The game against Baylor on Saturday was a tough one to swallow, but there were many positives that could be taken away. For one, the running back looked great for a change, and the offensive line was able to provide holes in the trenches for the back to get through. Along with that, the passing game was fantastic, even with James Washington getting doubled throughout the game.
With the #1 wide receiver being blanketed for most of the game, other receivers had to step up, and one in particular stood out to me.
This week’s unsung hero was Jalen McCleskey. He was the second-leading receiver, with 5 receptions for 77 yards. He had a few key receptions on third down on the scoring drive to start the second half. He proved to be a threat in the slot, and a reliable target for Rudolph throughout the game.
So far this season McCleskey has 23 receptions and 224 yards, with a touchdown in the Central Michigan game. In the games against Central Michigan and Baylor, he has shown promise in an expanded receiver role, but in the Pittsburgh and SE Louisiana games, he did not have much of an impact. If he had consistently catch key passes on key downs, he will not only take pressure off of James Washington, he will take pressure off of Rudolph as well. I expect McCleskey to have another good game this week against Texas, and continue his upward trend this season.