College Football's All-Week 2 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2016

College Football's All-Week 2 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position

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    After an opening slate full of marquee games, Week 2 of the 2016 college football season offered a collection of cupcakes, blowouts and massive stat lines.

    That's not to say the weekend lacked intrigue by any means. Several players helped their programs pull off dramatic upsets and earned spots on the All-Week 2 list. Other games were unexpectedly thrilling in the final minutes, and clutch players emerged.

    Bleacher Report is highlighting the best performances of the weekend, breaking down the top producers by position or unit. Each game involving a Football Bowl Subdivision program was considered, and losing a game did not exclude a school.

    Although the featured players weren't always the top statistical producers, gaudy numbers were heavily considered. Competition level, efficiency and clutch plays also factored into the choices.


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    First Team: Lamar Jackson, Louisville

    How does a quarterback follow up a one-half, eight-touchdown performance? Setting a conference record, of course.

    Lamar Jackson torched ACC opponent Syracuse for 610 yards of total offense and five touchdowns, including four on the ground. He also provided a highlight-reel play for the 2016 season, hurdling a defender and waltzing into the end zone.

    "It was amazing," wide receiver James Quick said, per Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal. "I've not seen it in person someone hurdle somebody. It would have to be at the top [of a list of best plays]."

    Second Team: Drew Lock, Missouri

    Drew Lock isn't known for explosive games like Patrick Mahomes II, who simply had to be mentioned following his massive night. Mahomes finished with 584 total yards and six touchdowns.

    But entering Saturday, Lock had never thrown for more than 280 yards or accounted for more than two trips to the end zone. He picked apart Eastern Michigan to the tune of 450 yards and five scores, guiding Missouri to a 61-21 blowout.

Running Backs

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    First Team: Kalen Ballage, Arizona State

    Production? You can say that again. And again. And again.

    Kalen Ballage accounted for a jaw-dropping eight touchdowns against Texas Tech, tying a Football Bowl Subdivision record. He ran for 137 yards on 13 attempts, adding 48 yards on two receptions.

    Yes, he scored eight times—mostly from the Wildcaton 15 touches. Ballage capped his night with a 75-yard touchdown.

    First Team: Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

    Donnel Pumphrey helped the Aztecs build a large enough lead to withstand a late comeback effort from Cal. Oh, and he passed a legend for the school's all-time rushing record.

    The senior slashed Cal for 281 yards, boosting his career total to 4,651 and passing Marshall Faulk's mark of 4,589. Pumphrey scored three touchdowns, moving to within eight of Faulk (57) for his career.

    Pumphrey and San Diego State are serious contenders for the Group of Five's slot in a New Year's Six bowl.

    Second Team: Mark Walton, Miami

    Miami had three 100-yard rushers in the season opener, but Mark Walton simply demanded most of the spotlight Saturday night. The sophomore raced to a career-high 155 yards and tallied each of the Hurricanes' first four touchdowns. Walton scored on runs of seven, three, 16 and 30 yards.

    Second Team: Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt

    Ralph Webb scampered for 211 yards—the third-most in school history—and two scores in Vanderbilt's 47-24 thumping of Middle Tennessee. "I'll take him over any running back in the conference," head coach Derek Mason said, according to the school.

Wide Receivers

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    First Team: Scott Miller, Bowling Green

    Bowling Green narrowly avoided a loss to North Dakota on Saturday, but Scott Miller did a ton of damage for the Falcons.

    The sophomore receiver outran the Fighting Hawks for a 71-yard touchdown and later earned two more trips to the end zone. James Knapke hit Miller for 51- and 11-yard scores.

    Miller amassed 162 yards and three touchdowns on five receptions—all of which were career-high marks.

    First Team: Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech

    Hidden by the late-night contest, Trent Taylor assembled a quietly dominant outing. He reeled in 11 passes, amassing 178 yards and three touchdowns.

    Taylor set a personal best in yards, though he had scored three times before (Western Kentucky, November 2014). It was the eighth game Taylor edged the 100-yard mark.

    Second Team: Corey Davis, Western Michigan

    Perhaps the best-kept secret in college football, Corey Davis shredded North Carolina Central's secondary. The NFL-bound receiver snagged seven passes for 150 yards and three touchdowns, scoring from 52, 46 and 10 yards out.

    Second Team: D.J. Moore, Maryland

    D.J. Moore helped Maryland pull away from Florida International with a pair of 40-plus-yard touchdown receptions. He caught six passes for 147 yards and two scores in the 41-14 win. Moore also threw a 21-yard completion that set up another touchdown.

Tight End

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    First Team: Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan

    A key piece of Central Michigan's 30-27 upset at 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State, Tyler Conklin caught seven passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns—including an impressive, diving one-handed grab.

    Four of his receptions converted a third-down situation for the Chippewas, who beat a ranked team for the first time since 1991.

    Second Team: Jake Butt, Michigan

    Apparently, it was a good day to play tight end for a university from the Mitten. Jake Butt was Wilton Speight's favorite target throughout the day, consistently beating UCF's man coverage in a 51-14 beatdown. The senior had eight catches for 76 yards and two scores.

Offensive Line

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    First Team: Louisville

    Jackson's historic night wasn't the only impressive part of Louisville's performance. Overall, the Cardinals accumulated 845 yards.

    Brandon Radcliff rushed for 156 yards, while receivers Jamari Staples and Quick both edged the century mark through the air. Five different players scored a touchdown.

    Had the receivers not dropped a few perfect passes from Jackson, Louisville legitimately would've threatened to reach 1,000 yards.

    Second Team: South Florida

    Led by a 400-plus-yard performance from dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers, South Florida obliterated Northern Illinois 48-17. The Bulls stampeded their way to 658 yards. Darius Tice ran for 120 yards, and D'Ernest Johnson piled on 87 more. Ryeshene Bronson led the South Florida receivers with 113 yards.

Defensive Ends

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    First Team: Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest

    Wake Forest is inching closer toward a bowl berth, and Duke Ejiofor led the charge against Duke. The junior supplied the pressure while the Demon Deacons capitalized on mistakes.

    Ejiofor totaled seven tackles, four of which came in the backfield. He recorded three sacks and chipped in two quarterback hits. Ridiculously enough, Ejiofor wasn't finished.

    He also received credit for two forced fumbles and one recovery. Wake Forest knocked off its in-state foe 24-14.

    First Team: Ejuan Price, Pittsburgh

    Sixth-year seniors can be valuable pieces, but Ejuan Price hit a different level on Saturday. He forced two fumbles, and both recoveries led to Pitt touchdowns against new old rival Penn State.

    Price had two tackles—one for loss when he knocked the ball loose and one sack—adding three hurries.

    Second Team: Trev Miller, Louisiana-Lafayette

    Trev Miller was quiet in his first appearance for the Ragin' Cajuns. He was anything but during game No. 2, notching five tackles and three sacks in Louisiana-Lafayette's 30-22 triumph over McNeese State before a targeting penalty ended Miller's outing.

    Second Team: Brian Burns, Florida State

    Florida State made quick work of a suspension-riddled Charleston Southern team, allowing heralded freshman Brian Burns to enter the contest. He shined. Burns had five total tackles with three for loss and two sacks, as well as a quarterback hit and a forced fumble.

Defensive Tackles

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    First Team: Christian Wilkins, Clemson

    Clemson's receivers dropped a handful of passes, so head coach Dabo Swinney inserted a different guy at the goal line: Christian Wilkins.

    "We put the defensive lineman in there to see if he could catch it, and he did," Swinney said, per Matt Connolly of the State. The touchdown gave the Tigers a much-needed 20-10 lead.

    Wilkins gathered seven tackles and a pass breakup.

    First Team: Gus Schwieterman, Bowling Green

    Gus Schwieterman missed the entire 2015 season. It's safe to say Bowling Green is glad he's back.

    The redshirt junior sliced through North Dakota's offensive line, collecting a total of three sacks. Heading into the game, Schwieterman had 2.5 for his career.

    Second Team: David Moa, Boise State

    Boise State earned an important 31-28 victory over Washington State, and David Moa assembled a breakout game. Moa tallied five tackles with 1.5 sacks. He also cleared the path for Tyler Horton's 85-yard interception return for a touchdown.

    Second Team: Kendal Vickers, Tennessee

    "Never give up on the play." No matter the sport, that's important. Kendal Vickers took it to heart, chasing down Virginia Tech's Cam Phillips and forcing a fumble just outside the red zone. The turnover led to Tennessee's game-sealing touchdown. Vickers also had one sack.

Outside Linebackers

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    First Team: Sammy Douglas, TCU

    Sammy Douglas was all over the field on Saturday night. The junior linebacker totaled 17 tackles, including 10 solo stops.

    Douglas ended the night with three tackles for loss, a pass breakup and one quarterback hit that forced a then-critical punt.

    First Team: Dayon Pratt, East Carolina

    A key element of East Carolina's upset over North Carolina State, Dayon Pratt provided a constant impact on defense—much greater than simple numbers can illustrate.

    The senior linebacker registered a team-high six solo tackles, including two for loss with one sack. Pratt also forced a fumble that the Pirates recovered in NC State territory.

    Second Team: Airius Moore, North Carolina State

    Although the Wolfpack dropped the thriller, Airius Moore filled the box score. He collected 11 tackles, including seven solo stops. He had 4.5 tackles for loss and joined James Smith-Williams on NC State's lone sack of the day.

    Second Team: Anthony Wilson, Old Dominion

    Old Dominion fell short of Appalachian State on the road, but Anthony Wilson set a school record in the process. The linebacker recorded three sacks, gathering a team-best 11 tackles.

Inside Linebacker

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    First Team: Brooks Ellis, Arkansas

    Brooks Ellis provided the spark Arkansas needed to upend 15th-ranked TCU in Fort Worth, jumping an out route and returning the interception 47 yards for a touchdown.

    "He's playing like a man possessed," head coach Bret Bielema said, according to Andrew Hutchinson of Hawgs247.

    Ellis amassed 13 total stops with three tackles for loss.

    Second Team: Connor Strachan, Boston College

    During a 26-7 victory over Massachusetts, Connor Strachan came up with a couple of key plays. He tallied 2.5 sacks, forced a fumble and jumped on a loose ball. Strachan's fumble recovery led to Boston College's go-ahead touchdown.


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    First Team: Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State

    Marshon Lattimore made his presence felt immediately against Tulsa, picking off Dane Evans' first pass of the game.

    Not to be outdone by teammate Malik Hooker, Lattimore boosted his stats with a second interception. The sophomore returned that takeaway 40 yards for a touchdown.

    Lattimore—who will face a major test at Oklahoma in Week 3—rounded out the victory with three tackles.

    First Team: De'Chavon Hayes, Arizona State

    The first lesson of playing Texas Tech: Mahomes is never out of it. Thanks to De'Chavon Hayes, Arizona State wasn't going to waste Ballage's eight-touchdown explosion.

    Clinging to a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Hayes picked off a pass and returned it to the 1-yard line. Ballage punched in the score on the next play. Hayes' second interception came when Mahomes and Co. were trying to engineer a last-ditch comeback.

    The senior also managed six tackles.

    Second Team: Kai Nacua, BYU

    In the opening half, Kai Nacua was a nightmare for the Utah offense. He intercepted two passes—one in the end zone—and recovered a fumble. However, Nacua's night ended during the third quarter because of a questionable targeting penalty.

    Second Team: Aarion Penton, Missouri

    Alec Lewis of the Kansas City Star noted Aarion Penton had set a high bar after snatching an interception in the opener. The cornerback raised it farther on Saturday, returning his second pick of the season 63 yards and breaking up three passes.


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    First Team: Mike Tyson, Cincinnati

    Purdue quarterback David Blough probably never wants to see Mike Tyson again. The Cincinnati safety picked off three passes during a 38-20 win.

    The Bearcats scored touchdowns following two of those interceptions, and Tyson kept Purdue from putting points on the board. He snatched one pick in the end zone.

    First Team: Orion Stewart, Baylor

    A two-time All-Big 12 safety, Orion Stewart made life miserable for SMU. He snatched a pair of interceptions, catching one in the end zone and taking the other for a score. Stewart also recorded six total tackles in the 40-13 win.

    Craig Smoak of 1660 ESPN notes Baylor quarterback Seth Russell said Stewart and Davion Hall "won the game for us I think."

    Second Team: Nate Gerry, Nebraska

    Nebraska never trailed Wyoming, but the Cornhuskers distanced themselves in the fourth quarter while Nate Gerry sealed the win. The safety racked up seven total tackles before intercepting two passes during the final frame.

    Second Team: Micah Abernathy, Tennessee

    Virginia Tech kept trying to give the game away, and Micah Abernathy was more than happy to oblige the Hokies. The sophomore pounced on three fumbles, including a recovery when Tennessee trailed 14-0, turning the game around for the Vols.


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    First Team: Parker Davidson, New Mexico State

    Parker Davidson will never forget his second appearance in the Rio Grande Rivalry. The sophomore kicker drilled four field goals (45, 41, 37, 30) and two extra points, the second of which won the game. New Mexico State edged New Mexico 32-31.

    Second Team: Emmit Carpenter, Minnesota

    Ohio's Louie Zervos buried five short field goals but missed an extra point. Meanwhile, Emmit Carpenter hit all seven of his, adding field goals from 42, 44 and 45 yards.


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    First Team: Toby Baker, Arkansas

    Toby Baker put on a punting clinic Saturday night in Fort Worth. He hammered five kicks 50-plus yards, and Arkansas forced TCU into negative-one yards on the first four attempts.

    Plus, the 34-yard scamper allowed later was an amazing escape by the first-team returner. The net yardage lost absolutely shouldn't be pinned on Baker, who averaged 50.7 yards on six punts.

    Second Team: Drew Galitz, Baylor

    Baylor's performance against SMU was underwhelming, but Drew Galitz kept it from being even worse. He blasted punts of 60 and 55 yards, also dropping a 43-yarder inside the 10 and a 47-yarder to the 3-yard line. On five punts, Galitz notched a 48.4-yard average.


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    First Team: KaVontae Turpin, TCU

    Arkansas experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a matter of minutes. KaVontae Turpin is to blame for the latter.

    The speedster ripped off a 64-yard kick return immediately following Arkansas' game-tying touchdown with 1:03 remaining. TCU had a chance to kick a winning field goal.

    But that wasn't all. Minutes before, Turpin somehow managed to avoid a tackle on a punt return, spinning off a defender and sprinting 34 yards to set up the Horned Frogs' go-ahead score.


    Second Team: Darius Phillips, Western Michigan

    Western Michigan breezed past North Carolina Central thanks to Davis, and Darius Phillips offered even more support. He averaged 29 yards on kick returns and 22.6 on punts, scoring from 66 yards. Phillips edged Rutgers' Janarion Grant for the spot.

    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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