Whoa, gentlemen. Was it me, or was there a bevy of studly performances this past weekend?
Especially on the defense; there were a crazy allotment of turnovers and big plays. A few choice quarterbacks are also starting to settle into a groove, and some familiar names are beginning to trickle back into the list of Belt hopefuls. Or maybe the season's just become mature enough for us to recognize some of the up-and-coming stars. It's all been a blur.
Also, next week I think we'll have finally accumulated enough statistics to start tracking the races for the end-of-the-year Belts. I'm not entirely sure what the award will be — GROUPTHINK, ACTIVATE! — but right now the clubhouse-leading idea is the Hustle Belt Belt ... Belt, which is exactly as it repetitively sounds: a belt made out of Hustle Belt Belts. The best ideas that will be considered will also be the simplest to Photoshop. Please think of me when you brainstorm.
Welcome back to high-level football, Bernard Pierce. Temple's running back had 169 yards on 26 carries, plus two catches for 27 yards against UConn. The Owls and their fans have to be über relieved to finally win a game over the Huskies, and especially without any last-play controversy. 30-16 is freaking decisive. It's also evidently not enough to get any national applause, but we'll save that for next week.
Other contenders to the Belt (in no exact order):
Chandler Harnish, NIU: 19-for-25, 208 yards; 11 rush, 133 yards, TD
Zac Dysert, Miami: 18-for-22, 231 yards, 3 TD
Paris Cotton, CMU: 21 rush, 209 yards; 3 TD; 3 rec, 36 yards
Willie Geter, BGSU: 31 rush, 110 yards; 5 rec, 86 yards
Jordan White, WMU: 13 rec, 170 yards, TD
Austin Dantin, Toledo: 11-for-18, 173 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 18 rush, 68 yards; TD
In the interest of not having a Temple/Toledo bonanza, we'll spread out the pants accessories and give the defensive Belt to Miami linebacker Ryan Kennedy, who had eight tackles including 1½ sacks and two other tackles for loss. He also hurried Colorado State quarterback Pete Thomas into throwing one of his two interceptions.
Norman Wolfe, Kent State: 1 tackle, 2 INT
Desmond Marrow, Toledo: 10 tackles, 2 INT (1 return for TD)
Donovan Fletcher, OHIO: 9 tackles, 2 INT
Neal Howey, EMU: 13 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF
Dwayne Woods, BGSU: 8 tackles, ½ TFL, INT TD
Jovan Leacock, BGSU: 5 tackles, ½ TFL, FF, INT TD
Isaiah Ballard, Toledo: 15 tackles, 3 TFL
Dan Molls, Toledo: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 INT
Adrian Robinson, Temple: 4 tackles, 2 FF, 1 FR (returned for TD)
Kickoff return touchdowns are hard. UT's Eric Page had one for 98 yards against Western Michigan, perhaps signifying the advent of his highlight reel. Celebrate. He also had a 9-yard touchdown, a 50-yard reception, and threw an interception. Strange night.
Billy Gonzales-Santos, OHIO: blocked punt
Brian Fields, WMU: blocked punt
Cameron Truss, BGSU: blocked FG
Josh Wilber, NIU: 5 punts, 49 average