Head Coach of the Week – Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State
We said all week that everything Fresno State could ever hope to accomplish, a conference title, a possible BCS berth, a shot at a top 10 ranking, was all out in front of them should they beat pesky Boise State for the first time since 2005. Well, here they are. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 34-19 lead with a minute to play in the third quarter, only to see the Broncos rip off 22 unanswered points over the next nine minutes to take a 40-34 lead. Quarterback Derek Carr (460 passing yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions) led Fresno State on a 13-play, 87-yard drive to regain the lead at 41-40 with 2:14 to play, and the Bulldogs’ defense forced a turnover on downs on the ensuing possession, halting the Broncos at the Fresno State 49-yard line.
The task now for DeRuyter? Don’t trip up on a schedule that will see his team at least a touchdown favorite from now until early December. That starts with a trip to Hawaii on Saturday.
Offensive Staff of the Week – Baylor
No one will ever confuse ULM’s defense for 2011 Alabama, but what Baylor has done on offense to this point is flat out ridiculous. In a day where four teams reached the 70-point mark (the most in FBS over the past decade), Baylor’s 70-7 romp represents the first time anyone has scored 69 points or more in three straight games since 1930. And let’s not confuse ULM with Florida A&M or Florida International, either. This is the same Warhawks club that held Oklahoma to 34 points and 124 passing yards on 33 attempts, and entered this game fresh off a 21-19 win at Wake Forest.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the stat sheet. Quarterback Bryce Petty was an insane 18-of-27 for 351 yards (13 yards per attempt) with four touchdowns and no interceptions, to go with five carries for 26 yards and another score. Overall, the Bears threw for 470 yards and ran for 311 more. They averaged 10.1 yards per play on 77 snaps. They had two receivers with more than 120 yards. Starting running back Lache Seastrunk ran for 156 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. They scored 35 points in the first quarter (admittedly, two pick sixes helped), and hit the 70 mark with 7:51 to play in the third quarter. In 12 quarters this season, they’ve scored at least 21 points in six of them. Of the 209 points Baylor has scored to this point, 10 of them have come in the fourth quarter.
The best news for those who like to see live-action video games: with a bye week and then a trip through the bottom of the Big 12 standings (West Virginia, at Kansas State, Iowa State, at Kansas), this team probably won’t even be challenged until November. Hard as it is to fathom, Art Briles and Phillip Montgomery should have this group playing even more efficiently by then.
Defensive Staff of the Week – Connecticut
College football is a strange game. Defensive coordinator Hank Hughes’ unit that got pushed around by Towson to open the season spent Saturday night dictating the terms to No. 15 Michigan for about 80 percent of the game. That 80 percent ultimately was not enough to win, as the Wolverines rallied from a 21-7 hole to win 24-21, but let’s blame that on a Connecticut offense that registered only 206 total yards and contributed a missed field goal, two turnovers and no points in the second half.
The Huskies’ defense held Michigan to 284 yards of total offense, 141 yards below their next-lowest output. Connecticut forced two fumbles and two interceptions and produced a touchdown of their own, a 34-yard fumble return by Ty-Meer Brown that put UConn up 21-7 early in the second half. Quarterback Devin Gardner completed 13-of-25 passes for 111 yards with no touchdowns and the aforementioned two picks, good for a 73.3 passer rating that falls nearly 50 points below his next lowest output in nine career starts. The Michigan running game never got going either, rushing 47 times for a pedestrian 3.7 yards per carry.
The night ended with Connecticut’s third loss in as many games, but the Huskies’ defense played winning football on Saturday night.
Special Teams Unit of the Week – North Texas
For about 15 minutes early Saturday afternoon, Dan McCarney’s team was the talk of college football thanks to an A-plus effort from his special teams. After falling behind 21-7 in the second quarter, the Mean Green pulled within 21-21 early in the third quarter behind a 99-yard Brelan Chancellor kickoff return and a blocked punt recovery for another score. Georgia pulled away from there en route to a 45-21 final, but to no fault of special teams coordinator Tommy Perry’s troops. The Mean Green coverage units held the Bulldogs returners in check, and UNT’s 10 punts averaged 42.4 yards per attempt, with three kicks pinning Georgia inside the 20.