2012 Rewind: The best offensive performances of the season
Counting down the 10 best individual offensive performances of the college football season.
10. Nov. 10:
) vs. Colorado
The Pac-12 is filled with offensive stars, and many of them saw their best day of the year against the Buffaloes. But Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey had one of the best days of any running back in the nation in a 56-31 rout last month. Carey needed only 25 touches to total 366 yards and five touchdowns -- of 10, 13, 30, 8 and 3 yards -- against Colorado. The speedy sophomore set a Pac-12 single-game record for rushing yards, and he tied the conference record for touchdowns.
9. Sept. 29: Stephen Morris ( Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes ) vs. N.C. State
Like his predecessor, Jacory Harris, Morris' career at Miami featured astronomic highs and befuddling lows. But the Miami native turned in arguably his best performance as a Hurricane in the thrilling 44-37 home win against NC State. Not only did Morris set a school and ACC record with 566 passing yards, but he delivered the game-winning touchdown with just 19 seconds remaining. After dodging the N.C. State pass rush, Morris scrambled around before finding Phillip Dorsett 62 yards downfield for his fifth touchdown of the game. The win also gave Miami its first three-game winning streak since 2009.
8. Oct. 13: Quinton Patton ( Louisiana Tech Bulldogs ) vs. Texas A&M
In a game that introduced many to the legend of Johnny Football, it was Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton that truly stole the show. The Aggies jumped out to a convincing 39-16 halftime lead thanks to three total touchdowns from Manziel, but the Bulldogs came roaring back in the second half and turned this Shreveport shootout into a one-possession game in the fourth quarter. Defense seemed optional in a six-touchdown fourth quarter, but Patton's 21 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns stood out among many impressive offensive performances in this game. As Colby Cameron marched the team downfield, everyone knew the ball was going to General Patton. Yet he continued to get open and finished with the single-game high for receptions this season.
7. Sept. 22: Cobi Hamilton ( Arkansas Razorbacks ) vs. Rutgers
Based on the expectations at the end of 2011, Arkansas went through a pretty disappointing season. But Cobi Hamilton's performance against Rutgers, albeit in a losing effort, was one of the highlights of the 2012 Razorbacks' campaign. Hamilton pulled in 10 passes for 303 yards -- setting an SEC receiving record -- and three touchdowns in the best statistical performance of his career. Hamilton was always a deep threat of the passing game under the leadership of the Petrino brothers, but this season he broke out with 1,335 yards as Tyler Wilson's top target.
6. Sept. 29: Zac Dysert ( Miami (Ohio) RedHawks ) vs. Akron
Zac Dysert became the first player in NCAA FBS history to pass for 500 yards (516) and rush for 100 yards (108), in the RedHawks' 56-49 win against Akron. His six passing touchdowns set a school record, and his 624 yards of total offense set both school and MAC records. But Dysert's do-everything role in Miami's narrow shootout win also included serving as the holder for extra points and tossing the two-point conversion after Miami's go-ahead touchdown with one minute remaining.
5. Nov. 3: Kenjon Barner ( Oregon Ducks ) vs. USC
Barner's offensive prowess often fell into the fold of Chip Kelly's dynamic Oregon offense. But on the biggest stage, the star wide receiver turned in the best performance of his career to help Oregon down USC in the Coliseum. The Riverside, Calif., native set a rushing record for a USC opponent by the third quarter, then continued to pile on the yards in the Ducks' 62-51 victory. At the end of the day, Barner finished with a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries, helping Oregon get some sweet revenge from the 38-35 loss to USC in Eugene a season ago.
4. Sept. 29: The Supporting Cast of West Virginia Mountaineers / Baylor Bears
The haters might argue that West Virginia's 70-63 win against Baylor in late September should be discounted based on the lack of defense. But I disagree, combining the individual performances of West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey, West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, Baylor quarterback Nick Florence and Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams. Florence broke Robert Griffin III's school record with 581 yards passing and tossed five touchdowns. Two of those scores went to Williams, who had the second-highest single-game total in FBS play this year with 314 yards receiving. Bailey, just behind Williams in that category, had 303 receiving yards of his own and pulled in five touchdowns. Tavon Austin finished with 286 all-purpose yards in the game, but that was a footnote compared to the rest of the performances -- not to mention his 572 all-purpose-yard performance against Oklahoma later in the season, deserving of honorable mention on this list.
3. Nov. 17: Montel Harris ( Temple Owls ) vs. Army
Temple running back Montel Harris was one healthy season away from setting the ACC's career rushing record, but lingering knee injuries and off-field issues led to his transfer from Boston College before the 2012 season. The opportunity at Temple allowed Harris to finish his final season of eligibility as a key piece of the Owls' first season in Big East play since 2004. Harris shattered school and Big East rushing records in a 63-32 victory against Army, rushing for 351 yards and seven touchdowns on 36 carries. Harris was on track to threaten LaDainian Tomlinson's FBS single-game record of 406 yards, but coach Steve Addazio pulled the star running back following his seventh touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Not only was it an inspired victory for a Temple team on a four-game losing streak, but also for a banged up Harris. He suffered a game-ending knee injury against Cincinnati and did not practice the entire week before his big day against the Black Knights.
2. Oct. 27: Marqise Lee ( Southern California Trojans ) vs. Arizona
It was an odd season to see so many 300-yard receiving performances, but all of the above outings fall behind Marqise Lee's 345 yards receiving against Arizona. The 39-36 loss to the Wildcats opened up the Pac-12 South and dropped USC from the national picture, but Lee's performance was nothing short of spectacular. His receiving yardage set school and Pac-12 records, and his all-purpose yards (123 added yards in the return game brought his total to 478) fell just short of breaking one of Reggie Bush's single-game school records from 2005. It was in this October game when many realized that Lee was arguably the most talented player at his position in all of college football. USC's loss to Arizona -- and disappointing season in general -- overshadowed one of the most explosive players in the sport's recent history. Don't worry, Marqise, we will let you shine here.
1. Sept. 29: Geno Smith (West Virginia) vs. Baylor
After honoring the cast of the West Virginia-Baylor game, it is only appropriate to tip our cap to the star of the show. In a game that featured video-game numbers, it seemed like Geno Smith had a cheat code activated. In the games that featured more than 30 passing attempts, no one had a higher completion percentage than Smith, who connected on 45 of his 51 passes. The West Virginia quarterback was flawless and dominant, throwing for more touchdowns (eight) than incompletions. At one point, Smith completed a school-record 14 consecutive passes. That streak ended on a dropped pass, and he went on to complete the next 12. Smith tied the Big 12 record for passing touchdowns and set West Virginia records for yards and touchdowns. The Heisman hype skyrocketed after this game, only to fall as West Virginia stumbled through Big 12 play. But the yards, touchdowns and specifically some of the NFL-caliber throws made by Smith in the victory have kept his name at the top of draft board for 2013.
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