The regular season has come to an end in college football. It’s always a bittersweet time, as rivalry games close out the season but Bowl Season is right around the corner. This is the final edition of the Folsom Five Stars for the 2022 season and I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to read these every week and celebrating the star making performances of a bunch of awesome collegiate athletes.
1 – Washington QB Michael Penix (vs. Washington State)
This years Apple Cup was a shootout for the first half, as the Huskies and Cougars traded the lead multiple times in the first half before the Huskies pulled away in the second to a 51-33 victory behind the arm of quarterback Michael Penix.
Penix completed 25 passes for 485 yards, added another 34 yards on the ground, and totaled 5 touchdowns to cap what has been a breakout season for the Junior signal caller. Penix will wrap his regular season with 4,354 yards passing on exactly 500 attempts, shattering his previous career highs of 1,645 and 220 during the 2020 COVID season. It’s unclear if Penix will return next season, his draft stock waivers depending on who you talk to, but if he does come back the Washington Huskies will continue to be a contender behind his left arm.
The Huskies next game will be their Bowl.
2 – Michigan RB Donovan Edwards (vs. Ohio State)
This pick almost didn’t happen. Edwards stepped up as the lead rusher for the Wolverines after Blake Corum injured his knee the previous week against Illinois. Corum started the game to many peoples surprise, but after a single carry on the opening drive, he was pulled. Edwards stepped up, but the Wolverines couldn’t get the ground game working in the first half against a Buckeye defense that sold out to stop the running game.
After a couple J.J. McCarthy YOLO throws for touchdowns, Ohio State had to adjust, and in the second half the Michigan ground attack got underway. The big nasties on the line managed to get push on Ohio State, and momentum shifted entirely to the Wolverines.
After an Ohio State field goal to make it a 31-23, Edwards broke a 75 yard run for a touchdown on the very next play to make it a two possession game again midway through the fourth. On the next Buckeye possession, C.J. Stroud threw an interception and Edwards, yet again, broke a long touchdown run (this time 85 yards) to seal a second consecutive victory over Ohio State.
On the day, Edwards finished with 216 yards rushing on 22 carries and 2 touchdowns. Outside of those two runs, his production on the day was fairly modest, but those runs ultimately sealed the win and potential playoff birth for Michigan and left an entire state in dismay.
Michigan will face Purdue in the Big Ten Championship next week week before a likely Playoff birth.
3 – Texas A&M RB Devon Achane (vs. LSU)
It’s been a season from hell for Aggie fans. After the number one recruiting class last offseason, hopes were sky high in 2022. Then the Aggies lost to Appalachian State at home, and the next thing you know, they are 4-7 and headed into a matchup against 5th ranked LSU.
The Aggies frustrated the Tigers all evening, as LSU tried to keep it it close before A&M pulled away late and wrapped the season on a high note by eliminating LSU from playoff contention. It was, like most of the season, largely on the legs of Devon Achane.
Achane carried the ball 38 times for 215 yards and tacked on 2 touchdowns Saturday as he eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing on the season as the Aggies primary offensive weapon.
Texas A&M finishes the season 5-7 and will not go bowling, and the Aggies will be one of the most interesting teams this offseason to follow after all the turmoil during the 2022 season.
4 – Tulane RB Tyjae Spears (vs. Cincinnati)
Two weeks in a row that Tulane running back Tyjae Spears appears in the Five Stars, and I’m sure you think I’m just being a homer. Well, partially. However, Spears performance on Friday against defending American Champions Cincinnati ultimately won the Wave the game and sent them into this years Championship game.
Spears carried the ball 35 times for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Wave beat the Bearcats 27-24. Spears ends his regular season with over 1,400 total yards and 16 touchdowns as one the best backs in the country, and he’s been one of the biggest reasons the Wave could win the American and head to a New Years Six Bowl this season.
Tulane hosts UCF next week in the biggest game in several decades for the program. As always, ALL HAIL ANGRY WAVE.
5 – Illinois DB’s Sydney Brown & Devon Witherspoon (vs. Northwestern)
Illinois beat the brakes off Northwestern to the tune of 41-3 to cap a great regular season for the Illini in which they finished 8-4.
One of the primary reasons for the turnaround at Illinois has been the defense, which saw two of its standouts play incredible games on Saturday in Brown and Witherspoon. The two combined for 4 interceptions (2 each) and Brown added 2 touchdowns on back-to-back Northwestern turnovers, first a fumble recovery scoop and score and then an interception return for a touchdown.
Brown, the brother of star running back Chase Brown, has been a little more under the radar. Witherspoon, who’s one of my favorite defensive draft prospects, has also shined a bit more this season, but Saturday was his day in the sun.
Illinois fierce, top ranked defense will get one more chance to show off its playmaking ability when the Illini go bowling under Bielema.