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Big 12 helmet stickers: Week 3

September, 18, 2011
Time to hand out a few awards for some late-arriving action in the Big 12.

Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma: Stills made the biggest catch of the season thus far in the Big 12, hauling in a 37-yard touchdown pass over Florida State's Greg Reid on a jump ball in the fourth quarter. The game was tied, and Florida State had just erased a 10-point deficit. The crowd was the loudest it had been all night. And Stills came through. He finished with seven catches for 125 yards (both game highs) and a touchdown in OU's 23-13 win.

Henry Josey, RB, Missouri: Josey was the last man standing in Mizzou's banged-up backfield, and ran for an insane 263 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries. Unreal. That's an average of 18.8 yards per carry and the Tigers led by 42 at halftime in the 69-0 win over Western Illinois.

Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege's day already got its own post, and this helmet sticker is a mere formality by now. He completed 40 of 44 passes for 401 yards and five scores in Texas Tech's 59-13 win over New Mexico. That's a completion percentage of 90.1 percent, which broke Tech QB Kliff Kingsbury's record.

Darius Reynolds, WR, Iowa State: Reynolds was the Cyclones' top performer, and, like Stills, came through in huge spots for the Cyclones. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 20-yard catch-and-run that featured a hurdle over two defenders on the way to the end zone. He also caught a 40-yard touchdown pass on a trick play. He finished with four catches for 128 yards and two scores in Iowa State's 24-20 win over Connecticut on Friday night.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Two games, two helmet stickers for the Baylor QB. His night was done by the time weather abbreviated the Bears' 48-0 win over Stephen F. Austin, but he completed 20 of 22 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 78 yards on eight carries. Griffin now has eight touchdown passes and eight incompletions in two games. His offense has hung an average of 49 points a game, too.

SEC helmet stickers: Week 3

September, 18, 2011
It’s time to pass out some helmet stickers following Week 3 in the SEC:

Florida running back Chris Rainey: When the new Heisman Trophy lists come out, Rainey at least deserves to be in the conversation. What hasn’t he done for this Florida football team? In the 33-23 win over Tennessee, Rainey had the first 100-yard rushing and 100-yard receiving game of his career and also blocked his fifth career punt, a new Florida record. Rainey rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries and staked the Gators to a 30-7 lead in the third quarter with an 83-yard touchdown reception. He’s quickly becoming the most feared offensive weapon in the league.

LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis: He’s coached some suffocating defenses in his 17 seasons in the SEC as a defensive coordinator, but Chavis has this group playing as well as any defense in the country. The Tigers look like they’re playing with 12 players right now. They’re playing with an attitude, playing fast and playing like every play is its last. They haven’t given up a touchdown since the opener against Oregon and had 15 tackles for loss Thursday in the 19-6 win over Mississippi State.

Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy: The Commodores’ running game cranked out 281 yards in the 30-7 win over Ole Miss, and leading the way was Stacy with 169 of those yards. His 77-yard touchdown run gave Vanderbilt a 30-0 lead late in the third quarter and was the backbreaker for Ole Miss. Last week, it was Stacy’s 48-yard run that set up the Commodores’ game-winning field goal. First-year Vanderbilt coach James Franklin was looking for more pop on offense. He’s found it in Stacy, who averaged 15.4 yards per carry against the Rebels.

South Carolina spur linebacker Antonio Allen: In each of the first three games, Allen has made a game-turning defensive play. He scored defensive touchdowns the first two weeks and intercepted a Navy pass on Saturday in the final minutes to seal South Carolina’s 24-21 win. Allen led the Gamecocks with 10 tackles and also forced a fumble.

Alabama running back Trent Richardson: He now has eight touchdowns in his first three games and ripped off scoring runs of 71 and 58 yards Saturday in the 41-0 victory over North Texas. Richardson finished with 167 yards on 11 carries, and Alabama finished with 347 rushing yards as a team.

Pac-12 Helmet Stickers: Week 3

September, 18, 2011
Who gets a helmet sticker for a job well done (on a bad day for the Pac-12)?

Matt Barkley, USC: The Trojans QB completed 26 of 39 passes for 324 yards for five touchdowns with no interceptions in USC's 38-17 win over Syracuse.

Marquess Wilson, Washington State: The Cougars receiver caught six passes for 236 yards and two TDs in a 42-24 loss at San Diego State.

LaMichael James, Oregon: The Ducks running back rushed for 204 yards on 12 carries with three TDs with a long of 90 yards, which obscured a 50-yard TD run. Hey, it was during a 56-7 win over Missouri State, but still... a 50 and 90 yard run?

James Johnson, Washington: The Huskies receiver, who suffered a sophomore slump in 2010, caught six passes for 108 yards with two touchdowns in the 51-38 loss at Nebraska.

The Cal defense: We give the Bears defense a helmet sticker so folks will know it didn't yield a point in the 63-12 win over Presbyterian. Those points came on a pick-6 and a blocked punt. The Bears defense yielded three first downs and 48 total yards.

John White, Utah: The Utes' running back rushed for 174 yards on 22 carries with three TDs in a 54-10 win over rival BYU. That's an average of 7.9 yards per rush.

Rodney Stewart, Colorado: The Colorado running back rushed 19 times for 98 yards and caught seven passes for 93 yards in the Buffaloes' 28-14 win over Colorado State.

Levine Toilolo, Stanford: The Cardinal tight end caught four passes for 102 yards with a touchdown in the win 37-10 win over Arizona.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 3

September, 18, 2011
It was a good showing for the ACC, which went 2-2 against ranked opponents at home this weekend, and two conference wins for North Carolina and Duke. Plenty of top performers to choose from, but here are your top five:

Clemson's offense: It's impossible to choose one star from a cast that racked up 624 yards and beat the defending national champ Auburn 38-24 on Saturday. The Tigers snapped Auburn's 17-game winning streak, and started the season 3-0 for the first time since 2007. Quarterback Tajh Boyd had a stellar day, completing 30 of 42 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns. Sammy Watkins finished with 10 catches for 155 yards, both school records for a freshman. The Tigers had 32 first downs and was 14-of-18 on third downs. Wow.

Miami running back Lamar Miller: He ran for 184 yards on 26 carries in the Canes' 24-6 upset of Ohio State. He got 54 of those yards on Miami's first play from scrimmage, and the Canes' ability to run the ball was a big difference in the game. Miller rushed nine times for 115 yards in the first quarter, the first time a Cane rushed for more than 100 yards in a quarter since Damien Berry gained 108 yards in the Oct. 10, 2009 matchup with FAMU.

UNC running back Giovani Bernard: He had runs of 29 and 40 yards en route to 102 on just 12 carries in UNC's 28-17 win over Virginia. Bernard led a ground game that finished with 222 total rushing yards. It was his first career 100-yard rushing game, and it came against a Coastal Division opponent. He averaged 8.5 yards per carry.

Duke quarterback Sean Renfree: He tied a school record with 40 completions and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with just under 10 minutes left to lead Duke to a 20-19 victory over Boston College. Renfree threw 52 times for 359 yards and two touchdowns to Conner Vernon.

Florida State's defense: It was a highlight in the 23-13 defeat, as FSU came up with two goal line stands and held the No. 1-ranked Sooners to 310 yards -- their fewest since Nov. 21, 2009, in a road loss to Texas Tech. The Noles also held Oklahoma to one touchdown in five trips to the red zone, and 2.8 yards per rush.
Decorating the hats of the top Big Ten performers from Week 3:
  • Iowa QB James Vandenberg: Through most of the first three quarters, Vandenberg struggled and didn't look like he'd get anywhere near this list. Then the junior rebooted and helped his team score four touchdowns in the final 16:16 as Iowa beat Pitt 31-27. Vandenberg ran for the first one and threw the next three, finishing 31-of-48 for 399 yards. He may have come of age as the Hawkeyes' leader with that comeback.
  • Illinois LB Jonathan Brown: Brown turned in a breakout performance for a pressuring Illini defense in the 17-14 win against No. 22 Arizona State. The sophomore recorded seven tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception as Illinois held Arizona State's offense to 28.5 points below its season average. An honorable mention goes to DE Whitney Mercilus (2 sacks, forced fumble).
  • Penn State LB Michael Mauti and DE Sean Stanley: The entire Nittany Lions defense saved the day against Temple, but Mauti and Stanley deserve kudos for their individual efforts. Mauti recorded three tackles for loss and an interception that set up Penn State's game-winning touchdown drive. Stanley recorded two forced fumbles, two tackles for loss and a sack as he gave Penn State a much-needed presence on the edge of the line.
  • Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson: Before long, Wilson will run out of room on his helmet. He's 3-for-3 in stickers now after another brilliant performance against Northern Illinois. Wilson was again displayed pinpoint accuracy and calm, completing 23-of-32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson finally did throw his first interception of the year on his last throw of the game, a meaningless play in the fourth quarter with his team up 42-7.
  • Minnesota QB Marqueis Gray: The Gophers needed their quarterback to step up and he answered the bell as the team finally notched its first win. Gray racked up 334 offensive yards (171 rush, 163 pass) and led five scoring drives. His 171 rush yards marked the most by a Minnesota QB in team history, and he became the first Gophers signal caller to run for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games since Billy Cockerham in 1999.

Big East helmet stickers

September, 18, 2011
How about helmet stickers for a job well done:

Cincinnati defense. Cincinnati keeps creating the turnovers in a big way. In their 59-14 win over Akron, the Bearcats became the first Big East team to score three defensive touchdowns since Miami scored on two interceptions and one fumble against West Virginia in a 41-10 victory on Sept. 23, 2000. The Bearcats' six forced turnovers are the most since forcing seven against Oregon State on Sept. 6, 2007.

Darrell Scott, RB, USF. Scott notched the first 100-yard rushing game of his USF career before halftime ended. He totaled 146 yards on 12 carries in a 70-17 win over Florida A&M. Scott scored four total touchdowns -- three rushing and one receiving -- and became the first player in school history to record both a rushing and receiving touchdown of more than 50 yards in a season.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. The true freshman came off the bench and led a spirited 24-17 win over rival Kentucky, the Cardinals' first victory over the Wildcats in five years. After starter Will Stein went down, Bridgewater came in and held the offense steady. He threw two touchdown passes and went 10-of-18 for 106 yards. Dominique Brown deserves mention, too, for running for 91 yards and averaging 6.5 yards a carry.

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. This may sound like a broken record, but Smith had yet another career day in a 37-31 win over Maryland. Smith finished with a career-best 388 passing yards on a career-best, and school record, 36 completions. His 49 passing attempts were also a career high and the fifth-best total in school history. The passing yardage is the second-best total in the past 10 years, and the seventh-best total in program history. Special note: Tavon Austin (122), Stedman Bailey (113) and Ivan McCartney (101) each had 100 yards receiving. It is the first time West Virginia had multiple 100-yard receivers since Shawn Foreman (115) and Khori Ivy (113) recorded the feat at Pitt on Nov. 27, 1998.

Notre Dame helmet stickers: Week 3

September, 17, 2011
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A Fighting Irish win means more helmet stickers to go around. And there were several key contributors who stood out for Notre Dame in its 31-13 win over Michigan State.

Robert Blanton: His fourth-quarter interception and ensuing return sealed the deal for the Irish. Just as importantly, he had three big tackles for loss, and six overall, helping the Irish secondary respond from a dismal fourth-quarter performance a week ago.

Manti Te'o: The linebacker finished with a game-high 12 tackles, moving all over the field and helping the Irish limit MSU's ground game to 29 measly yards on 23 carries.

George Atkinson III: The Irish finally got a big special teams play, and it was the freshman who stepped up to deliver it. Right after Sparty cut the lead to 7-3 early, Atkinson returned the kickoff 89 yards for the score, helping the Irish keep their distance throughout the rest of the game.

Michael Floyd: The numbers aren't what they were in Weeks 1 and 2, but Floyd's 84 yards on six catches -- including the 200th of his career -- led the Irish. Often drawing two men on him, Floyd opened things up for the rest of the Irish offense, as Tommy Rees spread the ball around much more efficiently his third time around.

Harrison Smith: Eight tackles, a near-pick at the end of the game and setting the tone for the defense throughout the week as the team's lone season captain earns Smith this sticker. Smith seemed to dictate the mentality of the unit in getting Notre Dame its first win of the season.