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15 most jaw-dropping performances in CFB Week 8

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 college football season has provided fans with incredible memories and some truly jaw-dropping performances thus far. In Week 8, we saw everything taken to a whole new level.

This week offered some incredible games and even better performances to match them. From two stars stepping up in the biggest upset of the year to some stunning performances from underclassmen across the nation, Week 8 had it all.

Here are the 15 most jaw-dropping performances in CFB Week 8.

Brett Rypien, quarterback, Boise State Broncos

October couldn’t have started worse for Rypien. After throwing 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions in September, the senior threw just two touchdowns with five interceptions in his first two starts this month.

Fans saw the old Rypien show up in an exceptional performance against Colorado State. He set a season-high in completion percentage (84.6 percent) hitting on 22-of-26 pass attempts. Rypien also tossed for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns for the first time since Boise State opened the season against Troy.

This is the version of Rypien the Broncos need to compete for a Mountain West title. If he can perform up to the level he showed in September, Boise State could win its final five games and compete in the MWC Championship.

Isaiah Sanders, quarterback, Air Force Falcons

Sanders came into Week 8 with plenty of success on the ground. However, the junior never put up much production through the air. Air Force found ways to change that against UNLV.

Sanders finished the big win with a career-best 217 passing yards and he needed only nine completions to pull it off. Air Force’s offense caused the Rebels fits and Sanders played a monumental part in that.

In addition to his career-best 217 passing yards, he also rushed for a season-high 173 yards and three touchdowns. Sanders’ four-touchdown game helped lift the Falcons to their first conference win of the season and much of the credit goes to the unstoppable dual-threat quarterback.

JaTarvious Whitlow, running back, Auburn Tigers

Sometimes the most incredible performances come when a player fights through pain and takes the field. In a crucial win for Auburn over Ole Miss, Whitlow put the team on his injured shoulders and propelled them to victory.

The redshirt freshman needed just 19 carries to rack up 170 rushing yards in this decisive victory. While he didn’t find the end zone on the ground, Whitlow added an additional 38 receiving yards and a score in the passing game to complete his monster day.

Jamal Custis, wide receiver, Syracuse Orange

In a double-overtime thriller, Syracuse quickly found Custis as the difference maker to help it pull off the 40-37 victory.

Custis made big plays throughout the game, but one of his biggest moments came in the first overtime on a 25-yard touchdown to put Syracuse ahead. North Carolina never had an answer for him on Saturday and it resulted in a thrilling 162-yard performance.

The 6-foot-5 receiver is starting to turn his tantalizing talent into consistent production and now sits at nearly 600 yards on the season. Look for him to be a go-to weapon in a battle against North Carolina State next week.

Nick Coe, defensive end, Auburn Tigers

While plenty has gone wrong for Auburn in a disastrous season, the emergence of Coe on the defensive line provides some reason for excitement.

The sophomore came into this game with 2.5 sacks and a handful of pressures. Then he exploded in Week 8 against Ole Miss’ offensive line. Coe recorded three sacks and a quarterback pressure on Saturday as he repeatedly harrassed quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. Coe became Auburn’s first player to record three sacks in a game since 2006, and the young defensive end seems poised for a breakout season.

Darrynton Evans, running back, Appalachian State Mountaineers

When one door closes, another opens. Appalachian State lost starting running back Jalin Moore to a fractured ankle, and many expected it to be a big blow to the running game. Instead, it resulted in Evans’ sudden emergence.

The sophomore stepped into a larger workload on Oct. 9 and finished with his first 100-yard game. He took that momentum and a larger role and dominated  in Week 8 against Louisiana.

Evans rewarded the coaching staff with 183 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Big runs became routine for the sophomore and he even made plays in the passing game with a 20-yard touchdown on his lone reception. Coming off a 200-yard game, Evans will look to keep his momentum rolling in Week 9 against Georgia Southern.

Andy Isabella, wide receiver, Massachusetts Minutemen

Massachusetts clearly had some rust to shake off in Saturday’s game coming off a bye week. In a game where the Minutemen could never find any momentum offensively, Isabella did his best to keep the game close.

After posting consecutive games with 190-plus receiving yards, Isabella’s numbers took a hit due to poor quarterback play. Quarterback Andrew Ford completed just 20-of-34 pass attempts in Saturday’s loss and he was sacked six times.

Yet even when Massachusetts struggled, Isabella eclipsed 170 receiving yards on 10 receptions. Now sitting at 1,014 receiving yards on the season, 563 of which came in his past three games, Isabella’s final season at UMass will go down as a memorable one.

Patrick Laird, running back, California Golden Bears

After dropping an ugly game to the UCLA Bruins, Laird came into this week’s game with revenge on his mind. Unfortunately for the Oregon State Beavers, he took it all out on them.

Laird attacked Oregon State’s defense on the ground. He racked up 193 rushing yards on the day with two trips to the end zone and added an additional 48 receiving yards and a third touchdown for good measure.

The Golden Bears haven’t used Laird extensively out of the backfield this season, but games like should change that. Given its upcoming matchup against the Washington Huskies, Cal needs to find more ways to get Laird the football in space.

Alex Okwuegbunam, tight end, Missouri Tigers

While Drew Lock getting on track will draw a majority of the headlines, the even better performance comes from the sophomore tight end.

Okwuegbunam showed his playmaking ability in Saturday’s game and routinely found new ways to beat Memphis’ defense. The redshirt sophomore racked up a jaw-dropping 159 receiving yards and three touchdowns on only six receptions.

The 6-foot-5 tight end offers plenty of physical tools that can make him one of the best tight ends in the SEC. Now it will come down to him turning this game into momentum for the remainder of the season.

Adrian Martinez, quarterback, Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska can finally celebrate. The winless season is no more, and as Scott Frost celebrates his first win with the program, he’ll absolutely give a game ball to his freshman quarterback.

Martinez dropped his first jaw-dropping performance as a college quarterback and demonstrated how good Nebraska’s offense can be. The freshman excelled both through the air and with his legs, completing 25-of-29 passes for 276 yards and rushing for 175 yards.

He became a machine in this game, reminiscent of what McKenzie Milton did for Frost at UCF. Martinez finished Saturday’s game with four total touchdowns and led Nebraska to a 53-28 win. If Martinez is starting to figure things out, Nebraska’s fans can finally get excited about something.

Tyler Johnson, wide receiver, Minnesota Golden Gophers

In a shootout that quickly got out of hand for Minnesota, Johnson proved himself once again as one of the better wide receivers in college football.

Johnson’s performance becomes even more impressive given Minnesota used two quarterbacks in this game. The junior receiver hauled in a season-high 184 receiving yards on 11 receptions.

Johnson now has three consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards and Saturday marks his fifth game with 100-plus yards. Upcoming matchups against Indiana and Illinois will put him in great position to extend his streak and potentially surpass the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

Rondale Moore, wide receiver, Purdue Boilermakers

In a game where Purdue entered as massive underdogs, Moore made some of the biggest plays to help pull off one of the biggest upsets in football this year.

Moore’s placement on this list is quickly becoming a theme for him as a freshman. The No. 1 recruit in Purdue’s 2018 recruiting class, he consistently found ways to dominate mid-tier opponents, and this week provided him a test to really prove himself against elite talent.

The 5-foot-9 receiver is the top target in Purdue’s passing attack and David Blough’s confidence showed against the Buckeyes. The true freshman capped his night off with a 43-yard touchdown that broke Ohio State’s hearts and multiple tackles.

Moore finished with 12 receptions for 170 yards, two touchdowns and 24 rushing yards. He provided the big plays that made the difference in this game and he should now be respected as one of the best playmakers in the nation.

Johnny Ford, running back, South Florida Bulls

As the Bulls rise up in the rankings, it’s becoming quite clear they have an extremely dangerous backfield. While junior Jordan Conkrite is a playmaker in his own right and has delivered jaw-dropping performances, his freshman teammate came through this weekend.

Ford turned in the most efficient line among all college football players this weekend. The freshman needed only seven carries to rack up a jaw-dropping 164 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

Two of Ford’s runs went for 15-yard scores, while his third touchdown came on an amazing 43-yard touchdown. Explosive runs became the theme for his insane stat line and the emerging duo of Conkrite and Ford will be unstoppable for their next matchup against the Houston Cougars.

Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, Alabama Crimson Tide

It’s become too easy at this point for Tagovailoa. The best comparison to be made is he’s an NFL quarterback who is simply embarrassing college defenses and making games look like practice.

The norm showed itself again on Saturday. Tagovailoa made beautiful throws look routine and dropped touchdown dimes even when he got drilled. Alabama kept him in briefly for the third quarter and his last drive allowed him to surpass 300 passing yards and throw his fourth touchdown of the game.

Tagovailoa now sits at more than 2,000 passing yards on the season and has thrown 25 touchdown passes without an interception. There are only four words to capture his season – unanimous Heisman Trophy winner.

D.J. Knox, running back, Purdue Boilermakers

Knox was one part of a two-man show in Purdue’s upset win over the Buckeyes. Moore made all the plays to give his team early momentum, then Knox hammered home the heartbreakers in the second half.

Purdue focused on the running game in the fourth quarter. Even when Ohio State knew what was coming, it couldn’t stop it. Knox burst through the line for a 42-yard touchdown to put Purdue ahead 28-3 early in the fourth quarter. After Ohio State answered with a touchdown, the senior running back answered with a 40-yard touchdown run to put the Boilermakers ahead by three scores again.

Knox’s second-half explosion helped knock out Ohio State in the biggest surprise we’ve seen in college football this season. He finished with 128 rushing yards and three scores — a jaw-dropping performance on an unforgettable night.