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Jordan Ta'amu
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Weekend Recap

Week 7: Booms and Busts

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: November 14, 2018, 5:06 am ET

It was a crazy weekend of college football -- the craziness actually started on Tuesday this week; thanks to the Sun Belt for giving us so much when we give back so little -- that was filled with upsets and some stellar performances. Six of the top 10 teams fell on Saturday, which both cleared up and also threw the potential playoff field into chaos, however, and there were also more than a few disappointing efforts over the weekend as well.

 

Here's a look at the top performances and disappointments from Week 7 across the college football landscape.

 

Week 7 Booms

 

Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta'amu  -- 387 yards passing, 141 yards rushing, three touchdowns -- vs. Arkansas: This one looked like it might belong in the bust section for a bit; or at least Ole Miss's team effort would as they started out woefully against the one-win Razorbacks, trailing 27-10. To say that things got better for Ta'amu is an understatement. The senior signal-caller was accurate with his throws, and he showed off his underrated speed and running vision to lead the Rebels to their fifth win of the season. Ta'amu now has a 13/4 TD/INT ratio, and he's also rushed for four scores. If you take away his dreadful performance in the loss to Alabama, he's been among the best quarterbacks in the SEC, if not college football.

 

Iowa QB Nathan Stanley -- 320 yards passing, six touchdowns -- vs. Minnesota: Arguably the best we've ever seen Stanley play. Maybe inarguably. The six passing touchdowns are the second-most of any Iowa quarterback ever. No, Indiana isn't going to win any awards, but seeing how accurate and o-time the signal-caller was with his passes was impressive. This is the type of performance that NFL teams will look at when wondering whether or not Stanley can become a developmental quarterback on an NFL roster next year. More efforts like this will get him on the radar, if he's not there yet.

Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson --  464 yards passing, three touchdowns -- vs. Nebraska: Yes, this game went into overtime, but almost all of the damage was done in the first 60 minutes. It's the second straight week that Thorson makes this list, and while it wasn't a perfect effort -- he threw two picks and the Wildcats trailed for a large portion of this game -- he certainly did enough to justify talking about. The fact he's even playing after that gruesome bowl game injury last winter is amazing. That he's playing this well while showing that he's fully recovered is even more impressive. Thorson needs to limit the turnovers, but he's gone over 350 yards in three-of-four games, and he's up to nine touchdowns on the season after having none in three of the first four contests.

 

Utah State QB Jordan Love --  323 passing yards, five touchdowns -- vs. New Mexico State: Very quietly, Love has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country over the last month. He's been particularly good the past two weeks, throwing for nine touchdowns with zero interceptions. He also added 39 yards rushing, show that there's a little bit of scramble to go along with his accuracy and arm strength. The level of competition hasn't been great, but let's remember that Love played well against Michigan State in the opener, as well. There aren't many Group of Five quarterbacks playing better than the 6-foot-4, 225-pound quarterback is right now.

 

Iowa State RB David Montgomery -- 189 rushing yards, touchdown -- vs. West Virginia: Yeah, it's probably safe to say that Montgomery was healthy. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was impressive as well, but it was the junior tailback that was the key to giving the Cyclones the upset victory over the Mountaineers. The 5-foot-11, 216-pound tailback was able to make tacklers miss, and his impressive vision was on display as well. There have been several players that haven't lived up to expectations in 2018. It wouldn't be fair to say that Montgomery is one of them. At least when he's been healthy, anyway.

 

Kansas State RB Alex Barnes -- 181 rushing yards, four touchdowns -- vs. Oklahoma State: Were you not convinced that the  250 rushing yards and three scores that Barnes put up the previous week were real? If we're being honest, we weren't either. He wasn't quite at that level on Saturday, but it was an outstanding effort to help the Wildcats pull off the upset against the Cowboys. He's scored seven touchdowns in the last two games, and nine on the season. We'll see if he can keep this going, but back-to-back efforts like this deserve plaudits.

 

Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim -- 159 rushing yards, two touchdowns -- vs. Ohio State: As good of time as any for a breakout game from Ibrahim, who was the chief reason why the Gophers were in this game for a while. Both of his touchdowns were of the short-yardage variety, but he also showed off his ability to make the big play with a 34-yard scamper against the tough Ohio State defense. Ibrahim has gone over 90 yards in three of his four games, but this was easily the most impressive; especially consideration the competition. It looks like the Gophers have a good one here.

 

Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel -- 220 yards and two TDs -- vs. Nebraska: One of the reasons that Thorson was so good over the last two weeks, is that Nagel (5'11/195) has been such a good top target. This is the third time he's gone over double-digit catches after he caught 12 passes in the overtime victory, and the two scores are the first of the season. We don't think they'll be the last, not with how well the offense is playing right now. Nagel should go HAM, as the kids say, against Rutgers next Saturday.

 

Ohio State WR K.J. Hill -- 187 yards and two TDs -- vs. Minnesota -- Hill has been solid all year, but this was a breakout game for the junior wideout. He brought in two of the three touchdown passes from Dwayne Haskins, from 36 and 27 yards out, respectively. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Buckeyes' offense, but Hill has been one of the most consistent options. Saturday against the Gophers was a reminder that Hill not only has a high floor, but a pretty high ceiling as well. The amount of NFL talent the Buckeyes have right now on offense is stupid.

 

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger -- 145 yards and TD -- vs. South Carolina -- This was a pretty terrific game to watch, and for a large portion of it, Sternberger (6'4/250) was the most impressive player on the field. The seven catchers are a season high, but he's scored in four-of-five games, and the junior tight end has now scored six times for the upstart Aggies. Sternberger has quickly developed into one of the best at the position in 2018, and the NFL talk should start picking up shortly. His ability to stretch the field while also being a reliable outlet is something everyone can value.

 

Week 7 Busts

 

West Virginia QB Will Grier -- 100 passing yards, one touchdown -- vs. Iowa State: To be fair to Grier, the West Virginia defense could not get off the field, losing a 37-23 time-of-possession battle. That being said, considering what we've seen from the senior this year, and considering the numbers others have put up passing against Iowa State, this was a tremendous disappointing. He threw a key interception, and while he completed over 70 percent of his passes, he struggled to get the ball downfield. Grier will certainly have better days, but it's easy to call this one a bust.

 

Georgia QB Jake Fromm -- 209 passing yards, one touchdown, two interceptions -- vs. LSU: Yikes. This was as bas as we've seen Fromm play, and if we're being honest, the numbers don't completely say how bad he was against the Tigers in the loss. His quarterback rating was 16.2, and LSU could have intercepted a few more passes on the afternoon. It's particularly disappointing considering how well he had played in his previous games; the two interceptions he threw doubles his season total to four. Like Grier, this poor effort is out of the norm, and we expect him to rebound going forward. But he's going to have to play better than this -- much, much better than this -- if they're going to get back into playoff contention.

 

Washington WR Aaron Fuller --  15 yards receiving -- vs. Oregon: Fuller (5'11/197) has become a borderline star in the offense this year, and has made the offense make up for the loss of Dante Pettis. That wasn't on display at all today, as he made just two catches. We could also point to Washington's inability to rush the passer, or Washington's reliance on a kicker that hadn't made a kick over 30 yards coming into the day, or Washington's inexplicable playcalling when they got into the red zone in overtime -- but Fuller's day stands out, if only because expectations were so high. Expect him to bounce back when the Huskies face Colorado at home. He has to be a go-to option in this offense.

 

Penn State QB Trace McSorley -- 197 passing yards, touchdown -- vs. Michigan State: McSorley also "only" ran for 37 yards, and we can say only considering he had rushed for 283 yards in his previous two games. With the 59.4 completion percentage against the Spartans, McSorley has now failed to complete 60 percent of his passes in all but one of his games, and that was against the atrocious Illinois' defense. The senior signal-caller's ability to improvise and make plays in the open field is impressive, but as a passer, he has left a lot to be desired. He better get it together soon, otherwise this season could soon unravel for the Nittany Lions.

 

Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams -- 31 rushing yards -- vs. Pitt: Football doesn't make any sense. Williams was ridiculously good in his first two games, going for 161 and 178 yards, respectively, against Stanford and Virginia Tech. Then, against Pitt; a substantially worse defense that came into the game allowing 196 yards per game on the ground, Williams found no rushing room against the Panthers. Give Pittsburgh credit for keying in on the talented tailback -- this was a game that the Panthers really should have won, if we're being truthful -- but we had high expectations for Williams coming into Week 7. It didn't work out. 

Christopher Crawford
Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.