Here’s who had the best performance in this weeks Thursday Night Football:
MVP: Keith Harrington (RB)
- Third-year sophomore Keith Harrington (pictured above) has officially returned to the running back position and today proved that’s exactly where he belongs. One of his first touches on the night came after a screen pass that he turned up the field and out ran several defensive backs for a 33-yard touchdown score. A few drives later, Harrington took a handoff and shot right through the middle of the defense for another 16-yard touchdown. He was electric and seemed to be playing at a different speed than everyone else on the field.
QB: Tyler Hilinski
- On the first drive of TNF second-year freshman Tyler Hilinski put together a 10-play scoring drive. It was capped off with a 7-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Riley Krenz, who was left unguarded in the corner of the end zone. A few plays prior to the score, Hilinski connected with freshman Grant Porter on a 48-yard bomb that gave the offense field position inside the red-zone. Hilinski showed that he still has complete control of this offense as he moved the ball down the field utilizing a mix of run plays, short passes, and deep throws.
OL: Liam Ryan
- Freshman Liam Ryan has had some very impressive TNF football outings this year. He is as consistent as they come and limits mistakes to a bare minimum. Ryan has quickly made his way into the two-deeps as a true freshman at the left tackle position. Although it doesn’t seem likely that Ryan would fill in for starting left tackle third-year sophomore Andre Dillard at this moment, he does look like a viable option for a chance to see playing time next season.
WR: Porter, Patmon, Arconado, Wilson
- This was a tough one because so many receivers made big plays this week. Grant Porter caught a huge pass that got the offense into scoring position. Freshman Dezmon Patmon looked really confident as he pulled in several passes and put some moves on the defense. Sophomore Brandon Arconado was a receiving machine who constantly moved the chains, and second-year freshman Kainoa Wilson ripped off one of the biggest gains of the day by hauling in a 37-yard reception.
LB: Dillon Sherman
- I’m not quite sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Freshman Dillon Sherman almost intercepted three passes during TNF. All three were in drop back coverage where he read the quarterback's eyes then reacted to the throw with his quickness. Each time the ball either hit him in the hands or the chest so we’ll call them pass break-ups that could have been turnovers. Either way, Sherman’s effort during TNF was exceptional, and he shows that he can play at the Pac-12 level.
DB(Nickel): Justus Rogers
- Okay, freshman Justus Rogers plays nickel which is considered a safety position, but what made him stand out during this week’s scrimmage was his pass rushing skills. Rogers recorded two sacks on back-to-back plays where he was blitzing off the edge. He showed great speed and though he went untouched on both, he was ready to use his hands to fight off any potential block. Rogers’ two sacks put the offense into a third-and-twenty situation that could not be converted and ended the TNF session.
DL(Rush): Mason Vinyard
- Freshman Mason Vinyard is another Coug who has really emerged as a guy that can play fast in Alex Grinch’s defense. At the rush linebacker position, Vinyard is a bit undersized at this point, but shows that he can rush the passer as well as drop back into coverage – two extremely valuable skills for a defensive end. Even at 6-5 and 225 pounds, Vinyard is pretty physical when he takes on blocks and he can hold his responsibilities without getting pushed around for the most part.