Helmet stickers are a mainstay in college football. Some make sense, and others are oars, but they are always given out for outstanding performances. I am here to combine the excitement of football season with all the unquestionable legitimacy of an internet award by designating such stickers to some great players for some great performances. I'm going to be doing this each and every week, and the only requirement to receive a sticker is to be on a MAC football team's roster. That's it! I take into account big plays and big moments when giving out these soon to be coveted stickers, and while these are invisible and most certainly will never end up on an actual football helmet, they are a fun way to acknowledge performances across the always fun and frequently quirky Mid-American Conference. I hope you will join me each week for a celebration of both this great conference and adhesive decorations that go on head protection.
Week one was a wild week, and would you expect much else from this conference? Toledo didn't get to play due to some interference from mother nature, Kent State almost didn't get to play for the same reason - and probably wishes they hadn't. UMass was on a bye week, meaning no Blake Frohnapfel this week, and Eastern Michigan faltered in its first day back at the Factory, but at least no issues with walls this time. Ohio got to 1-0 after a big win in the Kibbie Dome and, oh, you may have heard that Western played against a land grant school from East Lansing. The first week of the season is an awesome opportunity for the MAC to gain some national exposure, and with ESPN3 being a thing, wall to wall MAC coverage is just an internet connection away. I dove deep into some of that wall to wall coverage, and a few players really caught my eye, so without further ado, here's who is getting some stickers for their play in week one
Corey Davis and Darius Phillips - for making a fan base believe
Davis ran all over the Michigan State secondary on Friday night, but the junior can't run from the most powerful acronym in sports: NFL. Get used to seeing the player and league mentioned in the same sentence quite a bit this season. It's justified, after all, his 10 catch, 154 yard and a touchdown performance against the Michigan State Spartans speaks volumes to the junior's abilities against some of the nation's best, and also was the clear go-to option against a defense that knew it was coming. Davis' best contribution of the night was a 13 yard touchdown reception on fourth down, a play that saw the big wide receiver bully a Michigan State defender and catch the pass despite being interfered with on the play.
Davis wasn't the only Bronco making big plays on Friday night. Darius Phillips, after previously taking the opening kickoff 70 yards into Michigan State territory decided that he could do better - and then did so. It's also nice to see that Phillips can still outrun his head coach.
Jack Milas and Darian Green - because, offense
Ball State needed points on Saturday to best VMI, and Milas provided a punch, setting a couple career highs, most notably in yards where he accounted for 338 of 567 yards of offense. Milas only had a single touchdown, but wasn't needed in that capacity because Darian Green seemed perfectly okay with doing that all on his own, finding the end zone four times against the Keydets - tying a school record. The best part? Green only carried the ball 9 times in the game. 8 touchdowns per 18 carries? It could happen, right? It's probably safe to say that the Cardinals have found their red zone option in Green, and this may not be the last time he appears on this list if things go well in Muncie this season.
Joe Licata and Anthone Taylor - for being wildly efficient
Buffalo can be dangerous this season, and Licata and Taylor are big reason why. Albany isn't a defensive juggernaut by any stretch, but Licata was a model of consistency, going 20-26 for 246 yards and a pair of touchdowns to zero interceptions. So-called "tune up" games aren't always the most glamorous, but Licata gets a sticker for spreading the ball around - he completed passes to eight different receivers.
Sticking with the efficiency theme, Taylor didn't get a ton of carries - only 17 touches - but he wouldn't need many this week. Taylor got to the hundred yard mark and added two touch downs to start off the season well for the Bulls. He averaged just over six yards per carry on Saturday, and if that sort of effort continues, look out MAC East!
Quentin Poling and the Ohio Secondary - because, less offense
Ohio was able to put some points on the board at the Kibbie Dome, and they were able to do so comfortably with their defense keeping points off the board. The Idaho Vandals are by no means the biggest test for the Bobcats on the schedule, but they definitely can put up a ton of points. Especially at home. Helping to keep the Vandals at bay was Quentin Poling, whose 12 total tackles led the team by a wide margin. The Bobcats also got to the quarterback five times for sacks on Thursday, two of which belong to Poling.
Kenny Golladay - for providing opportunity for "day" themed word play
KENNY HAVE YOUR SELF A GOLLA-DAY— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) September 6, 2015
The Hustle Belt Twitter machine was at it in full force on Saturday, and it makes a good point: Kenny Golladay had a Golla-Day (I promise I'll never do that again). Golladay generated 213 yards on just 9 catches, and was obviously the best option on the field at wide receiver for the Huskies. The Huskies, by the way, needed this type of performance because, well, they didn't exactly dispose of UNLV the way many thought they would. A big reason why we aren't talking about a semi-devastating home loss for the Huskies today is the performance of Golladay. Also, his stat line was impressive enough that Akron would probably trade its whole team for him for a day.
Not the same game, but Kenny Golladay has more yards than the Akron offense does (213-196)— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) September 6, 2015
Last but not least, weather - for being the most disruptive force on the field
I know what you're thinking, "Weather delays in the MAC? No way!" Actually, you're not thinking that, because this sort of thing happens all the time. When watching week one of MAC football every year, you can probably bet that mother nature will do her best to ensure nobody gets to play. In fact, Toledo technically didn't play and Kent State had to wait another day to play Illinois. While the weather was not ultimately successful in denying all of us sweet, sweet MACtion this weekend, it gets a sticker for a hell of an effort. Until next year mother Earth, it was nice to see you make your presence known once again.
This tweet was scheduled to go out at 7am but was delayed due to lightning in the area.— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) September 6, 2015