Week 8 Booms
Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts -- 316 yards passing, three passing touchdowns; 75 yards rushing, two TDs -- vs. Arkansas: Five total touchdowns. One incomplete pass (16-for-17 on the day). Yep, that's pretty good. Sure it came against a West Virginia defense that is pretty awful, but this is yet another impressive effort from Hurts for the undefeated Sooners. There are some really, really good quarterbacks in college football right now, but in terms of the dual-threat category, it'd be hard to say that anyone is better than the former Alabama transfer in 2019. We're starting to see him mentioned as a potential first-round candidate more and more, and while that still seems like a stretch, it's not hard at all to imagine Hurts playing on Sundays.
SMU QB Shane Buechele -- 457 yards passing, six passing touchdowns-- vs. Temple: Raise your hand if you predicted that the Mustangs would start the year 7-0. You liar. Buechele has been outstanding in his first year with the Mustangs, and he was able to throw all over a normally solid Temple defense while finding end zone a handful and then some against the Owls. We don't think Texas regrets giving this job to Sam Ehlinger because that'd be silly, but Buechele can play, and he's shown as much so far in 2019. We'll be curious to see how much his draft stock has improved with his play, but he still has another year of eligibility left, if Buechele wants it.
Iowa State QB Brock Purdy -- 378 yards passing, three passing touchdowns -- vs. Texas Tech: We probably haven't talked enough about how good Purdy is. Even after losing his top wideout (Hakeem Butler) to the NFL last year, the sophomore has put up monster numbers for the Cyclones, and even with an interception today, his efficiency remains impressive. He's also shown the ability to make plays with his legs when the pocket collapses, which is always nice. Purdy and Iowa State have won three straight, and they're going to be a dangerous out for anyone they face in the Big 12.
Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell -- 104 yards rushing, rushing touchdown; nine receptions, 203 yards, two receiving touchdowns -- vs. Tulane: Goodness gracious. Gainwell was the first player since 1997 to gain 200 yards receiving and 100 yards rushing (Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech) in a single game. If you weren't aware, 1997 was a long time ago. Gainwell has quickly made the Tigers forget about Tony Pollard and Darrell Henderson, and they're now 6-1 on the season in large part thanks to Gainwell. It's scary to think how much better he's going to get. Scary to AAC opponents, anyway.
Boston College RB A.J. Dillon -- It's weird to say considering his success, but Dillon has somehow become an underrated player. This is his fourth time in five games that the powerful tailback has gone over the 150 yard mark, and the three scores puts him at nine on the season. There are questions about his ability to catch the football and whether or not he has the speed to be a three-down back, but anyone who watches Dillon play knows that he is not a good time for defenders. It may be in a complementary role, but it's pretty easy to picture the junior getting carries at the next level.
Clemson RB Travis Etienne -- 192 yards rushing, touchdown -- vs. Louisville: Etienne also added four catches for 35 yards. With Trevor Lawrence again not performing to the best of his abilities -- or at least we think he hasn't played to the best of his abilities -- Etienne carried (no pun intended) the Tigers to another victory on Saturday. The talented junior's numbers are actually down from last year, but the numbers don't always tell the story of how good a player is. Etienne is a really, really good football player, and it's very likely he's one of -- if not the -- first tailbacks off the board come April.
Georgia RB D'Andre Swift -- 179 yards rushing, two touchdowns -- vs. Kentucky: After Jake Fromm's struggles last week in the upset loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs road Swift even harder than normal, letting Fromm attempt just 12 passes and throwing for a paltry 35 yards. They didn't need any of them, as Swift was outstanding against a pretty good Kentucky defense. If Etienne isn't the first tailback off the board, there's a pretty good chance it's Swift.
Purdue WR David Bell -- 13 receptions, 197 yards, touchdown vs. Iowa: Rondale who? No, no not really. A very impressive effort from Bell, however; even if it did come in a 26-20 loss to the Hawkeyes. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound freshman isn't a one-hit wonder, either, as he caught nine passes for 138 yards against Maryland the week before, and eight passes for 114 two weeks prior to that. When Moore gets healthy, this is going to be a heck of a 1-2 punch for the Boilermakers.
Liberty WR Antonio Gandy-Golden -- nine receptions, 149 yards -- vs. Maine: More like Antonio Dandy-Golden. Please don't stop reading. In his last five games, Gandy-Golden has yardage totals of 174, 181, 144, 40 (weird), and 149. He's also scored five touchdowns during those games, and he's averaging an impressive 21.4 yards per catch for the Flames. We've talked about the 6-foot-4, 220-pound wideout ad nauseam, but he's earned every mention. There's just an awful lot to like about Gandy-Golden's skill set.
SMU WR Reggie Roberson -- eight receptions, 250 yards receiving, three touchdowns -- vs. Temple: Well, when you saw Buechele put up those numbers, you had to figure that someone from the Mustangs was going to show up here. Roberson it is. He had touchdown catches from 30, 60, and 75 yards out, respectively, and the Temple defense had no answer for the 6-foot, 192-pound wideout. Southern Methodist also has James Proche -- and one of the better Group of 5 tailbacks in Xavier Jones -- but on Saturday, it was Roberson's night.
Week 8 Boom for one play
TCU QB Max Duggan -- 47-yard touchdown -- vs. Kansas State.
You need to see this.
It came in a losing effort, and Duggan made his share of mistakes in the loss to the Wildcats, but this play deserved mention. Duggan appears to have a very bright future, even if there are going to be some growing pains in 2019.
Week 8 Busts
Wisconsin -- pretty much everyone -- vs. Illinois: We say pretty much everyone because Jonathan Taylor actually played pretty well (132 yards rushing, touchdown). The rest, however, was ugly, and the previously undefeated Badgers were defeated by an Illinois team that didn't exactly set the world on fire coming into Saturday. They blew a nine-point lead, and then for reasons that aren't clear, the Badgers decided to turn to the passing game with a two-point lead, and Jack Coan threw a silly interception that set up the game-winning field goal. We thought Wisconsin was a legit playoff-contender coming into the week. That's not gonna happen.
Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels -- 4-of-18 passing, 25 yards, interception -- vs. Utah: Last week, we included Daniels in the "Booms" section after his excellent play against Washington State. As you can see from the numbers above, he doesn't belong in that section this time around. On the contrary. Utah is one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12, but Daniels just flat out didn't make good decisions against the Utes, and when he did, he didn't make quality throws. The ups-and-downs of starting a freshman quarterback, we suppose.
Missouri QB Kelly Bryant -- 140 yards passing, touchdown, interception -- vs. Vanderbilt: It was starting to look like Missouri was a legitimate contender in the SEC East, and a lot of the success is owed to Bryant. It's no longer looking like that's the case, and unfortunately, Bryant's poor play has a lot to do with that, too. It's also worth mentioning that consistency -- or lack thereof -- is one of the reasons why Bryant lost his job at Clemson in the first place. If these Tigers are going to compete over these final two months, Bryant is going to have to play much, much better than he did against the Commodores.