The hottest, the best and the brightest from Week 10 of the 2015 college football season.
There’s just something special about this Huskie program, isn’t there? Northern Illinois has the muscle memory of a champion, proving it again Tuesday night at the Glass Bowl. The defending MAC champs became the first team in 2015 to defeat Toledo, 32-27, doing so after starting QB Drew Hare was injured. Winners of four straight, the Huskies can play their way into another title game, provided Central Michigan slips up this month.
Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson
If there was a Group of Five Heisman, Johnson would be duking it out with Memphis’ Paxton Lynch and Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty for the hardware. Johnson has been absolutely brilliant running Dino Babers’ attack, tossing 33 touchdown passes to just three picks. And he’s thrown no fewer than four scoring strikes in each of the last four games, as the Falcons have seized control of the MAC East Division.
Notre Dame WR Will Fuller
Nah, he doesn’t get the same attention as Baylor’s Corey Coleman or TCU’s Josh Doctson. But, boy, is Fuller a special wide receiver at this level. The big-play junior showed once again why he’s NFL-ready, torching the overmatched Pitt secondary for seven receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Irish QB DeShone Kizer continues to mature at warp speed, with a lot of his development attributable to the field-stretching wheels of Fuller on the outside.
Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham
Yeah, there are tougher tests ahead, but so far, so good on life with a rookie behind center in Waco. Stidham was unusually poised for a true freshman in his starting debut in Manhattan, completing 23-of-33 passes for 419 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He throws a terrific, catchable ball, and big production from Corey Coleman and KD Cannon are surefire signs that Stidham is already developing chemistry with his two most explosive receivers.
Oregon with the ball
No, it’s not quite vintage Quack Attack. And the D remains a liability, DeForest Buckner aside. But Oregon has turned the corner since losing to Washington State a month ago. The Ducks have won three straight, coinciding with the healthy return of QB Vernon Adams. The offense is warming up, scoring 61 points in overtime last week against Arizona State and then racking up a school-record 777 yards Saturday against Cal. The way Royce Freeman is running and Adams is dishing, the Ducks are peaking at the right time for this week’s trip to the Farm.
North Carolina QB Marquise Williams
Duke began Week 10 allowing 16 points per game, while holding opposing quarterbacks below 50% through the air. Against that stingy D, Williams completed 23-of-35 passes for a school-record 494 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. And by orchestrating an attack that scored nine touchdowns on the Blue Devils, Carolina is not only running away with the once-tight Coastal Division, but it’s also become a serious threat to compete for a first ACC title since 1980.
Finally, some clarity. And an unbeaten program to tote around the league banner in November and early December. Clemson and North Carolina have risen out of the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions, respectively, setting the stage for what could be a very interesting QB duel between Deshaun Watson and Marquise Williams on Dec. 5 in Charlotte. More than anything else, though, ACC officials needed the Tigers to hold serve against Florida State, so that the league would maintain a legitimate contender for a playoff berth.
Now that the Midshipmen have blasted the highest ranked Group of Five team—on the road—they’re ready to contend for an American title and more. Navy hammered undefeated Memphis at the Liberty Bowl, 45-20, behind the running of FB Chris Swain and the play of an underrated defense. It was the Academy’s first win over an AP top 15 team since Ronald Reagan was the Commander-In-Chief. The Mids’ only loss came to Notre Dame, so they remain unbeaten in league play, and a threat to cop a Big Six bowl berth.
The Big 12 still has a pair of contenders for the College Football Playoff. But TCU is no longer one of them. Overlooked all season long, despite being undefeated, the Cowboys are anonymous no longer. They didn’t just upset the eighth-ranked Horned Frogs, they destroyed them, 49-29. If there was a Heisman-contending quarterback in Stillwater Saturday, it was Okie State’s Mason Rudolph, who threw for 352 yards and five scores, three to James Washington, who’s been Justin Blackmon-esque the last three weeks. The Pokes are headed to the top 10, with visits from Baylor and Oklahoma still to come.
Remember back in Week 3, when the Crimson Tide run was supposedly losing steam? Yeah, since then, Bama has won six in a row, capped by Saturday’s 30-16 suffocation of LSU. It was a perfect weekend in Tuscaloosa. The defense was quintessentially Nick Saban, stalling Leonard Fournette’s Heisman march. Derrick Henry rushed for 210 yards and three scores to replace Fournette atop the rankings. And Ole Miss fell in overtime to Arkansas meaning the Tide is playoff-bound with wins over Mississippi State, Charleston Southern, Auburn and Florida.