NCF Nation: Travis Carrie

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Keys

December, 16, 2011
You've seen the prediction. Now it's time to look at the keys for Ohio and Utah State in Saturday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho.

Ohio (9-4)

1. Stop the run. Utah State boasts the nation's No. 6 rushing attack. Linebacker Noah Keller has shown a nose for the ball all season long, specifically with a monster performance in the MAC title game (13 tackles, 0.5 sacks, forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception). A repeat performance here would be bad news for the Aggies.

2. Find LaVon Brazill. Running with so many different players out of the backfield helps when you have a 1,000-yard receiver, which Ohio did this season for the first time in school history. Brazill, the school's all-time leading receiver (2,403 yards), lines up everywhere and can create problems for a Utah State defense that will already have its hands full trying to defend the pistol formation.

3. Leave the past behind. Bowl games often come down to which team is more interested in being there. Ohio led 20-0 at halftime of the MAC title game and was 30 minutes from its first conference title in 43 years before falling to Northern Illinois. The Bobcats must put the bitterness of that defeat behind and not get caught off-guard Saturday by the Aggies.

Utah State (7-5)

1. Be gap-disciplined. Ohio runs its offense out of the pistol formation and has multiple rushing threats, particularly quarterback Tyler Tettleton and Donte Harden. The Aggies and their 3-4 front must stick to their assignments or the Bobcats will make them pay on the ground.

2. Watch Travis Carrie. The junior cornerback is a playmaker, accounting for three plays of 34 or more yards this season. He has four interceptions for 81 yards, is tied for 18th in the nation in passes defended (1.23 per game) and has a punt return for a touchdown.

3. Embrace the opportunity. A 2-5 start and three unimaginable losses early gave way to a five-game winning streak to end the regular season, with Utah State winning each game by seven points or less. The Aggies have finally developed a knack for pulling out tight games and are making their first postseason appearance in 14 years, something that can't be overlooked.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

September, 5, 2011
Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference. The independents are selected by a national panel of writers.

Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 38-34 win over UCLA in his first game since tearing his ACL last year.

Defense: Cordarro Law, DL, Southern Miss. Had eight tackles (two solos) and added two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss in Southern Miss’ win over Louisiana Tech.

Special Teams: Robert Kelley, PR, Tulane. Set a school-record for kickoff return yards in his first game for the school, with 213 yards on seven returns.

Kriss Proctor, QB, Navy. Ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard scoring sprint on the third play from scrimmage, in a win over Delaware.

Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Recorded a career-high 12 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to USF. Floyd set the school record for career receptions and now has 183.

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU. With his team trailing 13-6, Van Noy caused a fumble that he also recovered, taking it 3 yards into the end zone for the decisive score in a 14-13 win over Ole Miss.

Special teams: Jon Teague, K, Navy. Set a career and Navy record with a 54-yard field goal. Teague added a 36-yard field goal and was 4-of-5 on extra points.

East Division

Offense: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple. Had 20 carries for 147 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns in a win over Villanova. Pierce became the third player in Temple history to record 10 games of 100 yards rushing.

Defense: Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green. Had tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and safety in a win over Idaho.

Special Teams: Travis Carrie, PR, Ohio. Had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 44-24 win at New Mexico State.

West Division

Offense: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois. Threw a career-high five touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and a score in a 49-26 victory over Army on Saturday.

Defense: Nathan Ollie, DT, Ball State. Had four tackles, including two sacks, in a 27-20 win over Indiana.

Special Teams: Ryan Casano, PK, Toledo. Made all three field goals and seven extra points for 16 points in a 58-22 win over New Hampshire.

Mountain West
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State. Completed 28-of-34 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 5 Boise State to a 35-21 win over No. 19 Georgia.

Defense: Nordly Capi, DE, Colorado State. Set a new NCAA single-game record with four forced fumbles in a 14-10 victory at New Mexico. His fourth forced fumble of the contest helped the Rams preserve their first conference victory. He added seven tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks .

Special teams: Greg McCoy, KR, TCU. Set a new TCU single-game record with 229 kick return yards a 50-48 loss at Baylor. His total ranks fourth in Mountain West history.

Sun Belt
T.Y. Hilton, WR, FIU. Had 283 all-purpose yards, 12 shy of his own school record, in a win over North Texas. The 283 yards were the most by any player in the country in Week 1.

Defense: Eric Russell, DB, Middle Tennessee. Led the team with 13 tackles, including 11 solo, and got his first career sack in a loss at Purdue. He also had an interception and was the main kick and punt returner for the team.

Special Teams: Hendrix Brakefield, P, Western Kentucky. Averaged 44.6 yards per kick on eight punts in a loss to Kentucky. Of his eight punts, three went for over 50 yards -- including a 58 yarder. He also had two punts downed inside the 10.

Bryant Moniz, QB, Hawaii. Moniz completed 20-of-33 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown while adding a career-high 121 rushing yards on 14 carries with three more scores in a win over Colorado.

Defense: Paipai Falemalu, DL, Hawaii. Had six tackles (five solo), including three for a loss, in a win over Colorado.

Special teams: Taveon Rogers, KR, New Mexico State. Returned four kickoffs for 177 yards -- including a 97-yard touchdown -- in a loss to Ohio. Rogers had a total of 259 all-purpose yards.