How about this play where McDowell knocks the shit out of the Indiana quarterback just after he throws the ball. It ends with the opposing team scoring a touchdown to go up 21-14 late in the fourth quarter and McDowell ejected for targeting.
Michigan State would go on to lose that game.
With a little bit better coverage behind him, McDowell’s stats could have been a lot better, especially in the hurries department. That’s even with him playing in the A gap so much.
Dobbs lost four offensive linemen for multiple games each, and his most talented weapon, potential first-round RB Alvin Kamara, was banged up. At one point, virtually the entire running game was on the shoulders of Dobbs and sophomore third-stringer John Kelly.
A depleted defense gave up 31-plus points five times in October/November, forcing UT to win shootouts and wasting Dobbs’ 31-of-34, 516-total-yards, four-total-touchdowns day against a decent Vanderbilt defense.
Tennessee was also in its second and last year under Mike DeBord, one of college football’s least-renowned major OCs. DeBord’s offense was often agonizingly conservative despite having a strong-armed QB, lots of tall receivers, and Kamara. DeBord was also Dobbs’ position coach.
Those two stand a full tier below two college safeties likely to land in the top 10 of this year’s draft. LSU’s Jamal Adams and Ohio State’s Malik Hooker are both exceptional athletes who produced well in college and project as longtime starters and potential Pro Bowlers. Other players like Washington’s Budda Baker, Utah’s Marcus Williams, and Texas A&M’s Justin Evans could sneak their way ahead of Peppers on draft boards across the league.