2011 Who's Hot & Not
2010 Hot & Nots
Who's Not ... Week 1
Who’s Hot ...
10. Ball State
Behind the play of second-year QB Keith Wenning, the Cardinals shocked Indiana to hand Pete Lembo a foundation-building victory in his debut with the program. Wenning went an efficient 23-of-29 for 173 yards and two scores, adding 61 yards and a third score on the ground. Ball State has now defeated Indiana in their last two meetings, beginning the Kevin Wilson era in Bloomington with a familiar thud.
9. Oklahoma RB Dominique Whaley
Never heard of the junior Sooner? There’s good reason. The former walk-on’s only experience came in 2008 as a member of Langston University. Following up on a brilliant and improbable offseason, Whaley debuted with 18 carries for 131 yards and four touchdowns in Oklahoma’s 47-14 demolition of in-state Tulsa.
8. The Georgia Tech Pass Game
Forgetting for a moment that Western Carolina was the opponent, it’s hard not to get excited about the play of the Yellow Jackets quarterbacks. Starter Tevin Washington and rookie backup Synjyn Days combined to go 11-of-16 for 365 yards and three touchdowns, a pair to Stephen Hill. The triple-option is an entirely different animal when there’s a legitimate threat to connect over the top on play-action.
7. Pitt RB Ray Graham
Is Graham prepared to succeed Dion Lewis as the Panthers’ new feature back? You bet. With Pitt struggling to get the new passing game on track, the junior carried the offense with more than 200 yards and three scores on the ground in a 35-16 escape of Buffalo that was closer than the score indicated. With a chance to carry the ball 300 times in 2011, he’s capable of leading the Big East in rushing.
6. North Carolina QB Bryn Renner
The sophomore came within a hair of establishing an NCAA record for single-game completion percentage … in his debut as a starter. A former blue-chip recruit of the Tar Heels, he didn’t have a single one of his 23 passes hit the grass, completing 22 to his teammates and one to James Madison DB Dean Marlowe.
5. Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson
The former NC State star enjoyed an auspicious debut in Madison, calmly completing 10-of-13 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 62 yards and another nifty score on the ground. Okay, so the Badgers may have scored 51 points versus UNLV even without Wilson under center, but didn’t Montee Ball and the rest of the offense just seem a whole lot more unstoppable with No. 16 in the huddle?
4. Matt Barkley-to-Robert Woods
The rest of the USC offense wasn’t very good on Saturday afternoon, but the Barkley-to-Woods hook-up was enough to spoil Minnesota’s upset bid. The pair connected 17 times for 177 yards and three scores, even though everyone in the building knew what side of the field No. 7 was targeting. Woods is that rare second-year sophomore who’d have a legitimate case for turning pro at the end of the season if NCAA rules permitted it.
3. Boise State
It’s the system, stupid. No Austin Pettis. No Titus Young. No problem. Even without last year’s star receivers, QB Kellen Moore still went 28-of-34 for 261 yards, three touchdowns and one pick. The Heisman candidate spread the ball around to nine different receivers, trading star power for good old-fashioned consistency. After enduring a Brandon Boykin body blow, the Broncos essentially toyed with Georgia and pulled away for yet another historically significant win.
2. Baylor QB Robert Griffin III
In one of the most glorious individual performances in Bears history, Griffin fueled a pivotal 50-48 upset of ranked TCU on national television. The junior was unstoppable in going 21-of-27 for 359 yards, five touchdowns and no picks. Go ahead and add his name into the Heisman discussion, because if he can light up the Horned Frogs D, few are going to slow down the rapidly rising star in 2011.
The Tigers had every reason, from key suspensions to the opponent, to start the year slowly. Instead, they roared out of the cage with a statement win over Oregon. Only a team, such as LSU, can manufacture 40 points in a game that it played without its starting quarterback and produced just 273 total yards. Kudos to Les Miles and the rest of his staff for holding the high-powered Ducks to one touchdown through the first three quarters to survive in the biggest game of the opening weekend.
Who's Not ... Week 1