Who's Hot ... The Penn State Defense

Posted Oct 9, 2011

The players and teams that rocked in Week Six of the college football season.

2011 Who's Hot & Not

Week 6

 By Richard Cirminiello | 2010 Hot & Nots
- Who's Hot & Not  Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

- 2011 Who's Not ... Week 6

Who's Hot ...

10. Miami University WR Nick Harwell

The sophomore provided the spark against Army for the RedHawks' first win under new head coach Don Treadwell, catching 10 balls for 186 yards and two touchdowns from Zac Dysert. Since returning in Week 2, Harwell has yet to be held below 139 receiving yards in a game to lead the nation in the category.

9. Nevada DT Brett Roy

The senior has been virtually unblockable this season, picking up where DE Dontay Moch left off a year ago in Reno. Providing a non-stop push up the gut, Roy has racked up a nation's best 12.5 tackles for loss to go along with six sacks. He had four stops behind the line in Saturday night's shutout of rival UNLV, yet was equally tough to contain in prior games with Boise State, Texas Tech and Oregon. If NFL scouts hadn't noticed No. 47 before the opener, they are now.

8. Rutgers

Smoke and mirrors? Nope. How about fundamentally-sound defense? Getting precious little help from their offense, the Scarlet Knights have found a way to win the last three games, and get off to a highly improbable 2-0 start in Big East play. The defense has been surly, holding Syracuse and Pittsburgh to just 26 combined points over the last two weekends. After picking off Panthers quarterbacks four times on Saturday afternoon, Rutgers has now allowed just four touchdown passes on the season to go along with a dozen interceptions.

7. Kansas State QB Collin Klein

Raise your hand if you were talking up the Wildcats junior back in the preseason. The offensive catalyst of one of the really good stories of the first half of 2011, Klein ran for three touchdowns to help Kansas State to a 24-17 win over Mizzou, and its first 5-0 start since 2000. The lanky quarterback is now averaging close to 100 yards a game on the ground, and has run for seven scores. A day after turning 72, head coach Bill Snyder is proving with this improbable start that he still possesses the magic touch in Manhattan.

6. The Penn State D

Somewhat overshadowed by the play of its own ineffective offense is the fact that the Lions D is shutting down all comers. An extremely quiet—and not so impressive—5-1, Penn State has held its last four opponents to no more than 10 points. The Nits got to the quarterback five times on Saturday using a committee approach, and became the first school in four seasons to keep Iowa out of the end zone. This is the same Penn State team that was playing without two of its best defenders, LB Michael Mauti and CB D'Anton Lynn.

5. The Notre Dame Quarterbacks

Well, mainly Tommy Rees, though rookie Andrew Hendrix showed future starter flashes in Saturday's 59-33 manhandling of Air Force. Rees has been outstanding throughout the Irish's four-game winning streak, tossing seven touchdown passes without a pick over the last two games. He's corrected the mistakes that plagued him in the early part of the season, deftly spreading the ball around to TE Tyler Eifert and receivers Michael Floyd, Theo Riddick and TJ Jones.

4. The Georgia Defense

Coordinator Todd Grantham has quietly done a marvelous job this season as the caretaker of the Bulldogs D. Georgia's four-game winning streak has been erected on the shoulders of a unit that doesn't boast a lot of obvious star power. FS Bacarri Rambo and LB Jarvis Jones are having nice seasons, but it's not as if either is on the fast track for the All-America Team. The Dawgs have yielded just 31 points over the past four games, keeping Tennessee out of the end zone Saturday night until there were just a few minutes left on the clock. And that was without one of their top pass rushers, LB Cornelius Washington.

3. Wake Forest

By stunning Florida State, 35-30, in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons are now 3-0 in ACC play for the first time in the 58-year history of the conference. Not only did Wake Forest have success running it with Josh Harris and throwing it with Tanner Price, but it also picked off four Seminoles passes. Had it not been for a blown lead in the opener against Syracuse, the Deacons would be in the same discussion as Georgia Tech and Clemson as this season's big surprises in the conference.

2. Oregon RB LaMichael James, And Now, The Other Duck Backs
The nation's leading rusher jetted through a stiff Cal defense for 239 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, becoming the first Ducks player in school history to rush for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games. Unfortunately, after dislocating the Bears, James dislocated his elbow in the fourth quarter of a 43-15 victory. It could be a while before he gets a shot at a fourth straight monster game, so he'll spend the next few weeks coaching up backups Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas from the sidelines.

1. The Oklahoma Defense

The Sooners D continues to be every bit as dynamic as the offense in 2011. Possibly growing tired of hearing about the units from Alabama and LSU, Oklahoma clamped down on Texas from start to finish in a 55-17 thumping. The defense, paced by the non-stop pressure of ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis, accounted for eight sacks and three touchdowns. The Longhorns offense, which had been playing so well, was kept out of the end zone until there were just a couple of minutes left on the clock.

- 2011 Who's Not ... Week 6