When the dust finally settled early Sunday morning, it was pretty clear that Week 2 of the 2013 college football season might be remembered as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Yes, while there was lots to love about the generous gridiron buffet this past weekend, the tastiest bits—depending on where you hail from—may have been the compelling upsets of USC and Texas.
Whether these two defeats will bring down the careers of Lane Kiffin and Mack Brown is yet to be seen, but what is known is that it took some unbelievable individual performances to make the upsets a reality.
And this is the underlying story of every final score that flashes across the bottom of our television screens. It tells the tale of the singular player who overcomes all odds to pull off one of the best performances in a delicious chapter of college football.
To these guys—big and small—we tip the proverbial hat of an appreciative nation.
Senior defensive end Lee Pegues busted out with three sacks and three tackles in East Carolina’s 31-13 win over FAU.
Pegues’ three sacks were a single-game career high for the Wallace, S.C. product.
Junior quarterback Taylor Kelly started off his 2013 season in style with a stunning performance in the Sun Devils’ 55-0 romp over FCS Sacramento State.
Kelly went 23-of-31 (74 percent) for 300 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions, earning him a dazzling passer rating of 208.7.
Senior running back Andre Williams rushed for 204 yards and one score on 23 carries in Boston College’s 24-10 win over Wake Forest Friday night.
Williams ran for 114 yards in Week 1’s win over FCS Villanova, and his 318 total yards in 2013 makes him the No. 3 rusher in the FBS.
Junior defensive end Za’Darius Smith registered three sacks and six tackles in Kentucky’s 41-7 beatdown of Miami (Ohio).
Smith’s four sacks this season make him the FBS leader in 2013.
Junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater continued to roll in Week 2 by going 23-of-32 (72 percent) for 397 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the Cardinals’ 44-7 win over FCS Eastern Kentucky.
Bridgewater’s two-game passer rating of 228.1 makes him the third-most efficient passer in the FBS.
After reeling off 182 yards in Rutgers’ Week 1 loss to Fresno State, junior Paul James ran for 119 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2’s win over FCS Norfolk State.
James’ 18 points marked the first ever in his collegiate career.
The unsung hero in Houston’s 22-13 win over Temple was senior kicker Richie Leone.
Leone was 5-of-6 on field goals and 1-of-1 on extra points for a total of 16 points in what was a nine-point win.
Leone was good from 19 yards twice, 22 yards, 24 yards and 40 yards in the win.
The offensive star in Illinois’ stunning 45-27 rout of Cincinnati on Saturday, senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase shined.
Scheelhaase was 26-of-37 (70 percent) for 312 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The No. 6 rusher in Week 2, junior Mark Weisman ran for 180 yards and two scores on 30 carries in Iowa’s 28-14 win over FCS Missouri State.
Weisman hit the 100-yard mark in Week 1 as well, reeling off 100 yards even in the Hawkeye’s 30-27 loss to Northern Illinois.
With an 89 percent completion rate, sophomore J.W. Walsh was almost perfect in Oklahoma State’s 56-35 win over UTSA.
Overall, Walsh was 24-of-27 for 326 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
With five forced turnovers on six plays in a 52-20 win over Western Kentucky, it’s no surprise that a member of the Volunteer defense would make the list.
Though sophomore defensive back Brian Randolph didn’t score one of Tennessee’s two pick-sixes on Saturday, he did haul in two interceptions for 38 return yards.
The picks were the first of Randolph’s collegiate career.
Junior quarterback Cole Stoudt hit the field in the second quarter of Clemson’s game against FCS South Carolina State in relief of starter Tajh Boyd.
Though he wasn’t exactly squaring off with the South Carolina, Stoudt was nearly perfect, going 19-of-20 (95 percent) for 143 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Junior safety Detrick Bonner scored two interceptions in Virginia Tech’s 45-3 rout of FCS Western Carolina, taking one to the house for a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Bonner’s last pick-six came in the 2012 win over Duke when he bolted 39 yards for a Hokie score.
One of the top-scoring quarterbacks in Week 2, Boise State’s senior Joe Southwick tossed five touchdown passes in Boise State’s 63-14 romp over FCS Tennessee-Martin.
Overall, Southwick went 17-of-25 (68 percent) for 234 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
One of the defensive stars of Boise State’s 63-14 win over FCS Tennessee-Martin, junior cornerback Bryan Douglas nabbed two interceptions on Saturday, one for a 33-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
The achievement marked both Douglas’ first interception and first score as a collegian.
Junior wide receiver Titus Davis racked up 184 yards and two scores on six receptions in Central Michigan’s 24-21 escape from FCS New Hampshire.
Davis' yardage output made him the fifth-most productive receiver in the FBS in Week 2.
The leading rusher and scorer in Baylor’s score-fest victory over Buffalo, junior running back Lache Seastrunk racked up 150 yards and three scores on 17 carries.
When the dust settled, the Bears hung up 70 points and 781 yards on the Bulls in a relentless 70-13 victory.
Hidden somewhere deep under Baylor’s weighty stats, senior Buffalo wide receiver Alex Neutz racked up 197 yards and one score on only six catches in the Bulls' 70-13 loss.
Even though there was no win involved, Neutz’s yardage gave him the second-most prolific receiving performance in Week 2.
Even though De’Anthony Thomas only managed 124 yards rushing in Oregon’s 59-10 whipping of Virginia, he was one of only a handful of running backs to score three touchdowns in Week 2.
Thomas has managed 252 yards this season—in two games—a number that is 35 percent of the 701 total rushing yards he registered in 2012.
Another top-scoring passer in Week 2, junior Chuckie Keeton threw five touchdowns in Utah State’s 52-20 beatdown of Air Force.
All in all, Keeton dazzled by going 32-of-40 (80 percent) for 360 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. If that weren’t enough, he was also the game’s top rusher with 77 yards on eight carries.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Grant racked up 187 yards and two scores on 14 receptions in Tulane’s disappointing 41-39 loss to South Alabama.
Grant’s yardage output was a career-high mark and earned him the No. 3 slot among receivers in Week 2.
Sophomore defensive end Eddie Yarbrough registered three sacks and nine tackles in Wyoming’s 42-10 beatdown of Idaho.
Yarbrough hit the three-sack mark one other time in his college career—last November in a 28-23 win over UNLV.
Leading the charge in Georgia’s big 41-30 win over South Carolina, senior Aaron Murray went 17-of-23 (74 percent) for 309 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Though Murray’s numbers aren’t as shiny as others' on the list, keep in mind that he posted his stats against what was the No. 13-ranked scoring defense in 2012.
Junior linebacker Amarlo Herrera registered 12 tackles (one for a loss), a half a sack and forced a fumble in Georgia’s 41-30 win over South Carolina.
Herrera was the Bulldogs' No. 5 tackler in 2012 and leads the team with 24 tackles this season.
The star in Northwestern’s explosive 48-27 win over Syracuse, junior Tony Jones gained 185 yards and one score on nine catches.
Jones’ performance represented both the high point of his career and over half of the 335 yards he earned during the entire 2012 season.
Jones was the fourth-most productive receiver in the nation in Week 2.
The difference-maker in NC State’s 23-21 near miss over FCS Richmond, junior kicker Niklas Sade scored 11 points on Saturday.
All in all, Sade was 3-of-3 on field goals and 2-of-2 on extra points. He was good from 19 yards, 46 yards and kicked a 48-yard bomb to win the game with 33 seconds remaining.
Senior cornerback Ciante Evans came up with two interceptions in Nebraska’s 56-13 triumph over Southern Miss.
The first of Evans’ two picks resulted in a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter, making the score 21-3 Cornhuskers.
Michigan State’s best offensive weapon in its 21-6 win over USF was sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who scored two of the Spartans’ three touchdowns on Saturday.
Calhoun’s first score came via a four-yard fumble return in the first quarter, and his second came in the form of a thrilling 56-yard interception return in the third.
Sophomore running back Steward Marshall racked up 151 yards and three scores on nine carries in Marshall’s 55-0 spanking of FCS Gardner Webb.
Butler’s performance marked his second consecutive 100-plus yard game and the first multiple-score game of his career.
Even though junior kicker Michael Hunnicutt missed a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, he still managed to score 10 points in Oklahoma’s nine-point win over West Virginia.
Hunnicutt was 3-of-4 on field goals (from 21, 32 and 44 yards) and 1-of-1 on extra points in the Sooners’ 16-7 victory.
In another outstanding kicking performance, senior Carl Salazar not only scored 12 points in a three-point game, he won the game with a 34-yarder as time expired.
Salazar was 3-of-3 on field goals (from 23, 31 and 34 yards) and 3-of-3 on extra points in Tulsa’s 30-27 win over Colorado State.
The leading rusher in BYU’s shocking 40-21 win over Texas, sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill ran for 259 of the Cougars’ 550 rushing yards on Saturday.
Hill carried the ball 17 times and scored three times as a rusher, eclipsing the 129 yards and zero scores he racked up as a passer.
Hill’s rushing yards—as a quarterback—made him the No. 2 rusher in college football in Week 2.
The No. 2 rusher in BYU’s run-a-palooza versus Texas, sophomore running back Jamaal Williams racked up 182 yards on 30 carries in the 41-20 win.
Williams tied for the No. 4 slot among backs in Week 2, and his production this week was an improvement on the 144 yards he hung up on Virginia in Week 1.
The man who tied BYU’s Jamaal William’s for the No. 4 rushing slot in Week 2, freshman Tevin Williams ran for 182 yards on 20 carries in Louisiana Tech’s 27-14 win over Lamar.
King rushed for 204 yards against Rice in Week 3 of the 2012 season before going out in the next game at Illinois with an ACL injury.
Senior linebacker Daniel Cobb dazzled in the Bulldogs' 27-14 win over Lamar.
Cobb racked up three-and-a-half tackles for a loss, one-and-a-half sacks and forced a fumble. He has seven tackles for a loss in 2013, a number that makes him No. 1 in the FBS ranks.
In one of the near perfect performances of Week 2, senior quarterback Corey Robinson completed 89.5 percent of his passes in Troy’s 66-3 romp over FCS Savannah State.
Overall, Robinson went 17-of-19 for 180 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, resulting in a dazzling single-game passer rating of 238.5.
Though senior wide receiver Eric Thomas only caught three passes for 66 yards in Troy’s 66-3 beatdown of FCS Savannah State, all three were for touchdowns.
Thomas caught a pair of eight-yard passes for scores in the first quarter and then rocketed for a 50-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
Another five-touchdown quarterback in Week 2, senior Zach Mettenberger was impressive in LSU’s 56-17 win over UAB.
Mettenberger went 16-of-19 (84 percent) for 282 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions, earning him an almost surreal single-game passer rating of 295.7.
Not only did junior receiver Odell Beckham score three touchdowns and gain 136 yards on only five catches in Week 2, he also scooped up a field-goal attempt and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown.
Beckham stood waiting for the kick in the end zone and in what almost looked like a kickoff return, he bolted the length of the field for his fourth touchdown in LSU’s 56-17 win over UAB.
After gaining 208 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1’s win over Colorado State, junior Paul Richardson caught 11 passes for 209 yards and two scores in Colorado’s 38-24 win over FCS Central Arkansas in Week 2.
Richardson’s only other 200-plus yard game came in 2011 when he hung up 284 yards on Cal in an overtime loss.
Other than the desperation interception in the Notre Dame end zone in the fourth quarter, junior Devin Gardner was impressive in Michigan’s huge 41-30 win Saturday night.
Gardner went 21-of-33 (64 percent) for 294 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, and he tacked on 82 yards and another score on 13 carries to become the game’s top rusher.
This all becomes even more impressive when you remember that Notre Dame had the No. 2-ranked scoring defense in college football in 2012.
Gardner’s top target in Michigan’s 41-30 win over Notre Dame, senior Jeremy Gallon picked up 184 yards and three scores on eight catches.
Gallon’s output marked career highs in both yards and touchdowns and earned him the honor of being the fifth-most productive receiver in the FBS in Week 2.
The top rusher in college football in what was a big rushing weekend, senior Kasey Carrier pumped out 291 yards and four scores on 41 carries in New Mexico’s 42-35 win over UTEP.
Though Carrier’s numbers seem almost superhuman, this is a kid that rung up 1,469 yards in 2012, including a 338-yard single-game explosion in a loss to Air Force.
The resident speedster in Week 2, senior wide receiver Isaiah Burse not only gained 43 yards and scored once on four catches, he also ran two punts back for touchdowns.
The first was a 61-yard return in the first quarter and the second was a 58-yarder in the second quarter.
Burse and the Bulldogs bested FCS Cal Poly 41-25.
In perhaps the most meaningful pick-six of Week 2, senior cornerback Damante Horton intercepted a Cody Kessler pass with a minute remaining in the first half and bolted 70 yards for a Washington State touchdown.
The pick-six came on a USC 1st-and-10 from the Washington State 33. If that wasn't enough, Horton ended the Trojans’ final drive of the night by picking off Max Wittek at the USC 32 with three minutes to go in the game.
Horton’s touchdown was his first since a 76-yard interception return in a loss to Oregon in 2011, and it marked the only Cougar visit to the end zone in Washington State’s shocking 10-7 triumph over USC.