you.
The aforementioned Mikell Lands-Davis block can be seen at 24:30 in the video, just for your research purposes.
Meanwhile in the Big 12, a number of key losses by conference poster boys have put the entire conglomerate on life support as far as college football playoff hopes are concerned. Oklahoma, a preseason top-four team, has now lost twice in three games. Its rival in Stillwater lost to Central Michigan. Texas lost to a wildly inconsistent Cal team from the Pac 12. Baylor has looked good against Northwestern State, SMU, and Rice, but the fact that those are the only teams they've played is not exactly a benefit for the school. This could be a rough one for the folks in the Southwest.
Have a great Tuesday!