With both Russell Wilson and Christian Ponder enjoying a bye in Week 8, all eyes in the ACC turned to one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country: Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor led the Hokies to a sixth straight win, throwing for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the rout of Duke. Taylor now has 13 total touchdowns in the past four weeks, and he’s racked up tons of rushing yardage during that span, too.
Elsewhere in the ACC, Jacory Harris put together a solid outing as Miami took care of business against North Carolina to move into the BCS rankings. Harris threw for 217 yards and tossed three touchdowns while committing just one turnover in the game.
Andre Ellington stole the show on the ground in Week 8, leading Clemson to a win over Georgia Tech. The dynamic running back carried 20 times for 166 yards and scored a combined three touchdowns to lead the Tigers.
After getting benched in the loss to Texas last week, quarterback Taylor Martinez rebounded with a wonderful performance to help Nebraska defeat Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Martinez did his damage through the air and on the ground, passing for 323 yards and five touchdowns and gaining 112 yards on the ground.
Elsewhere in the Big 12, Baylor’s Robert Griffin had another fantastic game to lead the Bears to a win over Kansas State and an appearance in the BCS rankings this week. Griffin finished with 404 yards passing and four touchdowns in the victory.
Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert got help from his defense but still put up solid numbers as the Tigers trounced top-ranked Oklahoma, totaling 308 yards and a touchdown through the air.
On the other side, both quarterback Landry Jones and running back DeMarco Murray struggled for the Sooners. Jones ended up with 303 yards passing and three touchdowns, but threw a pair of costly interceptions. Murray didn’t get many touches with Oklahoma playing from behind and finished with a meager 49 yards rushing. He did add 48 yards and a receiving touchdown in the loss.
Despite Murray’s modest effort, there were plenty of strong showings by Big 12 backs in Week 8.
Baylor’s Jay Finley was fantastic, rushing for a whopping 250 yards and two touchdowns against K-State. Kendall Hunter was probably even more impressive for Oklahoma State, tearing through Nebraska for 202 yards and two scores.
Tino Sunseri’s early-season struggles seem to be a distant memory now. Sunseri put together another solid outing to lead Pitt to a convincing victory over Rutgers, totaling 307 yards and three touchdowns passing for the Panthers.
Pittsburgh wideout Jon Baldwin has benefited from Sunseri’s improvement and finished the game with five grabs for 139 yards and a long touchdown.
Meanwhile, running back Dion Lewis got things going on the ground with 130 yards and a touchdown for Pitt.
Elsewhere in the Big East, Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 463 against South Florida’s struggling secondary. Three Cincinnati receivers went over 100 yards in the game, led by Armon Binns, who finished with 12 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulls’ B.J. Daniels got the last laugh in the game, accounting for four combined touchdowns to lead Skip Holtz’s team to a much-needed win in Big East play.
A battle of the running backs headlined a fantastic match-up between Iowa and Wisconsin in Week 8.
Wisconsin came out on top, as John Clay totaled 91 yards rushing and two touchdowns to lead the Badgers to a thrilling 31-30 win. Although his team lost, Iowa’s Adam Robinson outgained Clay, finishing with 23 carries for 114 yards and a score. Keep an eye on the injury statuses of Wisconsin’s James White (knee) and Lance Kendricks (ankle), both of whom left the game.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Terrelle Pryor rebounded fairly well from a dreadful performance last week. Pryor completed 16-of-22 passes for 270 and three touchdowns against Purdue, but did throw a pair of interceptions.
Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins again demonstrated his ability to win close games, helping Sparty rally over Northwestern while finishing with 331 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Minnesota’s Da’Jon McKnight caught eight passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns against Penn State as the Gophers suffered another home loss. McKnight has been on fire this season, and he has quietly accumulated nine touchdowns in the past seven games.
East Carolina didn’t slow down after beating North Carolina State. The Pirates ran over Marshall as quarterback Dominique Davis passed for a modest 208 yards, but accounted for three touchdowns.
Houston and SMU met in a game that figured to feature plenty of passing. Instead, Houston’s running game stole the show as Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes rushed for two touchdowns apiece to lead the Cougars to a win.
Tulane put up big numbers offensively to defeat UTEP, with receiver Casey Robottom totaling 10 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, running back Donald Buckram showed some signs of life for UTEP, running for 81 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Another C-USA runner who stood out was Central Florida’s Ronnie Weaver. He rushed for three touchdowns as the Knights routed Rice.
Navy ran all over Notre Dame to win big Saturday at the New Meadowlands. Running back Alexander Teich led the way with 26 carries for 210 yards, and quarterback Ricky Dobbs rushed for 90 yards and three scores as the Midshipmen totaled 367 yards on the ground.
On the other side, Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist picked a bad time to have one of his worst games of the season. Crist threw for just 178 yards for the Irish and tossed two interceptions.
Temple’s dynamic running back duo was at it again Saturday. Bernard Pierce rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and Matt Brown finished with 109 yards on the ground to lead the Owls to a 42-0 win over Buffalo.
Staying on the ground, Toledo’s Adonis Thomas gained 130 yards and scored a touchdown to help the Rockets survive against struggling Ball State. Northern Illinois star Chad Spann rushed for 101 yards and three touchdowns to help the Huskies win again.
Elsewhere in MAC action, Western Michigan took to the air against Akron in a big way.
The Broncos’ Alex Carder finished 17-of-24 for 372 yards and five touchdowns to lead his team to a 56-10 dismantling of the Zips. Wideouts Juan Nunez and Jordan White both put up huge numbers in the contest.
Utah and TCU just keep lighting up the scoreboard and racking up wins in the process.
Utah’s Jordan Wynn passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns against Colorado State, and running backs Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata both found the end twice for the Utes.
TCU running back Ed Wesley ran for over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Air Force’s horrible run defense, and the bruising back Matthew Tucker added a scoring run for TCU.
Andy Dalton was his usual steady self in the Horned Frogs easy win, throwing for 185 yards and running for 93 more.
Elsewhere in the Mountain West, San Diego State star running back Ronnie Hillman was forced to sit out much of the second half against New Mexico with a hip injury. Quarterback Ryan Lindley and the passing game picked up the slack, with wideout DeMarco Sampson hauling in a pair of touchdowns to help the Aztecs defeat the Lobos.
Oregon’s video game offense absolutely cannot be stopped. Running back LaMichael James rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the 60-13 win over UCLA Thursday night, and the underrated Darron Thomas threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
Another Pac-10 juggernaut was in action Saturday and figured to light it up against woeful Washington State. Stanford’s Andrew Luck was held to under 200 yards passing, but Stepfan Taylor picked up the slack by rushing for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
With Nick Foles out with a knee injury, Arizona’s Matt Scott proved his worth by completing 18-of-22 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns to help the Wildcats roll against Washington.
Coming off of the worst losses in recent memory against USC, Cal thrashed Arizona State as Shane Vereen rushed for two touchdowns.
Cam Newton’s storybook season continued as Auburn stayed perfect by beating LSU Saturday afternoon. Newton once again did most of his damage as a runner, racking up 217 yards on the ground and scoring two touchdowns.
After being knocked out by Auburn last week, Ryan Mallett returned and played the role of game-manager for Arkansas. The Razorbacks’ Knile Davis had the best game of his career, rushing for 176 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Ole Miss.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Masoli had by far his best game for the Rebels. Looking comfortable against Arkansas’ suspect defense, Masoli threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns and added 98 yards rushing for Houston Nutt.
After struggling offensively last week, Alabama turned to its two shining stars to carry the load against Tennessee. Trent Richardson broke a long touchdown run to finish with over 100 yards rushing, and Mark Ingram found the end zone twice as the Tide rolled.
With running back Marcus Lattimore nursing an ankle injury, Brain Maddox stepped for Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina team and rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown in the 21-7 win over Vanderbilt. Quarterback Stephen Garcia hooked up with wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Tori Gurley early and often, finishing 31-of-39 for 355 yards and two touchdowns.
After struggling both on and off the field to start the season, Georgia’s Washaun Ealey erupted for 157 yards rushing and a ridiculous five-touchdown total to lead the Bulldogs to a 44-31 win over Kentucky.
They did it. Western Kentucky finally ended its 26-game losing streak, dismantling Louisiana-Lafayette 54-21 in the process. As Lafayette focused on running back Bobby Rainey, the field opened up for quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who completed 81.8 percent of his passes and totaled three touchdowns in the game.
Quarterback Ryan Aplin continued his solid campaign for Arkansas State, totaling 294 yards of offense and scoring two touchdowns to lead the Red Wolves over Florida Atlantic Saturday.
Elsewhere in the Sun Belt, quarterback Dwight Dasher finished with 219 yards and two touchdowns and added 66 yards on the ground to help Middle Tennessee State get a much-needed win.
Without Boise State or Nevada in action, all eyes were on Fresno State and Hawaii this week in the WAC.
Fresno’s Robbie Rouse had another strong showing, finishing with 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs over San Jose State.
Everyone expected quarterback Bryant Moniz to steal the show for Hawaii, but it was the running game and defense that stood up for the Warriors.
Running back Alex Green had a spectacular game, gaining 172 yards and scored four touchdowns on just 14 carries while the defense held Utah State to a meager 181 yards. Green has seven rushing touchdowns in the past three weeks.