One of the most highly anticipated weekends of football delivered everything fans could hope for. Week 11 of the college football season provided us with thrilling action, a few upsets and some truly jaw-dropping performances.
We’ll remember this weekend for some outstanding performances on both sides of the ball. While the spotlight is on this weekend’s impact on the College Football Playoff rankings, it also played a vital role in the race for the Heisman Trophy.
Several of the country’s top players delivered on the big stage with feats we won’t soon forget. Meanwhile, Week 11 also provided us a chance to witness greatness from a few unheralded players as well.
Here are the 15 most jaw-dropping performances from Week 11 of the college football season.
Quincy Roche, defensive end, Temple Owls
The Owls took the field for a primetime game looking to rebound after two consecutive blowout losses. Temple’s defense came through against South Florida and Roche led the efforts with a phenomenal game. He tore through USF’s offensive line. He racked up 3.5 sacks, the third-most sacks in a game in team history, and climbed up three spots in the program’s record book.
Antoine Winfield Jr., safety, Minnesota Golden Gophers
He’s much more than his father’s namesake. Winfield Jr. is quickly proving to be one of the best defensive backs in college football and his big-play ability helped deliver an upset over Penn State.
The redshirt sophomore soared for his first interception on Penn State’s opening drive and it led to points for Minnesota’s offense. When the Nittany Lions started driving, Winfield Jr. showed off his playmaking ability with his second pick of the half. He’s sitting at seven interceptions this year and is making a name for himself.
Salvon Ahmed, running back, Washington Huskies
The Huskies came into this season with hopes of competing for a conference championship. Things haven’t gone according to plan and if not for Ahmed, Washington would have suffered a humiliating loss to Oregon State.
Washington’s junior running back single-handedly carried the offense. Ahmed accounted for the team’s only two touchdowns, including a game-sealing 60-yard score, and racked up 174 rushing yards. While a conference title is out of the picture, Ahmed kept the team’s hopes of an eight-win season alive.
Tyler Snead, wide receiver, East Carolina Pirates
A small receiver at an even smaller program, Snead came into the weekend flying under the national radar. The 5-foot-7 Pirate showed why size doesn’t always matter on the gridiron with a gigantic performance in Week 11.
No. 25 SMU’s defense never discovered a way to deal with Snead’s speed, explosiveness and crisp route running. So, quarterback Holton Ahlers bombarded him with passes, including a 57-yard touchdown. Snead hauled in 19 receptions for 240 receiving yards and three touchdowns – sizable numbers indeed.
Rakeem Boyd, running back, Arkansas Razorbacks
Boyd is in one of the worst situations in football. Arkansas is a mess under head coach Chad Morris and is routinely destroyed by mid-tier programs. Boyd is doing everything possible to keep Arkansas’ fans invested in the program. The junior turned eight carries into 185 rushing yards with two scores on Saturday. It’s remarkable that he’s now over 1,000 yards despite all of this team’s issues.
Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU Tigers
The 2019 Heisman Trophy is awarded to Joe Burrow. Get familiar with that phrase because we’ll hear it on Dec. 14 when Burrow walks on to the stage and accepts the coveted trophy. It felt like a safe bet before Saturday’s clash with Alabama and the senior’s stellar act made it a practical guarantee.
Burrow completed his first 13 passes against and quickly hit three touchdowns before halftime. Alabama’s defense then adjusted and held LSU scoreless in the third quarter. Burrow responded in the fourth quarter and capped it off with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ate up four minutes and put the game away. At this point, the margin of victory is the only question left for the Heisman Trophy.
Shane Buechele, quarterback, SMU Mustangs
A week after SMU’s defense ended the team’s undefeated season, Buechele made sure his team didn’t falter again. He took the field once again without his No. 1 receiver Reggie Roberson and still led his team to a 59-51 victory.
Buechele completed 33-of-46 attempts with 414 passing yards and five touchdowns, including two clutch scores in the fourth quarter. He’s now thrown 27 touchdowns this season and surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. While the perfect season is long gone, SMU is elated with its 9-1 record and Buechele’s play.
Rashod Bateman, wide receiver, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Penn State came into Minnesota with one of the best defenses in the country and realistic hopes of a spot in the College Football Playoff. Bateman managed to set both aflame with this absurd receiving clinic.
The sophomore kicked things off by nuking the Nittany Lions for a 66-yard score. He routinely turned Penn State’s secondary into glass and finished with 203 receiving yards on seven grabs. After a breakout freshman campaign with 704 receiving yards, Bateman is now 148 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season in his second year.
Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Alabama Crimson Tide
It became evident from the beginning that Tagovailoa wasn’t playing at 100 percent. Only three weeks removed from ankle surgery, Alabama’s star quarterback nearly pulled off an incredible second-half comeback against the best team in CFB.
Things started poorly with an ugly fumble inside the red zone. The game even seemed out of reach when Alabama trailed 33-13 at halftime. Tagovailoa found his way in the second half and hit his stride in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns in the final six minutes. He finished with 418 passing yards and four touchdowns, nearly overcoming his slow start, in an inspiring performance playing through pain.
Holton Ahlers, quarterback, East Carolina Pirates
There are insane two-game runs and then there’s what Ahlers is doing for East Carolina. While the Pirates dropped both games, the sophomore showcased his talents once again. Ahlers picked SMU’s secondary apart with 498 passing yards and an unfathomable six touchdown passes. He’s completed 64-of-94 pass attempts for 1,033 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception in his past two games. East Carolina’s future is very bright with its Ahlers-Sneed duo.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back, LSU Tigers
The game everyone hoped would be the best of the 2019 season surpassed the hype. Both offenses came to dominate at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and in a showcase of starting-caliber NFL talent, Edwards-Helaire put himself on everyone’s radar. LSU made the junior a fixture in its offense, especially in the second half.
Edwards-Helair displayed his power and balance by rolling through Alabama’s defense for 103 rushing yards and three scores. He also put his receiving skills on display with nine receptions for 77 receiving yards and a fourth end zone trip. When the Tigers needed to drive the dagger into Alabama, he powered it in for the win.
DeVonta Smith, wide receiver, Alabama Crimson Tide
The nation’s best receiving corps almost always make an appearance on the jaw-dropping performance list. Smith got his turn this week after a sensational 213-yard outing with two eye-popping plays.
Smith snapped Alabama’s cold spell on offense with a scorching 64-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter. He found holes in LSU’s secondary then really took the top off the defense on an 85-yard touchdown with under 90 seconds left in the game. It’s practically unfair that he’s Alabama’s No. 3 receiver.
Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin Badgers
After a rough three-game stretch for Taylor, he took his frustrations out on one of the best run defenses in college football. Of course, that was until Taylor ran all over them in Week 11.
Iowa’s defense came in holding opponents to 87.8 rushing yards per game. Wisconsin took the challenge head-on and fed Taylor a season-high 31 carries. All Taylor did is rumble his way to 250 rushing yards – nearly three times Iowa’s average yardage allowed. While his Heisman dreams are over, Taylor can finish his Wisconsin career by climbing his way up Wisconsin’s record books.
Najee Harris, running back, Alabama Crimson Tide
Fans are blessed to be watching college football in a year with so many great running backs. Alabama’s passing attack gets plenty of deserved attention, but Harris showed everyone why he must be recognized as one of the nation’s best running backs.
Just watch his unbelievable work on Alabama’s 95-yard scoring drive. He accounted for 88 yards and a touchdown on the desperately needed drive and it only highlighted this dazzling performance. Harris rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries with an additional 44 receiving yards on three receptions and two total touchdowns. Alabama’s backfield is a pipeline to the NFL and Harris is the next great running back.
CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver, Oklahoma Sooners
We regularly see Lamb deliver performances that leave us speechless. So, the junior decided he’d add something special in the victory over Iowa State. Lamb gave a noteworthy performance as a receiver – it’s his blocking that stood out on Saturday.
Lamb reintroduced himself to the national audience on the first passing play with a breathtaking touchdown grab in triple coverage. He returned to the end zone on a remarkable catch-and-run, using a mix of broken tackles and a hurdle in the process, for another big play. The 167-yard outing is impressive. What stood out, to those watching and future NFL teams, is Lamb’s willingness to use his body to deliver punishing blocks and help his teammates score.