It proved to be another memorable weekend of college football across the country. From a stunning upset to thrilling conference battles, Week 9 gave football fans plenty of outstanding performances to enjoy.
The action started on Thursday with a sensational stat line by a wide receiver who finally got some help from his quarterback. The week of breakout performances continued on Friday with a sleeping superstar coming alive against USC. Of course, Saturday offered even more acts of athletic brilliance for fans to enjoy.
Here are the 12 most jaw-dropping performances from Week 9 of the college football season.
Marquez Stevenson, wide receiver, Houston Cougars
Many hoped this would be another outstanding year for Stevenson. Instead, the junior’s production suffered when D’Eriq King redshirted in September. Thursday’s game showcased what Stevenson can accomplish when opportunity knocks.
Stevenson put his breathtaking speed on display and turned SMU’s secondary into dust fragments. Houston went to him in need of big plays in the second half and he came through with a 75-yard score in the third quarter, and a 96-yard touchdown in the fourth. Stevenson finished with 211 receiving yards on only five catches and we can only hope he returns for the 2020 season to rejoin King in this explosive offense.
Laviska Shenault Jr., wide receiver, Colorado Buffaloes
It’s been more than a month since we’ve seen Shenault Jr. looked this good. Now after missing time and being limited by a core muscle injury, Colorado’s unique offensive weapon is back and made USC pay on Friday.
The junior hauled in nine receptions for 172 receiving yards, including a gorgeous 71-yard touchdown, his highest total since Sept. 6, 2018. Shenault Jr. also added 17 rushing yards to his line. Now that he’s healthy, more jaw-dropping performances are in Shenault’s future.
J.K. Dobbins, running back, Ohio State Buckeyes
Dobbins came into this matchup wanting to prove himself. While many consider Jonathan Taylor to be the best running back in the country, Dobbins proved he belongs in the conversation. Despite entering Week 9 with the fewest rushing yards allowed per game (58.4), Wisconsin’s defense could never stop Dobbins.
Dobbins bullied the Badgers into the ground. He served as the workhorse in Ohio State’s offense with 20 carries that he turned into a remarkable 163 rushing yards and two scores. He also showed his advancement as an all-purpose back with 58 receiving yards, further outshining Taylor in multiple aspects.
LeVante Bellamy, running back, Western Michigan Broncos
Every week opponents spend days trying to find a way to keep Bellamy out of the end zone. Just like those before them, Bowling Green’s days of preparation were no match once Bellamy took the field.
The senior made running the football look easy on Saturday. After rushing for two touchdowns in the first half, he opened the third quarter with a 75-yard scamper into the end zone. Bellamy found pay dirt once more and finished with 178 rushing yards in three quarters. After scoring seven total touchdowns in 2018, Bellamy already has 17 touchdowns in his senior season.
Xazavian Valladay, running back, Wyoming Cowboys
Wyoming’s coaching staff started to become a little disappointed with Valladay after a rough four-game stretch. He responded with a 127-yard game against New Mexico and raised the bar even higher this week in a 31-3 win over Nevada.
Valladay carried the Cowboys’ offense the entire game. He hauled in two receptions for 74 receiving yards and a score. Though, his real dominance came on the ground. Valladay scooted his way to 206 rushing yards to finish with a career-best 280 scrimmage yards. Now coming off two outstanding performances, Valladay can rest before trying to carry his team to victory over Boise State in two weeks.
Chase Young, defensive end, Ohio State Buckeyes
It takes a historically dominant season for a defensive player to even merit attention for the Heisman Trophy. In an era where it feels seemingly even more impossible, Young’s making his best case to change that and he showed why against Wisconsin.
Ohio State’s best player already came into the weekend ranked second in the FBS in sacks (9.5) with three forced fumbles. He nearly matched those numbers against the Badgers. Young tied a school record with four sacks, including two strip-sacks, and five tackles for loss. It’s time to recognize Young as a serious Heisman candidate.
Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Oklahoma Sooners
Hurts transferred to Oklahoma for a chance to compete for the Heisman Trophy and win a national title – now his defense might have cost him a shot at both. He gave this team everything he had and the Sooners fell seven points short.
He displayed his usual dominance on the ground with a team-high 96 rushing yards and three rushing scores. Hurts also picked apart Kansas State’s secondary with 395 passing yards on 26 attempts. He even led this team on a remarkable comeback in the fourth quarter – it wasn’t enough. Oklahoma’s defense isn’t what we believed it could be and its once again responsible for more disappointment.
Cam Akers, running back, Florida State Seminoles
We might finally be witnessing Florida State unleash Akers and give him a chance to play up to his talent. The gifted junior came into Week 9 feeling great after racking up 199 scrimmage yards last week and that confidence translated into success. Akers practically lived in the end zone against Syracuse with four trips in less than three quarters of work. The Seminoles kept feeding him the ball and he racked up 144 rushing yards. Let’s hope he keeps this going next week against Miami.
Bryant Koback, running back, Toledo Rockets
It’s been a fascinating season for Koback. He came in with two games of 170-plus rushing yards and four games under 75 rushing yards this season. Koback can now add another 200-yard game to his highlight reel from the 2019 season.
Frankly, we can’t even fathom what Koback could have accomplished if he didn’t share more carries on Saturday. The explosive running back received 32 carries and turned them into 259 rushing yards with two touchdowns. After not seeing the field in 2018, Koback is now on the verge of a remarkable 1,000-yard season.
Kevin Mensah, running back, UConn Huskies
It proved to be quite the week for running backs. While Mensah received only 19 of UConn’s 41 carries, he accounted for 164 of its 326 rushing yards and five touchdowns. The junior has been one of the rare bright spots on the Huskies this year and proved it against UMass. Mensah rushed for three scores in the first half and helped UConn put the game away with two more scores in the fourth quarter.
Stephon Robinson Jr., wide receiver, Kansas Jayhawks
It’s not often we see a receiver from Kansas showcase his talents in a jaw-dropping performance. When opportunity knocked against Texas Tech’ secondary, though, Robinson Jr. answered with a night to remember.
The junior exhibited his deep speed for everyone to see. While many of his peers often need six-plus catches to reach the 100-yard mark, Robinson’s speed allowed him to reach it far more efficiently. He ended the third quarter with 173 receiving yards on four receptions and finished the night with 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Tra Barnett, running back, Georgia State
After losing consecutive games at the end of September, Georgia State adjusted its offense to make Barnett a featured player. The senior rewarded that confidence with three consecutive wins and 100-yard games. Barnett elevated his game to an absurd level against Troy.
He led the team with 34 carries and blew past the 200-yard mark with 242 rushing yards. Barnett put the team on his back and ran over Troy en route to a 52-33 finish and four consecutive wins.