A special time for the running backs.
As we approach the end of the 2018 college football season, it’s always important to recognize some of the most remarkable performances each week. Week 12 treated football fans to some incredible stat lines, but 15 performances stand out the most.
This week proved to be a special time for the running backs as 150-yard games become the norm and 200-yard games nearly became routine too. Of course, the greatest stat line of them all came from the best running back in the country.
Here are the 15 most jaw-dropping performances in Week 12.
LeVante Bellamy, running back, Western Michigan Broncos
In another edition of MACtion on Tuesday, Bellamy turned a featured role into a monster stat line. While it wasn’t quite enough to achieve the victory, the young back deserves attention for his big night.
Bellamy received 35 carries on the night and made Ball State pay on every touch totaling 213 rushing yards. A 200-yard performance is certainly impressive, but this stat line is even more incredible because he never had a 20-plus yard run.
The redshirt junior just ate Ball State’s defense alive with one run after another and fought for every single one of those 213 yards. The 1,000-yard back is in the midst of an excellent breakout season and should cap it off in style to end the season.
A.J. Ouellette, running back, Ohio Bobcats
Facing a high-powered Buffalo offense capable of taking over games, it was the Bobcats who jumped ahead quickly and turned this contest into a blowout. While plenty of the credit must go to the defense, Ouellette’s recent stretch of dominance also played a critical role.
The senior saw a season-high 26 carries and turned them into a career-best 196 rushing yards with two trips into the end zone. Ouellette’s day didn’t end there – he also contributed 16 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown to give him more than 200 total yards and two scores.
After failing to reach 80 rushing yards in each of his first six games, Oullette is now back on track for a 1,000-yard season thanks to a beautiful stretch over his past four games.
DeAndre Torrey, running back, North Texas Mean Green
One of the smallest running backs in the country turned in one of the biggest games in Week 12. North Texas’ sophomore back showed off his explosiveness throughout the game, including an unbelievable touchdown run late in the action.
Torrey’s day started with a 13-yard receiving touchdown, the highlight of his significant contributions as a pass catcher with 38 receiving yards and a score. Of course, Torrey saved his best run of the day when North Texas needed to put the game away. He broke free for a 92-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to drive the dagger into Florida Atlantic.
Torrey finished the game with 184 rushing yards on only 17 carries and two total touchdowns in a 222-yard, two-touchdown performance. If the sophomore can keep his 100-yard game streak going, he’ll have a shot at a 1,000-yard season in a bowl game.
Anthony McFarland, running back, Maryland Terrapins
If fans missed McFarland’s utter destruction of Ohio State’s run defense, they missed out on one of the best outings we’ve seen from a running back all season. It’s not just because of the numbers either.
Maryland came into this game as a serious underdog and needed a miracle performance in Week 12 if it wanted to even be competitive. The freshman running back gave them that and more with 298 rushing yards, including a six-minute stretch with 155 yards and two scores, and fell just short of a third touchdown in overtime.
It is McFarland’s second consecutive game with 200-plus rushing yards, and Saturday’s effort pushed him over 1,000 yards on the season. Maryland has its star running back of the future, now it needs to make Matt Canada the coach to rebuild the program.
Dwayne Haskins, quarterback, Ohio State Buckeyes
The only reason Maryland isn’t celebrating one of the biggest upsets in college sports this season is because of Haskins and J.K. Dobbins.
In a game where so much went wrong, including two turnovers (one of which was a horrifying butt fumble) by Haskins, the redshirt sophomore always recovered. Haskins excelled in the pocket with 28-of-38 passes completed for 405 yards and three touchdowns. Ultimately, what decided this game was Haskins’ legs as he rushed for a season-high 59 yards with three touchdowns.
Haskins has now thrown for 400-plus yards for the fourth time in his past six games and the Buckeyes survived once again. Ohio State will need a game just like this for its upcoming rivalry matchup against Michigan.
Josh Allen, outside linebacker, Kentucky Wildcats
After a humiliating loss against the Tennessee Volunteers, Allen made sure Kentucky would not suffer the same fate this week. He took advantage of an inferior opponent and imprinted his mark with bruises that will last into the offseason.
Allen racked up two sacks in short order and put frequent pressure on Middle Tennessee State’s offense. The star’s two sacks were just the start of his dominance as he also led the team in solo tackles (eight) and total tackles (15) in a bounce back win for the Wildcats.
Benny LeMay, running back, Charlotte 49ers
It takes a lot for a small-school player to jump into the national spotlight and grab everyone’s attention with a jaw-dropping performance. LeMay’s huge outing shows just what it takes to jump on the national radar.
LeMay accounted for most of Charlotte’s offense on a day when it dropped 35 points. In addition to his 159 rushing yards and 43 receiving yards on 33 total touches, he also made four trips into the end zone. In a season with few moments to celebrate, LeMay is giving this fan base at least a little it can feel good about.
J.K. Dobbins, running back, Ohio State Buckeyes
While McFarland might have finished Saturday’s game with more rushing yards, Dobbins has plenty to celebrate after his 200-yard performance in a victory.
Ohio State asked the sophomore to take on a far larger workload than it ever had before. He obliged and rewarded the coaching staff’s trust in him with 203 rushing yards on 37 carries. Even when it was an obvious run situation and the Terrapins threw everything they had it didn’t work and Dobbins crushed them.
Dobbins still deals with some inconsistent production and a limited workload often keeps him from ever finding his rhythm. Saturday’s masterful performance showed exactly why he was a heralded recruit and what he can do if Ohio State feeds him more moving forward.
Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Purdue Boilermakers
There are two certainties in life: death and taxes. It might be time to add a third certainty to that list. Every week, no matter the opponent, football fans can count on the most electrifying freshman in football to deliver another “wow” play.
This week it came on a 46-yard touchdown with a gorgeous spin move that left the defender in his dust as Moore ran into the end zone. Moore finished Week 12 with 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns, giving him his sixth game with 100-plus yards this season and putting him over 1,000 yards on the year.
Of course, what makes this freshman special is his ability to contribute in numerous ways. Moore rushed also rushed for 27 yards and returned a kickoff 33 yards to put Purdue’s offense in great field position. Death, taxes and a jaw-dropping performance from Moore are the three certainties in life.
Joshua Kelley, running back, UCLA Bruins
Kelley came to UCLA with hopes of an opportunity and a chance to do bigger things than he did at UC Davis. After sitting out in 2017, he found a home as UCLA’s featured running back and his latest performance just added to an incredible breakout season.
The junior knew what this rivalry means to both sides and did everything in his power to will UCLA to victory over USC. UCLA counted on him, too, with 40 carries on the day. He ran over the Trojans on nearly every one of them for 289 rushing yards.
Kelley’s 55-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put the Bruins ahead for the good. He then ate up the clock in the final minutes to help put the game way and leave USC bruised and defeated. Once a forgotten running back, Kelley’s monumental performance will make him remembered for years to come.
Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin Badgers
Since Taylor arrived at Wisconsin and took the field, we’ve seen some unbelievable performances from him. He topped them all with a game-winning performance against Purdue.
Taylor took the word “domination” to an entirely different level with the best outing by a running back this season. The sophomore may have punched his ticket to New York City with 321 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winning 17-yard run in the third overtime.
He is now over 1,800 rushing yards on the season with four games of 200-plus yards and six with 150-plus rushing yards. Taylor won this game for the Badgers and even if he doesn’t win, he deserves to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after his first 300-yard performance.
Taylor Cornelius, quarterback, Oklahoma State Cowboys
A week after he missed the throw that would have upset Oklahoma, Cornelius made the throws in the big moments against West Virginia. It directly led to Oklahoma State finally sealing the deal and clinching the upset victory.
Cornelius outshined Will Grier in a back-and-forth game against the Mountaineers. When the game called upon him to step up in a big moment, he delivered with a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of the game.
The senior quarterback put the team on his shoulders and propelled the Cowboys to a victory. Cornelius matched a season-high in touchdown passes (five) and added 106 rushing yards and a sixth score for good measure. The best part for Cornelius, he got to cap off his career-best game with the best win of his collegiate career.
Andy Isabella, wide receiver, Massachusetts Minutemen
Isabella fell back to earth by his standards a week ago with an 85-yard performance against BYU. It certainly left many disappointed, so he made up for it with a typical monster performance.
While Massachusetts never had a chance in this game, Isabella finally broke free in the final quarter. Of Isabella’s 219 receiving yards, more than 150 came in the final 17 minutes of the game as he found gaps in Georgia’s secondary and exploited them.
The senior sits at 1,698 receiving yards with 14 total touchdowns as he continues to blow past the great numbers he posted in his junior season. It was a fantastic end to the senior’s season and an even better year for his stock in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Pooka Williams Jr., running back, Kansas Jayhawks
When a player with a fun name has a jaw-dropping performance, that raises the bar like none other. Everyone was chanting Pooka’s name as Kansas went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma’s offense.
Williams became the sixth running back to rush for 200-plus yards in Week 12. What makes this game special is he racked up 252 yards on just 15 carries for a spectacular 16.8 yards per carry. It felt like every drive fans would see Pooka break off a big run and leave dust trails against Oklahoma.
Even the grandest of expectations have already been far exceeded by the freshman running back. The four-star recruit didn’t receive much attention from top programs coming out of high school. Now he is making them live to regret it with his first of what should be many 1,000-yard seasons.
A.J. Brown, wide receiver, Ole Miss Rebels
One of the best receivers in college football, Brown hadn’t yet delivered a jaw-dropping performance that really captured the nation’s attention. He made sure that would change with a monster performance against Vanderbilt’s secondary.
The star receiver burned the Commodores for an 84-yard touchdown early in the game. It would become a trend for the junior as he hauled in nine passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.
Frankly, Brown’s junior season had been great until this point. He entered Week 12 with 1,047 receiving yards and three consecutive 100-plus yard games. He just needed a night like this to really light up the stage and remind everyone why he is one of the best in the country.