NCF Nation: Helmet Stickers 090113

Notre Dame helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:09
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Notre Dame had a number of players stand out in Saturday's 28-6 win over Temple. Here's who stood out above the rest:

Tommy Rees, QB: Rees had a career-high 346 passing yards, completing 16 of 23 passes with three touchdowns and no picks. This was just the kind of start Notre Dame needed to see from Rees, who has endured a barrage of questions throughout his college career but has managed to keep an even keel throughout it all.

TJ Jones, WR: Jones also turned in a career-best effort in recording 138 receiving yards. He caught six passes, made several shifty maneuvers after the catch and looked very much like the go-to threat Brian Kelly kept calling him throughout camp. He also netted 23 yards on three punt returns, something worth noting on a Fighting Irish return unit that has struggled mightily the past three years.

DaVaris Daniels, WR: Like Jones, Daniels also picked up right where he left off. The Irish's two best receivers from the Discover BCS National Championship loss had strong outings Saturday. Daniels notched his first two career touchdowns, both 32 yards, and finished with three catches for 69 yards despite sitting out the second half for precautionary measures because of a groin problem.

Stephon Tuitt, DE: So much for all that weight talk. Tuitt, who put on 19 pounds this offseason after undergoing a hernia operation, picked up right where he left off, notching four total tackles and a sack. Don't be surprised if he makes another run at Justin Tuck's single-season school record of 13.5 sacks.

Big 12 helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:00
AM ET
Recognizing the best and brightest from around the Big 12 in Week 1:

Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield: To say that Mayfield’s performance against SMU on Friday was unprecedented is certainly not hyperbole. He may be the first-ever walk-on to start a season opener as a true freshman, but he looked like he’d been in Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive system for years. Mayfield threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another in a 41-23 win over SMU. He brought serious swagger to his highly-anticipated debut and asserted himself as the clear No. 1 QB right now in Lubbock.

Oklahoma LB Corey Nelson and LB Frank Shannon: What did defensive coordinator Mike Stoops have up his sleeve in his second year back in Norman, with so many new starters taking the field? If Saturday was a sign of what’s to come, this Sooner defense just might be better than we expected. Nelson led the Sooners with eight tackles and a sack, and Shannon chipped in seven stops in a 34-0 shutout of a Louisiana-Monroe team that’s no cupcake. They contributed to a stout rush defense that held the Warhawks to 38 yards on the ground.

Oklahoma State's defense: Quarterback J.W. Walsh might’ve been considered the story of the day for the Cowboys, but let’s take a moment to give the Pokes’ defense some respect. Mississippi State booted in a field goal midway through the first quarter and was shut out the rest of the way in a 21-3 OSU victory in Houston. That marked the first time since 1995 that the Cowboys held a BCS opponent to three points or fewer. Caleb Lavey led the unit with 11 tackles and two tackles for loss, but this shutdown performance required the help of several guys. We went in expecting another OSU shootout, but Glenn Spencer’s defense didn’t permit one.

Texas QB David Ash: If Ash had throw two first-half interceptions last season, as he did Saturday against New Mexico State, things were at risk of falling apart for him. Not this time. The Longhorns’ junior quarterback rallied to throw for 343 yards and four touchdowns, rush for 91 yards – including a 55-yard score down the sideline – and didn’t take a sack on the night. Ash led a Texas offense that produced a school-record 715 total yards, and he managed the up-tempo attack well once it got rolling late in the second quarter.

Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk: This honor could go to any number of Bears after their prolific night against Wofford, but we’ll go with Seastrunk simply because he made things look easy as usual. Seastrunk kicked off his Heisman campaign with 111 yards and two touchdowns, and he only needed 11 carries to do so. He’s now rushed for 100-plus in five straight games, and the Bears put up a school-record 69 points. Imagine what they’d score if they actually needed their elite junior back to tote it 20 times.

Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:00
AM ET
Recognizing the best and brightest from around the Big Ten in Week 1:

Northwestern LB Collin Ellis: The Wildcats didn't mind watching Ellis experience some deja vu against Cal. In the third quarter, he pulled down a deflected pass for the interception, made a nice cut and then ran it back 56 yards for a touchdown. One quarter later? It was almost like watching Ellis on rewind -- he grabbed another deflected pass and this time sprinted 40 yards for the score. That's right, the linebacker picked off two passes for two touchdowns. His career interceptions total before the game? Zero. Give that man a helmet sticker. (Hey, Adam, can we get away with giving him two?)

Wisconsin running game: OK, UMass doesn't exactly boast the most dangerous defense. But in a soft opening conference slate, the Badgers impressed by having three running backs each rush for more than 100 yards. Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement ran behind a stout offensive line that allowed the trio to combine for 388 yards and average 9.7 yards per carry. Yes, the running backs nearly averaged a first down every time they touched the ball ... which is probably why Wisconsin won 45-0.

Penn State S/LB Stephen Obeng-Agyapong: He was expected to be a situational player at both positions but, when LB Mike Hull went down, Obeng-Agyapong took over -- and stepped up in a big way. Syracuse targeted the player, but the Orange just couldn't get the best of him. Last year's starting safety ran the gamut of defensive stats by finishing with a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. (Oh, and he was third on tackles with 6.5.) Two of his turnovers directly led to six PSU points, and the Lions won 23-17. You don't need OG John Urschel to do the math here; Obeng-Agyapong was very important to PSU's victory.

Michigan State LB Jairus Jones and S Kurt Drummond: Take this pair away from the Spartans defense, and the team might not have experienced a happy ending in Week 1. Jones got the team started off on the right foot by intercepting a first-quarter Western Michigan pass and then having the awareness to lateral it to Drummond, who ran in for the defensive touchdown. Of course, neither was finished. Jones would go on to add another pick, while Drummond made a video game-esque play by using one hand to pluck the ball out of the air for a pick. If that play doesn't make an end-of-the-year highlight reel, there's no justice for these Spartans.

Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman: Double-teams were no problem for the fifth-year senior, and he showed he'll be one of the Big Ten's big play-makers this season. Midway through the third quarter, UNLV lined up for a 37-yard field goal to bring the game to within one score -- but Hageman was having none of it. He tore through the line and blocked the kick, while teammate Martez Shabazz returned it for a touchdown. All of a sudden, Minnesota led by 17 instead of just seven. Hageman also had five tackles and broke up a pass. He got plenty of pats on the back for his effort, and now he's also got a helmet sticker.

Pac-12 helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:00
AM ET
Oregon State QB Sean Mannion threw for 422 yards, and receiver Brandin Cooks had 13 catches for 196 yards in the Beavers' upset loss to Eastern Washington, but you don't get a helmet sticker when your team loses to an FCS foe.

So who does?

Andy Phillips, K, Utah: This might be the best story of the week, as Phillips, a former U.S. alpine skier who had never played competitive football before his kickoff against Utah State, kicked field goals of 45, 19 and 38 yards and was perfect on three extra points in the Utes' 30-26 victory. Oh, and he perfectly executed an onside kick that might have been the biggest play of the game. See this video.

Dion Bailey, S, USC: Bailey's switch back to his native position of safety from linebacker paid off against Hawaii. He led the Trojans' defense with seven tackles, a sack and an interception in their 30-13 victory.

Keith Price, QB, Washington: A poor 2012 season is officially old news for Price. In the Huskies' 38-6 win over No. 19 Boise State, he completed 23 of 31 passes for 324 yards with a pair of touchdowns, which gave him 56 for his career, a new school record, eclipsing Cody Pickett. He also rushed for 25 yards. His efficiency rating of 176.8 would have led the nation in 2012.

Washington's defense: The Huskies held Boise State to their lowest point total since 1997 (a 58-0 loss to Washington State). The Broncos gained only 3.9 yards per play. Their longest running play from scrimmage was 18 yards. The Huskies are paying second-year coordinator Justin Wilcox a lot of money. He is worth it.

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: Hundley completed 22 of 33 passes for 274 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the Bruins' 58-20 win over Nevada. He also rushed for 63 yards on seven carries with two TDs. The Bruins' offense, guided by Hundley, gained 647 yards.

Chris Harper, WR, California: Harper caught 11 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears' 44-30 loss to Northwestern.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Marriota rushed for 113 yards and two TDs on just five carries -- 22.6 per rush -- and passed for 234 yards and a score in the Ducks' 66-3 blowout win over Nicholls State.

Tra'Mayne Bondurant, S, Arizona: Bondurant had two interceptions in the Wildcats' 35-0 won over Northern Arizona, including one he returned 23 yards for a touchdown. He also tied for the team lead with seven tackles, adding one for a loss.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:00
AM ET
College football is back, and these were the ACC's top five performers from Week 1:

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd: There's plenty of credit to go around for Clemson. Sammy Watkins re-emerged as one of the nation's top receivers with six catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. Roderick McDowell ran with a purpose, tallying 132 yards on the ground. Vic Beasley and the Clemson D managed to hold their own, pushing around the Georgia O-line for long stretches. But it was Boyd who was the real star. The senior cemented his place in the Heisman discussion, throwing for 270 yards, running for 42 more and accounting for five touchdowns. He was the difference in a game that lived up to enormous advanced billing.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown: What a difference a year makes at quarterback for the Terps, eh? Last year, the merry-go-round featured five different QBs, including one who was really a linebacker. But with Brown finally healthy, the Maryland offense looked dynamic in an easy win over FIU. Brown accounted for five touchdowns in the first half, ran for more than 100 yards and threw for nearly 300.

Georgia Tech's defense: OK, so Elon probably wasn't the biggest test Paul Johnson's crew will get this year, but the Yellow Jackets' 70-0 win was as dominant as it gets -- setting a new ACC record for the most lopsided win in conference history. There were plenty of accolades to go around, but special attention should go to the defense, which recorded two long INT returns for touchdowns in its first game under new coordinator Ted Roof.

Wake Forest wide receiver Jonathan Williams: With top receiver Michael Campanaro missing the game while nursing a hamstring injury, the freshman filled in to the tune of five catches for 143 yards. Wake trailed after the first quarter as the offense struggled, but Williams helped ignite the Deacons' attack with receptions of 42 and 53 yards. The latter helped set up a second-quarter touchdown that effectively crushed Presbyterian's upset hopes.

Miami running back Duke Johnson: There were no questions about the potential of Miami's dynamic running back entering 2013, but Johnson didn't waste any time proving why people are excited about the Hurricanes' offense. Johnson set career highs with 19 carries and 186 yards (with a touchdown) in spite of finding a spot on the bench in the third quarter. Oh, and he added a 38-yard reception for good measure.

SEC helmet stickers: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:00
AM ET
The first week of the season is in the books in the SEC, and it’s time to pass out some helmet stickers:

Arkansas’ offensive line: There were several candidates on Arkansas’ offense in the Hogs' 34-14 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins each rushed for more than 100 yards. Quarterback Brandon Allen passed for 230 yards and three touchdowns and was sacked only once. When you’re putting up those kinds of numbers on offense and creating that kind of balance, then you’re obviously getting it done on the offensive line. The Hogs finished with 292 rushing yards, their most since churning out 326 yards against UTEP in 2010. First-year coach Bret Bielema is all about a physical running game and was especially complimentary of center Travis Swanson and the way he was able to pull on some plays.

James Franklin, QB, Missouri: Looking healthy and very much in command, Franklin rolled up 362 yards of total offense in leading Missouri to a 58-14 rout of Murray State. Franklin, who struggled through an injury-plagued junior season, finished 26-of-38 for 318 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed six times for 44 yards. It was the most yards he’s accounted for in a game since racking up 392 yards against Baylor in 2011. The best news for Mizzou fans is that Franklin looked a lot more like the 2011 version of himself than he did the 2012 version.

Christion Jones, WR/RS, Alabama: Jones became the first Alabama player in history to score two special teams touchdowns in one game. The junior receiver returned a kickoff 94 yards and a punt 72 yards for touchdowns. He also got into the act on offense by catching a 38-yard touchdown pass. Jones became the first major college football player to score a touchdown on a punt return, kickoff return and pass reception in the same game since Kentucky’s Derek Abney in 2002.

Jeff Scott, RB, Ole Miss: He might be small in stature (5-foot-7 and 167 pounds), but Scott delivered a mammoth play Thursday in the Rebels' 39-35 win over Vanderbilt. The senior running back left everybody in his wake on an electrifying 75-yard touchdown run with 1:07 to play, answering a Vanderbilt touchdown only seconds earlier. Scott finished with 138 rushing yards on 12 carries and averaged 11.5 yards per rush. He also caught four passes for 25 yards.

Robenson Therezie, S, Auburn: Starting in place of the injured Justin Garrett at the hybrid “star” position in the Tigers’ 4-2-5 defense, Therezie intercepted two passes and had seven total tackles in Auburn’s 31-24 win over Washington State. Therezie’s final interception was a leaping grab in the end zone with Washington State driving for the potential game-tying score in the final five minutes. He returned his first interception 24 yards to the Washington State 28 to set up Auburn’s first touchdown. Therezie’s two interceptions in the opener matched Auburn’s total from all of last season.

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