The college football picture is starting to shape itself.
A weekend full of impactful games that determined conference championship games, placement in the Heisman race, head coaching jobs, as well as provide battlegrounds for heated, deeply rooted rivalries. So what have we learned this weekend?
We’ve learned that keeping Charlie Strong in place for another game was borderline pointless, that Brian Kelly and Notre Dame fell extremely short of expectations this season, the Washington Huskies are a legitimate championship contender, and that the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is in the upper echelon of sports rivalries for a reason. The conference championship games are finally in place in the SEC (Florida vs. Alabama), ACC (Virginia Tech vs. Clemson), Big Ten (Wisconsin vs. Penn State), and the Pac-12 (Washington vs. Colorado) while also adding in Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State to determine the king of the mountain in the Big 12. To keep the theme of highlighting this past week in college football, let’s pinpoint the top performers from this past week.
LSU RB Derrius Guice – 37 carries, 285 yards, four touchdowns: Filling in for an injured Leonard Fournette, the sophomore running back topped his personal career-high in rushing yards that was set two weeks ago at Arkansas. Guice kicked off the scoring for the game less than two minutes in with a 45-yard run and added another 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give LSU a 27-10 lead. The four rushing touchdowns in a game is also a career-high for the dynamic back as his LSU Tigers picked up a Thanksgiving win over Texas A&M 54-39.
Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes II – 30/46, 586 yards, six touchdowns: In the exciting 54-35 win for the Red Raiders over the Baylor Bears, Mahomes tied a career-high in touchdowns passes with six as five of those touchdown passes coming in the first half. His 586 yards of passing was the sixth time this season that Mahomes has thrown for 400 yards or more as well as the sixth time he has totaled four or more passing touchdowns in a game.
Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald – 8/17, 109 yards, three touchdowns, 14 carries, 258 yards, two touchdowns: A close, back-and-forth rivalry game with Ole Miss became one-sided in the second half as the Bulldogs ran away with a 55-20 win in the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game. In that second half, Fitzgerald accounted for three of his touchdowns, including a 61-yard sprint to give Mississippi a three touchdown lead late in the third quarter.
Clemson QB Deshaun Watson – 26/32, 347 yards, six touchdowns, INT: Watson may have slipped his name back into the Heisman conversation with his performance over arch rival South Carolina. His six touchdown passes tied a career-high and the 347 yards were his third highest passing yard total of the season. Watson accounted for all three touchdowns in the first quarter as the Tigers took a 21-0 opening period lead.
Michigan DL Taco Charlton – Nine tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks: “The Game” lived up to it’s billing with hard-nosed defensive play and the 6’6 defensive lineman made his presence known quite often. Charlton totaled 2.5 of the Wolverines eight recorded sacks against Ohio State as well as three of the defenses’s 13 recorded tackles for loss.
USC CB/WR/KR/PR Adoree Jackson – 52-yard touchdown reception, 55-yard punt return touchdown, 97-yard kickoff return touchdown: One of the most electrifying players in college football dazzled many on Saturday in the 45-27 win over Notre Dame. The Swiss-Army knife for the Trojans scored in three different occasions and may have also added his name to the Heisman conversation with his first multi-touchdown of his collegiate career.