“Big time players make big time plays in big time games”- Santana Moss
1. Matchup: #2 Auburn vs #11 Alabama
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: The Tigers looked out of sync in the first half, falling behind 24-0 to Alabama. Cam Newton threw his first touchdown pass with five minutes left in the second quarter. He would be responsible for all of the games remaining touchdowns and finished the game 13-of-20 for 216 yards with three scores passing. Newton also added 39 yards rushing and 1 score on the ground. Cam Newton has been the best player in college football this season, and it really isn’t even close. He should be the Heisman Trophy winner when the award is handed out in December.
2. Matchup: #5 LSU vs #12 Arkansas
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas: Knile Davis set a physical tone early against the LSU defense. It was Davis’ third straight game with over 150 yards rushing; finishing the game with 152 yards on 30 carries with one score. It was also Davis’ second straight game with 30 carries, which is remarkable when you consider that Davis only had 30 carries in the first five games of the season-total. There isn’t a more balanced runner in college football right now than Knile Davis, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue his success throughout the 2011 season.
3. Matchup: #13 Oklahoma vs #9 Oklahoma State
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Despite throwing three early interceptions, Jones stayed poised and collected, and connected on critical throws when it mattered to win the in-state rivalry matchup against the Cowboys. In a game that was a classic shootout, Jones finished 37-of-62 for 468 yards and four touchdowns; tying the school record for passing yards in a game.
4. Matchup: #4 Boise State vs #19 Nevada
Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada: In a huge upset for the Wolf Pack, Rishard Matthews was reliable and sure handed; catching 10 passes for 172 yards and a score. Mathews also added a 44 yard touchdown run on an end-around. His touchdown catch came with 13 seconds left to play in regulation. It was Matthews’ first double digit reception game of his career. The win gives Nevada eleven total for the season with two games left to play; already a three game improvement over last season.
5. Matchup: #5 LSU vs #12 Arkansas
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: The Razorbacks came into the game facing a very stingy pass defense, ranking 4th against the pass and only allowing 150 yards per game. Mallett went 13-of-23 for 320 yards with three scores. The win was redemptive for Mallett and the Razorbacks, who had lost a big game against Alabama early in the year with bad throws that led to interceptions. In this game, Mallett made clutch throws on 3rd and 4th down to overcome two early interceptions and ultimately seal the win. The victory gives Arkansas a good chance to play in its first ever BCS bowl game.
Honorable Mention: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon, 28 carries 126 yards 2 td. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State, 16-24 221 yards 3 td. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn, 2 sacks 4 tackles for loss.