Studs and Duds from Week 12 in College Football
The year of the quarterback has seen the rise of dual-threat stars around the country, but Week 12 may forever be known as the week of the running backs.
Points were cheap and easy to come by on Saturday as several top teams rolled behind career efforts from ground-churning tailbacks.
You don't normally feel bad about leaving guys off a list, but this week is an exception. There were so many extraordinary efforts around the college football landscape that some guys were bound to get ignored. There was quarterback Jameis Winston with another great game, Duke quarterback Brandon Connette accounting for five total touchdowns in the Blue Devils win over Miami and notable running backs like T.J. Yeldon and Tre Mason putting up monster numbers.
Of course, with all the great performances came a handful of bad ones as well, and Nov. 16 will be a Saturday to forget for some.
Let's take a look at the studs and duds of college football from a wild and wacky Week 12.
All stats via ESPN.
Stud: RB Andre Williams, Boston College
If you've missed the boat on Boston College running back Andre Williams, we're offering up a final one-time offer to hop on board.
The senior polished off a 42-carry, 339-yard effort against North Carolina State, marking his fourth straight game with more than 150 yards on the ground. In fact, Williams has more 200-yard games this season (four) than he does sub-100 yard game (just two).
After the game, Eagles' coach Steve Addazio wasn't shy about discussing his running back in relation to the Heisman Trophy:
He's a workhorse. I think that any time you have a dominant football player that is all about the right things and stands for what’s right in college football then that’s what the Heisman Trophy represents. There are some tremendously worthy candidates out there, but why not Andre Williams?
On the year, he has more than 1,800 yards on the ground to go along with 14 touchdowns. While his past couple monster weeks have come against bad teams, he also had 28 carries for 149 yards against Florida State. Williams has proven himself to be one of the top running backs in the country.
Dud: QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Stanford's offense doesn't typically allow for quarterback Kevin Hogan to put up big numbers, so when you see that he's thrown for just 127 yards, it doesn't always tell the whole story.
His two late-game picks do, however, and with the Cardinal in position to take the lead over USC on multiple occasions, Hogan was unable to make good decisions. The result was a 20-17 defeat that vaulted the Oregon Ducks back atop the Pac-12 North standings.
Hogan's first interception occurred in the red zone, wiping a potential field goal off the board. His second came as he was being tackled and he lofted up a pass that was tipped around before being secured by USC safety Su'a Cravens.
When you play in an offense that doesn't force you to win many games with your arm, you have to make good decisions with the football. Unfortunately for Hogan, that didn't happen on Saturday night.
Stud: RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde can get lost in the talk about the Todd Gurleys and T.J. Yeldons of the world, but make no mistake: The bruiser for the Buckeyes knows how to carry the football.
In a 60-35 win over Illinois, Hyde rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns on just 24 carries for an average of more than 10 yards per rush. With the Buckeyes leading 47-35, Hyde ended any hopes the Fighting Illini had of a comeback with touchdown runs of 51 and 55 yards.
Zac Ellis of SI.com called Hyde and the rushing attack the "story of the game" as the Buckeyes rushed for 441 yards altogether.
While Urban Meyer's passing offense hasn't been able to hit high gear very often in 2013, the ground game is as deadly as ever behind the ever-churning legs of Hyde.
Dud: QB Sean Mannion, Oregon State
What started out as a promising junior campaign has turned into an abysmal one for Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion.
In a crucial matchup with Arizona State, Mannion tossed four interceptions, which all but wipes out his 320 yards passing. He's thrown seven picks in the past two games after throwing just three in the Beavers' first eight games.
Without any kind of a ground game, Mannion will continue to throw often and put up big yards. But with a tough November slate, he's been unable to limit mistakes and give his offense a chance, and for that he lands on the Week 12 "duds" list.
Stud: Wisconsin RB Trio
It was impossible to select just one running back from the Badgers after Wisconsin racked up 554 rushing yards in a 51-3 victory over Indiana, so we're including three.
The most productive of the trio was senior James White, who carried the ball 20 times for 205 yards and a score. After that, Melvin Gordon had 13 rushes for 146 yards and a touchdown, and way down in third place is Corey Clement with a measly 108 yards and two scores on 11 carries.
We kid, of course, but it was an unbelievable effort on the ground from a Badgers team known mostly for punishing opponents in the trenches. Even wide receiver Jared Abbrederis got int the act with three carries for 86 yards and two scores.
On a day with so many great performances from the backfield, Wisconsin's running backs stood tallest among them all.
Dud: Texas Tech Defense
It's not always fair to single out one defensive player when a team gives up 63 points, so we're calling out the entire Texas Tech defense for its effort in a 63-34 loss to Baylor.
To be completely fair, the Bears torture nearly every defense they face, so the Red Raiders are far from alone. Still, there's no way to put a positive spin on giving up nearly 700 yards of total offense.
The most frustrating aspect had to be the balance of the Bears' attack, which totaled 340 yards on the ground and 335 through the air. No matter how Baylor moved the ball, the Red Raiders were unable to come up with stops, and the result was getting blown out in a game that remained competitive through two-and-a-half quarters.
Stud: RB James Sims, Kansas
The best candidates to make the "studs" list are often guys who make big plays in big games for their highly-ranked teams.
In the case of Kansas running back James Sims, it was simply earning the Jayhawks a victory in conference play. But don't let that diminish what he accomplished, because the senior carried the ball 22 times for 211 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-19 victory over West Virginia.
Sims made perhaps the biggest play of the game with just 28 seconds left in the second quarter as he burst into the open field for a 68-yard score that gave his team a 10-point lead heading into the break. In a season with few highlights for Kansas, Sims provided a big one on Saturday.
Dud: QB Case McCoy, Texas
You can't pin Texas' 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State entirely on quarterback Case McCoy, but throwing three interceptions won't win over the naysayers anytime soon.
McCoy completed 26 of 39 passes for 221 yards, but he failed to throw a touchdown, and the turnovers proved costly, especially the pick-six just before the half that gave the Cowboys a 28-10 lead.
Michael Corcoran of CultureMap.com wrote about McCoy's inability to develop any kind of vertical passing game:
Yes, this was Choke State, but no, Case McCoy isn’t Vince Young. Number 6 has had a special season, beating OU and all, but he soiled the Sealy Saturday, averaging 5 yards per pass attempt and three interceptions.
The Longhorns host Texas Tech before traveling to Baylor, and barring chaos (not to mention major improvement on both sides of the ball), any Big 12 title hopes that remained before the loss to Oklahoma State are pretty much out the window.
Stud: RB Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State
If you had Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs making this list a second straight week, stand up and take a bow. But this wasn't just for you, because Bibbs put on a show yet again, and this time it came in a 66-42 win over Nevada.
Bibbs, after rushing for 312 yards and four scores last week, carried the ball 38 times for 291 yards and six touchdowns in the Rams' victory over the Wolf Pack.
It's the third 200-yard game in the last five outings for the sophomore, who isn't a stranger to the national spotlight any longer. It doesn't seem likely that Bibbs will make this list again, as doing so would mean he'd have a string of performances practically unmatched in the history of the game, but we're not going to bet against it either.
Dud: QB Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky
There will be much better days in quarterback Jalen Whitlow's life than the one he had Saturday, and we hope there are better games up ahead as well.
But the sophomore just wasn't very good in the Wildcats' 22-6 loss at Vanderbilt. Despite rushing for 69 yards, Whitlow completed only 50 percent of his passes for 120 yards and four interceptions.
The loss itself doesn't come as a huge surprise, as Kentucky has been unable to make any noise in the SEC in 2013, but you'd like to see a more efficient performance from the quarterback spot in a November game. That didn't happen, and Mark Stoops' team remains winless in conference play.
Stud: QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
You can bet that UCF fans are more relieved than anything after the Knights' 39-36 victory over one-win Temple. The victory keeps alive BCS hopes for a program not used to playing under pressure.
Quarterback Blake Bortles has been the difference-maker this season, and Saturday was no different. The big-armed junior completed 27 of 38 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in the win.
Better teams would have put Temple away by halftime, and the Knights will have to do a lot better to close out the season as conference champions. But Bortles came through when it mattered the most, and he has his team on the verge of a very special season.
Dud: Head Coach Bo Pelini, Nebraska
If you had told Nebraska fans that their team would score 28 against Michigan State, they'd probably be giddy with excitement considering the Spartans give up just over 13 points per game.
When you factor in the struggles the Spartans have had on offense, you might even think the Cornhuskers had won the game.
Unfortunately, Bo Pelini did not have his defense ready to go, and the result was a disappointing 41-28 loss.
The effort on defense is especially head-scratching when you consider that Nebraska had a chance to leap to the top of the Legends Division with a victory. Instead, the Spartans put up 14 points in the fourth quarter to pull away, and an already frustrating season for Pelini took another wrong turn.