Slaton, Dorsey highlight most intriguing bowl matchups
In a bowl season full of intriguing matchups that have the scouts taking notice, here are the best of the best, writes Steve Muench.
Here is a detailed breakdown of five matchups scouts will have their eyes along with a list of six other intriguing matchups
vs. Southern California's run defense
Mendenhall's numbers -- 245 rushed for 1,526 yards and 16 touchdowns -- are impressive and the junior showed the ability to pick up tough yards in short-yardage situations and break the long run when allowed to hit the second level going full speed. However, it will be tough sledding against a USC run defense loaded with NFL prospects that gives up an average of just 2.4 yards per carry. It all starts in the middle for USC with DT Sedrick Ellis, who has the explosive first step needed to make plays in the backfield and force Mendenhall to bounce runs outside. Behind Ellis, WLB Keith Rivers headlines a talented and experienced linebacker corps that tackles well and shouldn't make many mistakes, which is crucial when defending Illinois' option package. In addition, safeties Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison are both big enough to line up close to the line of scrimmage and should creep up considering Illinois has run the ball twice as much as it's thrown it this year.
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