After the Miami Hurricanes 27-24 win against Florida State in 2000 (now known as Wide Right III), wide receiver Santana Moss was quoted saying, “Big time players, make big time plays in big time games.”

As the 52nd Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday between the Oklahoma Sooners and LSU Tigers, there is no doubt that the winner of this game will have a player that made a big time play.

Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts are the CEOs as well as the quarterbacks of their offenses. Saturday, in a matchup where the Tigers are favored by 13 1/2 over the Sooners according to the Westgate Sports Book, I see the game being a bit closer.

The 2019 Heisman winner vs. the Heisman runner up is the matchup everybody is looking forward to but there will be other players that will need to step up for their team. Although both teams have explosive offenses, they have players on both sides of the ball that will make a huge impact in their team outcome Saturday.

For the Tigers, it will have to be from their defense and their running backs. With an explosive offense and talent that the Tigers have, I see their offense being within the same form they have been all season.

As for the Sooners, their difference makers will be from their wide receivers, running backs and a bit from their defense. Here are the impact players for both teams.


Grant Delpit

As stated in the earlier, the Tigers offense will be intact, but the outcome of this semifinal will rest on the defense. Delpit has only one sack on the season but his presence on the field shall resonate. LSU has been prone to giving up huge plays in past games, specifically against Ole Miss. They gave up scoring plays of 46, 60, 35, and 55 yards. Although it will take a collective defensive effort to limit big plays, Delpit will have to show why he is the Jim Thorpe award winner and get to key Sooner players such as wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and Jalen Hurts. The Tigers can manage playing in a shootout, but should avoid it at all costs. Delpit will need to lead the defense to a dominating performance.

Derek Stingley Jr.

One of the best cornerbacks in college football and the SEC will have an intriguing matchup against Lamb. His six interceptions are tied for fifth in the nation and has 15 pass deflections on the season. Since getting playing time against Alabama, Stingley has emerged as a top cornerback. The last time playing in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Stingley gave the Bulldogs problems, picking off Jake Fromm twice and having five tackles. His primary matchup will be against Lamb and will be asked to stop or contain him. If Stingley can find a way to slow down Lamb and force Hurts and the Sooner offense to get other players involved, the Tigers will handle the Sooners with ease.

Chris Curry and Tyrion Davis-Price

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is not going to be 100 percent if he plays and Orgeron is not sure how much he will play. 

“If Clyde’s ready to play, we’re going to let him play.” said Orgeron. “That’s going to be a game-time decision.”

This is the game for the two freshmen to make their mark and bring a huge balance to the Tigers offense. Although both running backs have combined for 369 rushing yards (Curry 99, Davis-Price 270), if one or both running backs are able to step up, you could possibly see an unstoppable offense and a bright future for the young running backs. If they are unable to step up, the offense will have to rely heavily on Burrow and creative play calling of Steve Esminger.


Kenneth Murray

Without three defensive players, the Sooners will have to rely on their depth and the outstanding play of Murray. The leading tackler for Oklahoma and has the eighth-most sacks by a linebacker in Sooner history. Murray is one of the main reasons for the Sooners turnaround after being ranked last in the BIG in total defense and 101 overall. Burrow has been sacked five times in his last three games and Murray will be the key to getting him to the ground. If he is not able to get Burrow to the ground or affect the passing game, it can be a long day for the Sooner defense and a possible shootout.

CeeDee Lamb

Lamb is the leading receiver for the Sooners and a high NFL Draft prospect. He is averaging 20.8 yards per catch and eighth in receiving yards in the nation. Stingley Jr. will be his primary defender and he will need to have a big game for the Sooners to have a chance. People may remember him from last year’s playoff game against Alabama where he had eight receptions for 109 yard and a touchdown. If a similar performance happens Saturday, the Sooners will have a huge chance at a possible upset.

Jadon Haselwood

The Atlanta native can make a huge difference in the Sooners passing game if he is able to have a huge game. The last time Haselwood was in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, he caught the game winning 22 yard pass to leave high school on a high note. Expect the Atlanta native to have a huge impact in his hometown on live television. So far, he has 247 yards on 16 catches in the 2019 season and is behind some great talent on the Sooners receiving core. If given the opportunity, Haselwood can give the Sooners huge momentum and a good chance.

What’s the prediction?

I expect a crazy loud fan base full of purple and yellow at Mercedes-Benz giving the Tigers a much needed home field advantage. As potent as both teams offenses are, the defense will matter but not enough. Overall, I think this game will be closer than the experts think and will end in a shootout. I have the Tigers winning by three due to an early field goal early in the game.

The shootout will begin early in the third quarter and Jalen Hurts will go toe to toe with Joe Burrow putting on a performance for the ages. In the end, the Tigers will prevail 45-42 sending them back home to New Orleans for a national title.

General images as Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl staff and volunteers look on during the College Football Playoff Selection Show, Sunday, Dec 8 2019 in Atlanta. (Paul Abell via AP)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *