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Maxwell Award: What we noticed
On a stage in front of 115,109 fans, Michigan certainly came to play against rival Notre Dame. Michigan QB Devin Gardner wore jersey No. 98, honoring 1940 Maxwell Award winner Tom Harmon, and lived up to the Michigan legend, delivering 294 passing yards for four touchdowns, complemented with 82 rushing yards and another touchdown. His performance earned him Maxwell Award Player of the Week Honors. The main benefactor of Gardner’s success was WR Jeremy Gallon, who caught eight balls for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Michigan’s offense passed its first test of the season, making an argument to be the best in the Legends division.
Georgia rebounded nicely against South Carolina with the help of QB Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley. Murray went 17-for-23 for 309 yards and four touchdowns, without his top target Malcolm Mitchell. Gurley led the run attack with 134 rushing yards with two total touchdowns.
On the road against a Virginia defense that held BYU to 16 points in Week One, Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas continued to prove his case as one of the most dangerous backs in the country. Thomas took 11 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns in the 59-10 route. Thomas now has five touchdowns on the year and is averaging 8.7 yards per carry.
Chuck Bednarik Award: What we noticed
Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun dominated in the Spartans’ win over South Florida. The sophomore had three tackles, two tackles for loss, two QB hurries, one fumble touchdown return and an interception touchdown return. Calhoun not only earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, but also Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week honors.
In a game where nobody thought it stood a chance, CB Damante Horton helped lead Washington State to a road victory against USC. Horton held Marqise Lee to just 27 yards and collected four tackles and two interceptions, including a 70-yard return for a touchdown. Horton was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Miami LB Denzel Perryman was absolutely everywhere in its upset win over Florida. Perryman registered 13 total tackles (nine solo), one QB hurry and a forced fumble. He was named ACC co-Defensive Player of the Week alongside Miami DE Anthony Chickillo
Maxwell Award: Matchups to watch next week
Taylor Martinez (QB, Nebraska) vs. UCLA
Despite a 92-yard touchdown run, Martinez was held in check last year by UCLA. This season Martinez gets another shot and will need a big game to lead the upset. So far, Martinez has two straight games of three touchdowns and has yet to rush for a touchdown. If he wants to change that, he’ll have to get by a talented linebacker group featuring Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.
Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M) vs. Alabama
Everyone remembers last year when Manziel did the impossible and beat the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, 29-24. Still against odds, Manziel will be much more comfortable in College Station, but will still face a dangerous defense that has had more than a full week to prepare for him.
Blake Bortles (QB, UCF) vs. Penn State
After breezing through Akron and Florida International, Bortles and the Knights face their first test of the season. Penn State’s defense has been solid so far, as they rank ninth in the nation.
Chuck Bednarik Award: Matchups to watch next week
A.J. Johnson (LB, Tennessee) vs. Oregon
If Tennessee has any chance of containing the most potent offense in the country, it’ll need its entire defense to step up, starting with Johnson who led the team in tackles in 2012 with 138. He’ll certainly have a lot of opportunities to make a significant impact.
Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State) vs. Cal
Roby going up against Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper is one the most intriguing matchups this week. Cal’s freshman QB Jared Goff has thrown for over 400 yards in both games and has found great chemistry with both of these receivers. Roby is one of the best corners in the country, and is looking to further prove himself on the field after returning from his one-game suspension.
Will Sutton (DT, Arizona State) and Carl Bradford (LB) vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin is averaging 390 rushing yards per game, with three running backs each rushing for over 100+ yards in their first two games. Sutton returns as the Pac-12’s top defensive tackle, and he’ll look to plug up the middle. Bradford is a hybrid OLB/DE who returns with 21.5 tackles for loss, and he’ll also look to cause problems in the backfield, stunting the Badgers ground game.