Best and Worst Performances from Week 10 of College Football

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

Best and Worst Performances from Week 10 of College Football

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    Week 10 wasn't the most exciting weekend of college football, but even with a watered-down slate of games, a number of performances stood out as remarkable.

    Outside of the most impressive overall teams—here's looking at you, Florida State—certain players, coaches and units elevated their game to a unique level of efficiency, helping their teams come out victorious.

    On the other side of the coin, certain players, coaches and units choked, either costing their teams the game or forcing them to win in spite of how they performed.

    Here's a look at the best and the worst from Week 10.

Best: QB Brett Hundley, UCLA

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    After looking disoriented for long stretches against Stanford and Oregon, UCLA's offense got back to its old, dominant ways in an easy win over Colorado.

    Hundley was the major catalyst for that improvement. The sophomore was efficient throwing the football, finishing 19-of-24 for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and he added 72 yards plus two more scores on the ground.

    According to ESPN, he led the nation in Adjusted Total QBR for the weekend, finishing with a near-perfect 97.0.

    Hundley's once-glowing NFL stock took a hit in the losses at Stanford and Oregon, but games like this remind scouts and fans why it was so high to begin with. When he's on, Hundley is really on.

Worst: QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

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    Thomas continued his reign as the most frustrating player in college football on Saturday, finishing with a season-high 391 passing yards—nearly 100 more than his previous mark—but continuing to turn the ball over at an unacceptable clip.

    After throwing four interceptions in the Hokies' home loss to Duke last week, Thomas threw two more in their upset loss at Boston College, adding two second-half fumbles that cost his team the game.

    There are times during each game when Thomas makes your jaw drop. He is capable of making some genuine "wow" throws, threading the ball into windows that most quarterbacks wouldn't even attempt.

    But none of that matters until he truly learns how to play his position. And it's starting to look like he never, ever will.

Best: RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

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    Gurley isn't 100 percent healthy, but sensing how badly his depleted offense needed a lift, he suited up for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and helped Georgia shred a vaunted Florida defense.

    Despite appearing out of shape from the time off, Gurley put the team on his proverbial back, finishing the game with 187 yards and two touchdowns on 20 offensive touches.

    He showed explosiveness on a 73-yard touchdown catch in the first half, but it was Gurley's patented power that helped ice the game.

    He picked up a number of crucial (and difficult) first downs on the Bulldogs' final drive, allowing them to run out the clock and clinch the win without Florida getting to touch the ball.

Worst: HC Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

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    Far be it from me to second guess Kingsbury, who has forgotten more about football (and style) in his 34 years of life than I will ever know.

    Still, it does bear mentioning the curiosity of Texas Tech's game plan against Oklahoma State, where true freshman quarterback Davis Webb was allowed to throw 71 passes.

    Throwing the ball ad nauseam is Texas Tech's "thing," and it has always worked well in Kingsbury's career—as both a player and a coach. But to put that kind of onus on a true freshman on the big stage against a very good defense is questionable to say the least.

    Suffice it to say, it backfired, and TTU was blown out on its home field.

Best: WR Josh Harper, Fresno State

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    Teammate DeVante Adams gets most of the love—and to be perfectly frank, that's because he's the better overall player. But Harper stole the spotlight with a career-best game on Saturday. 

    The shifty junior wideout finished with 17 receptions and 253 yards against Nevada, both career highs (by a long shot) and both the second-highest total by an FBS receiver this season.

    Harper also finished with two touchdown receptions, making this his second game of the season—along with the Week 1 win over Rutgers—with 14-plus catches and two scores. That type of explosion is what makes Fresno State so dangerous.

Worst: Northwestern's Final Play

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    At some point, it becomes less about bad luck and more about bad execution.

    Northwestern is famous for losing games it should win, blowing leads in more and more unthinkable ways throughout the course of each season. But that trend hit its ugly nadir against Nebraska, when Jordan Westerkamp caught a true Hail Mary to win the game as time expired.

    Just last year, the Wildcats let up a pseudo-Hail Mary against Michigan, which allowed the Wolverines to tie the game in regulation and eventually win in overtime. This is a trend, not a fluke.

    All Northwestern had to do was knock the ball down. Instead, it ricocheted the ball backward. Surprising as it should have been, who among us was actually surprised?

Best: Michigan State Rush Defense

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    "Dominant" doesn't do justice to how Michigan State played on Saturday.

    The Spartans' run defense was soul-crushing, breaking Michigan's will over the course of 60 excruciating minutes and making "big brother" look more like...well, little 'sis.

    Including sacks—which there were seven of—Michigan finished the game with minus-48 rushing yards, the lowest total in program history. The Wolverines entered Saturday averaging 42.2 points per game but were held to a meager six in East Lansing.

    Sparty stole their milk money on Saturday, bullying the Wolverines from start to finish and taking back the Paul Bunyan trophy in style. Ohio State Buckeyes, beware. 

    *Hat tip to Michigan's offensive line, which would have been included among the Worst if not for sheer redundancy.

Worst: Notre Dame Rush Defense

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    Navy is a difficult opponent to game-plan against, especially on the ground, where its triple-option attack has proven effective against very good teams in the past.

    Still, it was a little disheartening to watch Notre Dame get moved around in the trenches, allowing the Midshipmen to rack up 331 yards on 70 carries—a solid average of 4.7 YPC.

    All-world defensive tackle Louis Nix was out, so the Irish do have a (very good) excuse. Still, the run defense almost cost them this game and exposed a troubling lack of depth up the middle.

    Whenever a defense relies so heavily on one player, it stands the chance of crumbling.