College Football Players of the Week: Matt Corral and Calvin Austin best of Week 3

Week 3 of college football did not disappoint, and our college football players of the week show exactly why it was so much fun.

We knew Week 3 of college football had the potential to be fun. What we didn’t realize is that it would be even better than expected. Heisman candidates emerged, and we saw several insane individual plays and performances everywhere. It was tough to leave some names off, but let’s take a look at the college football players of the week.

Best performances during college football Week 3 | Heisman’s

Week 3 of college football featured plenty of points, and we saw some serious Heisman contenders emerge.

QB Sam Howell, North Carolina

What happened to the Tar Heels against Virginia Tech? Since losing to the Hokies in Week 1, the Tar Heels have slaughtered their competition offensively. North Carolina’s signal-caller put up monster numbers to revive his Heisman campaign in the process, leading the Heels to a 59-39 win over Virginia.

Sam Howell only needed 14 completions to throw for 307 yards and 5 touchdowns Saturday night, and he added 112 yards on the ground. He’s one of two Power Five quarterbacks to post back-to-back games of 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. The other to do that? Former Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson.

QB Malik Willis, Liberty

It will be tough for Malik Willis to win the Heisman, given that he plays for Liberty, but he’s doing his part to make sure he’s in the conversation. The Flames roasted Old Dominion this weekend thanks to Willis’ 6 total touchdowns. The former Auburn transfer hasn’t had a breakout game yet, mostly because he’s only had one game in which he played all four quarters. 

It’s only Week 3 of college football, but Willis has some work to do. On the season, he has thrown for 613 yards with 7 touchdowns while rushing for 225 yards and 4 more scores. Liberty’s schedule remains his biggest obstacle, but the talent is obvious. With quarterback prospects above him struggling, Willis has a real chance to move up to the QB1 spot for next year’s draft.

RB TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State

For those wondering, TreVeyon Henderson is that dude. This weekend, the freshman exploded against Tulsa for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns to pace the Buckeyes’ offense. We heard a lot about his abilities coming into the season, but now we’re getting a glimpse of the future of this rushing attack. 

Ohio State struggled to put away the Golden Hurricane on Saturday, but they did it thanks to their new star. Henderson produced the third-most rushing yards in a game in Ohio State history, behind Eddie George and Trey Sermon. The future is bright for the Buckeyes, and Henderson could be a Heisman candidate if he keeps this up.

QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Poor Tulane. They never saw it coming. A rain delay couldn’t hold back the Rebels’ offense, and neither could the Green Wave.

Matt Corral went off Saturday night, but the real conversation piece is that he put himself at the top of the Heisman list. In just three quarters, Corral threw for 335 yards with 3 touchdowns while rushing for 68 yards and 4 more scores.

He’s the first player in SEC history with 3 passing touchdowns and 4 rushing touchdowns in a single game. Lane Kiffin’s arrival in Oxford has done wonders for the Rebels, but no one’s transformed their game more than Corral. Now, he’s a Heisman frontrunner, and Ole Miss appears to be the biggest obstacle for Alabama in the SEC West.

Other Week 3 performances

These guys may not be Heisman candidates, but they balled out in Week 3 of college football.

WR Calvin Austin III, Memphis

It wasn’t looking good for the Memphis Tigers against Mississippi State this weekend, but luckily, they had their star receiver lead the way. Calvin Austin III caught 9 of Seth Henigan’s 16 completions and turned them into 105 yards and 2 touchdowns. Yet, his receptions weren’t what everyone was talking about this weekend.

Austin took a controversial punt return back for a touchdown, one that Mississippi State fans will dread discussing for years to come. Whether it should have happened or not, Austin had the awareness to pick up a ball that the Bulldogs didn’t officially down and take it 95 yards for a score late in the game.

QB Tanner Mordecai, SMU

Every week’s been interesting for SMU, but Week 3 of college football entered a new realm. A Hail Mary saved SMU’s undefeated season thanks to Tanner Mordecai. He completed 36 of his 48 pass attempts for 395 yards and 5 touchdowns, but none were bigger than his final attempt. 

The former Oklahoma transfer continues to dominate opposing defenses in a loaded offense, but the Mustangs hope their defense can give them some help. For now, their quarterback will continue putting up incredible numbers to keep SMU in ball games, even until the very end.

QB Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

Virginia lost to an extremely talented North Carolina team, but it wasn’t because of their quarterback. Brennan Armstrong finished 39-for-54 with 554 yards and 4 touchdowns. He dropped a number of pretty passes into tight windows all night against the Tar Heels, but it wasn’t quite enough. Nevertheless, Armstrong’s thrown for 959 yards and 9 touchdowns in his last two games, so the Cavaliers are in good hands against anyone. 

CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati

Here’s Ahmad Gardner‘s stat line from the game against Indiana this weekend: 1 pass defensed. So why is he on this list? Sometimes, corners don’t show up in the box score, but they make a huge impact. Gardner covered reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year Ty Fryfogle and made him disappear. Fryfogle caught just a single pass for 13 yards thanks to Cincinnati’s star cornerback. 

There are rumors that Gardner will leave after this season for the NFL Draft, but that’s not surprising. Gardner was lights out for the Bearcats in coverage Saturday, and Indiana had to resort to other options in the passing game. His performance is an excellent example of why you watch the film and don’t go by the box score.

WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

Just like Gardner, Jahan Dotson’s stat line isn’t super impressive, but he deserves to be here. Week 3 of college football was a big one for Penn State, and Dotson shined in the spotlight.

Dotson caught 10 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, but some of his catches came in big moments during the win against Auburn. His catch radius is insane, and he frequently displayed his ability to catch a pass thrown anywhere.

On Saturday night, Sean Clifford played a good game, but he owes Dotson a hat tip on a few passes. If Dotson didn’t have the stickiest hands in the game, this could have been a different outcome. Luckily for Penn State, Dotson was on his game against the Tigers. 

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