Week 6 looks to be the most significant of the season, thus far. There will be four games pitting ranked teams this weekend with six ranked teams playing on the road — all while the Big Ten and Pac 12 yet to take the field. There are big games all over the nation from the SEC to the Sun Belt.
Big games mean big players will surface this weekend. Here are the 15 players to watch this weekend.
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The Tar Heels’ offense has been a bit off to start the season but Carter has been doing his part. In just 23 carries over two games, Carter has rushed for 199 yards and caught 7 passes for 66 yards. He is averaging 8.8 yards per touch and, even though he has yet to score a touchdown, is the Heels’ more reliable runner. North Carolina has a huge game against Virginia Tech in a broadcast game on Saturday.
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This is Ehlinger’s shot. The senior has had a great career at Texas and this may be his best chance to win a Big 12 championship. He, and the Horns, need to play better than they have over the last two weeks if they want to reach that goal. The Red River Showdown awaits and Ehlinger has had a fantastic career against Oklahoma. In four games against the Sooners, Ehlinger has thrown for 1,151 yards and 5 TDs and has rushed for 215 yards and 8 TDs.
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Early Heisman dark horse Brock Purdy hasn’t looked the part so far this season but running back Breece Hall has done a great job trying to fill in the gaps. Hall has rushed for 396 yards and 6 touchdowns in three games and has become a workhorse in the Cyclones’ offense. Last week against Oklahoma, Hall carried the ball 28 times for 139 yards and two scores in the win. Despite their opening loss to Louisiana, Iowa State is tied atop the crazy Big 12 standings with Texas Tech up next.
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Most people will be aware of Travis Etienne and the two quarterbacks who will go at in Miami’s big showdown with Clemson on Saturday but Cam’Ron could be the key. Harris had a huge game in the Hurricanes’ previous big game — a win over Louisville — and has had two 100-yard rushing games this season after having just one during his first two years. He has five TDs already and is averaging 7.3 yards per touch this season.
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Louisville needs to turn around its season in a hurry as they head to Georgia Tech this Friday night. Running back Javian Hawkins has been a steadying force for the Cardinals, rushing for 313 yards and a touchdown in each of Louisville’s three games. The sophomore rushed for 1,500 yards last season and needs to be more of a focal part of the offense against a Yellow Jackets defense that has allowed over 170 rushing yards per game this year.
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Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech
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Herbert was great last week against Duke. The senior rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns against the Blue Devils and added another 150 kick return yards. He has rushed for 312 yards on just 26 carries this season (a 12 yards-per-carry average) and has relished his role after transferring from Kansas last season. Tech heads to Chapel Hill for a big game against North Carolina.
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Is Mac Jones a Heisman contender? Against Texas A&M last week, Jones threw for 435 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 52-24 win over the Aggies. Jones took over for Tua Tagovailoa last season and put up big numbers but also had a few untimely turnovers — namely against Auburn. Bama heads to Oxford to take on Mississippi and old friend Lane Kiffin. I’m sure Nick Saban will let Jones air it out a bit.
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There are two storylines involving Cade Mays this weekend. First, his addition to the Vols offensive line last week has fortified one of the nation’s best front units. Tennessee has an elite line of blockers that can neutralize the brutal defensive fronts in the SEC. You also have the transfer story since Mays was only deemed eligible last week after transferring from Tennessee from Georgia. See, Mays father (who played at Tennessee) sued the University of Georgia for severing his finger on a folding chair during a recruiting visit to the school in 2017. The lawsuit put some very hard feelings between the program and the Mays family that led to the transfer and an grueling fight to get Cade eligible to play this year. Oh, did I mention that Mays and Tennessee head to Georgia this week for a huge SEC East showdown?
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Yes, we have a huge game in the Sun Belt this week! Coastal Carolina head to Louisiana to face the No. 23-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns. Look for Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall, who has been outstanding this season. The freshman has thrown for 728 yards and 9 touchdowns during the Chanticleers’ 3-0 start.
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Mingo had a big game against Kentucky last week, catching eight passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. That output was hard to predict since he didn’t have a catch in the Rebels’ opening game loss to Florida and had only twelve catches all of last year. Lane Kiffin likes a passing offense and really likes what Mingo can do, which finally showed up against Kentucky. With a new confidence, expect Mingo to have more of an impact on the Ole Miss offense and against Alabama on Saturday.
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This can’t happen. Could the Oklahoma Sooners begin the Big 12 season with an 0-3 record? Yes. Rattler has put up the stats — completing 73% of his passes for 977 yards and 10 TDs — but he’s also had four costly interceptions, including one that ended Oklahoma’s hopes to beat Iowa State last week. Rattler must correct that going into the Red River Rivalry against Texas this week. While the game may not have all the trappings that is usually does due to the pandemic, it still involves two extremely desperate teams who need a win to save their seasons.
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Trask has his Gators as a serious contender to win a national title in 2020. The second year starter has played extremely well in Florida’s first two games, passing for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing nearly 72% of his passes. Kyle Trask heads to Kyle Field to take on a humbled Texas A&M team that was pounded by Alabama last week.
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Houston … we think … will finally begin its 2020 season after three false starts this year. The Cougars open up against Tulane, which is kind of fitting since their meeting last year is where 2019 changed. In the heartbreaking loss to Tulane, Houston’s D’Eriq King shut it down and would eventually transfer to Miami and allowed Tune to take over as quarterback. He struggled taking over (11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions) but now has taken ownership of the leader role of the team and is looking to show his command of the offense. The Cougars are itching to get going after having their entire September schedule postponed due to the pandemic.
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Williams had a light load in the Irish’s 52-0 win over South Florida (10 rushes, 62 yards) but did run for 112 yards and two touchdowns in their opener against Duke. Florida State — Notre Dame’s opponent this week — has given up 11 rushing touchdowns already this season and is giving up an ACC-worst 4.6 yds per carry.
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Okay, BYU hasn’t played the most difficult of schedules thus far but Wilson has been sparkling in the Cougars 3-0 start. He has completed 84.5% of his passes (including 24 of 26 last week against Louisiana Tech) for 949 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s also been solid running the football, with 5 rushing scores, a year after a inconsistent season dealing with a shoulder injury. BYU hosts UTSA in another opportunity for Wilson to shine.
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