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Weekend Recap

Week 9: Booms and Busts

by Mark Lindquist
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET




Saturday Spine-Tinglers

 

Oregon QB Justin Herbert vs. Arizona State -- Oregon was reeling on a five-game losing streak entering Saturday’s showdown with the Sun Devils. They put a definitive stop to that skid, with freshman signal-caller Herbert posting the best yardage total through the air for the week. Herbert accumulated 489 yards passing with four touchdowns and no interceptions in the 54-35 victory. Whether Herbert can do enough in the final month of the season to save Mark Helfrich’s job remains to be seen, but a few more performances like this wouldn’t hurt.

 

Mississippi State WR Donald Gray vs. Samford -- The opponent here wasn’t exactly Alabama, but stats are stats are stats. Gray racked up 207 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. Those numbers are stellar in their own right, though what truly stood out was the volume here. Or lack thereof. Gray needed just four catches to post that monster yardage total. He averaged 51.8 yards per reception, which is just silliness. Proving the intricate strangeness of sports, Gray had posted one catch for -1 yards in his previous game against Kentucky. His game before that saw him grab two passes for 17 yards. So there you go.

 

Texas RB D’Onta Foreman vs. Baylor -- Foreman has been ripping it up all year long, rushing for at least 120 yards in all six of his game played prior to Saturday’s superlative performance. He took it up to the next notch in this one, slicing through the Bears to the tune of 250 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He averaged 7.8 YPC in helping to sink Baylor’s undefeated season.

 

Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly vs. Auburn --  Swag threw for 465 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Strong fantasy numbers. And Ole Miss lost 40-29, anyway. It was their fifth loss of the season. All five of those defeats came against at-the-time ranked teams in Florida State, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn. The Rebs will need to win three of their final four games to hit bowl eligibility.

 

East Carolina WR Isaiah Jones vs. UConn -- Jones might not be drawing primetime spotlights, but he has put up as remarkable a season as there has been in the CFB universe this year. On Saturday, he caught 19 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown. Those 19 grabs? Not even his highest total of the campaign. He caught 22 passes against South Carolina on September 17. For the season as a whole, Jones is already up to 114 catches. East Carolina still has another four games to play. A 150-catch showing for 2016 is well within reach at this point.

 

Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway vs. Ole Miss -- While Kelly was flinging the ball around the field in compiling his 465 yards passing, Pettway and the Tigers opted simply to ram the ball down the Rebels’ throat. It worked. He rushed for 236 yards on 30 carries in the win. Now busting into November on a five-game winning streak, Auburn will take on Vanderbilt, Georgia and Alabama A&M over the next three weekends before tackling Alabama proper in the Iron Bowl on November 26. They may well carry a 9-2 record into that contest, assuming they take care of business in that initial trio of games -- all of which they should be favored in.

 

Buffalo RB Jordan Johnson vs. Akron -- Johnson opened the season with 114 yards rushing against Albany. And then silence. Lots of silence. He would not surpass 100 yards rushing in any of his next six games. Akron was gracious enough to allow him to bust out of this rut on Saturday and he took advantage of their charity, rushing for 282 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday’s 41-20 victory. With those 282 yards on the ground, he topped the weekly leaderboard. That win snapped a midseason four-game losing streak which likely ended Buffalo’s hopes for a bowl bid. They will need to win out against Ohio, Miami (OH), Western Michigan and Bowling Green if they are to reach eligibility.

 

Virginia Tech TE Bucky Hodges vs. Pitt -- Rare is the day when a tight end cracks the top ten receivers in yardage for a given week, but Hodges did just that against the Panthers on Thursday. He caught six passes for 145 yards in the 39-36 win. This was the athletic tight end’s first game with at least 100 yards receiving in eight tries. He has now surpassed 65 yards in each of his last three games.

 
 

Saturday Ghosts

 

Boise State QB Brett Rypien vs. Wyoming -- The Broncos stood as the last best Playoff hope outside of the Power 5 entering this weekend. No longer. There is no longer a last best Playoff hope outside of the major conferences, as BSU watched their undefeated season crumble on the road. Rypien not only failed to throw for a touchdown in the game (he finished with 295 yards passing and an interception), he also coughed up a costly fumble near the end of the fourth quarter while deep in his own territory, one which bounced through the end zone for a go-ahead safety in the Cowboys' favor.

 

Oregon RB Royce Freeman vs. Arizona State -- Your guess is as good as mine, here. Freeman hasn’t just hit a slight dip in the road. He has seemingly hit an invisible brick wall which has caused his season to implode in a flaming wreck. 50 yards rushing against Washington? OK, understandable, Washington is one of the best teams in the country. 10 yards rushing against Cal? OK, I guess. It happens. 38 yards rushing at a 2.2 YPC clip against Arizona State? I give up. Seven of his 17 carries on Saturday went for zero or fewer yards. Freeman has dealt with a leg injury this season, but he is allegedly healthy right now.

 

Georgia RB Nick Chubb vs. Florida -- I wasn’t a fan of Chubb heading into this match-up, simply due to the Gators’ fantastic defense, but he failed to even pass my low mental bar, here. The junior Bulldog rushed for just 20 yards on nine carries in Saturday’s loss. His long run went for all of seven yards and like fellow lost Heisman contender Freeman, he managed just 2.2 YPC. Chubb has rushed for 60 yards in his last two games. How much of this is Chubb having lost a step after his significant knee injury last October and how much of this is just defenses taking advantage of Georgia’s still-developing passing game is unknown. A little from Column A, a little from Column B, most likely.

 

West Virginia QB Skyler Howard vs. Oklahoma State -- It was a nice undefeated run for the Mountaineers while it lasted, but all dreams cease when we wake. Oklahoma State woke West Virginia on Saturday via a 37-20 win to drop Howard and company to 6-1. The quarterback threw for 212 yards and a touchdown while being intercepted twice by the Cowboys in the defeat. He had played interception-free ball in his two previous games. All dreams cease when we wake.

 

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong vs. Wisconsin -- Neither the aforementioned Howard, nor Armstrong have been real fantasy considerations this season, but both young gentlemen had helped manage their teams to undefeated records entering this weekend. No more for West Virginia, no more for Nebraska. Armstrong disappointed to an even greater degree than Howard, though, completing just 12-of-31 passes for 153 yards and a pair of picks. He at least augmented that performance with 39 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Otherwise, just nothing doing here for the Cornhusker offense. Armstrong averaged 4.9 YPA on the evening.

 

NC State RB Matt Dayes vs. Boston College -- Dayes suffered a head injury against Louisville last weekend. That may have affected him on Saturday, but his workload would suggest that the injury wasn’t a major concern vs. Boston College. He took 19 carries against the Eagles, managing just 45 yards off those carries in the Wolfpack’s 21-14 loss. Over half of that yardage came via a singular 24-yard run. Even with the down performance, Dayes has still rushed for at least 100 yards in five of eight games.

 

Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk vs. New Mexico State -- Kirk turned in a phenomenal performance for those in fantasy leagues which reward individual points for return work. He returned two punts on the evening, both of which went for touchdowns as he racked up 143 yards on special teams. For those in more traditional fantasy formats, though, the stud sophomore underwhelmed. As a receiver, Kirk logged five catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. He also lost a fumble in the win.

 

Texas Tech QB Pat Mahomes vs. TCU -- In a Red Raiders game that stretched to double-overtime, Mahomes did the unthinkable -- he struggled. The prolific gunslinger managed to throw for just 206 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. If you suffered whiplash over Texas Tech’s last two games, understandable enough. Mahomes ripped into Oklahoma for 734 yards a weekend ago. His passing total dropped off by 528 yards on Saturday.


Mark Lindquist
Mark Lindquist holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa and writes baseball and college football for Rotoworld.com. He's currently working on a memoir about life, death, rock 'n' roll and his year teaching at a Chinese university. You can reach him on Twitter @markrlindquist.