Fresno State pass rusher Chris Carter and Villanova wideout Matt Szczur are well on their way to being NFL draft picks next April. They'll be hoping that scouts focus more on the brilliant careers, rather than the sputtering production each provided in their final games.
Carter, the 2010 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, was held without a tackle in Northern Illinois' dominating 40-17 victory over the Bulldogs yesterday in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Szczur, who had scored a combined five touchdowns on 383 yards as a runner, receiver and Wildcat quarterback over the Wildcats' first two playoff games, was held to only 67 total yards in the loss to Eastern Washington.
It was not surprising to see the 6-2, 240 pound Carter washed out against the run while playing defensive end. As you'd expect for a player of his size, he often was blown off the ball and wasn't able to keep contain, as the Huskies averaged 7.3 yards per rush.
What was a surprise, however, was that Carter was blanked as a pass rusher, as well. The nation's 7th best sack artist (11 on the year), Carter was unable to get clear and make a play despite being 80 pounds lighter than the Huskies' junior right tackle Keith Otis. That fact will concern scouts who like Carter as a potential 3-4 convert and 4-3 SAM linebacker.
Matt Szczur's impact on the FCS semi-final contest against Eastern Washington was more impressive statistically-speaking than Carter's was, but not by much.
Szczur rushed nine times for 36 yards and caught four passes for 25 yards. He did rush for a touchdown, a one-yard QB sneak that narrowed the Eagles' lead to 20-14 in the second quarter, but only after fumbling the kickoff to instantly kill the previous drive. Szczur's fumble was recovered by EWU and led to an Eagles' touchdown.
I expect both players to enjoy bounce-back performances in any all-star games they're invited to. (The Senior Bowl has already extended Szczur an invitiation).
Unfortunately, while they may be wearing their university's decal on their helmet in that game, the final games for Carter and Szczur for Fresno State and Villanova, respectively, were disappointing.