If you think that individual matchups in a game do not make a difference, just take a look at the Alabama upset. In that game, the offensive line could not keep Greg McElroy's jersey clean as he was sacked seven times by a variety of players. Whether it was the left tackle not picking up the rushing defensive end or the tailback not chipping the blitzing corner, the culmination of lost battles led to the Crimson Tide ultimately losing the war.
In This Corner ... Kentucky WR Randall Cobb.
It is no surprise that Cobb is the focal point of the Wildcat offense but with Derrick Locke not at 100%, he will have to carry the load even more. Cobb is the type of player that keeps defensive coordinators up at night and will have someone on him on every play.
And In This Corner ... South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore is about as versatile as the player he will be responsible for shutting down against Kentucky. Like Cobb, Gilmore is electric in the return game and even lines up in the Wildcat formation. Gilmore is actually bigger and faster than Cobb and will do his best to mute Kentucky's best player.
And The Winner Is ... Gilmore.
I think that when Cobb is lined up wide, Gilmore will get the best of the dynamic playmaker. If Cobb is going to get his yards, they will have to come out of the Wildcat formation. Throughout the year, Gilmore has been matched up on some good receivers and has held them in check for the most part. For example, he held Southern Miss star receiver DeAndre Brown to zero catches in the first three quarters.
In This Corner... Rutgers QB Chas Dodd.
Dodd stepped into the starting role against Connecticut for an injured Tom Savage and hasn't looked back. Against the Huskies, Dodd completed 18-of-29 passes for 322 and two touchdowns and with that performance has been named the starter for when the Scarlet Knights take on the Black Knights. Dodd is just a freshman but showed great poise and touch on his deep balls in the win over UConn.
And In This Corner... Army DE Josh McNary.
Ever since coach Rich Ellerson installed the double flex eagle defense, McNary has been an unstoppable force out of the 'Quick' position (which is essentially a rush end). Last year, McNary tallied 12.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for a loss while this year he has seven sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. McNary is a mismatch for most tackles and thrives on dropping players behind the scrimmage line.
And The Winner Is...
Last year against Rutgers, McNary had five tackles, one for a loss, a sack, and a pass break up. That was also against a freshman quarterback (Savage) so you can expect this year he will be just as disruptive. Dodd showed lots of poise last week but he will need to keep an eye out for the man operating out of the 'Quick' position.
In This Corner... Michigan QB Denard Robinson.
Robinson was held in check against rival Michigan State, but make no mistake that Robinson is still as dangerous a runner as there is in college football today. As is the case with many dual-threat quarterbacks, when you take away their ability to run, they are not as dangerous as you once thought. Robinson will grow as a passer but if he is not free to roam it is much harder for him to gouge the secondary.
And In This Corner... Iowa S Tyler Sash.
Sash is a consummate football player as he seems to always be around the ball and never takes a play off. Sash is a ball hawk with 11 career interceptions and at 6'1 and 210 pounds he is also effective in run support. Sash is the type of player who can be counted on to keep plays in front of him and shut down the back half of the field.
And The Winner Is... Sash.
Against Robinson, Sash will have to read the pass and will be dangerous if Robinson's throws are not dead on. However, Sash's biggest impact will be when he is in the box ready to light up Robinson if he takes off running. While stopping Robinson is not a one man job, Sash and the Iowa defense will get the best of the speedster when they meet in the Big House.
In This Corner... Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz.
Moniz has been on fire this year as he has thrown for 300+ yards in all game but one and has throw for three or more touchdowns in all but two games. Moniz is also athletic enough to hurt defenses with his legs if passing lanes are a bit clogged. He has worked extensively in the offseason to increase his accuracy while strengthening his arm and it appears to have worked.
And In This Corner... Nevada DE Dontay Moch.
On the list of of active sack leaders, Moch is fourth with 24.5 and first for tackles for loss with 52 as he has been disrupting opposing backfields his entire time at Nevada. Currently Moch has three sacks but has 11 tackles for a loss. As a senior, Moch won the Arizona state 100 meter dash championship with a 10.78. Moch is a bullet off the edge and requires double teams constantly.
And The Winner Is... Moniz.
While Moch is a terror off the edge, Moniz has a quick release and to avoid Moch, the Warriors can roll Moniz out. While I believe Moch will make his presence known, I do not think that he will keep Moniz from reaching his customary 300+ yards passing and three touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Auburn QB Cameron Newton vs. Arkansas LB Anthony Leon, Alabama RB Mark Ingram vs. Mississippi DT Jerrell Powe, Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden vs. Texas Tech DE Brian Duncan, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor vs. Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt, UCF QB Jeffrey Godfrey vs. Marshall DE Vinny Curry