Week 3 College Football Preview

Week 3 of College Football is finally here! Hussam Patel gives his top three week 3 college football preview and games that you need to watch.

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Week 3 of the 2022 college football season is finally here. Here are the top three college football previews and games from week 3 that you need to watch.

Penn St. vs. Auburn preview

#22 Penn State Nittany Lions v Auburn Tigers. 3:30 P.M. EST, CBS

  • Line: Auburn -3, o/u: 46

Penn State week 3 college football preview

Sean Clifford is the most important player on Penn State’s roster, and the team’s success will heavily rely on what he does leading the offense. Clifford does have some help, though, as last week saw the arrival of one of the top players for the future, freshman running back Nick Singleton.

There were problems against Aidan O’Connell and the Purdue passing game, but the secondary held its own. Between that game and the Ohio win, Penn State has allowed just 48% of all passes to be completed.

Penn State’s offensive line is still looking to show some solid improvement. Through two games, this group has given up a big play to the opposing defense just when you think things are improving.

The Nittany Lions have an advantage at quarterback and feature multiple wide receivers to spread the ball around against the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn week 3 college football preview

For all of the problems the Tigers had least season, run defense wasn’t one of them. They held Penn State to 90 yards and just 2.7 yards per carry in the 28-20 game last year.

TJ Finley has thrown three more interceptions than touchdowns this season, and he will be going up against a solid defensive secondary led by cornerback Joey Porter Jr.

Running back Tank Bigsby should be a featured player, just as he was last year in this game when he ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He should get his work in this week. It’s a small sample size, but Penn State has surrendered 161 total rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground in its first two games.

Clifford and Singleton may have a tough time establishing much rhythm against Derick Hall and the Auburn defense. Can TJ Finley rise up and get the O moving? 

Miami vs. Texas A&M preview

#13 Miami Hurricanes v #24 Texas A&M Aggies. 9 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Texas A&M -5, o/u: 45

Miami week 3 college football preview

Miami’s defense isn’t quite there yet, but it showed off the offensive talent in layups against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss, with 100 points and well over 1,000 yards in the two games.

So far, the early returns on Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke are as advertised. Working in new OC Josh Gattis’ system, Van Dyke has hit on 73% of his passes, connected with 12 receivers, and heads an offense that averages 9.0 yards per play, can spread things out, and works well in space.

Miami’s defense struggled last year (28.4 points a game allowed) and had issues with tackling and inconsistent play at linebacker. They still struggled early against Southern Miss and Bethune-Cookman.

The Hurricanes’ back seven is untested so far in two games, and had its weaknesses a year ago. They haven’t faced anything like Ainias Smith or Evan Stewart yet, either.

Texas A&M week 3 college football preview

For all of the team’s problems, the offensive line has been good in pass protection so far, the secondary hasn’t allowed much of anything, and there’s too much talent overall to be this mediocre.

The Aggies need to control the tempo and establish the run behind Devon Achane. Miami is 8th nationally allowing 58.5 yards per game on the ground, but hasn’t faced a back of Achane’s quality yet.

LSU transfer Max Johnson gets the start this game. Playing mistake-free ball and getting the ball in space to receivers Ainias Smith, Evan Stewart, Chris Marshall, and Yulkeith Brown has to be the priority.

The Aggies had aspirations of contending for a playoff spot, but now face major questions before the SEC opener.

BYU vs. Oregon preview

#12 BYU Cougars at #25 Oregon Ducks. 7:30 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Line: Oregon -3.5, o/u: 58

BYU week 3 college football preview

Jaren Hall finds ways to guide BYU to victories when facing Power 5 opponents. Hall improved to 7-1 all-time as a starter against P5 foes following last week’s win over Baylor.

The Cougars are legitimately punishing on defense and still relatively healthy on that side of the ball. Offensively, BYU doesn’t usually do anything to beat itself. 

BYU will need more production from the backfield this week to have success against Oregon in their week 3 matchup.

Oregon Ducks week 3 college football preview

A matchup with a talented and physical BYU team will be a good indicator of where Dan Lanning can take his team in year one

Containing Jaren Hall and keeping him from escaping the pocket will be a big task for a defensive front that hasn’t consistently collapsed the pocket.

Oregon was unstoppable in the run game last week after struggling to move the chains against Georgia. The Ducks collectively averaged 5.5 yards per carry while totaling 263 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

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Malik Willis 2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report

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Background

Malik Willis (#7, 6’1″, 225) is a quarterback from Liberty University and a prospect in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Willis is originally from Atlanta, GA, and led his high school to the state title game, earning Offensive Player of the Year and 1st-team all-state as a senior. He earned a three-star distinction as a recruit with offers from mostly Group of Five and FCS programs, and a few ACC programs sprinkled in.

He initially committed to Virginia Tech, but he flipped to Auburn when they offered him a scholarship. Willis played in 15 games during his first two years with the Tigers in 2017 and 2018. He was primarily used as a gadget player and in mop-up duty. In 2018, he lost the quarterback competition to Bo Nix and transferred after the season. 

After transferring to Liberty, Willis redshirted in 2019 as he sat out due to transfer rules. In 2020, he started all but one game, leading Liberty to a 10-1 record, with their only loss coming on the road at NC State 15-14.

He led all FBS quarterbacks in rushing yards (944) and rushing TDs (14). In 2021, the team regressed and finished 8-5, but they capped off their season with a dominating performance in their bowl game. As a redshirt senior, Willis had the opportunity to play for another season due to the COVID year. Instead, he elected to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft and earned an invite to the Senior Bowl. 

Statistics

Career Stats: 38 GP, 23 GS, 618 attempts, 388 completions (62.8%, 71.7 Adjusted), 5176 passing yards, 48 TDs, 18 INTs, 103.4 NFL passer rating; 366 rushing attempts, 2131 rushing yards (5.8 YPC), 29 rushing TDs, 20 fumbles. 

2021 Stats: 13 GP, 13 GS, 339 attempts, 208 completions (61.4%, 70.1 Adjusted), 2858 yards, 27 TDs, 12 INTs, 100.1 NFL passer rating; 197 rushing attempts, 878 yards (4.5 YPC), 13 TDs, 3 fumbles. 

2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 91.8 Offense (t-4th), 78.4 Passing (49th), 94.5 Rushing (1st).

Malik Willis Scouting Report

Strengths
  • Compact, thick build with defined muscle on entire body. Can withstand hits in the pocket and when running the ball. 
  • Elite arm strength and talent, both velocity and distance. Can push the ball 50+ yards with ease and fit throws into tight windows. 
  • Solid accuracy, especially when in rhythm with clean pocket and sound mechanics. Arm strength allows him to make special throws that can hit receivers perfectly. 
  • Good pocket awareness and management, using athletic ability to buy time in the pocket and scramble out when necessary. 
  • When he’s hot, has special play-making ability; can make unique, off-platform throws out of structure. 
  • Good athletic ability allows him to be a weapon in the running game. Frequently makes defenders miss in the pocket and in the open field. Has speed and explosiveness to create big gains as a runner. 
  • Good competitive toughness, using physicality and strength to grind out extra yards in the run game; plays through injuries and comes back after tough hits. 
Weaknesses
  • Below average processing/field vision. Frequently waits for targets to come open before throwing the ball, allowing DBs to recover and make plays on the ball. Needs to improve speed progressing through reads and trigger to throw the ball. 
  • Inconsistent decision-making, frequently scrambling backward to buy time and taking big losses on sacks. Ignores check-downs sometimes and tries to fit in risky throws or scramble. Cut down on TWPs in 2021 but still struggles with interceptions. 
  • Accuracy lacks consistency: frequently misses high on quick slants; intermediate throws lack proper timing, limiting YAC and risking receiver’s health. 
  • Subpar level of competition and yet still plays a little slow (mentally); relies on his athleticism too much, which could get him into trouble at next level. Does not have elite athletic/running ability; NFL defenders will not flounder like G5 defenders. 
  • Very inconsistent as a passer: games are extremely feast or famine, turnovers seemingly compounding themselves. 

Summary

Malik Willis possesses remarkable and unique physical talents. He can be a dynamic playmaker, using his elite arm talent and excellent running ability. However, Willis struggles to make accurate throws consistently. He also struggles to read the field, anticipate receivers coming open, and make timely throws.

Furthermore, his play was relatively inconsistent against a lower level of competition; for the most part, when he played superior opponents, he struggled. In short, Willis is not ready to be an NFL starter in his rookie season. But given his physical gifts, in the right situation and with a year of development, he could become a high-level, perennial-Pro Bowl starting quarterback. 

Grade: 7.5 / 10

Comparison: Jalen Hurts (2020 R2 #58, Philadelphia Eagles)