Taking the word ‘domination’ to an entirely new level
The 2018 college football season treated everyone to a thrilling year of action featuring stunning upsets, sensational teams and breakout players. Of course, it also provided some jaw-dropping performances that will never be forgotten.
When you take a moment to look back at the 2018 regular season, it really becomes remarkable what some collegiate athletes were able to accomplish. Young men who took the word ‘domination’ to an entirely new level with a stunning game that no one could believe.
Some of these breakout performances helped capture the essence of what turned out to be an incredible year for these athletes. For others, it would be the lone highlight of their 2018 season and their names wouldn’t be heard from again on the weekly jaw-dropping performance list.
Here are the 10 most jaw-dropping performances from the college football season.
Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Purdue Boilermakers vs. Northwestern, Week 1
Years from now we might very well look at this game as the starting point for true greatness. Moore came into Week 1 as a relatively unknown recruit at a mid-tier program. His matchup against Northwestern made everyone aware of who he is.
Moore did everything except throw the football in this game, and perhaps Purdue should have done that too. The 19-year-old ran for a 75-yard touchdown, hauled in 11 receptions for 109 yards plus one touchdown and had 125 kickoff returns yards on five attempts.
We saw a teenager take the field for the first time in college and instantly become great. It’s a game that scouts, draft analysts and football fans will trace back to as the moment they knew this was a special athlete.
Alan Bowman, quarterback, Texas Tech Raiders vs. Houston, Week 3
After learning the ropes of the college level in his first two weeks, Texas Tech’s freshman quarterback looked right at home against the Houston Cougars.
Bowman eviscerated Houston’s secondary in Week 3 with a constant attack of missiles through the air on his way to a 605-yard performance. He racked up 383 passing yards and four scores in the first half, then kept throwing and finished the game with the Big 12 single-game record for passing yards.
The true freshman delivered one of the best performances we saw all year and it came in just his third collegiate game. He will be a name to watch in the coming years, especially if Texas Tech hires another innovative offensive mind to call plays.
Eno Benjamin, running back, Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Oregon State, Week 5
As many football fans outside of the West Coast slept in Week 5, Benjamin made Oregon State’s entire defense wish they overslept after the showing he had against them.
The 19-year-old running back made that Saturday a living hell for every defender on the Beavers roster as he rumbled for 312 yards with an additional 27 receiving yards and four total touchdowns.
Benjamin easily overshadowed Oregon State’s running back Jermar Jefferson, who ran for 254 yards and two scores, which says everything about just how stunning Benjamin’s performance was.
Kyler Murray, quarterback, Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor, Week 5
The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner provided plenty of big performances this season, but his Heisman Trophy campaign really started with this seven-touchdown performance.
Murray welcomed Baylor’s defense to the stadium and promptly crushed the hopes and dreams of each defensive player. He only needed 21 attempts to reach 432 passing yards with six passing touchdowns, a 348.0 quarterback rating and a rushing touchdown.
This is the game where Murray truly became unleashed and his campaign for the Heisman first got up and in the thick of the race. It is a performance Oklahoma fans will remember and Baylor’s fans wish they could forget.
Jordan Cronkrite, running back, South Florida Bulls vs. Massachusetts, Week 6
A week after Benjamin treated everyone to a 300-yard game, Cronkrite decided he wanted to be a part of the exclusive club as well.
The redshirt junior was simply unstoppable against UMass as he made running the football look like a walk in the park on a cool day. He needed just 23 carries to eat up 302 rushing yards, and 183 of his yards came on three touchdown runs in the third quarter.
Things mostly went downhill for Cronkrite and South Florida after this, especially in the second half of the season. Ultimately, he still deserves tons of appreciation for this jaw-dropping performance.
D’Eriq King, quarterback, Houston Cougars vs. South Florida, Week 9
Before he suffered a season-ending knee injury, King was on pace for a historic season. Even though he didn’t get a chance at the record, his outing against USF provided plenty for everyone to enjoy.
King was Houston’s version of Kyler Murray and showed exactly why against South Florida. He rushed for 132 yards with two touchdowns, his explosiveness causing fits for USF’s defense, while tossing five touchdown passes with 419 passing yards. Seven total touchdowns and over 550 yards of offense — simply one of the best statistical performances in 2018.
Andy Isabella, wide receiver, Massachusetts Minutemen vs. Liberty, Week 10
It’s difficult for a player from a smaller program to even make the jaw-dropping performance list, yet Isabella found a way to be a routine fixture on the weekly list.
After he racked up three consecutive games with 170-plus receiving yards, he stumbled to a ‘pedestrian’ 78 yards in Week 9. Then, Isabella exploded against Liberty. The senior wide receiver turned nine receptions into an eye-popping 303 receiving yards with an average of 33.3 yards per catch.
There just aren’t words to summarize that level of perfection. 300-yard games are exceptionally rare from running backs in college, a 300-yard game for a wide receiver is beyond extraordinary.
Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin Badgers vs. Purdue, Week 12
Taylor is so routinely dominant on the football field that games with 120-plus rushing yards are common and even the occasional 200-yard game isn’t shocking. So for Taylor to make the jaws of every college football fan to drop, he needed to do something to take our breath away.
In a thrilling battle against Purdue, Taylor carried the Badgers to a three-overtime victory. The sophomore carried the rock 33 times and spun it all into an insane 321 rushing yards with three touchdowns.
The best part of this game, Taylor sprinkled on the finishing touch with a game-winning, 17-yard touchdown run to give Wisconsin the walk-off win. Both in magnitude and statistically, this was one of 2018’s best jaw-dropping performances.
Gardner Minshew, quarterback, Washington State Cougars vs. Arizona, Week 12
There is no personality wackier in college football than Minshew. A senior who transferred to Mike Leach’s system with the hope of a breakout season in an explosive offense did just that. The culmination of that decision — the game that captured Minshew’s ability — came in Week 12.
The shirtless sensation, who recently accepted an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, sliced up Arizona’s secondary for 473 passing yards and seven touchdowns with a 78.2 percent completion rate on 55 attempts.
He might have lost out on a trip to New Yew York City, but one of Minshew’s last games as a collegiate quarterback proved to be a memorable one.
Dwayne Haskins, quarterback, Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan, Week 13
One of the biggest rivalries in sports with so much on the line delivered a jaw-dropping performance that should go down as one of the best by a player in this decade.
Haskins faced one of the nation’s best defenses and wiped it off the field. The sophomore turned 31 pass attempts into six passing touchdowns and 396 yards with another 34 yards coming on the ground.
Michigan fans had tickets for the College Football Playoff in their carts, and the columns stating the program was officially back were ready to be published. Haskins wiped all of that out on a national stage. This is a performance that no one should forget for years to come.