Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC STATE:
First of all, THIS:
Brissett snapped on FSU and Charles Kelly's defense to the tune of 32/48 passing, 359 YDS, & 3 TDs. His team lost but Jacoby forced himself into the limelight. If he plays well and the Wolf Pack beats Clemson in Death Valley next week, expect to see Brissett's name to start popping up on Heisman "dark horse" lists.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson:
Speaking of good quarterbacks that lost to Florida State:
It took two loses but the thought of starting Deshaun Watson finally crossed Dabo Swinney's synaptic gap. Watson responded by breaking the Clemson single game record for passing touchdowns. Watson also spread the ball to ten different receivers which is very impressive for a Freshman making his first start.
Now I know I know ... he was playing the munificent UNC Tar Heel defense. Munificent means extremely generous or in the context of UNC's defense, Mother Theresa. Nonetheless, Deshaun is an 18 year old true freshman that just broke Tajh Boyd's record for 5 TD passes in a single game. Here is Watson's line: 27/36 passing for 435 yards at 12.1yards per completion for 6 touchdowns, 1 pick, and 94.4 QB rating. Safe to say Cole Stoudt is out of a job. HS wide receivers will be beating down Swinney's door for the chance to play with Watson over the next few years.
Brandon Radcliff, RB, Louisville:
Radcliff ran 17 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns in his first collegiate start. This is a great stat line against a decent Wake Forrest defense. Radcliff came up with two big touchdown runs when the Cards needed them the most. The first came in the 2nd quarter after the Cards offense looked lost with back up Reggie Bonaffon at the helm. The Cards gave up two fumbles, a pick, and two sacks before James Burgess came up with an interception as Wake was threatening in the Cards redzone.
Enter Brandon Radcliff. On the drive's first play Radcliff snuck out of the back field and Bonaffon hit him for a 33 yard reception. Then on 3rd & 6 Radcliff dart through a huge hole opened up off tackle and outran everyone in the second level before finally being spun into the end zone by the safety. That score gave Louisville the lead 7-3.
Once again with Bonaffon struggling and running back Michael Dyer unable to gain any yardage, Petrino leaned on Radcliff and was rewarded. On a drive that closed out the third and began the fourth quarter, Radcliff rushed the ball 7 times for 56 yards capped off by a 16 yard score that would put the Cards up for good. Look for Radcliff to get more looks moving forward this season in an already crowded U of L backfield.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami:
In a must win game for Miami Duke Johnson rushed for 155 yards on 25 carries and a 7 yard touchdown. While this was Johnson's first game where he cracked the century mark he has run for at least 90 yards in every game this season. Duke Johnson held it down for Miami in a game they desperately needed, keeping any hopes of wining the ACC Atlantic alive.
Johnson looked 100% healthy in this game. Al Golden has a propensity to run his RB1 into the ground, see: Bernard Pierce at Temple or Duke Johnson last season. However, with the excellent performance of explosive Freshman RB Joseph Yearby (120 total yards and a score) the probability of Duke staying fresh and healthy all season looks high.
Karlos Williams Sr., RB, FSU:
Bout time Los. After an extremely disappointing start to the season for Williams (66 yards 2.9 YPC v Oklahoma State, 45 yards v Clemson) he broke out for 126 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns. The run game has been pathetic for the Noles in the early going with the loses of Devante Freeman and James Wilder.
In this game however, Karlos Williams found himself in a similar role from last season. In the fourth quarter, after the defensive starters had worn down and the O lIne had some momentum, Los was the closer. He ran for 60 of his 126 yards in the 4th quarter and scored two touchdowns that clinched the game for the Noles. Last week Los was able to close out Clemson in OT with a 13 yard run and a 12 yard TD scamper on a nice cut back. Look for Jimbo Fisher to start working instinctive Freshman RB Dalvin Cook into games early to get Los more involved later in games where he is clearly more effective.