Week 7 of the college football season included a group of players who put on a show during the most important game of the season for many teams. With conference play heating up, the majority of teams were battling it out with an equally talented opponent, which brought out the best in certain players.
There was a Big 12 wide receiver who averaged more than 35 yards per catch, a Pac-12 quarterback who became the favorite for a prestigious award and a West Coast cornerback who forced four turnovers by himself.
Another week, another wonderful display of talent.
But who truly stood out?
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Mariota and the Ducks finally beat a Top 25 team this season with a 45-24 victory over a highly talented Washington team that was ranked No. 16.
And as usual, the sophomore quarterback played as good as it gets, throwing for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 88 yards and a touchdown.
He was simply too much for the Huskies, who appeared to have enough offensive firepower to keep up with Oregon.
Mariota has now thrown 17 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception. With this win, he should be considered the early favorite to take home the Heisman.
Johnathan Gray, Texas
Gray played the way Texas fans had hoped he would when he first joined the program. After getting his career off to an inconsistent start, the sophomore back shined bright in the biggest game of the season.
In a shocking 36-20 win over Oklahoma, Gray carried the ball 29 times for 123 yards. Although he didn't score, he wore down the best defense in the Big 12 and helped open up the passing game with all of the success on the ground.
Bill Belton, Penn State
Belton didn't have a game for the ages, but he made the most clutch plays in Penn State's 43-40 overtime win against Michigan.
He finished the game with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown, but his performance was all about two plays. In the fourth overtime, the junior moved the chains on a 4th-and-1 play call. He also scored the game-winning touchdown to give the Nittany Lions the win over their Big Ten rival.
Tevin Reese, Baylor
Kansas State gave Baylor a scare, but the Bears are still unbeaten thanks to their senior receiver.
Reese hauled in five passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He scored in the second quarter on a 93-yard touchdown to put Baylor ahead, and then had a 54-yard score that gave the Bears the victory in the fourth quarter.
Reese was one of only three receivers on his team to catch a pass, and his average of 36.8 yards per reception was key in the win.
Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Although his performance came in a losing effort, Montgomery had another breakout game for Stanford.
He was once again the No. 1 target for quarterback Kevin Hogan, hauling in eight passes for 131 yards. He also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score to give the Cardinal a short lead in the first quarter. Unfortunately, they still managed to lose to Utah 27-21, which likely crushes any national championship hopes this program may have had.
Devin Funchess, Michigan
Funchess creates mismatches for defenses, as his 6'5" frame is too big for defensive backs, but his deceptive speed is too fast for linebackers.
Penn State learned this the hard way when the sophomore caught four passes for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Still, the Wolverines lost to the Nittany Lions, but it's nice to see the tight end put together back-to-back 100-yard performances.
Michigan will need this type of production from the second-year player if the passing game continues to struggle. Funchess is one of only two Wolverines (Jeremy Gallon) with more than eight receptions on the season.
Texas Offensive Line
You have to give credit to all of the big uglies of Texas. Like the entire Longhorns team, they showed heart for 60 minutes and refused to be denied a victory. Going up against the best defense in the Big 12, this unit consistently opened running lanes to allow 255 rushing yards.
Johnathan Gray led the way with 123 rushing yards and Malcolm Brown added on an impressive 120. The big boys up front also did a nice job in pass protection, becoming the first team this year to prevent Oklahoma from sacking the quarterback.
It's nice to see Texas has finally woken up for the 2013 season.
Vic Beasley, Clemson
Clemson is made up of more than a high-scoring offense, as Beasley is making a strong case as the best defensive player in the country. In a game against Boston College, Clemson nearly began Clemsoning.
That's when the junior defensive end took his game to another level. He led the way with five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and returned a fumble 13 yards for a score to put the game out of reach. The Tigers beat the Eagles 24-14.
Beasley now has nine sacks on the season and is on pace to give the NCAA sack record of 24 a run for its money.
Paul Dawson, TCU
Dawson started the first game of his career, and it certainly won't be the last if he can continue to play the way he did against Kansas. In the 27-17 win, the junior linebacker racked up 17 tackles, three tackles for loss and defended a pass.
Who needs to play anymore games? Just retire while you're on top!
Head coach Gary Patterson praised Dawson's performance to Alex Apple of the Dallas Morning News (subscription required):
We finally got him in the game doing some things, and he made some plays which is awesome. We have him and Derrick Kindred…stepping up and making us a better football team.
Keep him in the game, Coach.
Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State
In a Pac-12 shootout, turnovers are usually the key in who wins the game. That's why Rashaad Reynolds' performance in the Beavers' 52-24 win over Washington State was critical.
The senior cornerback had six tackles, but he also forced two fumbles and intercepted two passes. That's four forced turnovers by one person, all of which helped Oregon State score on the following possession.
Reynolds is the reason his team improves to 5-1 on the season and remains in the Pac-12 North hunt.