NCF Nation: Devon Wylie
Offense: Patrick Edwards, WR, Houston. Edwards had eight catches for a career-best 187 yards and a touchdown in a win against North Texas. He also extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 36.
Defense: Marshall's George Carpenter, LB, and SMU linebacker Ja’Gared Davis share the honors. Carpenter recorded a game-high 13 tackles in a 26-20 win against Southern Miss. He also posted two tackles for loss, including one sack, forced one fumble and recovered two fumbles. Davis had eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, three pass break-ups and one touchdown in a win against UTEP.
Special Teams:Kase Whitehead, P, Marshall. Averaged 42.5 yards on eight punts, and backed up the Golden Eagles offense inside the 8-yard line on five of those eight kicks.
Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Had 13 receptions for 159 yards in a 35-31 loss at Michigan.
Defense: Matt Warrick, LB, Navy. Recorded a team-high 12 tackles, a fumble recovery and pass breakup in a 40-14 win at Western Kentucky.
Special teams: Justin Sorensen, PK, BYU. Made field goals of 30, 33 and 32 yards, while making his lone PAT attempt in a 17-16 loss at Texas.
Offense: Eugene Cooper, WR, Bowling Green. Had career-highs in catches (6), yards (134) and touchdowns (4) in the Falcons’ 58-13 win against Morgan State. His four receiving touchdowns tied a school record for touchdown catches in a single game.
Defense: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo. Had a team-best eight tackles (four solos), 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles, an interception and three quarterback hurries against Stony Brook.
Special Teams: Matt Weller, K, Ohio. Was 3-of-4 on field goals and a perfect 3-for-3 on extra points against Gardner-Webb.
Offense: Eric Page, WR, Toledo. Caught 12 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in Toledo's 27-22 loss at Ohio State. Page has now caught a touchdown pass in seven of the past eight games.
Defense: Marcus English, LB, Eastern Michigan. Posted a team-best 10 tackles in a 14-7 win against Alabama State. English added 3.5 tackles for a loss and one sack.
Special Teams: John Potter, K, Western Michigan. Made all five extra point attempts, extending his Western Michigan career record for consecutive PATs made streak to 78 straight.
Offense: Casey Pachall, QB, TCU. Completed 20-of-25 passes for 206 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, leading No. 25 TCU to a 35-19 win against host Air Force.
Defense: Jerome Long, DT, San Diego State. Recorded the first double-digit tackle game of his career, finishing with 10 stops (seven solo) and a sack in a 23-20 win at Army.
Special teams: Brian Stahovich, P, San Diego State. Put four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line and recorded a pair of kicks exceeding 50 yards in the Aztecs’ 23-20 win at Army.
Offense: T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU. Had a school-record 201 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 24-17 win against Louisville. For his efforts, Hilton was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week.
Defense: Winston Fraser, LB, FIU. Had eight tackles, six of them unassisted, and a 71-yard interception return for touchdown.
Special Teams: Brelan Chancellor, KR, North Texas. Broke two school records against Houston, setting the mark for all-purpose yardage and kickoff return yards. Chancellor had 286 yards on nine kickoff returns and 332 all-purpose yards.
Offense: Andrew Manley, QB, New Mexico State. Was 20-of-31 for 288 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-21 win at Minnesota.
Defense: Jonte Green, DB, New Mexico State. Led the Aggies with 10 solo tackles in the win against Minnesota. He also forced a fumble and broke up a pass while recording his second double-digit tackle game of his career.
Special teams: Devin Wylie, PR, Fresno State. Returned five punts for 110 yards, including a 67-yard return for a touchdown, in a loss at Nebraska. It was the first punt return for a touchdown against the Cornhuskers since 2001 and the first for the Bulldogs in almost two years.
As is the case with all of them, it was difficult to whittle the list down to five. I chose these players based on interviews with coaches and spring performances. Coach Gary Patterson praised defensive end Braylon Broughton for his improvement this spring as he steps in for Wayne Daniels. Devon Wylie returns for his senior season and could be a go-to player for new quarterback Derek Carr at Fresno State.
Kyle Padron has had two good seasons and is poised to have an excellent one for SMU, so long as his offensive line comes together and gives him time to throw. Jake Heaps is the full-time starter at BYU and has a new offensive coordinator in Brandon Doman. His maturation and leadership in the spring encouraged not only his coaches but his teammates. He could be poised to have a 3,000-yard season much in the way of his predecessors.
My vote on this one would go to Boise State receiver Geraldo Hiwat. We have to remember he has only been playing football since high school after coming to the United States from the Netherlands. He has tremendous upside. At 6-foot-4, has the ability to be a big-play receiver with his speed and a possession receiver with his size. Much is expected of him this season.
He has been right through the first three games. In fact, Colburn has been more important than ever to the Bulldogs' offense because injuries have taken a big toll at receiver and running back.
Colburn has been consistent throughout, throwing for nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. He is 65-of-89 for 786 yards and is completing 73 percent of his passes, a career high. If you compare the start to his senior season with some of the other great quarterbacks to come through Fresno State, Colburn is right there with them.
In fact, he is off to a better start than David Carr in 2001 and Billy Volek in 1991.
“He’s playing really well,” Hill said. “Ryan’s done an outstanding job as a leader for us and is playing very efficiently. I’m very happy with his performance.”
With the departure of Ryan Mathews, who led the NCAA in rushing last season, Fresno State knew it would have to rely more on Colburn. That became especially true when injuries hit the backfield. Running back Robbie Rouse, who went into the season as the starter, missed one game with shoulder and ankle injuries. He played last week against Ole Miss but was still hobbled with a bad ankle, rushing just seven times for 22 yards.
A.J. Ellis, who replaced Rouse in the starting lineup, has a sprained toe and is most likely out for Saturday’s game against Cal Poly. Hill said he was concerned with Ellis’ foot. The injuries have taken a toll on production. Fresno State, so good a year ago with Mathews, ranks No. 104 in the country in rushing averaging 103 yards a game.
The passing offense, meanwhile, ranks 30th in the country. Colburn ranks ninth in the country in passing efficiency and has a better completion percentage than Ryan Mallett, Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore.
Even more impressive: Colburn is putting up good numbers despite a depleted wide receiving corps. The injury bug has hit there, too, with Rashad Evans (hamstring) and Devon Wylie (foot surgery) missing time. Leading receiver Jamel Hamler hurt his shoulder against Ole Miss and his status is up in the air for Saturday.
Also, All-WAC offensive guard Andrew Jackson (ankle) has been hurt, too.
“It’s been a funny deal with injuries this year,” Hill said. “They haven’t been from big hits. It’s just the nature of the game.”
Fresno State lost to Ole Miss last week to drop to 2-1, but as long as Colburn stays healthy, the Bulldogs have a shot to be in every game.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum is day-to-day with concussion-like symptoms.
Virginia Tech's loss makes Boise State look like small potatoes.
Middle Tennessee has a quarterback conundrum.
BYU hopes to learn from its loss to Air Force.
Despite being 2-0, Utah has some work to do, especially on special teams. No word yet on whether Jordan Wynn will be able to play.
TCU faces emotional tests in its next two games against in-state teams Baylor and SMU.
San Diego State coach Brady Hoke is making confidence management a priority after his team's 2-0 start.
Fresno State receiver Devon Wylie is out indefinitely with a foot injury and could miss the season. Wylie, the fastest player in school history, has been injured all four years at Fresno State.
UTEP is still uncertain about the status of running back Donald Buckram, who injured his knee in practice two weeks ago. The problem is now that fluid is draining from his knee to his calf and ankle.
Other conference links:
Boise State Broncos
Spring practice starts: March 8
Spring game: April 17
What to watch:
" All starters but Kyle Wilson return in 2010. Jerrell Gavins, who started at Wilson's outside cornerback position during the Fiesta Bowl (Wilson moved to safety) likely will slip into that starting slot.
" With so many players returning and few questions to answer, the Broncos can really start working on the 2010 season. This will also be a good time to sort out the offensive line (10 O-linemen had at least one start last year) and looking for some redshirted playmakers that could find their way into the lineup this season.
" Defensive line coach Pete Kwiatkowski steps in as the new defensive coordinator for Justin Wilcox, who went to Tennessee, but don’t expect any major changes to the defense. Kwiatkowski was Wilcox’s mentor and the two shared the same vision for the Broncos defense.
Fresno State Bulldogs
Spring practice starts: March 15
Spring game: April 16
What to watch:
" Fresno State lost three top backs in Ryan Mathews, Lonyae Miller and Anthony Harding and will spend the spring looking for a replacement. Robbie Rouse is the top returning back, but he’s a smaller back than the ones the Bulldogs lost. Look for Michael Harris to get a chance this spring.
" With Seyi Ajirotutu, Marlon Moore and Chastin West gone, the Bulldogs will be looking to fill their receiver depth to help starting quarterback Ryan Colburn. Coach Pat Hill noted on signing day that he wants to spread things out this year and he’s looking forward to some speed joining the team in the fall. In the meantime, sophomore Rashad Evans, redshirt freshman A.J. Johnson and sophomore J.J. Stallworth will work for playing time with Jamel Hamler and Devon Wylie.
" The defensive front, which struggled late against the running game (most notably Nevada and Wyoming), will be a focus this spring. The Bulldogs return nine starters from the bowl game, including All-WAC first team defensive end Chris Carter and linebacker Ben Jacobs.
Spring practice starts: April 1
Spring game: April 30
What to watch:
" The offensive line was a question heading into the 2009 season and will be again in 2010. The Warriors lose four senior starters, including center John Estes. Backups Kainoa LaCount, Matagisila Lefiti, Andrew Faaumu, Bronson Tiwanak, Clayton Laurel and Adrian Thomas will be among those competing for starting roles.
" Bryan Moniz finished the season as the starting quarterback and will go into spring ball as the leading candidate to start in 2010, but Shane Austin, who played some in 2009, will challenge for the starting role this spring. Moniz finished the season completing 57 percent of his passes for 2,396 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
" The Hawaii defense struggled some last year, but should be better if star linebacker Brashton Satele receives a sixth season. The Warriors will be looking for a new right tackle as well as a couple of starting linebackers, but the defense, which improved as the season progressed, should be a pleasant surprise in 2010.
Spring practice starts: March 23
Spring game: April 23
What to watch:
" The top priority this spring will be reloading the offensive line. The Vandals lost four starters on the offensive line, including All-American guard Mike Iupati. The only returner is left tackle Matt Cleveland. Guy Reynolds Jr. was Iupati’s backup, and players such as Clell Hasenbank, Tevita HalaHolo and Tyron Novikoff will be competing for starting roles.
" The offense carried the team last year, especially the passing game, but starting quarterback Nathan Enderle will have to work out three new receivers this spring. The biggest loss is slot Max Komar, who made key catches all season, including in the Humanitarian Bowl win over Bowling Green.
" The Idaho defense was one of the worst in the country allowing 433.23 yards per game and 36.00 points per game. More often than not, the Vandals were trying to outscore their opponents instead of stopping them defensively. Eleven players with starting experience from last year’s bowl team return; the only loss is strong safety Jeromy Jones. But with the way the defense played last season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of those positions open this spring.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Spring practice starts: March 17
Spring game: April 10
What to watch:
" The loss of running back Daniel Porter and tight end Dennis Morris takes out a lot of the offense and scoring the Bulldogs had in 2009. New head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin will spend the spring looking for playmakers to fit their wide-open offensive style.
" Wide receiver will be a key competition this spring for Louisiana Tech’s new spread offense. Tennessee transfer Ahmad Paige and LSU transfer Tim Molton are both eligible and will join RP Stuart, Cruz Williams and Phillip Livas in the receiving corps.
" Louisiana Tech will be looking for some consistency in the punting game after Cade Glasgow struggled last year. Overall, the Bulldogs punting game averaged 32.91 yards per game, which ranked last in the WAC. The Bulldogs didn’t recruit a punter, so expect some potential walk-on help.
New Mexico State Aggies
Spring practice starts: April 5
Spring game: May 1
What to watch:
" Second-year coach DeWayne Walker was unhappy with the team's scoring, especially in the second half of the season, which prompted him to replace his offensive coordinator and running backs coach. His main priority this spring is finding some consistency at quarterback. Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls return and redshirt freshman Tanner Rust and true freshman Andrew Manley will challenge, but junior college transfer Matt Christian is the favorite to be the starter.
" The running game was the one bright spot for the offense last season with Seth Smith rushing for 1,016 yards, but he had just one rushing touchdown. Redshirt freshman Marquese Dunn will get a look this spring and will challenge for playing time as Walker looks for playmakers.
" Shoring up a total defense that allowed 423.62 yards per game and 31.62 points per game will be Walker’s project this spring. The Aggies return some key players, but Walker said most of the help on the defensive line will come in the fall.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Spring practice starts: March 5
Spring game: April 3
What to watch:
" The running game is Nevada’s bread and butter and it should stay that way with quarterback Colin Kaepernick and star running back Vai Taua returning. However, the Wolf Pack need to spend this spring working on depth with players such as Lampford Mark, Mike Ball and Stefphon Jefferson.
" The offensive line needs to replace Kenneth Ackerman and Alonzo Durham this spring in order to keep the running game effective. Center Jeff Meads and tackle Jose Acuna are the primary backups for those two spots. The Wolf Pack also will look to build offensive line depth across the board.
" The Nevada defense will spend the spring learning a slightly altered 4-3 defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Andy Buh. The defense has been the weak link of the Wolf Pack for the past few years, so shoring that up this spring will be a high priority.
San Jose State Spartans
Spring practice starts: March 12
Spring game: April 22
What to watch:
" For the second consecutive season, San Jose State had trouble producing offense mostly because of inconsistent play at quarterback. Jordan La Secla returns as the incumbent, but junior college transfer Matt Faulkner, who enrolled in January, will challenge this spring.
" For as much as the passing offense struggled, the rushing offense was worse. Lamon Muldrow, who led the team with 592 yards and three touchdowns last season will be counted on in the running game, but the Spartans signed three running backs for 2010, including Forrest Hightower, who will challenge in the fall.
" Most of spring practice will be spent learning the new coaching staff and the new offensive and defensive schemes. The Spartans are transitioning from a spread offense to a more traditional style that will incorporate an H-back and a tight end. The Spartans also will move toward an attacking style defense, but will stay in a 4-3 base that will feature both man-to-man and zone coverage.
Utah State Aggies
Spring practice starts: March 23
Spring game: April 24
What to watch:
" The primary concern this spring will be finding running back depth after star Robert Turbin suffered a torn ACL during winter workouts. All eyes will be on Michael Smith, Derrvin Speight and Kerrwynn Williams as they try to pick up the slack.
" Second-year head coach Gary Andersen is showing his commitment to defense after shuffling several players on that side of the ball. Nathan Royster is moving from defensive tackle to end, Junior Keiaho and Devin Johnson are moving from end to linebacker, wide receiver Cameron Sanders has moved to defensive back and the Aggies are hoping to get some defensive contribution out of Page Clifford, a transfer from Utah.
" There should be some good competition at wide receiver this spring with Matt Austin returning from injury and Travis Van Leeuewen coming off a redshirt season. Mid-year signees Xavier Martin and Dontel Watkins also will challenge for starting roles. Utah State had a good passing offense with 246.75 yards per game from starter Diondre Borel.
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
Benson said the replay official was in error in overturning the called fumble and declaring it an incomplete pass.
"The WAC holds officials accountable for their performance," Benson said. "And when errors are made, especially those that may have an impact on the outcome of a game, it is necessary to hold an official accountable for the mistake."
The drive resulted in a field goal that cut a six-point deficit to 13-10, which was ultimately the final score.
On first and 10 from the Fresno State 19, Wylie caught a pass from caught a pass from quarterback Tom Brandstater and appeared to turn upfield when he was hit by Wisconsin free safety Shane Carter. The ball came loose and linebacker DeAndre Levy recovered the ball.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema declined to comment both after the game and during his weekly press conference.
Benson said there should have been indisputable evident to overturn the call.
"After reviewing video of the play with Jim Blackwood, WAC supervisor of football officials, we concluded there was not indisputable evidence," Benson said. "Thus, per NCAA rules the play should not have been overturned."
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
FRESNO, Calif. -- Like a pendulum, momentum in a college football game can swing back and forth. Whichever team catches it at the right moment can be the benefactor of a game-changing play.
Fresno State saw momentum swing several times in the third quarter, and several times it missed its chance to jump on it.
Two missed field goals.
Two drives into Wisconsin's 35-yard line.
But a controversial overturned fumble call late in the period gave the Bulldogs a chance to at least make things interesting and make the score 13-10 heading into the final quarter.
As I said before, Fresno State has not played a bad game. The defense has kept the Bulldogs afloat and other than a couple nice runs by Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill, the Badgers offense has been quiet this half.
Fresno State had several opportunities to either tie or put themselves in front, but failed to seize the moment.
The Bulldogs had momentum after a touchdown catch by Devon Wylie cut Wisconsin's lead 10-7. The defense got a key stop, the Bulldogs' special teams blocked a punt and Fresno State looked poised to take the lead or at least tie.
But it didn't.
A three-and-out and a misplay on a punt later and Wisconsin put another field goal on the board. One positive is Fresno State's touchdown came on a pass. The other positive is Fresno State's field goal came courtesy of a long Ryan Mathews run.
The game is there for Fresno State to grab it, but the Bulldogs can't keep hesitating like they have all game.