College Football: Week One Players of the Week

By Draft Lead Philip Arnold @Philip_PFC

The opening weekend of college football brought excitement to many, football is back! Players and teams bursted onto the scene, setting their marks for the 2013 season. Games started Thursday with exciting match ups between Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, followed by Rutgers and Fresno State heading into overtime, to be decided by a two point conversion. Saturday’s top game, Clemson and Georgiawas right on par to the hype between the two teams from the ACC and SEC. 

Offense

Christion Jones WR Alabama

Dave Martin/AP

No player had a more electrifying opening game than Alabama’s junior wide receiver, Christion Jones. The leader of #1 Alabama’s 35-10 win over Virginia Tech, reached the endzone three times during Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Jones became the first player since Kentucky’s Derek Abney in 2002, to record a punt, kickoff and offensive touchdown in the same game. Jones recorded 256 all-purpose yards, 47 receiving and 209 return, to pair with his three touchdowns. It all started with a 72 yard punt return early in the game, in which busted the game open for the Crimson Tide. Jones showed great quickness and speed, along with vision to weave through the Virginia Tech punt team and eventually find a seam to lay the first points on the scoreboard. Following a Virginia Tech field goal in the second quarter, Jones was able to show off his return ability once again, but this time off a kickoff. Jones housed the kickoff for 94 yards, breaking away from would be tacklers off Virginia Tech. Showing good agility to make a few defenders miss and the burst of speed after finding a lane, Jones was gone on his way to give the Crimson Tide a 28-10 lead before halftime. Jones then capped off his huge evening by adding a 38 yard receiving touchdown from quarterback, AJ McCarron, in the third quarter, giving the Tide a comfortable 35-10 lead.

 

Defense

Collin Ellis LB Northwestern

Ben Margot/KTVU.com

If you fell asleep early on Saturday night you may not have caught the two interceptions from Ellis that he returned for a touchdown. In Northwestern’s 44-30 win on the road against California, Ellis recorded 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 touchdowns and 3 passes defended. Ellis’ first touchdown came on a tipped pass from California quarterback Jared Goff, weaving through a few Cal offensive players and breaking away for a 44 yard score. The interception gave Northwestern a 27-24 lead late in the third quarter. Following  a Northwestern field goal 9 minutes remaining in the fourth, Ellis found himself another present and another score. Ellis picked off another pass from Goff, another tip into the air in which Ellis returned for 40 yards. The plays from Ellis helped spark the Northwestern 44-30 victory over California on the road.

 

Freshman

Offense: Baker Mayfield QB Texas Tech

If you are a Texas Tech fan, you probably weren’t overly excited when true freshman walk-on, Baker Mayfield, was named the starting quarterback heading into week one against SMU. Mayfield impressed many in his opening game; throwing for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns on 43-60 attempts. Mayfield took care of the ball, no interceptions, and completed 72% of his passes. Mayfield also added a touchdown on the ground to help lead Texas Tech to a 41-23 victory.

Defense: Eugene Taylor LB San Jose State

Taylor was a key part to the Spartans’ 24-0 shutout victory over Sacramento StateTaylor was able to provide pressure to the Sacramento State backfield for majority of the game, recording 5 tackles to pair with 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss. In his first college action Taylor emerged as the leader in sacks and tackles for loss. As teams begin to focus more on senior linebacker Kieth Smith, 18 tackles, Taylor should open up more and continue to see his production rise.

 

Sophomores

Offense: Davante Adams WR Fresno State

Adams had a strong freshman campaign in 2012 recording 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns. On Thursday, Adams picked up right where he left. Fresno quarterback Derek Carr connected with Adams a whopping 14 times which included two touchdowns. Adams recorded 148 yards off those 14 receptions for a 10.6 average.

Defense: Noah Spence DE Ohio State

Ohio State fans may not be happy with the overall performance of their defense, allowing 20 points, but the Buckeyes took a step towards replacing John Simon, one of the biggest questions surrounding the Buckeyes defense this off-season. Spence looked strong and had his way with the Buffalo offensive linemen. He recorded 6 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss and the Buckeye’s lone sack.

 

Juniors

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Offense: Bishop Sankey RB Washington (TIE)

Sankey’s performance on Saturday along with the play of quarterback Keith Price, helped Washington upend #18 Boise State. Sankey handled the ball 25 times on Saturday, going for 161 yards and two scores. Sankey was too much for the Broncos too handle, gaining 6.4 yards per carry and outshining opposing running back Jay Ajayi.

Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State

Defense was hard to find in Oregon State’s 49-46 upset loss to Eastern Washington. The bright spot for the Beavers was quarterback Sean Mannion and Cooks looked well in sync. The two connected 13 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks averaged 15 yards per reception and carried the ball twice for 14 yards.

Defense: Anthony Harris Virginia 

Harris was all over the field in Virginia’s 19-16 over visiting BYU. Harris recorded 11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, an interception and a pass breakup. Harris blocked a punt on BYU’s opening drive of the second half, which eventually led to a Virginia touchdown. Harris’ interception late in the fourth quarter setup Virginia’s game winning drive.

 

Seniors

Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports

Offense: Derek Carr QB Fresno State (TIE)

Carr maned a thrilling 52-51 overtime victory over Rutgers. Carr attempted an astonishing 73 attempts in the win. What is even more impressive in that Carr completed 71% of those passes, going for 456 yards and five touchdowns. If Carr can continue this success all season, Fresno State will have a very good chance to win the Mountain West Conference.

Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 

Boyd was able to take care of the ball Saturday to lead #8 Clemson to a victory over #5 Georgia. Boyd out shined opposing quarterback Aaron Murray, the biggest key to victory for the Tigers. Boyd finished the game 18 of 30 passing for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Boyd also showed off his mobility and toughness rushing for 42 yards and another two scores.

Defense: Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo

Mack was all over the field in Buffalo’s 40-20 loss to Ohio State. Mack gave offensive tackles Jack Mewhort and Taylor Decker fits all game and showed why he has a change to be one of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects. Mack finished with 9 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Mack also intercepted a screen pass from quarterback Braxton Miller and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.