November 28, 2010

Nevada's Matthews grabs top honor

CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
ACC
Maryland WR Torrey Smith caught 14 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-31 victory over N.C. State.
BIG EAST
Connecticut RB Jordan Todman rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries in a 38-17 victory over Cincinnati.
BIG TEN
Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins was 17-of-22 passing for 152 yards and two scores in a 28-22 victory at Penn State.
BIG 12
Texas A&M LB Von Miller had seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a 24-17 victory at Texas on Thursday.
CONFERENCE USA
SMU QB Kyle Padron was 21-of-24 passing for 331 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-38 OT victory over East Carolina that clinched the Conference USA West's berth in the league championship game.
MID-AMERICAN
Toledo WR Eric Page caught 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-31 victory over Central Michigan on Friday. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass.
MOUNTAIN WEST
Utah S Brian Blechen had five tackles, an interception and a sack as the Utes rallied for a 17-16 victory over BYU.
PAC-10
Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler was 27-of-36 passing for 380 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-34 victory over UCLA on Friday. He also rushed for 35 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
SEC
Auburn QB Cameron Newton was 13-of-20 passing for 216 yards and three scores as the Tigers kept their national title hopes alive by rallying for a 28-27 victory at Alabama on Friday. He also rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
SUN BELT
North Texas RB Lance Dunbar rushed for 274 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries in a 49-41 loss to Kansas State. He also caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.
INDEPENDENTS
Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd caught 11 passes for 86 yards and a score in a 20-16 victory at USC that snapped the Trojans' eight-game winning streak in the series.

Nevada built itself into a competitive team and a ranked program on the strength of a dominant run game out of the "Pistol" formation.

When Boise State and the nation's No. 1 rush defense visited Reno on Friday, Nevada proved it's not a one-dimensional team.

Wolf Pack wide receiver Rishard Matthews caught 10 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a 44-yard touchdown in a 34-31 OT stunner over Boise State to earn Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors.

Matthews, a junior college transfer who enrolled in January, caught six passes for 133 yards in the first half, then made a bigger impact in the second half. Matthews caught a 7-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 31 after running for a 44-yard score on a reverse as the Wolf Pack climbed back from a 24-7 deficit.

"I told him this week he needed to step out of his shadow and show that he can do it," Nevada coach Chris Ault told the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal.

NATIONAL FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
WR LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State

In the Egg Bowl, Mississippi State fans got a look at what an explosive player can do in the running game and the passing game, thanks to redshirt freshman WR Perkins.

Perkins caught three passes for 140 yards and had touchdown catches of 33 and 36 yards in a 31-23 victory over Ole Miss. He also rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries. On the way to 319 all-purpose yards, Perkins was a factor in the return game, too, with 65 yards on kickoffs and 16 yards on a punt return.

"We are not loaded with playmakers," Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said. "We have guys who make plays, but we are not loaded with playmakers. He is one of our playmakers. We needed him to step up, and he had a huge game. He had some explosive plays that we needed."

NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK
Jim Heacock, Ohio State

Michigan came up just short of playing for the national title when it lost 42-39 to Ohio State in 2006. Since that loss, the Wolverines have scored only 27 total points in the past four seasons against Ohio State.

Heacock's defense had a dominating effort in the 37-7 win Saturday, holding the Wolverines to a season-low 351 yards.

Michigan picked up chunks of yardage at times, but the Wolverines managed only one touchdown for their lowest scoring output since scoring 17 points in a loss to Michigan State on Oct. 9. Ohio State has held Michigan to single digits in three of the past four meetings.

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.



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