Who's Hot & Not ... Week 9
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Who's Hot ... From the Bowl Season
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Not ... Week Nine
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10. Louisiana Tech RB Lennon Creer
While it's sure to get lost in another blowout Boise State win, Creer has quietly become the focal point of a Bulldog offense that was supposed to be far more pass-happy. The first-year starter burned a Bronco D for 149 yards and two touchdowns, his third straight 100-yard, two-score game on the ground.
9. Northern Illinois
For those who haven't had the time to follow MAC football, the Hukies have emerged as the league's strongest team, winning six straight since a narrow loss in Champaign to Illinois. RB Chad Spann continues to be the sparkplug on offense, running for 146 yards and a touchdown in a comeback win over Western Michigan.
8. Syracuse on the Road
There's been no bigger statement by the Orange this season than its ability to win outside the Carrier Dome. Now 6-2 and a win away from bowl eligibility, Syracuse's last three victories have come in Tampa, Morgantown, and Cincinnati on Saturday. In the 31-7 rout of the Bearcats, the vaunted D yielded just 277 yards and created three key takeaways.
7. Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase
The face of the Illini's three Big Ten wins over the last four games, Scheelhaase is no longer playing like a redshirt freshman. Over the last two weekends, blowouts of Indiana and Purdue, he's thrown six touchdown passes, run for 164 yards, and has not committed a turnover.
6. Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill
If you're an Aggie, you have to be wondering why it took the staff so doggone long to shift Tannehill over from wide receiver to back behind center. The junior has been a revelation over the last game-plus, throwing seven touchdown passes and just a single pick. In the win over Texas Tech Saturday, he went 36-of-50 for a school-record 449 yards, four touchdowns, and that interception.
5. Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi
He's not flashy or especially well-known outside the Big Ten, but, boy, is he getting the job done for the Hawkeyes. One of the country's most efficient passers and a hot topic among NFL scouts, Stanzi has thrown 19 touchdown passes and just two picks all year. In the rout of Michigan State, he only needed 11 completions to throw for 190 yards and three scores.
This is starting to get serious in Waco. Forget bowl eligibility. That's old news. After beating Texas in Austin for the first time in almost two decades, the Bears actually control their own destiny in the Big 12 South with three games left. It won't be easy, but with the way QB Robert Griffin and RB Jay Finley have been playing, anything is possible. Just ask the suddenly confident Baylor kids.
3. Nebraska RB Roy Helu
How fast is Helu? He actually ran right into the Husker record books on Saturday. At a school that's produced scores of elite backs, he topped them all against a pretty good Missouri D. He turned 28 carries into a Nebraska-record 307 yards and three scores from at least 50 yards out. The Huskers, as a whole, have bounced back nicely from the Texas loss, knocking Oklahoma State and Mizzou from the ranks of the unbeaten in back-to-back weeks.
2. The Auburn Running Game
Yeah, QB Cam Newton is a huge part of the vaunted Tiger ground game, which is now averaging well over 300 yards a game. He is not, however, on his own. Despite popular opinion, the Heisman favorite is getting a lot of help from explosive young backs Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb, who both average more than five yards a carry and both went for more than 100 yards in the 51-31 blowout at Ole Miss.
1. Oregon QB Darron Thomas
Just because he's not ael James, who was once again brilliant in the win over USC, does not mean Thomas hasn't been carrying his weight. In fact, he has quietly been a spectacular compliment in the passing department. With a lot of help from sticky-handed Jeff Maehl, the sophomore peppered USC for four scores, giving him eight touchdown passes and one interception over the last three games.
Not ... Week Nine