1 – Jerry Kill & the New Mexico State Aggies (vs. Auburn)
It wasn’t a major upset in the sense that a top ten team fell, but the Auburn Tigers entered Saturdays matchup against the Aggies as 26.5 point favorites at home. The Aggies ended up beating them 31-10, in a game that was never really close. New Mexico State took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a Diego Pavia touchdown pass before Auburn tied it up in the second quarter, but the Tigers never managed to take a lead and the Aggies extended drives, broke out all the tricks, and ended up with a dominate road win, the biggest in school history (oh, and they made a cool $1.85 million for the trip).
The Aggies won the first down war (23-12), total yards (414-213), and time of possession (38:50-21:10). If you’ll remember, Hugh Freeze lost late last season to this same team when he was rounding out his Liberty career.
I used to play as New Mexico State a lot in NCAA 14, they were always the worst possible starting spot to build from, so its cool to see Jerry Kill breathe that same life (but, like, in real life) into this program. The Aggies are 9-3 with two more games remaining, including a Conference USA Championship Game birth against Liberty.
2 – LSU QB Jayden Daniels (vs. Georgia State)
Stats: 25/30 – 413 yards – 6 touchdowns | 10 carries – 96 yards – 2 touchdowns
Before anybody calls me bias for putting Daniels on the board again, I want you all to know I have a future on Bo Nix winning the Heisman. Also, it was a rather weak slate of college football and Daniels met the metrics (won vs. .500+ opponent).
Daniels accounted for all eight of the Tigers touchdowns in their 56-14 win over Georgia State on Saturday in a true stat-padding effort. With a game to go, he has accumulated over 4,500 total yards (including 3,500 passing and 1,000 rushing) and 46 total touchdowns. He’ll close out the regular season at home against a Texas A&M squad that recently fired head coach Jimbo Fisher, and I expect the Tigers to rely heavily on Daniels to create more fireworks.
3 – New Mexico RB Jacory Croskey-Merritt (vs. Fresno State)
Stats: 21 carries – 204 yards – 2 touchdowns
Surprise! A double dose of New Mexico in this weeks Five Stars. The Lobos running back had a career day in the 25-17 road win against Fresno State on Saturday. The senior transfer from Alabama State has had a respectable season for the Lobos with 952 yards, a 6.0 average and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Lobos, who had bowl hopes after bringing over offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent and veteran quarterback Dylan Hopkins from UAB this past offseason, but it never quite materialized offensively. They’ll wrap up the season against Utah State next weekend.
4 – Washington CB Jabbar Muhammad (vs. #11 Oregon State)
Stats: 1 tackle – 4 passes defended – 2 interceptions – 1 fumble recovery
The Huskies continued their quest for the college football playoffs on Saturday night win a huge 22-20 road win over Oregon State. Michael Penix and Rome Odunze were huge in the effort, but the unsung hero was defensive back Jabbar Muhammad, who recovered an Oregon State fumble in the second quarter (immediately after Washington fumbled the ball to Oregon State) that led to a touchdown, and followed it up with an end of half interception and another interception on the Beavers first drive of the second half.
The Oklahoma State transfer has had a solid but unspectacular season for the Huskies, but will look to follow up his career day with a big performance in the Apple Cup against Washington State next Saturday afternoon.
5 – Abilene Christian LB Cirby Coheley (vs. Texas A&M)
Stats: 13 total tackles – 3 sacks – 1 interception – 1 touchdown
A rarity, because I typically reserve the Five Stars for FBS players and also players on the winning side, but Coheley might have made himself a commodity this offseason after a huge afternoon in the Wildcats 38-10 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. The former high school quarterback had a masterful performance against better competition with a pick-six and three sacks against an SEC opponent.