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Two NFL draft matchups to watch this weekend, and a big local for USF

Our weekly gameday guide also looks for signs that this Miami team is different from previous ones.
Florida State defensive end Jared Verse is showing up on early mock drafts.
Florida State defensive end Jared Verse is showing up on early mock drafts. [ GERALD HERBERT | AP ]
Published Oct. 7

Florida State defensive end Jared Verse has, deservedly, made his way onto some first-round mock drafts by averaging one sack per game (best in the ACC). The Albany transfer played well in spurts last week as he came off an injury and is healthier this week. He’ll try to make an impact at North Carolina State by rattling another pro prospect, Wolfpack quarterback Devin Leary.

If you’re looking for an under-the-radar game, consider Army at No. 15 Wake Forest. Demon Deacons receiver A.T. Perry is a star with next-level talent. So, too, is Army linebacker Andre Carter, who was an All-American last year and a potential first-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Local of the week

Calvary Christian product Mike Lofton is a player to watch for USF this weekend.
Calvary Christian product Mike Lofton is a player to watch for USF this weekend. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2019) ]

USF offensive lineman Mike Lofton (Calvary Christian)

With veteran Donovan Jennings (leg) out for the year, the UCF transfer earned his first career start last week against East Carolina. If the Bulls are going to have a chance against Cincinnati, Lofton will have to help stop a Bearcats defense that leads the nation with 23 sacks.

Related: It’s time to talk about Jeff Scott’s future at USF

Improvement at The U?

Is Miami different under Mario Cristobal? We'll find out this weekend.
Is Miami different under Mario Cristobal? We'll find out this weekend. [ AL DIAZ/ADIAZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM | Miami Herald ]

Hosting North Carolina will tell us a lot about the Hurricanes and first-year coach Mario Cristobal. Recent Miami teams would let one defeat turn into two (like consistently struggling after losing to FSU or dropping games to Florida International and Duke in back-to-back weeks in 2019). We’ll see if this squad responds differently from the Middle Tennessee State embarrassment. Specifically, look to the secondary. If it didn’t use the open date to fix its issues, the ACC’s leading passer, Drake Maye (1,594 yards, 19-1 touchdown-interception ratio), will torch the ‘Canes.

Audible

“It was hard to see Missouri beat us because, you know, they’re just not supposed to, you know? And I’m looking forward to heading up this weekend and taking care of business and dominating like we’re supposed to.” — Gators defensive back Jaydon Hill on last year’s game

Related: 5 random thoughts on Florida-Missouri, a quietly weird series

By the numbers: Week 6

Illinois running back Chase Brown, who played high school football in Manatee County, leads the nation in rushing.
Illinois running back Chase Brown, who played high school football in Manatee County, leads the nation in rushing. [ KAYLA WOLF | AP ]
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733 — Rushing yards by Illinois’ Chase Brown, who leads the nation. The Canada native was a three-star recruit at Bradenton’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal.

$56.7 million — Estimated buyout figures for the five coaches fired so far, according to Sports Illustrated

37-16 — Jimbo Fisher’s record at Texas A&M

37-16 — Record of Fisher’s predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, at this point in his Aggies tenure

$86 million — Buyout the Aggies would owe Fisher after this season if they fired him without cause

4-6 — FSU’s record in its last 10 trips to North Carolina State

1998 — The last time Texas and Oklahoma faced each other as unranked teams

17 — Consecutive polls Oklahoma State has been in the top 15. That’s tied for the longest stretch in program history

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