Three-Point Stance: Saturday Shine and Shame, Justin Fields
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with Saturday Shine and Saturday Shame from the weekend, as well as a look at Georgia quarterback Justin Fields.
1. SATURDAY SHINE
Here's a look at the teams, units and players that should feel good following their performance in Week 12.
Washington State – The Cougars just keep rolling along, hoping to somehow climb into the playoff. It’s unlikely to happen but this is a really good one-loss football team.
Maryland – The Terps took it to Ohio State and hung in all game long despite the talent gap. They should have won the game but still get recognized for the effort.
UCF – The Knights just keep on winning and don’t seem to have many close games at all. I don’t think they should be in the playoff conversation, but this is a really good team.
Utah – Quietly, Utah is putting together a very nice season. The Utes continue to string together wins despite having to overcome many injuries.
Pitt – Congrats to the ACC Coastal champs who showed they can throw the ball as well against Wake Forest. After the start they had to the season, the Panthers showed a lot of heart to come back and have a great season.
Georgia Tech – The Jackets have quietly put together a nice season after a rough start. Paul Johnson is a heckuva coach.
Miami – The ‘Canes needed this win in a big way and dominated Virginia Tech in what was viewed in the preseason to be a battle for the division. N’Kosi Perry looked like the quarterback we have expected.
Nebraska – It wasn’t pretty but look at the Huskers now compared to a month ago. This is a team that is improving quite a bit week to week.
2. SATURDAY SHAME
Here's a look at the teams, units and players that should be feeling some heat following their performance in Week 12.
Ohio State's defense – The Buckeyes, especially in the secondary, look abysmal on defense and have all season long. But giving up 51 points to Maryland was perhaps their worst performance on that side of the ball.
West Virginia – This was a must-win game to keep playoff hopes alive and the Mountaineers blew it. The defense, which has been solid all year, fell apart.
Kentucky – I haven’t been impressed since before the Georgia game and it seems like the Wildcats are taking more steps backward than forward. Yes, they won, but an 11-point win over Middle Tennessee isn’t exactly impressive.
Boston College – The Eagles had this game against Florida State won and blew it. They were the more physical team and played better for large parts of the game but still fell short.
Arkansas – The Hawgs did something no one else could do – make the Mississippi State offense look potent.
Virginia Tech – What happened to the Hokies? They were dominated in the second half against Miami and couldn’t do anything.
USC – What the heck is happening? USC has a losing record and got beaten easily by a pretty bad UCLA team.
3. IMPRESSIVE SHOWING BY JUSTIN FIELDS
Okay, okay it was only against UMass but how about Justin Fields? Overshadowed by Trevor Lawrence from Clemson all year and being used mainly as a runner in spot duty, we finally got to see what he could do as a dual-threat quarterback on Saturday. And the results should scare the rest of the SEC.
Fields, who has apparently been amazing in practice and showing his skills all along, entered the game with 341 passing yards on the season and four touchdowns while rushing for 250 yards and four more scores on the ground. On Saturday, he was 5-for-8 for 121 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 100 yards on seven carries and another score.
This only makes the question on everyone’s mind loom larger: Who will be the starter next season, junior Jake Fromm or the sophomore Fields? Many have speculated that if Fields doesn’t win the job next season he will transfer as many other quarterbacks around the nation have done. Fromm has been very impressive as the starter since he was a freshman and led Georgia to the national title game last season so he’s clearly no slouch.
It’s a great problem for head coach Kirby Smart to have and now that we’ve seen a little more of what Fields can do, this will be an interesting storyline to follow.