Three big games kicked off Friday night before Arizona State and California started late in Berkeley, and we saw some outstanding performances in those contests.
Duke stunned Virginia Tech, winning in blowout fashion as road dogs. Penn State went into College Park and utterly humiliated Maryland. Air Force pulled away at home against San Jose State in a game that saw the Falcons take flight.
These are the players who wowed with top performances Friday night in Week 5.
Quentin Harris, quarterback, Duke
Harris did it all for the Blue Devils Friday night on the road against Virginia Tech. He made huge plays with his legs, rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown.
He also was highly efficient as a passer, completing 20-of-27 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. And, of course, he helped Duke go into Blacksburg and run the Hokies out of their own building — leading to some Wikipedia hijinks for Justin Fuente along the way.
KJ Hamler, receiver, Penn State
Maryland had no answers for Penn State’s offense in general Friday night. The play of sophomore receiver KJ Hamler was something the Terps just couldn’t come close to containing.
This diminutive speedster put on a showcase of his entire repertoire in the first quarter when he broke a tackle, then broke ankles en route to the end zone on a 58-yard score.
He would finish the night with six catches for 108 yards as Penn State rolled over the hapless Terps, much to the chagrin of their fans in College Park.
Deon Jackson, running back, Duke
Junior running back Deon Jackson had a very nice dual-threat night for the Blue Devils against Virginia Tech. He was the beneficiary of a beautifully drawn-up play in the second quarter, scoring a touchdown without a defender in sight.
Jackson caught five passes for 45 yards. Though he only rushed the ball nine times, he made his attempts count with 55 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad night overall, with 100 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 touches.
Deshawn McClease, running back, Virginia Tech
Not a lot went right for the Hokies at home against Duke Friday night. But junior running back Deshawn McClease did everything in his power to spark his offense. Carrying the ball 17 times, McClease pounded out 102 yards on the ground. His 45-yard run in the second quarter was a career high.
McClease also caught one pass for five yards, acquitting himself well on an otherwise brutal night for Virginia Tech.
Geraud Sanders, receiver, Air Force
The Falcons aren’t exactly known for being high fliers on offense. A run-first team, Air Force can, however, catch opposing defenses off guard thanks to the deep passing abilities of quarterback Donald Hammond III.
On Friday night as Air Force hosted San Jose State, Hammond had one target in particular on his radar. Geraud Sanders caught just three passes all night. But he made the most of his chances, turning them into 108 yards, including this incredible 64-yard touchdown.
Sean Clifford, quarterback, Penn State
By halftime, Clifford had 287 yards on 19-of-22 passing. The passing total set a new school record for most yards in a first half, and given the long list of outstanding Nittany Lions quarterbacks that’s pretty remarkable.
Clifford was also dangerous on the ground.
He ripped Maryland’s defense to shreds in every way conceivable on his way to 452 yards and four touchdowns from scrimmage.
Taven Birdow, running back, Air Force
If Geraud Sanders was the lightning in Air Force’s offense Friday night, then Taven Birdow was most certainly the thunder.
This 220-pound senior fullback pounded the rock into San Jose State’s defensive front all night long. Toting the rock 25 times, Birdow rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns as Air Force pulled away with a dominant win.