Two-thirds of the regular college football season has officially concluded. The national championship and Heisman races are heating up, and there is plenty of drama remaining with more division games and intense rivalry battles on the horizon.
But before we take the plunge into the final, and possibly most exciting, part of the season, let us take a look back and celebrate some of the most memorable highlights from the past eight weeks.
Sometimes a great play happens in a game that isn’t so great. USC hasn’t yet returned to championship form, and Minnesota hasn’t contended for anything football related in many years. However, check out this athletic grab from star wide receiver Robert Woods. He sure is fun to watch.
Okay, so it all went downhill for the Gators after this initial strike. Later in the game, John Brantley would sustain a severe injury rendering him unable to play for several weeks.
However, coming into the game, many believed the Gators had returned to being the Gators of old behind the play of speedy running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, and the awakening of Brantley under the tutelage of Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis.
You can bet that after this opening play, fans in both Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge stood up and took notice.
In a bid to become the 2011 version of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson made a huge splash in Camp Randall the opening weekend against UNLV.
Russell led the Badgers to a 51-17 victory, completing 76.9 percent of his passes, accounting for three touchdowns, including this 46-yard jaunt, which no doubt won the hearts and minds of the Madison faithful.
Scroll to 1:24 in the video clip
Andrew Luck is the best college QB prospect in a decade. Fan factions in NFL cities such as Miami and Indianapolis have initiated “Suck for Luck” campaigns, where they are cheering for their teams to lose, so that they will be able to secure the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
While Luck has few peers in many traditional aspects of the QB position, here he earns a bit of extra credit with this catch. Pay attention, Colts and Dolphins fans. He could be doing this for one of your teams next year.
One of the plays that made the “Honey Badger” a household name! Playing on the road at WVU is never an easy task, but LSU handled it beautifully with a “bend but don’t break” defensive approach that kept the Mountaineers in check.
Down 20-7 with less than a minute to go before the half, WVU QB Geno Smith started a drive they hoped would cut the Tigers’ lead to six before halftime. But that’s not what happened. Check out how LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu had other ideas.
In what was intended to be a close matchup between two highly ranked SEC West division rivals quickly turned into a rout in Tuscaloosa thanks to this brilliant 83-yard punt return by Marquis Maze.
I think he manages to juke just about every single Arkansas player on this return. Definitely worth a watch….unless you’re a Razorback fan.
Everyone knew that 2011 would be a rebuilding year for Auburn, after losing so many key players from the 2010 National Championship season. On the other hand, nobody expected the Tigers to open the season by losing to the Utah State Aggies at home!
The situation was dire for the Tiger faithful. With 2:07 to go in the fourth quarter, Auburn found itself down by three and having to kick off to a Utah State offense it had been unable to stop all afternoon. In desperation, Auburn Kicker Chris Brooks executed a flawless onside kick, which was recovered by WR Emory Blake, setting up the TD Auburn needed to escape from the jaws of humiliating defeat.
Every Heisman winner has that “definitive” Heisman moment. In 2008, Tim Tebow had his seven total TD’s against South Carolina. In 2009, Mark Ingram had his lights-out performance against Florida in the SEC title game. Last year, Cam Newton had the jaw-dropping run against LSU.
This run may be Trent Richardson’s "Heisman moment." After breaking free for a long run, he humiliates the Ole Miss secondary through stutter-stepping and misdirection. Tide Linebacker Don’t’a Hightower sums it up best by saying, “That was ridiculous.”
In the first “prime time” night game in Michigan history, QB Denard Robinson gave the 114,804 fans in attendance a moment to cheer about forever.
Down 31-28 with less than 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Michigan had just surrendered the lead to an impressive TD drive from Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees. For the game’s final play, Robinson hit WR Roy Roundtree for a 16-yard score, securing the 35-31 victory.
This play had everything.
A much anticipated rematch of two elite Big 10 teams. Wisconsin looking to stay undefeated and exact revenge on the team that handed them their only regular season loss last year. Michigan State looking to prove that they were true contenders in the Big 10 conference race.
A last-minute Hail Mary, capped off by a struggle to the end zone for the receiver against the defense. Official call, followed by a review, upon which overturned the initial ruling, solidifying a Michigan State victory, sending the fans in East Lansing into a state of euphoria.
If you missed this play from last week, you were either in a coma, or were visiting a third world country doing missionary work.