September 17, 2006

Week 3 Top Performers

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Super Saturday did not disappoint.

The weekend lived up to its lofty billing with a fourth-quarter comeback courtesy of Oregon's Dennis Dixon (with a little help on a controversial onside kick call), a stunning upset in a rivalry game from Michigan's defense and a welcome return to the field from Iowa's Drew Tate.

On the same day Clemson coach Tommy Bowden beat his father on the field named after him, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was held without a touchdown for the first time in six years.

It was a tough weekend to pick out the best performances, but here are the top 10 players (and five goats) from Week 3: Week 3 Top Performers
1. Dennis Dixon, Oregon quarterback
The numbers: 25 of 40 passing, 357 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT; 7 carries, 24 yards, TD
The result: Oregon 34, Oklahoma 33
Oregon has found another quarterback with a penchant for late-game heroics. Less than a year after splitting snaps with Brady Leaf in the Holiday Bowl loss to Oklahoma, Dixon was the hero of this year's matchup with the Sooners. Trailing 33-20 in the final 72 seconds, Dixon led two scoring drives with a 16-yard TD run with 1:12 left and then a 23-yard pass to Brian Paysinger with 45 seconds remaining to give the Ducks their first win over Oklahoma in six tries.
2. Michigan's defense
The numbers: Three interceptions, two fumbles recovered, 249 yards allowed
The result: Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21
In his first major game as Michigan's defensive coordinator, Ron English made quite the statement. Linebacker Prescott Burgess had two interceptions to set the tone for a defensive effort that overwhelmed the vaunted Irish offense. Brady Quinn accounted for all but 30 yards of Notre Dame's total offense while throwing three picks. The run game managed 17 yards on 11 carries and never got going after Michigan took a 34-7 lead in the second quarter.
3. Drew Tate, Iowa quarterback
The numbers: 26 of 38 passing, 274 yards, 3 TDs, INT; 5 carries, 31 yards
The result: Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
Tate led the Hawkeyes to a second-half win over Iowa State, temporarily ending the Cyclones' stronghold on the in-state rivalry. Without Tate last week, Iowa limped to a win over Syracuse, and going into Saturday's game, Iowa State had won six of eight. Tate made a triumphant return by passing for 93 yards on consecutive scoring drives to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
4. TCU defense
The numbers: 3 points, 242 yards allowed
The result: TCU 12, Texas Tech 3
The Horned Frogs have aspirations of a BCS at-large bid this year and got a major boost by beating Texas Tech convincingly. The Red Raiders had their worst offensive output in five years. Texas Tech scored under 10 points for the first time since 2001 and was held without a touchdown for the first time since 2000. Despite throwing the ball 47 times, quarterback Graham Harrell was held to 204 yards.
5. Drew Stanton, Michigan State quarterback
The numbers: 16 of 25 passing, 191 yards, 2 TDs, INT; 13 carries, 104 yards, TD
The result: Michigan State 38, Pittsburgh 23
A year removed from missing the postseason, the Spartans passed their first major test of the season with a trip to Pittsburgh thanks to Stanton. The senior accounted for 315 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. He took over in the second half, leading scoring drives of 75, 64, 83 and 99 yards. After halftime, he was 9 of 12 for 169 yards along with 61 rushing yards.
6. Steve Slaton, West Virginia running back
The numbers: 21 carries, 195 yards, 2 TDs
The result: West Virginia 45, Maryland 24
7. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma running back
The numbers: 34 carries, 213 yards, TD
The result: Oregon 34, Oklahoma 33
8. Dwayne Jarrett, USC wide receiver
The numbers: 11 receptions, 135 yards, 2 TD
The result: USC 28, Nebraska 10
9. Mario Manningham, Michigan wide receiver
The numbers: 4 receptions, 138 yards, 3 TDs
The result: Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21
10. Chris Leak, Florida quarterback
The numbers: 15 of 26 passing, 199 yards, 3 TDs, INT
The result: Florida 21, Tennessee 20
Week 3 Goats
1. Schools that put Troy on the schedule
Sooner or later, this is going to bite someone ... again. Troy upset a ranked Missouri team in 2004 and has come close to pulling off another big upset this season. In each of the last two weeks, the Sun Belt school has gone into the fourth quarter tied on the road against an ACC team. This week, Georgia Tech needed Reggie Ball to rush for 130 yards, a school record for a quarterback, and three fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 35-20 win.
2. Video review
In two games, "indisputable video evidence," was, well, disputable. Against LSU, Auburn had call go its way when officials overturned a pass interference on Auburn's Zach Gilbert when Eric Brock deflected the ball on fourth and 8. TV replays showed the contact came before the ball was tipped. A penalty call would have given LSU a first down inside the Auburn 20 with 2:43 left. But the bigger call came against Oklahoma when it was ruled, reviewed and upheld that Oregon recovered the onside kick in the final minute. The Sooners argued an Oregon player touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards. Dennis Dixon went on to lead the game-winning drive.
3. Virginia
NC State and Chuck Amato are so last week. Virginia is the latest ACC team to fall apart at home against a MAC team. The Cavaliers went into this week's game against Western Michigan coming off a rout to Pittsburgh and a squeaker to Wyoming before a 17-10 disaster to Western Michigan in Charlottesville when Al Groh went through three quarterbacks before the end of the game.
4. Purdue's defense
The Boilermakers' 3-0 record could turn into a distant memory if their defense doesn't improve in the next couple of weeks. Purdue turned in its "best" defensive performance of the season Saturday by allowing 28 points and 354 yards to Ball State. Purdue has allowed average of 31.3 points and 408 yards per game against the Cardinals, Miami (Ohio) and Indiana State. Don't look for those numbers to improve much in the next three games against Minnesota, Notre Dame and Iowa.
5. Temple
OK, we get it: Temple is not a very good football team, but this is a new low. Extending their losing streak to 15 games, the Owls dropped their second consecutive game by a score of 62-0 with a loss to Minnesota. Temple's only points this season came on a 20-yard field goal in the opener against Buffalo.

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