1 – North Carolina RB Omarion Hampton & WR Tez Walker (vs. #25 Miami)
Hampton: 26 touches – 217 yards – 2 touchdowns
Walker: 8 touches – 151 yards – 3 touchdowns
Drake Maye didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday night, but the Tar Heels skill position players made up for it in their 41-31 route of the Miami Hurricanes. Against one of the best run defenses in the country coming in, Hampton ran over defenders with his typical aggressive bowling ball style and averaged a whopping 8.2 yards per carry on 24 tries. In the passing game, his 4 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter put the Heels up 35-17 and effectively securing the win.
In the passing game, we finally saw why Mack Brown and fans were clamoring for Ted Walkers eligibility as the Canes defense simply didn’t have an answer for him. A touchdown reception in the first quarter tied the game at 7, and on the first possession of the second half he got out in front of a defender and Maye hit him perfectly in stride for a 56 yard touchdown. A few possessions later, Maye found him for a 33 yard touchdown on 3rd and 20 to make it 28-17.
If these performances are indicative of what’s to come the rest of the season, North Carolina is a serious contender to win the ACC and knock on the door of the playoffs. Next week, they’ll take on a bad Virginia team on the CW.
2 – Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II (vs. #23 Kansas)
Stats: 35 touches – 284 yards – 2 touchdowns
There was a point after the loss to South Alabama that felt like this might be one of the worst seasons of the Gundy era, but the Cowboys have righted that ship with back-to-back wins over the Kansas schools and moved to 4-2 on the season. On Saturday, it was on the back of running back Ollie Gordon II who simply couldn’t be stopped by the Jayhawks defense.
In my conference preview, I picked Gordon as my breakout player for the Cowboys because while we equate Gundy to the passing game, he’s traditionally had really talented running backs as well and Gordon showed on Saturday that he can be next up in that regard.
The Cowboys will travel to West Virginia next Saturday for a mid-afternoon matchup on ESPN.
3 – Stanford WR Elic Ayomanor (vs. Colorado)
Stats: 13 receptions – 294 yards – 3 touchdowns
If you went to bed early on Friday night, you might have missed one of the best comebacks in the history of college football. Stanford was down 29-0 at halftime and seemingly on the verge of being decimated by the Buffaloes, but the second half kicked off and after a big 4th down sack of Shedeur Sanders, the cardinal kicked things into gear.
The man most responsible for the comeback is Canadian receiver Ayomanor, who doubled his season stats in the win. His numbers would be eye popping under any circumstance, but even more insane is that he did it ALL IN THE 2ND HALF! The next highest receiving total on Stanford was just 38 yards.
Stanford will face UCLA in a Pac-12 After Dark matchup next Saturday night on ESPN, and Ayomanor will look to build off this performance before a tough stretch to finish the season.
4 – Washington WR Rome Odunze (vs. #8 Oregon)
Stats: 8 receptions – 128 yards – 2 touchdowns
The Huskies secured a huge win on Saturday by beating rival Oregon in what many are saying is the Game of the Year so far, and the 36-33 final doesn’t happen without the magic of Rome Odunze who Moss’d a defender to secure the win.
In an offense that has so many weapons, Odunze stands out amongst the pack as the lead guy and a future first round pick with his complete skill set, and should be one of the two favorites to win the Biletnikoff Award at seasons end.
The Huskies will host Arizona State next Saturday night and Odunze will look to continue his incredible 2023 season.
5 – Notre Dame DB Xavier Watts (vs. #10 USC)
Stats: 7 tackles – 2 interceptions – 1 fumble recovery – 1 touchdown
The Irish defense made Caleb Williams life a living hell in the 48-20 Notre Dame win on Saturday night, and nobody was more responsible than safety Xavier Watts. He intercepted the reigning Heisman winner twice, the first on the Trojans opening drive of the game and followed it up with another with about 4 minutes left in the second quarter. Both picks were returned deep into Trojan territory setting up Notre Dame touchdowns.
Then, late in the game and with the win already secured, Watts returned a fumble for a touchdown that firmly cemented the ass kicking that was handed out in South Bend. It’s the biggest win of the Marcus Freeman era and now the Irish get to go into a bye week before closing out the regular season with a very winnable four game schedule.