Highlights of notable Maxwell Award candidates
for the week ending Nov.
RB Jarek Broussard, Colorado
It was a heckuva night for debuts in Boulder as the Pac-12 kicked off its 2020 campaign. New Buffs head coach Karl Dorrell defeated his alma mater, QB Sam Noyer won in his first start and Broussard was special in the first action of his career. Filling in for the injured Alex Fontenot, Broussard rushed for 187 yards and three scores on 31 carries, as Colorado upended UCLA, 48-42.
RB Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota
After sharing touches the past two seasons, Ibrahim finally has the feature role in the Gopher backfield. And he’s making the most of it. The nation’s leader in rushing yards per game has eclipsed 200 yards and four touchdowns in each of the last two weeks. A nightmare to bring down, Ibrahim busted through the Illinois defense Saturday for 224 yards on 30 carries in Minnesota’s first win of the year.
QB D’Eriq King, Miami
After a somewhat quiet stretch in October, King looks poised to light up November. The dual-threat had his best game as a Cane, rallying his guys to a thrilling 44-41 win at NC State Friday night. King accounted for 535 yards, including a game-high 105 on the ground, and his fifth TD pass with 2:43 left was the game-winner. He completed 31-of-41 and earned Pro Football Focus’ top passing grade for Week 10.
QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Mond has hit his senior year stride, and that’s a big reason why the Aggies are rising in the polls and riding a four-game winning streak. Texas A&M dominated South Carolina in Columbia, as the offense gashed the Gamecocks for more than seven yards per play. Mond threw for 224 yards and accounted for five touchdowns, four through the air and one on the ground.
QB Michael Penix, Indiana
The next best thing to Ohio State in the Big Ten this year? Might very well be the Hoosiers, who moved to 3-0 after beating Michigan, 38-21, for the first time since 1987. Penix has been the catalyst on offense. On Saturday, he rested his legs and relied on his left arm to pierce the Wolverine defense. Penix, who continues to improve on his deep-ball touch, connected on 30-of-50 for 342 yards, three TDs and no turnovers.
QB Carson Strong, Nevada
As the halfway point of the regular season approaches, Nevada is an upstart Mountain West contender. The Wolf Pack is 3-0 for the first time since 2010 after handling Utah State, 34-9. And the triplets, Strong, bruising RB Toa Taua and playmaking WR Romeo Doubs, are leading the way. Strong has now thrown for at least 350 yards in five straight games, completing 36-of-52 for 411 yards and three touchdowns to Doubs last Thursday.
QB Kyle Trask, Florida
On Saturday, Trask became the first player in SEC history to throw four touchdown passes in five consecutive games. That the latest effort came against the talented Georgia D to seize control of the SEC East Division made it extra special. The Gators applied the knockout punch in the first half, and Trask went on to finish 30-of-43 for 474 yards, those four scoring strikes and a pick. It’s been 20 years since the Bulldogs have allowed that many passing yards in a game.
QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Wilson and the Cougars remain one of the most interesting stories of 2020. BYU aced its biggest test, handing Boise State its worst home loss since 1996. The Cougars moved one enormous step closer to a perfect regular season, 51-17, as Wilson completed 21-of-27 for 359 yards and two touchdowns, while running for a third score. He continues to be one of the game’s most dangerous and accurate deep-ball distributors.
The Maxwell Football Club also honors the nation’s best defensive player with the Chuck Bednarik Award. Here’s a look at last week’s standout defenders.
LB Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
The Sooners have regrouped from their early-season slump, with an eye on a sixth consecutive Big 12 championship. Oklahoma won its fourth straight game Saturday, easily disposing of overmatched Kansas, 62-9. Bonitto needed just 28 snaps to collect four tackles, three sacks and two quarterback hurries, and was Pro Football Focus’ second highest rated defensive player of Week 10.
S Nick Cross, Maryland
Well, this season sure has turned around quickly in College Park. After opening with a lopsided loss at Northwestern, the Terps have rebounded with a thriller over Minnesota and a thrashing of Penn State. QB Taulia Tagovailoa has seized control of Mike Locksley’s offense, while emerging stars like Cross headline the D. Cross was the third-ranked safety of Week 10, according to Pro Football Focus, making eight tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a pick and two pass breakups on Saturday.
S Evan Fields, Arizona State
Squandering a late lead at USC really stings. But there was a lot to like about the Sun Devils in the opener, such as the play of the secondary. ASU prevented big plays from Trojan QB Kedon Slovis, who didn’t throw a TD pass until late in the fourth. Fields and CB Chase Lucas both stood out, the former making a game-high 17 stops and forcing two fumbles.
DE Troy Hairston, Central Michigan
The MAC is back and so is Hairston… and that’s gonna be a problem for opposing offenses on Central Michigan’s schedule. The Chippewas opened the season with a 30-27 win over Ohio, getting a big effort from No. 13. Hairston, who uses his size and leverage to get under the pads of blockers, had seven tackles, a forced fumble and the first three-sack game of his career.
DE Patrick Johnson, Tulane
The Green Wave evened its record at East Carolina Saturday afternoon behind a balanced offense and a solid effort from the defense. Johnson once again impressed NFL scouts with his ability to routinely collapse the pocket. He had the second three-sack game of his career, forced a couple of fumbles and harassed Pirate QB Holton Ahlers all day long.
DT Manny Jones, Colorado State
The Bronze Boot is back in to Fort Collins for the first time in four years. Steve Addazio has his first win with the Rams. And the coach’s swarming D was a reason why Colorado State got revenge on rival Wyoming Thursday night. The Rams had 14 stops behind the line, with Jones applying constant pressure up the gut. The senior was a load all night, making seven tackles, four tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
DE Ochaun Mathis, TCU
Mathis is slowly beginning to realize his potential as a pass rusher… and that has the folks in Fort Worth excited. The sophomore had the first breakout game of his young career, beating the Texas Tech O-line for three sacks and six total tackles. It’s the type of confidence-boosting game that the athletic 6-5, 247-pounder will look to build on over the final three games.
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Clemson’s 36-game regular season winning streak ended in South Bend. And while there were 87 combined points in the double-overtime thriller, the Irish defense played well in the box… particularly Owusu-Koramoah. The playmaking rover operates like a guided missile, who also happens to be shooting up NFL Draft boards. In Saturday’s upset, Owusu-Koramoah helped hold the top-ranked Tigers to one yard a carry while making nine tackles, 2.5 stops for loss, a half-sack, forcing a fumble and returning another for a score.
Must-See Week 11 Games
Notre Dame (7-0) at Boston College (5-3)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Can Notre Dame avoid the letdown after stunning No. 1 Clemson last Saturday in double-overtime? Back in 1993, almost 27 years to the day, the Irish defeated top-ranked Florida State… and then fell a week later to Boston College. Well, look who’s in the on-deck circle. The Eagles have outperformed expectations in Jeff Hafley’s debut and almost defeated Clemson as well two weeks ago. This will be an especially poignant game for BC QB Phil Jurkovec, who spent the last two years in South Bend before transferring. He has a big test ahead against once of the nation’s premier defenses.
Alabama (6-0) at LSU (2-3)
Saturday, 6:00 p.m. ET (CBS)
Yeah, it’s gonna feel different than usual. But Alabama-LSU still matters, and will still be loaded with intensity, storylines and intrigue. Unlike last November, when both rivals were undefeated and highly ranked, this is a rebuilding season for the Tigers who were embarrassed by Auburn, 48-11, before last weekend’s bye. The Crimson Tide, by virtue of Clemson’s Week 10 loss, is now the nation’s top-ranked team. And they’ve yet to win a game by less than two touchdowns. After losing to LSU in 2019, Bama and its high-powered offense will have revenge on its mind in Baton Rouge.
Wisconsin (1-0) at Michigan (1-2)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
For a game matching teams that are 2-2 combined, it’s not short on intriguing backdrops. Wisconsin started fast on Oct. 23, hammering Illinois behind precocious QB Graham Mertz… and has not played since because of virus-related limitations. Another cancellation could disqualify the Big Ten West Division favorites from playing in the league title game. Meanwhile, Michigan, which also opened with a resounding win, has slumped ever since. The Wolverines were defeated by instate rival Michigan State and then thumped Saturday by Indiana. Michigan and Jim Harbaugh needs this game in the worst possible way to stop the bleeding.
Oregon (1-0) at Washington State (1-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
These longtime rivals opened the Pac-12 season with wins, both using new starting quarterbacks in the process. Oregon, the conference favorite, defeated Stanford, 35-14, behind multidimensional sophomore QB Tyler Shough and arguably the league’s premier defense. Washington State went even younger, as first-year head coach Nick Rolovich turned to true freshman Jayden de Laura, who accounted for three scores in a 38-28 victory at Oregon State. No. 11 Oregon is one of two ranked Pac-12 squads and has no margin for error when it comes to the College Football Playoff.