1 – South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler (vs. Tennessee)
Spencer Rattler has had quite the turbulent college career. He went from looking like a sure fire first overall draft pick in 2020 to losing the starting gig at Oklahoma in 2021 to transferring to South Carolina in 2022. He’s always possessed the tools that scouts and evaluators covet, but has never been able to avoid inconsistency and mistakes and its sent him down this spiral.
All that changed for at least one November night against the fifth ranked Volunteers. Rattler passed for 438 yards on 30 completions and accounted for 6 Gamecock touchdowns in their 63-38 victory. He looked every bit the player many hoped he’d become, threading needles and finding open guys at will. Not accounting for the end of half and end of game possessions that were clock run offs, the Gamecocks scored touchdowns on 9 of their 10 possessions, including all 5 in the first half.
How improbable was this offensive performance? The Gamecocks scored just 54 combined points in their previous 3 games against Missouri, Vanderbilt, and Florida. Rattler himself had just 8 touchdowns on the season entering this game, almost doubling his season total. It was a huge win for Shane Beamer, and the Cocks will hope to carry this momentum into their season ending rivalry against Clemson next weekend.
2 – Tulane QB-RB Duo of Michael Pratt & Tyjae Spears (vs. SMU)
Thursday night was a special one for Tulane’s offensive combo attack of quarterback Michael Pratt and running back Tyjae Spears. After a rough loss at home against UCF the week prior, the Green Wave rolled right through the Mustangs in a decisive 59-24 victory on Thursday night. Pratt combined for 211 total yards and 6 touchdowns, 3 in the air and 3 on the ground, while Spears totaled 126 yards and 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving).
The Angry Wave rushing attack totaled 310 yards via the ground and dominated the Ponies from start to finish, and now they prepare to end the regular season with a huge matchup with Cincinnati to determine the AAC Title Game next weekend in hopes of extending their magical season. And, as always: ALL HAIL ANGRY WAVE.
3 – USC QB Caleb Williams (vs. UCLA)
In one of the best games of the college football season, USC and UCLA faced off in their annual rivalry game and it was the quarterbacks who showed out the most. Caleb Williams and USC came away with the 48-45 win after Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s late interception after UCLA finally got a defensive stop. Williams accounted for 503 total yards on 40 plays (32 completions, 8 rushes) and also had 3 touchdowns.
The Trojans actually started the game pretty rough, opening with a turnover on downs followed by a missed field goal and an interception, but then proceeded to score on 8 of their next 9 drives (a missed field goal was the only non-scoring drive). In a week of rough outings for many atop the Heisman list, Williams may have taken the lead to win the award and will have a shot to potentially cement himself against a tough Notre Dame defense next weekend.
4 – Texas RB Bijan Robinson (vs. Kansas)
It hasn’t quite been the year Texas fans anticipated. After a tough loss at home in a winnable game against Alabama, it seemed like the Longhorns were close to becoming true contenders. A loss to Texas Tech was shocking a few weeks later, but the Horns bounced back by beating the daylights out of rival Oklahoma. They then proceeded to lose games to Oklahoma State and TCU, both contests in which hyped quarterback Quinn Ewers did not look good.
But, through it all, Bijan Robinson has still been that dude, and the Horns pounded the rock with their superstar back against Kansas to a 55-14 victory. Robinson ran the ball 25 times for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns, averaging almost a first down per carry. The biggest question this draft cycle will be how high Robinson goes, because of the devaluation at the running back position, but he’s a top 5 prospect and is maybe the best prospect at the position in my adult life.
The Longhorns wrap the regular season with Baylor next weekend with an outside shot at the Big 12 Championship should Kansas beat Kansas State.
5 – Arkansas RB Raheim ‘Rocket’ Sanders (vs. Ole Miss)
Much like the Longhorns, 2022 hasn’t been the season Razorback fans were hoping for either. They entered Saturdays contest at 5-5 after back to back losses to Liberty and LSU, but the Hogs came out firing on all cylinders against the Rebels in a 42-27 victory that was a blowout from the jump.
Much of the thanks has to go to Sanders, who much like Robinson, has been steadily putting up numbers for his team regardless of outcome. On Saturday, Sanders touched the ball 29 times for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Rebel defense stood less of a chance against Sanders than they did against Ulysses S. Grant, as the back consistently broke off long runs and could never quite be brought down solo.
The Razorbacks close the season with Missouri and a chance to move to 7-5 headed into Bowl season.