?YA GOTTA LOVE THIS GUY
Miami of Ohio coaches love freshman quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and not only because he has thrown for 1,685 yards and 17 touchdowns for the 5-2 RedHawks. The 6'5", 209-pound Roethlisberger is his own man. Three years ago, a full year before he moved from wideout to quarterback as a senior at Findlay ( Ohio) High, Miami began recruiting him. Ohio State, however, wasn't interested until Roethlisberger started proving himself, throwing for 4,041 yards and 54 touchdowns. He turned down the Buckeyes and signed with the coaches who wanted him before he became Ohio's Division I Offensive Player of the Year. The RedHawks don't enjoy many favorable comparisons to the Buckeyes, but they can enjoy this one: Roethlisberger is 16th in the nation in passing efficiency, while Ohio State quarterback Steve Bellisari is 81st.
An NFL scout assesses 6'1", 200-pound Texas senior corner-back Quentin Jammer (left), who has made 36 tackles (32 solo), broken up 12 passes and intercepted two others this season. He's got the best arms of any corner I've ever graded. He's a physical, even explosive, hitter. The one knock on him is that he has trouble playing the deep ball. People throw a fade, and he has trouble finding it. He's big enough to be a safety. He's got the size and speed to contribute on special teams right away. That's big for first-year players. This is not a strong class of corners. He's not a top 10 pick in the draft, but he's a first-rounder.
?HERO TO GOAT
The first time that Fresno State sophomore Kendall Edwards flattened a punt returner before he could catch the ball, against Oregon State on Sept. 2, Edwards got a 15-yard personal-foul penalty. Nonetheless, coaches from eight schools, including Notre Dame and Texas, called Fresno State and asked for a video of the play as an example of hustle, and Edwards's own coaches praised him for the play. Last Friday, in the second quarter against Boise State, Edwards ran full speed into returner Tim Gilligan long before the punt came down. Edwards got another personal-foul penalty and was ejected from the game. The play seemed to galvanize the Broncos, who trailed 20-7 at the time and rallied to win 35-30, killing Fresno State's hopes of gaining a BCS berth. Gilligan suffered swelling in his throat but no serious injury. Saying he was "totally sickened" by the play, Bulldogs special teams coach John Baxter banned Edwards from the punt coverage team for the rest of the season.
?HEAD TO HEAD
Syracuse right defensive end Dwight Freeney vs. Virginia Tech left offensive tackle Anthony Davis
Is Freeney, a 6'1", 250-pound senior, a one-man defense? Check out the numbers. He has 13� sacks and 19 quarterback hurries, both three fewer than all his teammates combined. He has also forced five fumbles, two in Syracuse's 45-3 rout of Temple last Saturday. Those stats are all the more impressive because Freeney is often double-teamed. Which brings us to the 6'4", 314-pound Davis, a first-year starter who is counting on getting help in dealing with Freeney. Davis, a junior, might fare even worse than his predecessor, Anthony Lambo, who couldn't stop Freeney from getting 4� of Syracuse's eight sacks of Michael Vick last year. Grant Noel, Vick's successor, is a more stationary target.