NCF Nation: helmet-stickers-100811

SEC helmet stickers

October, 9, 2011
It's time to look back at the players who were truly exceptional on Saturday. We're going quarterback-heavy in this one, folks:

Todd Grantham, defensive coordinator, Georgia: Hats off to Grantham and his defense in a 20-12 win. The Bulldogs had to prepare to face one of the league's biggest arms in Tennessee's Tyler Bray. Georgia stood tall and held Bray to zero touchdowns Saturday. It was the first time in 10 games that Bray didn't have at least two touchdown passes. Georgia's defense has only given up 10 touchdowns in six games this year and held Tennessee to minus-20 rushing yards. Players are really starting to get it on defense and are playing a lot more instinctively in Grantham's 3-4 this year.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama: He's getting better every game and sliced up one of the league's best secondaries in Alabama's 34-0 win. Vanderbilt had allowed three passing touchdowns heading into Saturday and McCarron got four, along with 237 passing yards. He also went through the night without an interception against a defense that had 14 heading into the game. McCarron also spread the ball around more in this game, completing passes to six different targets.

Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina: Shaw made his first start since the opener and totally turned the Gamecocks' offense around in a 54-3 win against Kentucky. Shaw finished the day with a game-high 311 yards and four touchdowns. He didn't throw an interception and threw just 13 incomplete passes. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier definitely made the right choice in benching Stephen Garcia for Shaw. The offense found a passing game and rhythm under its new quarterback.

Tramain Thomas, S, Arkansas: Thomas was a key part of an Arkansas defense that dominated Auburn's passing game in a 38-14 victory. Thomas finished the game with nine tackles and a career-high two interceptions, including a long of 48 yards. He became the first Arkansas player to have two picks in a game since 2007. This is the same Thomas who was yanked in the second half of the Alabama game because of his poor play, but he was too much for Auburn on Saturday night.

Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State: Russell came in after the half after Mississippi State was down 3-0 to UAB and sparked a woeful Bulldogs offense with three passing touchdowns and 166 yards to help the Bulldogs win 21-3. He completed 11 of 13 passes and didn't register a turnover. Russell was as cool as he could be out there and without him, Mississippi State might not have moved the ball much more in the second half.
Recognizing the best and the brightest from Week 6 in the Big Ten:

  • Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase: It was another big week for Scheelhaase, who had four total touchdowns in a 41-20 win over Indiana. Scheelhaase passed for 210 yards and three scores (two of them on long plays to A.J. Jenkins). He also rushed for 88 yards, reaching the end zone on a naked bootleg run.
  • Penn State's defense: No unit in the Big Ten has been more heroic this season than the Nittany Lions' D, which has repeatedly rescued an inefficient offense and overcome key personnel losses. Tom Bradley's group saved its best performance for Saturday against longtime nemesis Iowa, recording three second-half takeaways and holding the Hawkeyes to just three points in a game for the first time since 2005. Devon Still and Jordan Hill led the way up front, and Penn State also received big performances from linebacker Gerald Hodges and cornerback Malcolm Willis in the 13-3 victory.
  • Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead: The Huskers wisely made Burkhead a bigger part of the offense against Ohio State, and it paid off during a furious second-half rally that resulted in a 34-27 win. Burkhead racked up 108 rush yards and a touchdown and 30 receiving yards and a touchdown after halftime as Nebraska mounted the biggest comeback in team history. The junior finished with 178 total yards and two scores. Quarterback Taylor Martinez and linebacker Lavonte David also merit mentions here.
  • Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus: The Big Ten's sack leader caused more havoc in a 41-20 win against Indiana. He finished with three sacks and four total tackles for loss while forcing a pair of fumbles, one of which teammate Tavon Wilson returned for a touchdown.
  • Michigan QB Denard Robinson: Sure, Robinson threw three interceptions in the first half. But he more than made up for it. Robinson threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 117 yards and two more scores in a 42-24 win at Northwestern.

Notre Dame helmet stickers: Week 6

October, 9, 2011
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Lots of praise to go around after this one, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Let's get right to it.

Theo Riddick: The much-maligned receiver stepped up in a big way Saturday, catching eight passes for 83 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 14 yards on his only carry. Riddick finally showed what he is capable of and quieted concerns around his early-season performance.

Tyler Eifert: When will defenses figure him out? The tight end once again was a favorite target of Tommy Rees, especially on third downs. Eifert finished with eight catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Michael Floyd: Another typical day for the senior receiver, who has already re-written the Notre Dame record books. His spectacular 34-yard touchdown catch on the opening drive got the Irish on the board early, and he finished with six catches for 78 yards. He even was back to return a pair of punts as well.

Jonas Gray: Saturday's Irish game captain chipped in with another strong performance, scoring two touchdowns and finishing with 69 yards on just seven carries. Gray, a senior, had no career touchdowns going into Pitt two weeks ago and now has four.

Andrew Hendrix: Most figured he'd see his first game action after Brian Kelly's hint during the coach's radio show Thursday, but few saw this kind of performance coming. Hendrix, a sophomore, rushed for 111 yards on six carries, going 78 yards on one fourth-quarter run before being tripped up and falling at the 2-yard line. Hendrix also completed all four of his pass attempts for 33 yards.

Tommy Rees: We can't forget the man who directed this offensive onslaught. The sophomore quarterback built off his big performance last week at Purdue by directing Notre Dame touchdown drives on the Irish's first six possessions. He finished 23-of-32 for 261 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Manti Te'o: The junior linebacker was once again his usual self, which is good news for Notre Dame. Te'o finished with 10 tackles, 2.5 for loss, and nearly came up with a pick as well.

Jamoris Slaughter: The safety made his presence felt on Air Force's first offensive play, forcing Jonathan Warzeka to fumble and later picking off Tim Jefferson in the second quarter. Slaughter added six tackles and a pass break-up as well. Neither defense was very productive statistically, but forcing key turnovers early helped spring this game open.

Big East helmet stickers: Week 6

October, 8, 2011
How about a few helmet stickers for a job well done:

Antwon Bailey, RB, Syracuse. Bailey had 111 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in a 37-34 win over Tulane. But more importantly, he had a huge hand in the game-winning 12-play 66-yard final drive. Bailey was involved in eight of those plays for 45 yards, ripping off big gains to get Syracuse into position to win in regulation.

Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia. Bailey had seven catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-16 win over UConn for his school-record fourth straight 100-yard receiving game. His 84-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was the school's longest since Tito Gonzales’ 79-yard touchdown reception from Pat White against Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. It also was the fifth-longest from scrimmage in program history.

Justin Francis, DT, Rutgers. Francis was all over the field in a 34-10 win over Pitt, with career highs in tackles (eight) and tackles-for-loss (four). He also tied a career high with two sacks, and was credited with three quarterback hurries. Francis led a Rutgers defense that had six total sacks, six quarterback hurries, and held Pitt to a season-low with 10 points.

Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Smith finished 27-of-45 for 450 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-16 win over UConn. It was his second 400-yard game of the season. His passing yards are the second-best single game total of his career and in program history, while his four touchdown passes tied a career high. Smith now has 5,231 career passing yards, moving past Major Harris (1987-89, 5,173) into sixth on the school's all-time passing yards list. He also tied Harris for sixth in career touchdowns with 41.

Big 12 helmet stickers: Week 6

October, 8, 2011
Time to hand out a few awards for a job well done throughout today.

Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor: Ganaway averaged 8.3 yards per carry on his 27 carries for 200 yards and three touchdowns as Baylor beat Iowa State, 49-26. That was a career high for the 240-pounder, and the Bears needed a big day from him. He provided it with a career high.

Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones topped 300 yards and threw three touchdown passes in the first half alone as the Sooners rolled the Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl, 55-17. He exposed Texas' secondary and made all the right plays at all the right times in a near-flawless day for the junior. (Golden) Hat's off.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: I don't think I've ever seen a quarterback's day end before halftime. With five minutes left in the second quarter, though, that's where Weeden sat. He racked up 288 yards and five touchdowns on 24-of-28 passing in Oklahoma State's 70-28 win over Kansas. The Jayhawks scored first, and then Oklahoma State scored 56 consecutive points before halftime.

Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M: Gray has been a little bit quiet the past two weeks, but returned to the triple digits with 115 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in Texas A&M's 45-40 win over Texas Tech.

Collin Klein/John Hubert, QB/RB, Kansas State: It's hard to pick between these two, so I'll give it to both. Klein scored three touchdowns, but Hubert ran for 126 yards on 26 carries to help Kansas State beat Missouri, 24-17 and move to 5-0. What a start for the Wildcats.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 6

October, 8, 2011
Here are your top five performers in the ACC for Week 6:

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech: Wow. It was an MVP performance from Thomas, who completed 23 of 25 passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns, and ran for two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the Hokies’ 35-30 win over Miami. His 19-yard touchdown run with 56 seconds remaining put the Hokies ahead and kept them in the mix to win the Coastal Division title. It was a breakout performance by Thomas and the Hokies’ offense.

Miami running back Lamar Miller: Wow II. It was a valiant effort despite the loss, as Miller ran for 166 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, averaging 9.2 yards per carry. His 30-yard run with 2:51 left in the game closed the gap to 35-31 and gave the Canes a chance to win. He also caught three passes for 23 yards and a touchdown. It was the fifth-straight game he eclipsed the 100-yard mark, becoming just the fourth Hurricane to accomplish the feat, joining Edgerrin James (7), Willis McGahee (6) and Clinton Portis (6).

Wake Forest: The Deacs are 3-0 for the first time in the league’s 58-year history. Stickers for everyone. It’s Wake’s best start since going 5-0 in 2006 and the program ended a streak of five straight losses against ranked opponents. It’s impossible to single out one person, as the defense forced five turnovers and the offense rolled up 391 yards en route to the Deacs’ 35-30 upset of Florida State. It was the most points Wake has ever scored against FSU. Wake has now won four of the last six against FSU and has won four straight games, its longest winning streak since 2007.

Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro: It was a career day for Catanzaro, who made all five field goal attempts in the Tigers’ 36-14 win over Boston College. He made kicks of 38 yards, 42 yards, 18 yards, 20 yards and 47 yards.

Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington: He didn't have his best passing day (6-for-19, 114 yards) but he rushed a career-high 32 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the 21-16 win over Maryland. It was the second time in Washington's career he has passed and thrown for more than 100 yards.