CBSSports.com Players of the Week (Sept. 2)
Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams, Buffalo LB Khalil Mack, Alabama WRChristion Jones and Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield earned player of the week honors.
Every Monday, we will highlight the best and brightest performances from the weekend with the CBSSports.com Players of the Week. The honors will run through the end of the regular season right up until the CBS Sports All-America Team announcement on Dec. 17.
Offensive Player of the Week: Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams
In a weekend that featured eight victories for FCS teams over FBS opponents, none stuck out quite like Eastern Washington's 49-46 thriller against No. 25 Oregon State. Adams threw for 411 yards and four touchdowns, adding 107 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns -- including the game-winner on 3rd and goal with 18 seconds remaining. He was efficient against the Oregon State defense, completing 23 of 30 passes and allowing just one drive to finish in a punt.
It was a fitting reminder of the value remaining in the FCS. While talk of NCAA reform in the air and conferences like the Big Ten removing FCS opponents from the schedule, Vernon Adams and Eastern Washington reminded the country that the gap -- on the field, at least -- between the subdivisions is smaller than most think.
Buffalo's defense might not have been ready for Ohio State's 23-point explosion in the first quarter, but Khalil Mack and his teammates locked down the Buckeyes for the rest of the game. The Bulls outscored Ohio State 20-17 in the final three quarters, thanks in part to Mack's pick-six in the second quarter. The future NFL linebacker chased Braxton Miller all over the field, finishing the game with 9.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks and the interception returned for a touchdown. For a great story on Mack's recruitment (or lack thereof), check out Bruce Feldman's Big Picture.
Alabama's offense may have looked uncharacteristically rusty on Saturday night, but the special teams play, specifically that of return man Christion Jones, helped keep the Hokies at a distance as the Tide pulled away for a 35-10 win. Jones returned a kickoff and punt for a touchdown -- something that no Alabama player has done in a single game -- then added a 38-yard touchdown reception for the triple play.
Rookie of the Week: Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was high on Mayfield, the preferred walk-on freshman from Lake Travis High School, heading into the 2013 season. He mentioned it many places, including on the Tim Brando Show last month, so a strong performance was not surprising. What was surprising was how comfortable the freshman looked while completing 43 of 60 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions in a win over SMU. Now the surprise will be if Mayfield is not on scholarship by the end of the season, because he may have just won the starting job.
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