2014 Who's Hot ... Week 13
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Toledo RB Kareem Hunt
A midseason ankle injury. What is the only thing that’s slowed down Hunt this season, Alex? Hunt has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his eight games this fall, capped by Wednesday night’s career-high 265 yards and two scores against Bowling Green to help keep the Battle of I-75 Trophy with the Rockets.
Offensive Coordinator of the Week: Dave Baldwin, Colorado State
The success of the 10-1 Rams is going to earn a lot of staffers promotions or raises. Baldwin needs to be high on the priority list for the job he’s doing in Fort Collins. Colorado State is one of just five teams averaging more than seven yards per play, dishing out an unstoppable array of balance and big-play ability. CSU rolled through New Mexico Saturday behind RB Dee Hart’s 230 rushing yards and five scores and another prolific day from the Garrett Grayson-to-Rashard Higgins pitch-and-catch combo.
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Robb Smith, Arkansas
Smith’s D has been so good lately that the coach is being honored in this space in back-to-back weeks. The Hogs have pitched consecutive shutouts over LSU and Ole Miss, the first time an unranked team has pull off the feat versus ranked opponents in NCAA history. Senior LB Martrell Spaight was the ringleader against the Rebels, but the D has been a collaborative production, making the exponential in-season gains that are generating a national buzz for the 39-year-old Smith.
Stockpile more shares in … Mizzou DE Markus Golden
Now that his barking hammy has finally settled down, Golden looks intent upon resuming his role as one of the SEC’s most explosive edge rushers. He’d been silent for weeks, which allowed opponents to key on Shane Ray on the other side. But in Saturday’s crucial win over Tennessee, Golden notched six tackles, 2.5 stops for loss, two sacks a fumble recovery and a couple of hurries. He’s back, and just in the nick of time as far as the Tigers are concerned.
The Vigil Brothers
As the quarterback body count has grown at Utah State, the defense has been forced to pick up more of the slack. And the unit has not disappointed, especially the fraternal tandem of linebackers Zach and Nick Vigil. The pair has been everywhere this fall, amassing more than 100 tackles and more than a dozen stops for loss each. In Friday’s 41-7 smothering of San Jose State, the Vigils combined for 31 stops, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Madden Cover Material: Indiana RB Tevin Coleman
His opponents know he’s getting the ball 25 times a game. His quarterback is Zander Diamont. And yet Coleman continues to churn out yards in chunks in one of the great individual seasons in Hoosier history. The junior from Illinois has rushed for 535 yards and four scores in just the last two games alone, averaging nine yards per carry. And despite being overshadowed lately by Melvin Gordon and Samaje Perine, Coleman is within 94 yards of becoming just the 18th player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
Bucking for a promotion: Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel
Okay, so after 14 seasons in Columbia, the 62-year-old Pinkel is probably staying put, but he at least must be bucking for a hefty raise. No one gave the coach or his Tigers a chance when they made the transition from the Big 12 to the SEC. But after taking a year to settle in, Mizzou is a win on Friday from playing in its second straight SEC Championship Game. Pinkel’s 2014 edition is not a great team, but they’ve found ways to win the last five, including two straight as a road underdog, and remain atop the East Division.
He’s how young?! Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine
At this time last year, Perine was trucking high school defenders in Pflugerville, Tex. On Saturday, the Ron Dayne impersonator was rushing for more yards in a game than any other back in history. A week after rolling up 213 yards at the expense of Texas Tech, Perine doubled-up his production with 427 yards and five touchdowns on 34 carries.
He’s how young?! Ohio State H-back Jalin Marshall
The Buckeyes desperately needed someone to step up and be a hero on Saturday versus plucky Indiana. Marshall was up to the challenge, showcasing his enormous long-term potential as a versatile playmaker. The true freshman from Middletown (OH) High School scored Ohio State’s final four touchdowns, one on a punt return and three on fourth-quarter receptions from J.T. Barrett.
Can I be your agent … Landon Collins?
Alabama is once again among the nation’s stingiest defenses, allowing 4.3 yards per play, and Collins is a huge reason for the continued success. The junior strong safety is the quarterback of the maturing Crimson Tide secondary, using his physical and intellectual skills to lead by example for the young cornerbacks. If Collins decides to leave for the NFL Draft after this season, there’ll be a long line of teams hoping to bring him into their organization.
Start designing the Fathead of … Virginia LB Max Valles
Valles is the prototype in a next-level outside linebacker. The 6-5 sophomore is long and athletic, with the frame that’ll easily accept more weight and muscle. In Saturday’s important win over Miami, Valles was a key factor in deconstructing the Miami offense, notching three sacks and a forced fumble among his seven tackles. Valles has eight sacks and eight pass breakups in 2014, be he has the wingspan and the agility to erupt into a nationally-known defender in 2015.
Team of the Week II: Minnesota
For the first time since 1960, the Gophers were golden in Lincoln, rallying to beat Nebraska and remain alive in the Big Ten West. A week after putting a scare into Ohio State, Minnesota erased a two-touchdown deficit, with the game-winning touchdown coming on a Mitch Leidner run with 3:25 left. There’s no quit in Jerry Kill’s team, which is one more upset away from earning a rematch with the Buckeyes in Indianapolis.
Team of the Week: Arkansas
Is there anyone hotter in the SEC right now, outside of maybe Alabama? The Razorbacks just completed one of the great back-to-back stretches in recent program history, blanking both LSU and Ole Miss behind Robb Smith’s stifling and opportunistic defense. Arkansas created six turnovers in Saturday’s 30-0 whitewash of the No. 8 Rebels to become bowl-eligible in Bret Bielema’s second season. No one will want to face this team, especially a peaking defense, in December.
Jim Mora and Brett Hundley vs. USC
UCLA is soaring following its latest demolition of USC, a 38-20 victory that has the Bruins on the brink of a Pac-12 South title and possibly more. Saturday night’s latest lopsided affair provided further evidence that UCLA now owns Los Angeles, which is particularly impactful as it pertains to recruiting. Mora and Hundley are 3-0 together versus the Trojans, with the quarterback accounting for nine touchdowns and just one pick in those three double-digit victories.
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