College FB '12 Dread News - Week 4

Posted September 29, 2012

They made, sold, and wore T-shirts with the number 18 printed on them. They draped the number 18 jersey over the bench on their sideline. Instead of having decals of the team logo on both sides of their helmets, a decal of the number 18 was placed on one side of them. Everything seemed to be in place ...... but then the game began.

In preparation for their team's first game since the tragic injury suffered by Devon Walker in Week 2, Tulane fans and players went to great lengths to show their love and support for their fellow student and teammate. Walker, a senior safety whose sick dreads are long enough to touch the #18 on the back of his jersey, has been in the hospital since breaking his neck while trying to make a tackle in a game at Tulsa on Sept. 8; and the Tulane family wanted to let him know that he and his family were still very much on their minds. Having accomplished that prior to last Saturday's game, it was hoped that the team would then provide the storybook finish by putting on an inspired performance and bringing home a victory. Unfortunately though, this ain't fiction. And given the current talent level of the Tulane team along with the fact that on the opposing sideline was a team from the SEC, the reality was that there was very little chance of bringing home a victory.

Tulane punted twice, botched a punt, and threw an INT on their first four possessions, and Mississippi responded with TD drives of 23, 77, 61, and 27 yards to take a 26-0 lead before the 1st quarter was done. The Rebels showed mercy on the Green Wave from then on, eventually settling for a 39-0 victory at the Superdome. Junior RB Jeff Scott rushed for 62 yards and 2 TD, and junior WR Ja-Mes Logan had a 14-yard TD run. Freshman S Trae Elston, making his first start, led the Rebels with 6 tackles (4-2), including 1 sack.

Making his first start for the Green Wave was freshman QB Devin Powell (photo below). But the way he was pressured almost every time he dropped back to pass, he reminded me of Larry Smith - the often sacked former Vanderbilt QB - only with longer dreads. Powell's game has a long way to go to match the quality of his dreads, and it won't ever match it if he doesn't get better blocking than he did on Saturday. He finished 22 for 41 for 145 yards with 3 INT and was sacked 3 times. Hopefully they'll keep him in the starting lineup in the weeks ahead, as the schedule eases a bit. Freshman S Darrion Monroe had 12 tackles (12-0) for Tulane, and sophomore RB Rob Kelley had 33 yards rushing on 14 carries.

It's been three weeks now and still no word yet on Walker's condition. That indicates to me that he is paralyzed. Hopefully I'm wrong about that. But if there had been any good news regarding his condition, we would have heard it by now.

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Most likely no team lost more sick dreads from their roster since last season than South Carolina. Rodney Paulk and Marty Markett were seniors. Lamar Scruggs transferred. Stephon Gilmore is now in the NFL. And Nick Jones cut off his dreads. And as far as I can tell, the roster was not replenished at all, as the 2012 recruiting class included no freshmen with dreads. Despite all that, the Gamecocks remain a team I make sure to watch every week. There are no fewer than 14 players with dreads on this year's team, a number exceeded by only LSU and Mississippi among SEC teams. Several of them played prominent roles as the Gamecocks improved to 4-0 with an easy 31-10 home victory over SEC newbie Missouri.

First up: Justice Cunningham. The 6-foot-4, 264-pound senior TE lost his helmet for the 2nd time this season (at least) on a play in the 2nd quarter and headed to the sideline as required (although it wasn't anywhere near as dramatic as when he had his helmet knocked off against Vanderbilt in Week 1). But he kept it on often enough to have the most productive single drive of his career. Not used to seeing a lot passes come his way, Justice caught 4 passes for 41 yards in a span of 5 plays on a drive late in the 1st quarter, one of which moved the ball to the 10-yard line and the last of which moved the ball to the Missouri 1. But they didn't let him finish his drive. Instead QB Connor Shaw tried to run it in himself and was stopped on both 3rd and 4th down, ending the drive with no points. No problem though. Next up: Ace Sanders.

After a 3-and-out by Mizzou, Sanders, the 5-8, 175-pound junior WR, put the Gamecocks right back in business with a highlight reel 49-yard punt return to the 4-yard line. That set up the first points of the game, scored by RB Marcus Lattimore on a 2-yard run two plays later. Sanders finished the game with 106 yards on 6 punt returns and had one more addition to his highlight reel with a nice over-the-shoulder catch for a 23-yard TD (photo below) with :24 to play until halftime that made the score 21-3.

On defense, senior S D.J.Swearinger was suspended for the game, but four players with dreads recorded tackles, led by senior LB Shaq Wilson, who had 7 tackles (3-4) and star sophomore DE Jadeveon Clowney, who had 4 tackles (2-2), including 1.5 sacks.

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Florida State had not allowed a TD in their first 3 games this season. But it took Clemson all of 86 seconds to find the end zone against the Seminoles, as junior WR DeAndre Hopkins got open deep for a 60-yard TD catch (photo below) on the Tigers' 5th snap of the game. But Hopkins, other than a play in the 2nd quarter where his helmet got knocked off, was quiet from then on, missing the dread stars list as he finished with 5 catches for 88 yards. After a good start, the whole Clemson team was quiet in the 2nd half, as Florida State roared back from a 28-14 deficit to whip the Tigers 49-37 at Tallahassee in a key early-season ACC Atlantic Division contest.

After Clemson kicked a FG in the 3rd quarter to lead 31-21, the Seminoles put on an awesome display, averaging nearly 10 yards a play on offense while holding the explosive Clemson offense without a 1st down for more than 18 minutes as they scored 28 consecutive points to take a 49-31 lead, Most of the damage was done by players without dreads, including outstanding freshman RB James Wilder. But a couple of players with dreads did contribute. After a TD on a trick play put Clemson ahead 28-14 early in the 3rd, FSU got the momentum back almost immediately with a 64-yard catch and run by freshman WR Kelvin Benjamin, setting up a TD three plays later. And junior WR Greg Dent chipped in with a career high 5 receptions for 72 yards. For the night FSU racked up 667 total yards on offense and held Clemson to a subpar 426. Star sophomore WR Sammy Watkins was almost no factor on offense, finishing with 37 yards rushing and 6 catches for only 24 yards. He did pass for a TD, hitting senior RB Andre Ellington for 52 yards on the previously-mentioned trick play. With 142 total yards, Ellington made the dread stars list.

ELSEWHERE

Freshman LB Eddie Johnson of Miami had a game-high 9 tackles (6-3, 0.5 TFL) as the Hurricanes survived a 36-0 run by Georgia Tech, coming back from a 36-19 deficit to get a key ACC road victory 42-36 in overtime ..... Junior WR Kenny Bell had an 85-yard TD catch on the 3rd play of the game, sending Alabama on their way to a 40-7 home victory over FAU ..... Junior RB Spencer Ware barely missed the dread stars list with 90 yards rushing and 2 catches for 44 yards as LSU struggled but beat Auburn 12-10; junior S Demetruce McNeal had 11 tackles (7-4, 1.5 TFL) for Auburn ..... Junior WR Jamill Smith had 7 catches for 74 yards and 1 TD for Ball State as the Cardinals, who defeated a Big 10 team last week (Indiana), beat a Big East team this week, edging South Florida 31-27 ..... Junior CB Dayonne Nunley had 9 tackles (6-3), 2 PBU, and his 1st INT of the season for the other Miami in a 27-16 home win over Massachusetts ..... And freshman RB Tevin King (photo below) missed the dread stars list (after making it the last two weeks) but did rush for 37 yards and 2 TD on 10 carries as Louisiana Tech topped the 50-point mark for the 3rd game in a row, smashing Iliniois 52-24.

IN THE FCS

I hope you did not miss the shootout in the CAA between New Hampshire and Old Dominion. I watched most of the game, and for the longest time it looked like ODU was not going to win. After UNH jumped out to a 16-3 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, you knew ODU would score a lot of points, but you didn't know if they would ever catch up. The Monarchs' D finally came up with some key stops in the 4th quarter, allowing ODU to pull out a wild and crazy 64-61 victory. ODU QB Taylor Heinicke passed for a new NCAA Division 1 record 730 yards as ODU held a slight edge in total yards (824-725) and 1st downs (39-35), With so much offense, you might be surprised that there were actually 10 punts in the game.

ODU is a must-see team because they have three players on my top 50 list of the best dreads - senior WR Nick Mayers, junior WR Marqel Thomas, and sophomore CB Eriq Lewis. Other than Heinicke, the star of the game was Mayers; but for a while in the 1st half he had me screaming at him after a couple of boneheaded plays. At the end of his 57-yard TD catch in the 2nd quarter that made the score 16-10, Nick slowed up as he approached the end zone, thinking he was home free. He wasn't. A New Hampshire defender caught him from behind and stripped him of the ball just as he crossed the goal line, with the ball rolling all the way through the end zone and beyond the end line. The official ruled it a TD. But I tell you, if instant replay had been used (it isn't in the FCS), that would have been a touchback and not a touchdown. Then after a rare 3-and-out by the UNH offense, Mayers was at it again, this time trying to scoop up a punt that was rolling on the turf while surrounded by UNH players waiting for the ball to come to a stop. He thought the ball touched a UNH player. It didn't. And when he muffed the scoop, UNH recovered and scored two players later to make it 23-10.

Thomas also had a moment that raised my ire. A reserve WR, he doesn't get many chances. So he can't afford to drop any passes, as he did with the Monarchs down by 23 in the 3rd quarter. He finished the afternoon with 1 reception for 9 yards. The game began to change later in the 3rd, when UNH, leading 47-31, fumbled the ball at the ODU 2-yard line. At that point, Mayers started ripping off one big gain after another, including a 43-yard catch to begin the 98-yard TD drive that made it 47-38. UHN answered back to make it 54-38. But then ODU went on a 23-0 run, including 2 TD catches by Mayers, to lead 61-54. UNH tied it back up with 3:22 to go. But Mayers had receptions of 26, 23, and 7 yards on the first 3 plays of the ensuing possession to move the ball into FG range, and the Monarchs got the game-wining FG with :41 remaining.

Said senior S Devon Simmons after the game about ODU's defensive performance, "We played below average." Huh? 61 points and 725 yards only rates as below average, Devon? Simmons finished with 10 tackles (6-4) and 1 PBU for the Monarchs, who improved to 4-0. The only dreads on the field for New Hampshire belonged to senior Dontra Peters. Sadly he has moved from offense to defense this year, switching from RB to CB. He finished the game with 13 tackles (10-3) but had 0 PBU, and 9 of the tackles were on plays where ODU got the 1st down. But hey, I'm not blaming him. ODU's offense is difficult to stop.

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Last season it took a near-miraculous rally from a 24-point deficit in the final 7:30 of the game for Eastern Kentucky to defeat Jacksonville State in a key OVC contest late in the season. But no such heroics were necessary this year. Playing at home this time, EKU jumped out to a 34-8 halftime lead, including an 18-yard TD catch by senior WR Cameron Bailey, and cruised to a 51-21 blowout of Jacksonville State. Senior CB Justin Bell also contributed for EKU with 7 tackles (5-2), 2 PBU, and his 1st INT of the season, coming on a 1st and goal play in the 4th quarter.

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After sophomore RB Isaiah Crowell's 4-yard TD run in the 2nd quarter last week Thursday made it 12 TD in a row by players with dreads to start the season for Alabama State, it looked like the streak would end on a TD early in the 3rd quarter. But not yet! Sophomore RB Malcolm Cyrus has dreads too! You can barely see them because they're not very long yet, but they're there. Cyrus' 13-yard TD run tied ASU's game at 14. However, the streak officially ended at 13 TD in the 4th quarter as TE Justin Robinson became the first player without dreads to score for ASU on a 17-yard TD reception with 3:19 to go. Despite 15 tackles by senior LB Brandon Roberts, the Hornets' defense gave up too many yards (466) in a 24-21 home loss to Arkansas- Pine Bluff.

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Junior S Andrew Taylor had 7 tackles (5-2), including 3.5 TFL and 1 sack, and freshman DE Jack Ndem and senior DE Lamar Wallace (photo above) also had a sack apiece as Tennessee State improved to 4-0 with a 21-14 road win over Bethune-Cookman ..... The Taylor twins, Darnell and Darius, combined for 27 tackles and 1 sack, but Sam Houston State gave up a last-minute TD and lost at Central Arkansas 24-20 ...... Eastern Washington sophomore RB Jordan Talley had 90 total yards and 2 TD in a 32-26 road win over Weber State ..... Junior S had a team-leading 8 tackles (4-4) and a key INT in the 4th quarter with Appalachian State leading 13-10, and the Mountaineers went on to win at UT-Chattanooga 34-17; Junior CB Chaz Moore got his 1st INT of the season, and junior WR Marlon Anthony scored his 1st TD of the season for UTC ..... Sick senior DE Romale Tucker had 2 sacks for Towson in a 46-17 home win over St. Francis (PA) ..... Sophomore CB Jaleel Richardson took the opening kickoff 86 yards to the house, and Southern U went on to take a 28-0 lead before holding on to win at Jackson State 28-21 ..... Senior CB B.W.Webb took a punt return 91 yards to the house in the 4th quarter, but all it did was make the final score of William & Mary's home loss to Delaware 51-21 instead of 51-14 ..... And senior WR Chase Jones had 35 yards rushing and a 46-yard TD reception for Charleston Southern in a 23-20 road win over Shorter, finally ending the Buccaneers' 15-game losing streak.

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FINALLY

Nobody's birthday should go like this ...... Michigan senior QB Denard Robinson turned 22 last Saturday; but the only people celebrating were the players on the Notre Dame defense. Said Denard after the Wolverines' 13-6 loss at Notre Dame, "I don't want to feel like this no more. In the 22 years I've been living, this is the most disappointed I've ever been in myself." It easy to see why he felt that way. You see, Robinson owned ND the last two years - to the tune of 948 yards of total offense - in leading Michigan to a pair of last-minute victories. But this year, it was the Irish who made him look silly. He finished with just 90 yards rushing on 26 carries, and went 13 for 24 for 138 yards passing with 4 INT. Almost comically, Robinson threw 4 passes in the 2nd quarter, and all 4 were intercepted. Well, can't do nothing but turn the page and move on. Hope you have a happier 23rd next year, Denard. Maybe you can celebrate by scoring a TD in the NFL.

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DG

1. Junior LB Jarvis Jones of Georgia sacks Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers for an 11-yard loss on 4th and 8 midway through 3rd quarter at Athens. Jones had 7 tackles (4-3), 3 of which were TFL as the Bulldogs routed VU 48-3.

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2. I can hardly believe it - Missouri has a player with sick dreads! That's sophomore LB Markus Golden on the ground after he and several teammates failed to stop WR Ace Sanders, who breaks into the clear on a 49-yard punt return to the 4-yard line during 2nd quarter. Playing their first SEC road game, Missouri was spanked by South Carolina 31-10.

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3. Sophomore RB Darrin Reaves of UAB and LB Ryan Shazier of Ohio State slam on the brakes as Reaves tries to cut back on a rushing attempt. Reaves had 72 yards rushing and 42 yards receiving, but the Blazers lost to the Buckeyes 29-15.

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4. Unable to play in the 2nd half due to a head injury (not a concussion), Wisconsin RB Montee Ball feels like a proud papa as he walks off the field with understudy RBs Melvin Gordon and James White after a 37-26 win over UTEP. At least on this day the Badgers did not miss Ball at all, as White scored 2 TDs and Gordon, a redshirt freshman, made the dread stars list for the first time.

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5. Sophomore WR Dominique Terrell of Virginia looks for a way to get past TCU S Elisha Olabode on the run after a catch during 1st half at Ft. Worth. Terrell had 5 catches for 86 yards.

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6. Sure, sophomore QB Phillip Sims transferred from Alabama to Virginia in order to get more playing time. But the biggest reason he left was that he just wanted people to be able to see his dreads (lol). Sims was 5 for 12 for 63 yards and 1 TD in relief in Virginia's 27-7 loss to TCU.

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7. A couple of speeders duel at Tallahassee as Florida State freshman CB Ronald Darby reaches to stop Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on a kickoff return during 3rd quarter. Darby was able to make the TD-saving tackle after a 26-yard return.

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8. The bad news: Miami freshman WR Malcolm Lewis' season comes to an end as he suffers a dislocated ankle while being tackled by Georgia Tech LB Brandon Watts after a 12-yard reception during 1st quarter. The good: it's only the 4th game of the season, so Lewis will be eligible to count this as a redshirt year. Here's hoping for a fully and speedy recovery, Malcolm.

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9. Freshman LB Ryan Griffin of Jackson State loses his helmet as he knocks sophomore CB Jaleel Richardson out of bounds at the Southern U 17-yard line after a 13-yard kickoff return during 4th quarter at Jackson, MS. Richardson began the game with a kickoff return for a TD in the Jaguars' 28-21 win over JSU.

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10. There was no caption with this on the Bethune-Cookman website, but I'd bet that this is the 9-yard TD catch by junior WR Preston Cleckley late in 2nd quarter, bringing BCU within 21-7 of Tennessee State. It was his 1st TD of the season. The Wildcats scored another TD before halftime; but the 2nd half was scoreless, and TSU hung on to win 21-14.

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11. Sophomore RB Cassius McDowell, a HS teammate of Denard Robinson, scores his 2nd TD of the season, on a 6-yard run, increasing Toledo's lead over Coastal Carolina to 31-21 late in 3rd quarter at Toledo. UT hung on for the win 38-28.

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12. Alabama sees its bid for a 3rd straight shutout go down the drain as FAU sophomore TE Alex DeLeon pulls in a 6-yard TD reception with 2:49 remaining in game at Tuscaloosa. Alabama won 40-7.

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13. Senior WR Chuck Jacobs pays the price as he is tackled by Colorado State LBs Max Morgan and Aaron Davis early in 2nd quarter. But it was worth it. The 6-yard catch on 3rd and 4 kept the drive alive, and USU scored a TD 12 plays later to take a 17-0 lead. Later in the game Jacobs had a 55-yard kickoff return to set up a TD drive in the Aggies' 31-19 victory.

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14. If I had known about James Baker before the season began, he would have been on my top 50 list. Here Baker, a junior RB for Idaho, tries to avoid being tackled by Wyoming junior CB Marqueston Huff. Baker finished with 75 yards rushing on 10 carries and had an 11-yard reception. Huff had a team-leading 10 tackles (3-7) and 3 PBU. Wyoming got the road win 40-37 in OT.

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DREAD STARS

  • Tevin Reese - Baylor - 8 catches for 145 yards and 2 TD in 47-42 road win over Louisiana-Monroe
  • Markus Wheaton - Oregon State - 9 catches for 150 yards and 1 TD in big 27-20 road win over UCLA
  • John Hubert - Kansas State - 130 yards and 1 TD rushing on 23 carries in big 24-19 road win over Oklahoma
  • Todd Gurley - Georgia - 130 yards and 2 TD rushing on 16 carries in 48-3 blowout of Vanderbilt
  • Marlon Brown - Georgia - 5 receptions for 114 yards and 1 TD as Bulldogs improve to 4-0

  • Shaun Rutherford - Texas State - 21 for 26 for 301 yards and 3 TD (0 INT), and rushed for 48 yards and 1 TD in 41-37 home win over Stephan F. Austin
  • Eddie Lacy - Alabama - 15 carries for 106 yards rushing in 40-7 home win over FAU
  • Trayion Durham - Kent State - 23 carries for a career high 112 yards rushing, plus 2 catches for 47 yards, in 23-7 road win over Buffalo
  • Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 112 yards and 1 TD rushing on 8 carries in 37-26 win over UTEP
  • Deandre Martin - Wake Forest - 115 yards and 2 TD rushing on 13 carries in 49-37 home win over Army

  • Geremy Davis - Connecticut - 9 receptions for 123 yards and 1 TD in 30-24 loss at Western Michigan
  • Andre Ellington - Clemson - 14 carries for 55 yards and 1 TD rushing, and had 4 catches for 87 yards and 1 TD in 49-37 loss at Florida State

  • Jerodis Williams - Furman - 136 yards rushing, 23 yards receiving, and 1 TD in 31-21 road win over Presbyterian
  • Deonte Williams - Cal Poly - 20 carries for 188 yards and 3 TD rushing in 28-20 home win over UC-Davis
  • Marcus Washington - Nicholls State - 110 yards and 2 TD rushing on 10 carries as NSU defeats Evangel 73-17 to end 12-game losing streak
  • Dominique Croom - Central Arkansas - 7 catches for 113 yards, including game-winning 26 -yard TD with :57 to go as UCA upsets FCS #3 Sam Houston State 24-20 .....
  • Sean Price - Appalachian State - 10 catches for 130 yards and 2 TD in 34-17 win at UT-Chattanooga
  • Jake Walker - Eastern Illinois - 102 yards and 1 TD on 22 carries, including 2-yard run on 4th and 1 in OT in 50-49 home win over Murray State
  • Trabis Ward - Tennessee State - 154 yards and 2 TD rushing on 27 carries in 21-14 win at Bethune-Cookman

  • Greg Jenkins - Alabama State - 102 yards rushing on 18 carries; 16 for 32 for 187 yards passing with 1 TD (0 INT), but ASU missed last-minute FG attempt in 24-21 home loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  • Jordan Harris - Bryant - 7 catches for 136 yards and 2 TD in 35-21 home loss to Duquesne
  • Rico Richardson - Jackson State - 11 catches for 161 yards and 2 TD in 28-21 home loss to Southern

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  • Fred Gladney - Valparaiso - 9 catches for 125 in 51-14 loss at San Diego
  • Gus Johnson - Stephen F. Austin - 104 yards and 2 TD rushing, and had 10-yard TD reception in 41-37 road loss to Texas State

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HOUSE OF DREAD

It only took 4 TD to win the award this week, and that occurred in just 2 games. So the Week 4 houses of dread are the end zones at:

  • Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, TX, the home of FBS newcomer Texas State. In Texas State's 41-37 win over SFA, senior QB Shaun Rutherford had a 5-yard TD run for TSU, and dread star Gus Johnson, a sophomore RB, scored on runs of 28 and 6 yards and on a 10-yard reception for SFA.
  • S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk, VA, the home of the ODU Monarchs. No surprise here because the final score was ODU 64 New Hampshire 61. Junior RB Colby Goodwyn had a 7-yard run TD run for ODU; and the other 3 TD were scored by one of this week's players of the week .....

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PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

A couple of WRs had record-breaking games in Week 4 and earn co-player of the week honors.

ODU senior WR Nick Mayers, as mentioned earlier, had a huge day, finishing with 12 catches for a career high and school record 271 yards and 3 TD as the Monarchs won a duel of FCS top 20 teams 64-61 over New Hampshire. The TD receptions covered 57, 12, and 9 yards, the final two of which came in the 4th quarter to bring ODU back from a 16-point deficit. The touchdowns were Mayers' 4th, 5th, and 6th of the season. I could find no photos of Nick from the game, so the photo of him is from ODU media day back in August.

I really do not like to give to the player of the week award to a player whose team lost, but Cobi Hamilton gave me no choice this week. I had to give it to him. The Arkansas senior WR and future NFL player was named SEC co-offensive player of the week after catching 10 passes for a new SEC record 303 yards and 3 TD. What a shame that it came in a 35-26 home loss to Rutgers. The Razorbacks no doubt are struggling. But if his QB can stay healthy, Hamilton will get some all-America recognition by the end of the season.

NEXT WEEK

You will do just fine if you just stay tuned to ESPNU all day, with 4 games featuring several players with sick dreads: North Carolina State-Miami, Virginia Tech-Cincinnati, Towson-LSU, and Grambling-Alabama A&M. I also will watch of bit of MTSU-Georgia Tech, Marshall-Purdue, Florida State- South Florida, South Carolina-Kentucky, and FAMU vs. Southern U in the Atlanta Classic.

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