Brian Peavy came into the season as one of the best cornerbacks in the country and he has not disappointed. Quarterbacks rarely test his side of the field because of how much he locks down receivers. Teams that have tested have looked foolish (Kansas.)
His numbers back up his incredible season, ProFootballFocus.com has him graded as the best corner back in the country, tied with Deandre Baker.
Deandre Baker & Brian Peavy are currently tied as the nation's highest-graded cornerbacks. pic.twitter.com/0wCNidp7IQ— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 14, 2018
Georgia’s Baker looks better in almost every facet of the game, but once you realize the difference between air raids in the Big 12 and the SEC, the grade is more justified.
Peavy has been tested all year long against some of the best receivers and quarterbacks in the country. The likes of Antoine Wesley, David Sills V, and Jalen Hurd have been contained with limited damage. Will Grier was taken out of the Heisman race because of the Iowa State defense (and because Peavy.)
Thanks to Peavy, he usually takes one receiver out of the game. This opens up the entire defense. It is a huge advantage for Jon Heacock, because he can take more risks with one side of the field being untouchable. This means more blitzes, more pressure, and more mistakes for the opposing offense.
There have been some big tests for Peavy this season, but Texas might be the biggest one yet. Lil’Jordan Humphrey (6’4) and Collin Johnson (6’6) makes for one of the best and most lethal receiving duos in the country.
Humphrey comes into the game 4th in the Big 12 with 94.7 yards per game. Johnson is placed at 10th with 75.0 yards per game, which is very impressive for a second option. The duo combines for 12 touchdowns on the season.
Stats alone, these two guys are incredible. But another element that elite receivers add to the game is how much they open the field. If Iowa State has to drop one or two more players back in coverage, that allows Sam Ehlinger more room to run. If Peavy can be elite all game and shut down either of Humphrey or Johnson, it allows Jon Heacock to put more of a focus on Ehlinger.
Since Humphrey is Texas’ number one, it would make the most since if Peavy was stuck on him. But don’t be shocked if Jon Heacock switches it up a few times. Peavy’s partner in crime, D’Andre Payne, is also pretty good and will probably get a couple cracks at Humphrey.
It is also noteworthy that Peavy has been banged up since the Kansas game, so he is certainly not 100%. Whether this impacts his performance or not, I have no idea. But after watching Peavy throughout his entire college career, I know that he will compete the entire game, no matter what.
Brian Peavy has been one of the most important players on this Iowa State team, no doubt about it. But on Saturday, he is the most important player on this defense. If he can perform as the best cornerback in the country and make his side of the field an island, Iowa State could be looking at an inside track to Dallas.
Prediction: 25 Yards Against, 2/6 Against, 2 Passes Defended, 1 Interception