I tried to factor in everything: pure numbers, the competition, the situation, and style points. If we omitted any, let us know. We'll keep a running tally of honorable mentions.
15. Buffalo CB Cortney Lester, November 10 vs. Western Michigan: Lester recorded three interceptions, including one on the final drive of the game, and broke up a pass in the Bulls' 29-24 victory. It also prompted this campus headline, which makes me feel good about our next generation.
14. Western Michigan WR Eric Monette, November 3 vs. Central Michigan: Multiple individuals stumped for Monette, and it wasn't on my radar at the time, but looking back I have no qualms with including it, and you can see why. He had seven fourth-quarter catches, including four on one drive in which he hauled in the go-ahead score. He could not be stopped. Monette's line against the rival Chips: 11 catches for 196 yards and this touchdown:
13. Akron QB Dalton Williams, September 29 vs. Miami: They won but a single game, but Williams at least had Akron scoring on various weekends, including helping Akron to 49 points behind his 446 yards, 76 percent completion rate and four touchdowns. He did throw a pick on the final play of the game, but that's not what put this game so low. You'll just have to see what the other guy did.
12. Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton, September 1 vs. Penn State: Remember when Ohio was the darling of the conference? Do you remember that? The second half was an exercise in patience, as Tettleton led the Bobcats back from a 14-3 halftime disadvantage. His final numbers: 31-for-41, 324 yards and two touchdowns, rushing nine times for 47 yards and a third TD. Perhaps their best drive of the year with a 17-14 lead and 9:37 left in the game, starting on their own 7-yard line. Not only did they chew up six-and-a-half minutes, but they methodically moved the ball into the opposite end zone. Tettleton was 5-for-5 for 53 yards, four of those passes on third down conversions.
11. Western Michigan LB Desmond Bozeman, September 22 vs. UConn: It was the play that sent the game seemingly out of reach. Bozeman stripped the ball from the UConn quarterback and ran it in for a touchdown, which counts as a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, and six points. He had an additional sack and 10 other tackles throughout the game.
10. Ball State QB Keith Wenning, September 29 vs. Kent State: Yes, it was in a losing effort. But the numbers were all there and he forced Kent State to win at the end. Wenning passed 43 times, completing 32 passes for 445 yards and five touchdowns. He did have one lost fumble. Ball State eventually fell to Kent State in the final seconds, 45-43.
9. Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, September 15 vs. Army: Here's another one where he needed every yard and touchdown imaginable. Army scored 40 points, so NIU needed 41, and that was your final score. The go-ahead touchdown came in the waning minutes, and the final line: 18-for-27, 342 yards, four TDs, an interception, and 13 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. That's 467 total yards of offense which averages out to 11.68 yards per play.
8. Central Michigan PK David Harman, September 22 vs. Iowa: There have been longer field goals this year, but Harman's leg was the primary reason the Chippewas were able to knock off this strugging Big Ten team. Harman went 4-for-4 on field goals, 2-for-2 on extra points and executed a beautiful onside kick to set up his own 47-yard game-winner.
7. Kent State RB Dri Archer, September 29 vs. Ball State: This was the game I vividly recall Archer being a difference-maker for the Golden Flashes. His 350 all-purpose yards and three scores included eight carries for 72 yards, three catches for 104 yards, and this 99-yard kickoff return for touchdown:
6. Eastern Michigan RB Bronson Hill, October 13 vs. Toledo: The Eagles didn't have much to sing about all year but a breakout star shone with a running back buried on the depth chart to start the year. He had 283 rushing yards on 28 carries and four touchdowns against Toledo, a game they ultimately lost 52-47 but not before destroying minds in the third quarter, when Hill scored three touchdowns in a two-minute span on runs of 47, 58 and 70 yards. He also had two catches for 11 yards.
5. Toledo WR Bernard Reedy, October 13 vs. Eastern Michigan: His 11 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns are definitely worth consideration, but he added to that an 89-yard kickoff return touchdown.
4. Kent State RB Dri Archer, November 17 vs. Bowling Green: Here's another one where the numbers would stand on their own, but clinching a division on the road made it doubly impressive. In Kent State's 31-24 win over Bowling Green, he scored two long touchdowns, finishing with 17 carries for 241 yards and a 13-yard reception. He was forced into playing tailback every down when Trayion Durham left the game to injury. This is a game I witnessed in person and didn't feel this helpless watching BGSU be picked apart since Ben Roethlisberger in the 2003 MAC Championship.
3. Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, November 30 vs. Kent State (MAC Championship Game): No, it wasn't the most efficient yards in his life, but the sheer volume of carries and plays made almost won it single-handedly. The numbers: 19-for-34 for 212 yards, two touchdowns and a bad interception. He also carried it 36 times for 160 yards in a valiant effort to destroy the fourth-quarter clock. And, sadly, points off for the fumble on a handoff that brought KSU back into the game.
2. Miami QB Zac Dysert, September 29 vs. Akron: These were obscene numbers: 34-for-49, 516 yards and six passing touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 108 yards, posting the first 500/100 game in FBS history. Yes, it was against Akron. But Akron's offense matched Dysert and the RedHawks pound-for-pound, and Dysert's sixth touchdown throw of the game was required for a victory as his pass to Jason Semmes with 1:04 left in the game sealed the victory, 56-49.
1. Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch, November 14 vs. Toledo: Bonus points were awarded for doing this against a terrific team to clinch a division, but the numbers alone might have done it: 25-for-36, 407 yards, three touchdowns and an interception (plucked from the sky by Dan Molls). He also ran it 30 times for 162 yards. That's 569 total yards of offense. It was also the first 400/150 game in FBS history.