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CFB Barometer: Who's Up, Who's Down Week 2

Jesse Siegel

Jesse Siegel

Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Storylines abound after Week 1 of the college football season. The top teams largely held their own, including Alabama's dismantling of an excellent Michigan squad. Don't expect Denard Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines to sulk, though; a bounce-back performance from Shoelace should definitely be in the cards. The most surprising upset didn't take place in Happy Valley last weekend, though it did happen in the state of Pennsylvania. Youngstown State from the Missouri Valley Conference stunned Pittsburgh, 31-17. The most impressive team from the first week of action? Oregon and true freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, as the Ducks hung a 50-spot on Arkansas State in the first half Saturday. A Nov. 3 date with Matt Barkley and USC could be the biggest non-SEC game of the year.

Who else helped or hurt his stock heading into Week 2? Let's take a look in this week's College Football Barometer.

UPGRADE

Duke Johnson, RB Miami
Even his mother calls him Duke, and the freshman running back certainly looked like royalty in his collegiate debut for the Hurricanes on Saturday at Boston College. Johnson broke off touchdown runs of 54 and 56 yards as the Canes defeated the Eagles, 41-32. Although he received just seven carries, Johnson finished with 135 yards on the ground. Duke also caught three balls for 10 yards out of the backfield. The dynamic freshman figures to get even more touches in the coming weeks, as he is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball.

Shawne Alston, RB, West Virginia
Alston's value last season lied in his touchdown romps, as the 235-pound running back crossed the goal line 12 times in 2011. With Heisman candidate Geno Smith at quarterback, teams will be game planning for the pass, leaving West Virginia running backs plenty of room to roam. Fellow tailback Dustin Garrison recently suffered a setback in his attempted return from a torn ACL, which only helps Alston's cause. Although Andrew Buie will get some touches, Alston led the Mountaineers with 16 rushes for 123 yards and three scores in their season-opening rout of Marshall. West Virginia doesn't play next until Sept. 15 against lowly James Madison, but Alston looks to be the back to own at West Virginia.

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Gurley made his presence felt from the moment he stepped on campus for the Bulldogs, becoming the surprise story of both spring and fall practice. Gurley parlayed that hype into a three-touchdown performance against Buffalo on Saturday. The freshman rushed eight times for 100 yards and two scores, while taking a kickoff back 100 yards for another touchdown. Although the Georgia backfield remains crowded with the likes of Ken Malcome and Keith Marshall, Gurley is too explosive to be denied his share of touches.

Chase Rettig, QB, Boston College
Rettig was superb in Saturday's loss to Miami, completing 32-of-51 passes for 441 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He posted the second-highest single-game passing total of the opening weekend. Only Ryan Nassib of Syracuse, with 470 yards through the air, gained more yards via the pass than Rettig. The Eagles will look for their first win of the season this week against FCS opponent Maine, which could mean more big numbers for the junior.

CHECK STATUS

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Hundley scored on his first collegiate touch, a 72-yard touchdown scamper that opened up a 49-24 rout of Rice on Saturday. Hundley was extremely proficient passing, as well, completing 21-of-28 passes for 202 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Hundley will face a much stiffer task in the Nebraska Cornhuskers this week, though, so don't anoint Hundley a must-start just yet.

Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State
The leading receiver in the nation after Week 1? That would be Franklin, the Aggies' big-play threat who scored on strikes of 53 and 84 yards from quarterback Andrew Manley en route to a 236-yard outburst. At 6-foot-2, 180, Franklin hauled in 34 passes for 524 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman. However, Franklin did his damage against FCS foe Sacramento State, leaving this week's game against an Ohio squad that knocked off Penn State as more of a true barometer of his 2012 potential.

Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada
The Wolf Pack pulled a shocking upset of their own Saturday, as Jefferson led Nevada past California with 145 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries. Jefferson and dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo formed a dynamic duo against the Bears, accounting for all 550 yards of Nevada's offense. With no other player receiving any carries, Jefferson is the true workhorse for the Wolf Pack. He will face a tough South Florida squad next week, though, so hopefully Jefferson can provide consistency on a week-to-week basis. Bear in mind he had just 73 carries over the first two years of his Nevada career.

Cody Getz, RB, Air Force
With leading rushers Tim Jefferson and Asher Clark both gone, there was a sizeable void in the Falcons' triple-option offense. Enter Getz, a diminutive senior who rushed 17 times for 218 yards and three touchdowns against Idaho State on Saturday. Getz averaged a robust 12.8 yards per carry. Still, Air Force had four players score rushing touchdowns Saturday, including quarterback Connor Dietz. Make sure Getz gets the bulk of the carries before inserting him into the lineup. A date with Michigan this week likely won't clarify this situation either.

DOWNGRADE

David Piland, QB, Houston
The first game of the post-Kevin Sumlin Era was a disaster for the Cougars, as Piland completed just 17-of-44 passes for 211 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 30-13 loss to Texas State. Although Piland played in 2010, he is working this season with an entirely new cast of receivers and a new coach in Tony Levine, as well. Piland and the rest of the Cougars might eventually come around. So far, though, Piland is certainly no Case Keenum.

Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Shaw suffered a contusion to his throwing shoulder in Thursday's win at Vanderbilt, leaving the game in the second quarter. He later returned and led the Gamecocks to victory, but his fantasy stats suffered mightily. Shaw rushed for 92 yards against the Commodores, but completed just 7-of-11 passes for 67 yards. Coach Steve Spurrier said Shaw could barely lift the injured right arm, leaving his status in further doubt. With a cupcake matchup against East Carolina looming, the Gamecocks could rest their starting quarterback and rely on the running game and stout defense instead.

Chris Nwoke, RB, Colorado State
Nwoke suffered what has been deemed a "lower extremity injury" in the second quarter of Saturday's victory over Colorado. He had already rushed for 47 yards when he went down. Nwoke ran for 1,130 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, making him one of the frontrunners for Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. Monitor his status, as losing Nwoke would severely hurt both the Rams and fantasy owners alike.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Another banged-up running back, Burkhead was forced to exit Saturday's contest against Southern Miss due to a sprained MCL, and his return date is unknown. Quarterback Taylor Martinez more than picked up the slack in a five-touchdown performance, but the Huskers would certainly miss Burkhead's production should he remains sidelined. Burkhead rushed for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011, production that is not easily replaced. He had three carries for 68 yards and a score before the injury. Ameer Abdullah will step in for Burkhead after rushing 15 times for 81 yards against USM.

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