College Football's All-Week 2 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position
Week 2 of the 2017 college football season centered around four huge battles between ranked opponents, but candidates for Bleacher Report's All-Week team came from all over the 71-game slate.
That said, it was hard not to notice the incredible play of Baker Mayfield in Oklahoma's road win over Ohio State, or the individual defensive efforts in Clemson's suffocation of Auburn.
Stat lines were the primary factor for consideration, but impressive/clutch plays were also key in the selection process. Generally speaking, though, whether the team won or lost the game was irrelevant.
For sake of argument, our offense runs a two-WR, two-RB and one-TE formation, and our defense is a base 4-3. In filling out those rosters, here are our first and second teams from Week 2.
First Team: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
When people started calling this the year of the quarterback, they weren't kidding. Three different QBs (Shea Patterson, Shane Morris and Will Grier) threw for at least 350 yards and five touchdowns while pacing their teams to 45 or more points, and they couldn't even crack the first or second team for the week.
One of the two reasons for that was Baker Mayfield's sensational road performance in a statement win over Ohio State. Always a model of passing efficiency, Mayfield completed 27 of 35 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-16 win.
Most impressive, he did almost all of his damage after the intermission. Oklahoma trailed 10-3 early in the second half when Mayfield took over the game. He was 16-of-17 for 228 yards in the second half, simply making a mockery of Ohio State's young secondary.
Second Team: Lamar Jackson, Louisville
393 passing yards. 132 rushing yards. Six total touchdowns. Ho hum. Just another day at the office for the reigning Heisman winner. If he puts up another stat line like that next week against Clemson, might as well start etching his name on the trophy for a second time.
First Team: D'Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
After rushing for 1,425 yards as a junior, D'Angelo Brewer entered this season as one of the top candidates to lead the nation in rushing. A 22-carry, 33-yard season debut put one heck of a damper on that dream, but Brewer made up for it in a big way against Louisiana.
Tulsa's featured back shredded the Ragin' Cajuns for 262 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries. For the most part, it was a steady dose of short gains, but he had a 50-yard touchdown run as well as a 60-yard dash that set up one of Tulsa's other five rushing touchdowns.
All of a sudden, Brewer is averaging 147.5 yards per game and appears to be right back on track for a monster year.
First Team: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Despite losing workhorse back Corey Clement, big things were expected from Wisconsin's backfield this season. But those big things were supposed to come from the combined force of Bradrick Shaw and Pittsburgh transfer Chris James. No one was expecting much of anything from freshman Jonathan Taylor until he ripped off a 41-yard run in the second half of the season opener against Utah State.
With Shaw ruled out for this week's game against Florida Atlantic because of a leg injury, Taylor took center stage and dominated.
Less than nine minutes into the game, Taylor already had 119 rushing yards and two scores. He would finish the day with 223 yards and three touchdowns. Per Sports Reference, it was just the 15th time since 2000 that a Wisconsin player rushed for at least 220 yards in a game.
Second Team: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
The replacement for FBS all-time leading rusher Donnel Pumphrey is ready to set some records of his own. After rushing for 197 yards in the season opener against UC Davis, Penny had an even bigger performance up his sleeve for the road game against Arizona State. He torched the Sun Devils for 216 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards, 99 kick-return yards and three touchdowns in a win.
Second Team: Bryce Love, Stanford
Sam Darnold and USC ended up winning with room to spare, but Bryce Love made things interesting early on for Stanford. The Cardinal's replacement for Christian McCaffrey had 126 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first 17 minutes, but he only had 34 rushing yards the rest of the way, as Stanford was forced to throw to try to keep pace with the Trojans.
First Team: Courtland Sutton, SMU
Much like D'Angelo Brewer on the previous slide, Courtland Sutton entered his senior season with big expectations. Sutton had 1,246 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last year, becoming the top wide receiver on some 2018 draft boards. However, his Week 1 performance (two catches for 22 yards) left much to be desired.
Sutton was back to his usual self in a 54-32 win over North Texas. He had eight catches for 163 yards with four touchdowns. He had TD grabs of 35, 40 and 62 yards as the Mean Green had no answer for him for a second straight year. Against North Texas in Week 1 of the 2016 season, Sutton had four receptions for 162 yards and three scores.
First Team: Tyre Brady, Marshall
A far cry from Sutton, Tyre Brady had nine career receptions when this season began—and he had them in 2015 before transferring away from Miami (FL). He did have three catches and a touchdown in last week's game against Miami (OH), but it wasn't immediately apparent that he was going to be Marshall's top target against North Carolina State.
Going forward, we know what to expect. Brady was targeted on 16 of Chase Litton's 43 pass attempts, amounting to 11 receptions for 248 yards and a touchdown. Seven of those catches went for at least 15 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown strike that gave the Thundering Herd a 20-10 lead in the second quarter.
It wasn't enough for the upset, though, as they were outscored 27-0 the rest of the way.
Second Team: A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
The Rebels have no postseason to play for this year, but they've still got one heck of a QB-WR combo in Shea Patterson and A.J. Brown. They connected for 233 yards and two scores in Week 1 and went for another 156 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. All told, that's 389 yards, which is just 23 shy of his total from the entire 2016 season.
Second Team: David Sills V, West Virginia
Speaking of unstoppable QB-WR duos, how about Will Grier and David Sills V? Similar to Brady, Sills had just seven receptions in his career before this year, and they came back in 2015. But after hauling in nine catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, he made seven more receptions for 153 yards and three TDs against East Carolina. That means he's on pace for about 210 yards and four scores next week against Delaware State, right?
First Team: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
It's weird that Wisconsin ended up with two first-team players on offense, because it only beat Florida Atlantic by a 31-14 margin. Regardless, Troy Fumagalli was the star of the game. No other player on either team made more than three receptions, but Fumagalli had eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Unlike last week when four of his five receptions went for at least 15 yards, he did most of his damage closer to the line of scrimmage against the Owls. Not one of his catches got the Badgers more than 20 yards, but they added up nicely in the end.
Second Team: Cole Herdman, Purdue
Cole Herdman, on the other hand, exclusively made big plays for Purdue. He only made two receptions in the 44-21 win over Ohio State, but he almost finished the week with as many yards as Fumagalli. Herdman had a 25-yard catch and a 62-yard touchdown while topping Purdue's potent passing attack.
If you're wondering, these two tight ends will face off October 14.
First Team: Texas Longhorns
The Texas offensive line was completely embarrassed in Week 1. When Shane Buechele wasn't taking one of his five sacks on the day, he was running for his life to escape yet another pass-rusher who was barely touched. The Longhorns ceded three other tackles for loss while tallying 31 carries for 98 yards.
After averaging more than 240 rushing yards and putting up at least 133 in every game in 2016, it wasn't a pretty start.
Things were infinitely better this week against San Jose State. Neither Sam Ehlinger nor Jerrod Heard took a single sack and there were only two tackles for loss. Chris Warren III led the way with 166 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he was only 40 percent of the story. Six different Longhorns ran for at least 25 yards. They racked up 406 yards and six touchdowns as a team in the 56-0 blowout.
Second Team: Maryland Terrapins
The team responsible for pummeling the Texas O-line last week had a darn fine showing of its own against Towson. Thanks in large part to Ty Johnson rushing for 124 yards on just five carries, Maryland averaged 10.2 rushing yards per carry. Seven Terrapins had at least one carry go for 14 or more yards in the 367-yard, six-touchdown rushing show.
First Team: Austin Bryant, Clemson
Clemson had 11 sacks in its win over Auburn, so this won't be the last Tiger you see on the list. Austin Bryant led the way, though, with four sacks.
Bryant set the stage by sacking Jarrett Stidham for a two-yard loss on the first play of the game, and he continued to terrorize Stidham straight through to the final whistle. On Auburn's final two plays, Bryant had one solo sack and combined with Dorian O'Daniel for another.
All told, Bryant took down the quarterback by himself three times and was part of a Stidham sandwich on two other occasions. There were only four players in the entire 2016 season who recorded at least four sacks in a game, and not one of them was facing a CFP contender like Auburn.
First Team: Leo Jackson III, Colorado
Colorado lost a ton of key defensive weapons from last season, but you wouldn't know it from the way it shut down Colorado State and Texas State in the first two weeks. Two forced turnovers and a punt return for a touchdown highlighted the Week 2 win over Texas State, but Leo Jackson III had one heck of a day, too.
The senior defensive lineman entered the afternoon with just 2.5 sacks in his career, but he more than doubled that total with three sacks against the Bobcats. Two of the sacks came on 3rd-and-long, while the third one forced a 3rd-and-long situation.
Second Team: Anthony Winbush, Ball State
Anthony Winbush had three sacks last week against Illinois and backed it up with another dominant performance against UAB. He had 1.5 more sacks, three tackles for loss and was credited with two QB hurries. Winbush also forced two fumbles, one of which the Cardinals were able to recover. This guy is officially becoming a terror.
Second Team: Blain Padgett, Rice
Blain Padgett was a stat-sheet stuffer in Rice's 31-14 win over UTEP. He had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three QB hurries and a pass defended. It was quite the improvement from the season opener against Stanford, in which one assisted tackle was his only contribution.
First Team: Ed Oliver, Houston
After an offseason of hearing Ed Oliver should be one of the best individual players in the nation, his season debut did not disappoint. Houston's Week 1 game against UTSA was canceled due to Hurricane Harvey, and Oliver made up for it in a big way against Arizona.
The sensational sophomore didn't have any sacks, but he did record 11 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Of the bunch, the most impressive tackle came on what appeared to be a big play for Arizona. Brandon Dawkins broke free for a 12-yard scramble inside the Houston 30, only to have Oliver bring him down from behind while forcing a fumble. He was double-teamed on his pass rush, but he somehow had the athleticism to spin around and catch the quarterback.
First Team: Christian Wilkins, Clemson
As advertised, here's another Tiger.
Christian Wilkins was a non-factor in Clemson's Week 1 blowout of Kent State, but it appears he was just saving his energy for the Auburn game. Wilkins had 10 total tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.
It was Wilkins' sack on the first play of the second quarter that started to turn the tide in Clemson's favor. Prior to that play, it was all Auburn. The Tigers from Alabama had sustained two time-consuming drives and held Clemson to just six yards of total offense. Over the final three quarters, though, the Tigers in orange dominated, particularly on defense.
Second Team: Hercules Mata'afa, Washington State
It was a rough (long) night for Washington State's defense, giving up 401 total yards and 44 points in the three-overtime win over Boise State. However, there were some impressive individual efforts during that wild mess. Hercules Mata'afa was one of the biggest contributors with three tackles for loss and a half-sack that caused a fumble returned by the Cougars for a touchdown.
Second Team: Miles Fox, Old Dominion
Despite giving up a touchdown, Old Dominion finished its 17-7 win over Massachusetts with more sacks than points allowed. The Monarchs brought down Massachusetts quarterbacks eight times, led by Miles Fox. ODU's junior nose tackle had 1.5 sacks last week against Albany and two more against the Minutemen—one solo and two halves.
First Team: Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Boise State ceded a ton of points in its 47-44 triple-overtime loss to Washington State, but don't blame edge-rusher Leighton Vander Esch.
The defensive star for the Broncos recorded a game-high 16 tackles, including a pair of monster sacks. He brought down Tyler Hilinski for a 20-yard loss late in the third quarter and had a 10-yard strip-sack in the final minute of regulation that likely would have given Boise State the win if it could have jumped on the loose ball.
Is this the start of a breakout story? Prior to this game, his career high in tackles was nine and he had a total of 2.0 sacks in 15 games.
First Team: Dorian O'Daniel, Clemson
Oh look. It's another first-team Clemson defender. If you're sick of seeing them, just imagine how Jarrett Stidham feels.
Dorian O'Daniel led the Tigers with 14 total tackles, 10 of which were of the solo variety. He had two tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a QB hurry. In a nutshell, this dude was everywhere, doing one heck of a Ben Boulware impersonation.
Second Team: Frankie Luvu, Washington State
Whether it was Brett Rypien or Montell Cozart at quarterback for Boise State, he could not stay out of the way of Frankie Luvu. The senior linebacker had 2.5 sacks, including a forced fumble. He was also "Johnny on the Spot" for a fumble recovery on a 3rd-and-goal play inside the 5-yard line.
Second Team: E.J. Ejiya, North Texas
As a whole, the Mean Green didn't do much on defense in their 54-32 loss to SMU. E.J. Ejiya did what he could to keep his team in the game, though. He led North Texas with seven tackles, including a pair of sacks.
First Team: Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
It was a big day for inside linebackers from the state of Virginia.
For the Hokies of Virginia Tech, it was Tremaine Edmunds leading the way in a 27-0 shutout of Delaware. The junior had 14 total tackles, including a pair of big sacks. The first one came on a 3rd-and-goal play that led to a missed field goal. The second included a forced fumble that set VT up on the Delaware 10-yard line.
Some of the players on this list were surprise success stories, but not Edmunds. He had 16.5 tackles for loss last season and entered the year as a first-team All-American in the eyes of many. Expect more of the same for the rest of the season.
Second Team: Micah Kiser, Virginia
Micah Kiser's stat line against Indiana was almost identical to what Edmunds did. Kiser also had 14 tackles and two sacks. However, neither of his QB takedowns resulted in a fumble, and he played for a team that gave up 34 points instead of zero. But like Edmunds, Kiser also entered the year with big expectations. He had 24.0 tackles for loss, 14.0 sacks and eight forced fumbles in his sophomore and junior seasons combined.
First Team: Darius Phillips, Western Michigan
Western Michigan could not get anything going on offense against Michigan State. In fact, it wasn't until the final possession that the Broncos took a single snap inside the Spartans' 40.
But cornerback Darius Phillips kept things interesting. He only had one tackle in the game, but it was behind the line of scrimmage. He defended three passes and recorded an interception on a Brian Lewerke arm punt. He also ripped loose a fumble in the third quarter, scooped it up and ran for a 67-yard touchdown. And in the fourth quarter, he returned a kickoff 100 yards for another touchdown.
The Broncos scored twice in the 28-14 loss, and only because Phillips put the team on his back.
First Team: Jalen Davis, Utah State
There was only one college football game played Thursday night, and Jalen Davis made sure it wasn't worth watching.
Utah State's veteran cornerback had an interception in the first and second quarters against Idaho State, returning the second one for a touchdown that put the Aggies up, 31-6.
You would think Idaho State would know better than to test him. When these teams met in 2014, he also had two interceptions with one returned for a score. Fifty percent of his eight career interceptions have come against the Bengals.
Second Team: Tyree Kinnel, Michigan
Tyree Kinnel was gifted with one of the easiest pick-sixes you'll ever see. Hayden Moore's 3rd-and-11 pass attempt sailed several yards over the head of his intended receiver and straight into the breadbasket of Kinnel, who then had about six blockers in front of him for a virtually untouched 28-yard return. The junior also led the team with nine tackles, including a sack.
Second Team: Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon
Nebraska's Tanner Lee was all over the place, completing just 46.3 percent of his pass attempts and throwing four interceptions. Thomas Graham Jr. capitalized on the opportunity. He had one interception late in the second quarter and another early in the fourth quarter. He was also credited with two passes defended and a tackle for loss.
First Team: Aaron Williams, Nebraska
It's a little weird to pick a first-team defender from a team that gave up 42 points in a half, but Aaron Williams was a pivotal piece of Nebraska's attempted comeback. He led all players in the game with 12 tackles and had both an interception and a fumble recovery that set the Cornhuskers up in Oregon territory.
However, it was too little, too late. Nebraska almost stormed back from a 42-14 deficit, but it desperately could have used at least one more Williams turnover.
First Team: Garrett Davis, Houston
Houston vs. Arizona didn't have anywhere near the scoring anyone was expecting. Per OddsShark, the over/under was set at 65, but it turned into a defensive struggle with just 35 total points scored.
Garrett Davis was at least partially to blame. With Arizona trailing 19-16 late in the game and driving into Houston territory, Davis jumped a curl route to pick off a Khalil Tate pass, effectively sealing the game for the Cougars. He had a game-high 11 total tackles.
However, his most noteworthy play was one that doesn't even show up in the box score. Arizona was pinned inside its own 10 when Davis came untouched on a blitz. With Davis barreling down upon him, Brandon Dawkins mishandled the snap, resulting in two critical points for Houston.
Second Team: Kyzir White, West Virginia
West Virginia's win over East Carolina was over before it started. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 49-3 lead by halftime with some help from Kyzir White. The senior safety intercepted two Thomas Sirk pass attempts, each of which led to a WVU touchdown three or fewer plays later. White was also credited with a pass defended and five tackles.
Second Team: Manny Bunch, Tulsa
There wasn't much defense in Tulsa's 66-42 win over Louisiana, but Manny Bunch was responsible for most of it. The sophomore safety racked up 13 tackles and had a key interception in the second half. With the score 45-35 and the Ragin' Cajuns driving to make it a one-possession game, Bunch picked off a pass at his own 5. Louisiana never did get the margin back to single digits.
First Team: Griffin Oakes, Indiana
For the second straight week, it was a brutal Saturday for college kickers. Most notable was Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund, who went 0-of-2 on field goals with misses from 20 and 23 yards, but it was shank city all over the country.
One of the few exceptions to the rule was Indiana's Griffin Oakes.
The Hoosiers didn't attempt a single field goal in their opener against Ohio State, but it's hard to believe they weren't able to get into this guy's range. He was 2-of-2 in the road win over Virginia with field goals from 51 and 48 yards. He also drained all four of his extra-point attempts.
Second Team: Matt Ammendola, Oklahoma State
The Cowboys don't often need to attempt many field goals with such a potent offense, but Matt Ammendola was given several chances to put points on the board in Friday's win over South Alabama. He did miss a 42-yarder, but he made up for it by nailing a kick from 53 yards out on the following possession. Ammendola also had makes from 48 and 31 yards and was 5-of-5 on extra-point attempts.
First Team: Tom Sheldon, North Carolina
Australian punters have taken this sport by storm over the last several years, and that includes 28-year-old sophomore Tom Sheldon.
Thanks to him, North Carolina repeatedly turned the field over against Louisville. Sheldon punted four times on the afternoon. All four went at least 48 yards and landed inside the Louisville 15. Only one of the four punts was returned by the Cardinals, and Reggie Bonnafon gained just eight yards on it.
The gem of the day, though, was a 66-yarder that was downed inside the 1-yard line. And though Lamar Jackson and Co. seemed unstoppable on offense, they were held to 10 points on the four drives after Sheldon pinned them deep in their own territory.
Second Team: Jake Bailey, Stanford
It wasn't a great day for Stanford as a whole, but at least Jake Bailey kept USC from doing anything in the return game. He averaged 51.3 yards on his four punts, not one of which was returned by the Trojans. The first one ended up in the end zone for a touchback, but he made up for it with subsequent punts that landed at the USC 10, 5 and 2.
First Team: Anthony Ratliff-Williams, North Carolina
UNC's defense was abysmal, but it was a big day for Tar Heels special teams. In addition to great boots from Tom Sheldon, they got a couple of big returns from Anthony Ratliff-Williams.
Louisville eventually started kicking the ball away from Ratliff-Williams, but not before he returned five kickoffs for 199 yards. The highlight was a 94-yard return for a touchdown on which he hardly had to do anything. No jukes, spins, hurdles or broken tackles. The speedster just found one seam and outran everyone for his first career TD.
Considering North Carolina has already given up 82 points this season, he's probably going to have plenty of opportunities to hone his craft as a returner for the next 10 weeks.
Second Team: Dante Pettis, Washington
There were several kicks and punts returned for touchdowns by SEC players—LSU's D.J. Chark, Tennessee's Ty Chandler and South Carolina's Deebo Samuel all found paydirt—but how about Dante Pettis returning another punt for a touchdown? Washington's wide receiver does not yet have a score on offense, but his 67-yard return against Montana was his second TD on a punt return this season, as well as the seventh of his career. If you give this guy a chance to return a punt, you deserve to lose.
Kerry Miller covers college football and college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.