NCF Nation: helmet stickers 5
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Handing out awards in Notre Dame's 37-30 overtime win over Washington on Saturday:
- Golden Tate, WR: The junior had nine catches for a career-high 244 yards and a touchdown and added a 31-yard reverse.
- Jimmy Clausen, QB: Still battling through his turf toe injury, Clausen completed 23-of-31 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception.
- Robert Hughes, RB: Stepping in for an injured Armando Allen, Hughes ran eight times for 70 yards and the winning touchdown in overtime. He also converted a key two-point try late in the fourth quarter through sheer effort.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
How else do you say it? Just a crazy weekend of football in the SEC, the kind of stuff we're probably going to see for the rest of the season. It's great for the fans, but nerve-racking for the coaches. This league is a beast, and the race for the title is as wide open now as it was when we started on Aug. 30. That said, let's hand out some helmet stickers:
Alabama's offensive/defensive lines: There might be more decorated offensive lines in the country, and there might be more talented offensive lines in the country, even though that's debatable when you consider thatAndre Smith and Antoine Caldwell are the centerpieces of this unit. Regardless, it's hard to imagine that anybody is playing any better right now than Alabama is up front on both lines of scrimmage. The Crimson Tide's 41-30 mauling of Georgia was just another reminder of where games are won and lost in this league. Through five games, Alabama has now rushed for 1,076 yards and its opponents 270 yards. That's what you call kicking some serious fanny.
Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss: With Hardy healthy and back in the lineup, Ole Miss is capable of beating anybody. The Rebels' 31-30 win over No. 4-ranked Florida at the Swamp is a testament to that. Hardy was a big reason Ole Miss never allowed Tim Tebow to get going on the ground and held him to 7 yards on 15 carries. Hardy finished with two-and-a-half tackles for loss and was also credited with a quarterback hurry. After undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot during the preseason and missing the first three games, Hardy is working his way back into being the player that led the SEC in sacks a year ago.
Charles Scott, RB, LSU: They're calling Charles Scott the 100-yard man down on the Bayou. The LSU junior running back topped 100 yards rushing for the fourth straight game. Scott finished with 141 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns in LSU's 34-24 win over Mississippi State. He now has 535 yards and six touchdowns and is the first LSU player sinceCharles Alexander in 1978 to open the season with four straight 100-yard games.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
An exciting first weekend of Big Ten play is in the books. Penn State has established itself as the class of the conference, while Ohio State could be surging soon behind Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor. Michigan resurrected its season, while Northwestern and Michigan State continue to roll.
Helmet sticker time.
Penn State WR Derrick Williams -- The senior became the first Penn State player under coach Joe Paterno to rush for a touchdown, catch a touchdown pass and score on a special teams return in the same game. Williams made six catches for 75 yards and had a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that put Penn State up 31-17 in the fourth quarter. Williams is averaging 36 yards per runback this season.
Michigan State RB Javon Ringer -- By this point, this guy deserves his own custom-designed helmet sticker. Ringer continued his feverish pace against Indiana, rushing for 198 yards and a touchdown on 44 carries. Ringer's 681 rushing yards in the last three games marks the best three-game stretch for a Spartans running back in team history.
Michigan's defense -- Too many contributors on this unit to pick just one. The Wolverines survived myriad miscues by the offense and performed in pressure situations in a historic comeback against No. 9 Wisconsin. From defensive end Brandon Graham (3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) to nose tackle Terrance Taylor (8 tackles, fumble recovery) to linebacker John Thompson (INT return for touchdown), Michigan's defense stepped up big.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Another tough week selecting the best of the Big 12's best. But their efforts on Saturday set them apart.
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford and WR Manny Johnson: Bradford passed for a career-best 411 yards on 19-of-34 passing with four TD passes to spark the Sooners' 35-10 victory over TCU. Johnson was the main recipient with five catches for a school-record 206 receiving yards and three TDs.
Texas QB Colt McCoy: Accounted for five TDs in the Longhorns' 52-10 victory over Arkansas. McCoy was 17-of-19 passing for 185 yards and three TDs and ran for two more scores on a game-high 84 yards rushing.
Kansas State QB Josh Freeman: Contributed five TDs in the Wildcats' 45-37 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. Freeman ran for two touchdowns and passed for 272 yards and three TDs, becoming KSU's career passing yardage leader.
Oklahoma S Lendy Holmes: Produced seven tackles (six solo), recovered two fumbles and made a touchdown-saving tackle on a kickoff to spark the Sooners' defensive effort against TCU.
Oklahoma State's offense: A collective sticker for a unit that rolled up 612 yards and reached 50 points for the third straight game in a 55-24 victory over Troy -- a defensive unit that came into the game ranked 11th nationally in total defense. Zac Robinson passed for 254 yards and three TDs, Dez Bryant added three TD grabs and Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston both topped 100 yards rushing.
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
Curtis Steele, RB, Memphis: Rushed for 203 yards, his second consecutive game over 100 yards and the first time since the 2005 season that a Memphis running back has rushed for back-to-back 100-yard games. The 203 yards is also the most for a Memphis back since 2005.
Case Keenum, QB, Houston: Completed 82 percent of his passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns in an upset win over No. 23 East Carolina. It was Houston's first win over a ranked opponent in 12 years.
Boston McCornell, LB, Western Michigan: Recovered a fumble on Temple's final drive to secure a 7-3 win on the road. He also led Western Michigan with 10 tackles (six solo) and a forced fumble.
Chase Clement, QB and Jarett Dillard, WR, Rice: Clement threw three touchdown passes to Dillard to give the duo 41 career touchdown passes and set an NCAA record for the most TD passes between a QB/WR duo.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Here's a look at the ACC's top performers from Week 5:
UNC quarterback Cam Sexton -- He stepped up in the absence of injured starter T.J. Yates and led the Tar Heels to a 28-24 come-from-behind win over Miami. Sexton's 14-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds left helped erase a 14-point deficit. He completed 11 of 19 passes for 242 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Maryland's defense -- It woke up in the second half against Clemson and helped the Terps to a 20-17 win in Death Valley. After racking up 260 yards of total offense in the first half, Clemson was held to 112 in the second. The Tigers had 14 first downs in the first half, and five in the second. After combining for 193 rushing yards in the first half, James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined for 31 in the second.
Virginia Tech placekicker Dustin Keys -- The Hokies relied on Keys for four field goals at Nebraska in their 35-30 win over the Cornhuskers. Three of his kicks came in the second quarter to give Tech an 18-10 lead.
Florida State running back Antone Smith -- After a quiet night against Wake Forest, Smith woke up and rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns in a 39-21 win over previously undefeated Colorado. It was the Seminoles' first win against an FBS opponent this season.
BC running back Montel Harris -- The true freshman ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' 42-0 romp of Rhode Island, further asserting himself as the most productive option on offense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Another strange week for the Pac-10, but as always there were some notable performances.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley: The biggest challenge Oregon State faced before playing top-ranked USC was believing it could win. The second biggest challenge was coming up with a plan that could outflank the nation's most talented team. The third was executing that plan. So there are three things that Beavers coach Mike Riley accomplished this week.
Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers: That little guy you saw slicing and dicing USC's vaunted defense was a true freshman from Richmond, Texas. True freshman! But being young and inexperienced didn't stop Rodgers from looking like the best player on the field with 37 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard: It seems like every week there's speculation that Pritchard is going to lose his job. And his numbers have justified that speculation, to be honest. But Pritchard seemed to take a step forward against Washington, completing 16 of 24 passes for 222 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and zero sacks. Sure, the Huskies have one of the worst defenses in the nation, but Stanford will take a 3-2 record (2-1 Pac-10) that puts it halfway to bowl eligibility any way it can.
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Take a bow, boys, so we can slap some stickers on your hat.
Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut: Another week, another sticker for the nation's leading rusher. Brown had 190 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in UConn's 26-21 win over Louisville on Friday. He only needs 94 yards for 1,000 on the season, and we're not even into October yet.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Pittsburgh: LeSean McCoy had the gaudier stats with 149 yards. But Stephens-Howling did the hard running in the second half. He had 71 yards on 13 carries and scored two key touchdowns as Pitt rallied for a 34-24 victory at Syracuse.
Matt Grothe, QB, South Florida: Another helmet sticker staple, Grothe completed his first 11 passes and finished 20-of-29 for 259 yards and a touchdown in the Bulls' 41-10 dismantling of N.C. State. Grothe also led his team in rushing with 68 yards on nine carries.