November 12, 2006

Top performers: One slick pig

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The national title race took a major turn Saturday, with three one-loss teams turning into two-loss teams.

Naturally,'s top performers for Week 11 are highlighted by the stars of those key games.

Among those who led the upsets, Georgia's Tra Battle and Kansas State's Yamon Figurs spoiled the seasons for Auburn and Texas respectively.

However, Darren McFadden and Jarvis Moss preserved their team's championship aspirations with timely performances on Saturday.

Check out who else made the cut as the week's top performers: Week 11 Top Performers
1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas running back
The numbers: 30 carries, 181 yards, two TDs; 1-for-1 passing, 12 yards, TD; two receptions, 23 yards
The result: Arkansas 31, Tennessee 14
Watching McFadden these last few weeks makes one wonder what might have been had the star sophomore been healthy for the opener against USC. Nonetheless, McFadden has surprising Arkansas poised to play in the SEC Championship Game - and who knows, maybe the national title game. He has been at his finest in Arkansas' biggest SEC games. Against Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee, McFadden has a combined 545 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.
2. Jarvis Moss, Florida defensive end
The numbers: Eight tackles, blocked field goal, blocked extra point, pass break-up
The result: Florida 17, South Carolina 16
The standout pass rusher was a force on special teams, saving Florida's season and keeping the Gators in the national title hunt. Moss' blocks kept four South Carolina points off the scoreboard in a 1-point win. He blocked Ryan Succop's 48-yard field-goal attempt on South Carolina's final play of the game to make sure Florida wouldn't be among the one-loss teams to fall on Saturday.
3. Tra Battle, Georgia safety
The numbers: Three interceptions, one touchdown, four tackles, pass break-up
The result: Georgia 37, Auburn 15
Remember the Bulldogs? For the first time this season, Georgia looked like the team that won two SEC titles in the last four years. Against Auburn last season, Battle was burned by Devin Aromashodu on a 62-yard pass play that set up the Tigers' game-winning field goal. This year, he found redemption by tying a Georgia record with three interceptions all in the first half. Highlighted by a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 23-point second quarter, his career day salvaged the Bulldogs' season. UGA's record was tarnished by four losses in a five-game span, including defeats at the hands of Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
4. Ray Rice, Rutgers running back
The numbers: 22 carries, 131 yards, two TDs
The result: Rutgers 28, Louisville 25 on Thursday
When Rutgers fell behind Louisville 25-7 in the second quarter, the Scarlet Knights got back to basics. Their strategy reverted to what made them undefeated in the first place handing the ball to Rice. The sophomore ran 17 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns - including 74 yards in the fourth quarter - after the Cardinals took their 18-point lead.
5. Yamon Figurs, Kansas State wide receiver
The numbers: Six receptions, 123 yards, two TDs, one punt return, 52 yards
The result: Kansas State 45, Texas 42
Teams have targeted Texas' ailing secondary in recent weeks, but none has been able to translate that into an upset of the defending national champion - until Saturday. The senior Figurs turned in his third career 100-yard receiving day, helping true freshman Josh Freeman to his first big win as the Wildcats' quarterback. Figurs had two touchdown catches and also set up a Kansas State field goal with a 52-yard punt return.
6. Donald Brown, Connecticut running back
The numbers: 43 carries, 205 yards, two TDs; four receptions, 26 yards, TD
The result: Connecticut 46, Pittsburgh 45 (2 OT)
7. Chauncey Washington, USC running back
The numbers: 15 carries, 120 yards, three TDs
The result: USC 35, Oregon 10
8. Steve Breaston, Michigan wide receiver
The numbers: Three receptions, 103 yards, TD; 83-yard punt return for touchdown
The result: Michigan 34, Indiana 3
9. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland wide receiver
The numbers: Five receptions, 175 yards, two TDs
The result: Maryland 14, Miami 13
10. Andre' Woodson and Rafael Little, Kentucky, Chris Nickson, Vanderbilt
Woodson's numbers: 29 of 42 passing, 450 yards, four TDs Little's numbers: 20 carries, 132 yards, TD; eight receptions, 114 yards Nickson's numbers: 23 of 37 passing, 446 yards, TD, two INTs; 16 carries, 71 yards, two TDs
The result: Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 26
Week 11 Goats
1. One-loss teams
The number of teams in the race for the national championship whittled on Saturday with Texas, Cal and Auburn all losing their second game of the season. Another one-loss team, Florida, was shaky in its 17-16 loss to South Carolina. The remaining undefeated teams are Ohio State, Michigan, Rutgers and Boise State. The remaining one-loss teams are Florida, Arkansas, Notre Dame, USC, Louisville, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wake Forest.
2. Dennis Franchione
The embattled Texas A&M coach faced an uphill battle going into the season. An 8-1 start helped his cause, but difficult losses to Oklahoma and Nebraska in the last two weeks have sent him back to square one.
3. Louisville defensive end William Gay
Rutgers kicker Jeremy Ito missed a 33-yard field-goal attempt at the end of Thursday's game against Louisville, but Gay was offside on the kick. Ito made the ensuing 28-yard kick to give Rutgers the 28-25 win.
4. Washington
The Huskies have fallen apart since the season-ending injury to Isaiah Stanback. But a loss at home to winless Stanford? Surely, Washington can do better.
5. Jim Tressel and Lloyd Carr
Anyone else catch them downplaying the importance of the Ohio State-Michigan game next week? That kind of talk is fine for Weeks 1-11 or in any other year, but not now. Tressel and Carr have a week to at least acknowledge this is a biggie - even for this storied rivalry.

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