September 18, 2011
Snap judgments on Saturday's best.
LOGISTICS • Georgia Tech's Offense.
Conjuring up the ghosts of decades of option-based beatdowns at the hands of Nebraska, the Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack distributed the ball evenly among a dozen different rushers en route to 604 yards and seven touchdowns rushing in a 66-24 annihilation of Kansas. No single Tech player carried the ball more than nine times, but as a team the Jackets averaged more than 12 yards per carry and broke twelve runs covering at least 20 yards, including 95 and 63-yard touchdown runs, respectively, on their first offensive snaps of each half. At one point in the third quarter, they scored four touchdowns in a span of twelve plays, three of them covering more than 50 yards.
With another 164 yards passing on top of the obscene rushing total — Tech quarterback Tevin Washington averaged 23.4 yards on four completions, two of them going for long scores — the Jackets set a school record for total offense and made the Jayhawks look like the modern-day version of Cumberland College.
ENGINEERING • Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina.
Faced with a serious upset bid from Navy, Carolina put the entire operation on the shoulders of its sophomore workhorse and let him carry the day — quite literally: Lattimore touched the ball 41 times, accounted for 272 total yards and scored all three Gamecock touchdowns in a come-from-behind, 24-21 win. Of South Carolina's 37 snaps in the second half, the ball ended up in Lattimore's hands on 24 of them, including 11 of 15 snaps on a six-minute, 79-yard drive for what turned out to be the winning touchdown: An eight-yard Lattimore run at the start of the fourth quarter.
Honorable Mention: Lamar Miller, Miami. The Hurricanes' sophomore workhorse carried the ball 26 times for 184 yards in the U's 24-6 win over Ohio State, the most by an individual back against a Buckeye defense since the John Cooper era.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP • Chris Rainey, Florida.
Rainey's major is in "Humanities and Letters," but he executed a fully realized plan for vertical integration of the Gator offense in a 33-23 win over Tennessee, going for 232 all-purpose yards and a touchdown as a rusher, receiver and return man, and setting up another score with a blocked punt in the first half. His 83-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter was Florida's longest play from scrimmage in well over a decade.
TAXIDERMY • Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, Clemson.
In his first career start on national television, Boyd killed Auburn's defense, stuffed it and brought it home to hang on the wall of his study, eviscerating the Tigers for 386 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-24 win. His dagger of choice: True freshman receiver Sammy Watkins, who more than lived up to the five-star hype in his first big game by slicing through the oh-so-soft Auburn secondary for 10 catches, 155 yards and two of Boyd's four touchdowns.
For the game, Clemson finished with 624 total yards, 32 first downs, 14 third down conversions in 18 attempts and eight consecutive drives covering at least 60 yards to close out the win.
PHILANTHROPY • BYU's Offense.
The Cougars courteously fumbled the ball away on each of their first three possessions against arch rival Utah, and that was only the beginning: By the end of the night, the Utes had taken advantage of six BYU fumbles and an interception to cruise to victory in a 54-10 massacre.
GENETICS • Case McCoy, Texas.
From the looks of it, McCoy isn't far from establishing himself as a star in his own right. In his first career start, though, it was impossible not to compare Case to his older brother, who couldn't have fared much better himself than 12-of-15 passing for 168 yards, two touchdowns and a 218 pass efficiency rating in a 49-20 Longhorn rout at UCLA. Excluding mismatched games against teams whose mascot is an owl, Texas gained significantly more yards (487) and scored significantly more points (49) with McCoy at the controls for the first time than it managed in any of a dozen games under ousted starter Garrett Gilbert.
FASHION • Derek Dooley, Tennessee.
Win or lose, Dooley remains faithful to Johnny Majors' First Rule of Tennessee Fashion: You can never go wrong with orange. If only his team had played with the same flair…
PSYCHOLOGY • Jacory Harris, Miami.
Harris had a fairly ordinary night in his first game back from a one-game suspension — 123 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions — but compared to the wholesale collapse of Ohio State's passing game on the other side, Harris passed the Rorschach test with flying colors. Before a pair of meaningless completions on the final two snaps of the game, Buckeye quarterbacks Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller combined to complete two of 16 passes on the night for 13 yards, an interception and zero first downs.
COMMUNICATIONS • Matt Barkley, USC.
Barkley had a direct line to every receiver on the Trojan depth chart, connecting with eight different teammates for 324 yards and five touchdowns — each one to a different target — in a 38-17 blowout over Syracuse. Through three games, Barkley has nine TD passes to just one rushing touchdown for the entire team.
CATCHES OF THE YEAR OF THE WEEK
First prize this week goes to Oklahoma sophomore Kenny Stills, whose leaping, 38-yard grab from Landry Jones gave the Sooners their longest play of the night and a permanent lead over Florida State:
Wait, can we see that again?
Yep, that's a blue-ribbon winner right there.
On Friday night, six-foot-nothing Iowa State junior Josh Lenz turned into Plastic Man on a crucial sideline catch that extended the Cyclones' game-winning touchdown drive at UConn, on which he extended himself to at least 6-foot-4 to bring the ball down with a foot in bounds:
From that point on, the Wolverines outscored the Eagles 31-0. Thanks, Thomas.