Well we are nearing the end of the season and this is where bowl pushes are made and when teams start jockeying for position in the BCS polls. Teams are vying for upsets and those teams that are on the bowl bubble are playing with a renewed vigor. Take a look at some of these games within the game for this weekend.
In This Corner ... Boise State QB Kellen Moore.
Whenever Moore and his squad come up against an opponent, they can guarantee that they are getting that team's top effort as Boise has a huge target on their back, especially within their conference. Moore has been the most calm and collected quarterback in the country this year and despite everyone's best efforts, he has led his team to victory. Not blessed with amazing size or arm strength, he more than makes up for it with moxie, poise, and deadly accuracy.
And In This Corner ... Fresno State DE Chris Carter.
The epitome of a speed rusher, Carter is small even for a linebacker despite playing defensive end. At 6'2, 230 pounds, Carter is not going to bullrush even a tight end but he does his damage with incredible burst off the line. On the season, Carter is tied for first in his conference with nine sacks (the other player being teammate Logan Harrell) which is good enough for ninth in the nation. Carter also has 14.5 tackles for a loss this season.
And The Winner Is ... Moore.
While Carter will definitely let Moore that he is in the game, Moore is too good at getting the ball off quickly for Carter to ever really get that close to him. The best way to handle a speed rusher like Carter is to run straight at him which the Broncos will be able to do.
In This Corner... Western Michigan QB Alex Carder.
Coming into this year, Western Michigan was not looking to find a replacement for Tim Hiller but rather just find a way to get on without him. Well with Carder, they not only have a capable replacement, but as just a sophomore, they have a bright future at the quarterback position. Carder has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this season with 25 touchdowns while also rushing for six scores. Bear in mind that Carder is just a sophomore and that this is his first season as a starter.
And In This Corner... Kent State DE Roosevelt Nix.
When you are a 5'10, 240 pound defensive lineman, you do not get a lot of offers coming out of high school. Such was the case for Nix as his only offers came from Air Force, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, and Kent State. Well Nix is already making some bigger schools wonder why they didn't offer the undersized gamebreaker. In just his true freshman year, Nix is tied for 13th in the country and first in the MAC conference with 8.5 sacks while also totaling 17.5 tackles for loss.
And The Winner Is... Carder.
Nix will be a load for the Bronco offensive tackles to handle but with Carder's quick decision-making, quicker release, and his ability to scramble, I think Nix will have a hard time getting his mitts on the talented signal caller.
In This Corner... SMU RB Zach Line.
Of all the running backs in the Conference USA such as Bryce Beall, Ronnie Weaver, Orleans Darkwa, and Sam McGuffie, it may surprise you that the leading rusher in the conference is Mr. Line from pass-heavy SMU. Line was charged with the seemingly insurmountable task of following up the rushing performance of Shawnbrey McNeal who ran for nearly 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns last year but has filled in admirably. Line has rushed for 972 yards and seven touchdowns this season. While not the prototypical back for this offense, he is big enough to move the pile but is indispensable in pass protection and as a receiver out of the backfield.
And In This Corner... Marshall LB Mario Harvey.
Nicknamed "Thumper"because of the hard hits he lays on opposing players, Harvey is built like a small defensive end but can run from sideline-to-sideline. With the season nearly over, Harvey has put together quite a stat sheet as he has 111 tackles with 13.5 of them going for a loss, as well as 5.5 sacks. Harvey is the type of player that an offensive coordinator plans around and for good reason.
And The Winner Is... Harvey.
I have a feeling that every time Line gets the ball, one of the first people to "greet" him will be Harvey. Line is a former linebacker so he does not go down easily but Harvey is just too good to not put Line down when they meet.
In This Corner... Texas A&M WR Jeff Fuller.
Ever since he stepped foot in College Station, Fuller has been a star. As a freshman, the 6'4, 215 pound receiver caught 50 passes for 630 yards and nine touchdowns. Last year he was injured for four games in the regular season but still finished with 568 yards and seven touchdowns. This year, Fuller has outdone his previous years with 61 catches for 923 yards and 11 touchdowns. Fuller is a big bodied receiver with good speed, a great set of hands, and the mentality and physicality to pull down balls against the nastiest defenders.
And In This Corner... Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara.
At 6'1, 205 pounds, Amukamara is a bigger cornerback but is still a speedster. Possessing the ability to shut down half the field, Amukamara's stats are not the gaudiest because quarterbacks just do not look to his side of the field. Despite not having registered an interception this year, Amukamara leads his team in pass breakups with 11 on the year.
And The Winner Is... Amukamara.
Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill targets Fuller often but against Nebraska, you can expect him to throw to him a couple of times only to realize that Amukamara is draped all over him. At that point, he will turn his attention to the often overlooked Ryan Swope.
Honorable Mention: Bowling Green WR Kamar Jorden vs. Toledo CB Desmond Marrow, Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins vs. Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan, SMU QB Kyle Padron vs. Marshall DE Vinny Curry, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor vs. Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn, Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees vs. Army DE Josh McNary.