After an opening week of college football action that offered some intrigue for fans, Week 2 provided fans across the country with even more reasons to be excited about what’s to come.
This weekend’s slate offered a glimpse into the futures of rising stars, showcased a few unheralded upperclassmen and saw a few established stars demonstrate what separates them from their peers.
Offensive players didn’t do it all on their own. We also saw some truly incredible stat lines from defensive players who changed the game in meaningful ways.
Here are the 15 most jaw-dropping performances from Week 2 of college football action.
Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Purdue Boilermakers
Moore became a regular on the jaw-dropping performances list as a freshman and he seems ready to continue the trend in 2019. Purdue’s offense fired on all cylinders in Week 2 and Moore once again made his presence felt.
Naturally, Moore put his big-play ability on display with a gorgeous catch on a 70-yard play and added a 34-yard touchdown for good measure. Moore’s 13 catches show how critical he is to this passing game and 220 receiving yards captures why he gets fed the football so often. We’ll probably see him on this list next week after facing TCU.
Elijah Riley, defensive back, Army Black Knights
While Army’s efforts for an upset fell short, Riley did everything humanly possible to knock off No. 7 Michigan. The senior lived next to the football on Saturday and quickly became a thorn in Michigan’s offensive plans.
Riley racked up two sacks, including a strip-sack recovery on Shea Patterson, to help Army grab early momentum. He also led the team with 13 total tackles, 10 solo, and helped limit the Wolverines to 232 passing yards on 31 attempts. Simply a phenomenal game from Army’s senior defensive back.
Drew Plitt, quarterback, Ball State Cardinals
After a sophomore campaign that saw Plitt show glimpses of talent in limited playing time, he unleashed all of it in his second start this season. The junior balled out against Fordham University with a masterful performance.
Plitt seemed to take pleasure in ripping Fordham’s secondary to tiny shreds. He did most of the damage in three quarters by racking up 424 passing yards and five touchdowns on 38 attempts. He put a bow on the fantastic game with his sixth touchdown in the final quarter.
Kevin Harris, running back, South Carolina Gamecocks
When opportunity knocks for a freshman, it’s critical to take advantage. We saw Harris accomplish that in a big way when he took the field in Week 2. The true freshman received six carries and turned them into an eye-popping 147 yards. Harris, a three-star recruit from the 2019 class, also added three touchdowns for good measure. This is a player everyone needs to keep an eye on in the future.
Jaylen Twyman, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh Panthers
Defensive tackles are often asked to take away the middle at the line of scrimmage and create interior pressure so edge rushers can get sacks. Twyman took things a step further by bringing down the quarterback himself.
The redshirt sophomore didn’t stop at just one takedown of the quarterback and a few pressures. Twyman recorded three sacks and often destroyed Ohio’s hope of ever establishing momentum on offense. This could be the start of a breakthrough year at a program that needs a new star at defensive tackle.
Elijah Sindelar, quarterback Purdue Boilermakers
Sindelar put together some impressive stretches in Week 1, but he saved his best for this week against Vanderbilt’s defense. Purdue’s senior quarterback made scoring touchdowns look easy this week.
Surprisingly, Vanderbilt hung around with Purdue in the first half and only trailed 14-10. Sindelar returned from the break on a mission for destruction and he followed through on it with three second-half touchdown passes and a rushing score in the final moments. A 509-yard, six-touchdown performance is about as good as it gets.
Dustin Burkhart, wide receiver, Akron Zips
Burkhart came into Saturday with two catches across 18 games with the Zips. Perhaps Akron will look to get him more involved going forward after the junior’s jaw-dropping performance against UAB.
He started his day with a huge 40-yard reception and it sparked something inside of him. Burkhart kept getting open and the ball came his way for one huge gain after another. He added on to his career-best day with every grab and ultimately finished with 217 yards when the final seconds expired.
Bradlee Anae, defensive end, Utah Utes
It seemed to be quite the week for pass rushers. Utah’s senior defensive end has fallen short of 10-plus sacks each of the past two seasons, that streak might end in 2019. Anae ate Northern Illinois’ offensive line alive on Saturday and made hitting the quarterback seem like taking a stroll. He racked up three sacks on the day and is on pace for the best year since he joined the program.
Darrynton Evans, running back, Appalachian State Mountaineers
There are jaw-dropping rushing performances and then there’s what Evans did. The 5-foot-11 junior didn’t receive a massive workload against Charlotte, but he posted breathtaking numbers.
It started with an 87-yard touchdown run to kick things off in style. That set the tone for the game as Evans didn’t stop until the final whistle blew. He gave the Mountaineers a 49-34 lead in the fourth quarter with a 68-yard run, then drove the dagger into Charlotte’s heart by taking an onside kick to the house. A four-touchdown, 234-yard game is insane and Evans made it look easy.
Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin Badgers
Even in a game where Wisconsin didn’t need to rely on Taylor, the junior still delivered a Heisman-caliber performance. He strolled through Central Michigan’s defense for three quarters and racked up three rushing touchdowns and 102 yards on 19 carries along the way.
Taylor also showed the strides he made this offseason as a receiver by hauling in a receiving touchdown for the second week in a row. Now he can rest his body for a week before the Badgers face Michigan in a season-defining matchup.
Tylan Wallace, wide receiver, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Wallace came into his junior season with a shot at being a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s performances like what he did Saturday that demonstrate why he can be a star at the next level.
The big day mostly came down to two plays, and sometimes that’s all it takes. Wallace hauled in a 69-yard touchdown in the first quarter then opened the third quarter with a 75-yard score to highlight his long speed and elusiveness. He now sits at 272 yards and five touchdowns in two games with a tasty matchup against Tulsa coming up.
Sam Ehlinger, quarterback, Texas Longhorns
While Texas fell short of its most significant win in years, Ehlinger exhibited why he is this team’s leader and one of the best players in college football. Even after the Longhorns struggled to find the end zone early, the junior kept his team going.
Frankly, Ehlinger’s numbers would have been even better if Keaontay Ingram didn’t drop a touchdown. The lost touchdown took away a crucial score and significant momentum, yet Ehlinger overcame it. The quarterback who put up 401 passing yards, 60 rushing yards and five total touchdowns against a top-10 defense somehow lost the game. It isn’t the result you expect, but it shows what Ehlinger is capable of.
Dan Ellington, quarterback, Georgia State Panthers
A week after Georgia State stunned Tennessee, Ellington made sure Georgia State’s fan base could celebrate something new this weekend. The Panthers faced Furman, an FCS powerhouse, with a chance to match last season’s win total in Week 2.
Ellington strapped the offense to his shoulders and led the Panthers to a comeback victory. After trailing 20-3 late in the second quarter, the senior went on a run that saw him throw five touchdowns in the final 31 minutes of action. Ellington’s 362-yard, five-score performance with a team-high 86 rushing yards is why Georgia State is 2-0 to start the season.
Cam Akers, running back, Florida State Seminoles
Even when so much of the team is such a mess that makes it painful to watch, Akers brings the fans a moment of joy each time he feeds the football. Florida State relied on him heavily against Louisiana-Monroe and he came through.
Akers workload alone is unusual with a jaw-dropping 41 touches. He earned every single opportunity and rewarded the Seminoles with 248 total yards and three touchdowns. The junior put Florida State on his back and brought it back for the win, but Akers’ greatness can only uplift this team so far and this game showed it.
Joe Burrow, quarterback, LSU Tigers
If the losing quarterback in the biggest game of the season gets love for his performance, Burrow deserves even more for his phenomenal game in a top-10 shootout victory.
This is a win LSU’s program craved, and its senior quarterback came through in the biggest way. Beating a top-10 program in a hostile environment is daunting and Burrows shined under the immense pressure. He made jaw-dropping dimes to finish with 471 passing yards, four touchdowns and 31-of-39 passes completed. LSU is a top-four team and Burrows can take it to the College Football Playoff.