Week 8 was supposed to be a slow one. A boring week, if you will. Well, jokes on all of us. College football had other things in mind. Thanks largely to the Offensive and Defensive College Football Players of the Week, Week 8 produced a few upsets and several other thrilling matchups that no one anticipated.
College Football Offensive Players of the Week | Week 8
How can you not love college football when guys put up numbers like the players below?
QB Carson Strong, Nevada
His team came up short, but Carson Strong put on a show and even made another strong case for the title of QB1 for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Strong threw 61 passes, completing 49 of them for 476 yards and 4 touchdowns. He threw a potential game-tying score with seconds left in the game, but his 2-point attempt to Romeo Doubs was ruled incomplete. Nevada lost 34-32 to Fresno State in a thriller.
QB Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
Wake Forest only had the ball for 17:17 against Army, but they turned that into 70 points. They needed all of them, too, as their defense allowed the Black Knights to score 56 points of their own. Sam Hartman led the way for the Demon Deacons, throwing for 458 yards and 5 TDs. He also added a rushing score in a big win to keep his team undefeated on the season.
RB Chris Smith, Louisiana
Chris Smith made sure his team stayed on track to the Sun Belt Championship Game. The Ragin’ Cajuns workhorse averaged 9.9 yards per carry on his way to 238 yards and 2 touchdowns. The speedster has taken his new expanded role in the offense well this year. He’ll play a massive role if Louisiana wins a conference championship.
RB Chase Brown, Illinois
Illinois pulled off a top-10 upset this weekend, thanks to Chase Brown. After Bret Bielema drew criticism for his comments about his offensive line, his team rose to the occasion. Brown and the rushing attack were lethal in the longest game in college football history. He rushed 33 times for 223 yards and 1 touchdown against Penn State.
WR Isaiah Alston, Army
No, this isn’t the most amazing stat line for a receiver, but when you consider who he plays for, you’ll understand why he’s one of the Offensive College Football Players of the Week. Army only completed 10 passes on Saturday (a high number for them), but 6 went to Isaiah Alston. He turned those catches into 107 yards and 2 TDs. The Black Knights came up short, but they found their go-to receiver when they needed a big play.
RB Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
The fact that Deuce Vaughn is one of the best college football RBs remains amazing. At 5’6″, 160 pounds, he has to work harder than most to be productive. Yet, he’s lethal with the football in his hands. Vaughn only rushed for 52 yards, but he produced 2 touchdowns. He also caught 7 passes for 68 yards and another score in Kansas State’s 25-24 win over Texas Tech.
QB Garrett Shrader, Syracuse
Syracuse needed every single yard from Garrett Shrader, who led them to a win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. Everyone knew he’d run the ball, but the Hokies couldn’t stop him on his 22 carries. Shrader finished with 174 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. To balance the offense out, he also threw for 236 yards and 2 more scores.
College Football Defensive Players of the Week | Week 8
A future No. 1 pick showed out, and a couple of other players improved their draft stock.
CB DJ James, Oregon
DJ James was picked on a couple of times by UCLA’s offense, but he made a huge impact with 2 interceptions on Saturday. Oregon needed both of them, one of which sealed the win late in the fourth quarter. The sophomore corner appears to be the next great DB for the Ducks.
LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
After producing a big game last week, Leo Chenal bested it in Week 8. An unranked Wisconsin team upset a ranked Purdue team, which is weird to type. Nevertheless, it was thanks largely to Chenal. The Badgers linebacker finished with 9 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and a career-high 3.5 sacks to lead the defense.
DE Will McDonald IV, Iowa State
Iowa State pulled off yet another upset in Ames, but this time they upset a top-10 opponent in Oklahoma State. The Cyclones’ defense held the Cowboys to 21 points, and Will McDonald made sure quarterback Spencer Sanders was never comfortable.
The Iowa State defensive end is trying to make a name for himself at the next level, and games like this will help a ton. He made a living in Oklahoma State’s backfield with 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 quarterback hurries to lead the defense.
LB Damone Clark, LSU
It might be a long final month for the Tigers, but guys like Damone Clark are still giving it all they have. In a 31-17 loss to Ole Miss, Clark led all players with a career-high 19 tackles. He also produced 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. The game didn’t go his way, but at least Clark can say he was one of the Defensive College Football Players of the Week.
DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Kayvon Thibodeaux reminded everyone why he’s considered a potential top pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. He made a strong case why he should be the only option teams consider first overall. On Saturday, UCLA never had an answer for the Oregon star, and he showed up when the Ducks needed a big play.
Thibodeaux produced 9 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 QB hurry. He made the Bruins change their game plan in terms of how they block him. As a result, he often gave other players favorable matchups to make plays. While part of his impact showed up in the box score, much of it can’t be counted.
LB Caliph Brice, FAU
FAU left no doubt about who was the better team in a 38-9 thumping of Charlotte. Caliph Brice led the defense with 10 tackles and added 3.5 tackles for loss and 2 QB hurries. His presence made 49ers quarterback Chris Reynolds uncomfortable all game, and it showed on the scoreboard.