NCF Nation: James Aho
Offense: UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey. Went 15-of-19 for 294 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown, giving him 399 yards of total offense in a 40-33 win against Houston. It was just the second 100-yard rushing game by a UCF quarterback in school history.
Defense: UCF linebacker Josh Linam. Had 17 tackles, 1.5 for a loss and a pass breakup against Houston. It more than doubled his previous career-high of seven.
Special Teams: Tulsa kick returner Damaris Johnson. Totaled 322 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns in a 57-27 victory against Rice. Johnson became the Conference USA record-holder for career kickoff return yards with 3,054 yards and needs only 64 yards to become the NCAA’s all-time kick-off return leader.
Offense: Temple quarterback Mike Gerardi. Threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-10 win at Kent State. In four games, Gerardi has three starts and is 54-of-81 for 871 yards and eight touchdowns.
Defense: Ohio defensive lineman Stafford Gatling. Recorded six tackles, including 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss with a forced fumble in a 34-17 win against Buffalo.
Special teams: Kent State punter Matt Rinehart. Averaged 48.4 yards on seven punts in a 28-10 loss to Temple. Rinehart had a pair of punts downed inside the 5-yard line as the Flashes averaged an impressive 48.1 net average.
Offense: Ball State receiver Jack Tomlinson. Had a career day with seven catches for 175 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-30 double overtime win against Akron.
Defense: Central Michigan linebacer Armond Staten. Recorded 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and three forced fumbles in a 26-22 win against Western Michigan.
Special teams: Ball State kicker Ian McGarvey. Made three field goals and four extra points against Akron.
Offense: TCU quarterback Andy Dalton. Went 21-of-26 for a career-high 355 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-7 win at No. 5 Utah. His 93-yard touchdown pass to Josh Boyce marked the second-longest play in MWC history.
Co-Defensive Players: TCU linebacker Tanner Brock and San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris. Brock had a career-high 12 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup in the win against Utah. Burris had a career-high 10 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles in a 24-19 victory against Colorado State.
Special teams: New Mexico kicker James Aho. Kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired to help New Mexico stop a nine-game losing streak with a 34-31 win against Wyoming. He also made a career-best 51-yard attempt.
Offense: FIU receiver T.Y. Hilton. Had 291 all-purpose yards, scoring four touchdowns in a 42-35 win in double overtime against ULM. He had two receiving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one kickoff return for a touchdown.
Defense: Arkansas State linebacker Demario Davis. Had seven tackles and a career-high two interceptions in a 51-24 victory against Middle Tennessee.
Special teams: Hilton. Had 168 kick return yards, including 95 on a touchdown return. The return was his fourth-career return for touchdown, tying him for first all-time at FIU.
Offense: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. Went 30-of-37 for a career-high 507 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-7 win against Hawaii. The 507 yards are the second most by any player in the nation this year.
Defense: Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner. Tied a career-high with 17 tackles in a 27-22 win against New Mexico State.
Special teams: Louisiana Tech return specialist Phillip Livas. Returned seven kickoffs for 225 yards, including a 95-yarder for a touchdown, and a punt for another 29 yards in a loss to Fresno State.
2. If good teams find a way to win, then you know what bad teams do. The stats say that New Mexico is playing better football. Against No. 22 BYU, New Mexico didn’t turn the ball over, converted 10 of 20 third downs and held the ball for more than 35 minutes. But sophomore kicker James Aho, who came into the game 9-of-14 on field goal attempts, hit the uprights against the Cougars -- three times. That’s how New Mexico remained winless. Ouch.
3. I know that Oklahoma has had offensive issues. I know that quarterback Landry Jones is in his first season and needs every snap he can get. And 9:46 remained in the game when he threw his fifth touchdown pass, a 10-yarder, against Texas A&M. Still, the Sooners’ starting quarterback threw a touchdown pass with the score 58-10. There has got to be someone on the scout team who could have used the work, too.
Arkansas State kicker Josh Arauco headlines a list of 10 players from the nonautomatic qualifying schools who were named to the Lou Groza Award watch list on Wednesday.
Arauco was a finalist for last year's award but was edged out by Florida State's Graham Gano.
Two players from the current non-AQ schools have won the award -- Tulane's Seth Marler (2001) and TCU's Michael Reeder (1995).
Utah's Louie Sakoda also was a finalist last season.
The Award will be presented on Dec. 10, 2009, as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards program. The three finalists will be honored at the 18th annual Lou Groza Award Banquet to be held at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on Dec. 8.
2009 LOU GROZA AWARD WATCH LIST
Josh Arauco, Arkansas State
James Aho, New Mexico
Kyle Brotzman, Boise State
Ross Evans, TCU
Clark Fangmeier, Rice
Sam Glusman, Troy
Kevin Goessling, Fresno State
Ben Hartman, East Carolina
Mike Salerno, Northern Illinois
Alex Steigerwald, Toledo