Never in the history of college football has there been a weekend like this past one with so many teams being upset. These are some of the players that participated in Upset Saturday and some that just put up some fantastic numbers.
Richie Brown- Mississippi State. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have one of the top defenses in the country and they like to call themselves the Psycho Defense. Led by Bernardrick McKinney at Middle Linebacker and Preston Smith at Defensive End, the Bulldogs have been shutting down nearly everyone they face. Richie Brown is a 6-2,235 sophomore Linebacker that isn’t a starter. But, Brown plays a lot. Last season, freshman Brown was the 9th leading tackler on the Bulldog defense. This year, he is 12th on the team in tackles but he had a key tackle early against LSU last week
stopping the Tigers on 4th down on the Bulldog 1 yard line setting the stage for a Bulldog beat down of the Tigers.
In last Saturday’s Mississippi State upset of 6th ranked Texas A%M, Richie Brown had a mind boggling 3 interceptions which were pretty instrumental in turning the game in complete favor of the MSU Bulldogs. Brown had only 1 interception all of last season and that came in the Egg Bowl against their chief rival, the Ole Miss Rebels.
Godwin Igwebuike- Northwestern. The Wildcats started off the season poorly going 0-2 against California and Northern Illinois before rebounding and winning the last 3. One would have to count on a team coached by Pat Fitzgerald not quitting and turning things around. Last Saturday, the Northwestern Wildcats upset 17th ranked Wisconsin. Redshirt Freshman Safety Godwin Igwebuike was a major reason behind the upset with 3 interceptions. Not only was it a huge upset weekend, but I don’t ever remember 2 guys each having 3 interceptions on the same day. Melvin Gordon of the Badgers still had a record day, but anytime Wisconsin tried to get their passing game going
Igwebuike stepped in front of passes changing the outcome of the game. Starting Badger Quarterback Tanner McEvoy threw 1 interception and replacement and last year’s starting Quarterback Joel Stave threw 3 interceptions as the Northwestern Wildcats upset the Wisconsin Badgers 20-14.
Connor Halliday- Washington State. Clearly, a Quarterback that plays for Mike Leach is going to put up huge numbers. But, I am not sure any of his Quarterbacks should be expected to throw for 734 yards as Connor Halliday did last weekend against California. Connor Halliday had a busy evening throwing 70 passes and completing an amazing 49. He also threw for 6 Touchdowns.
Those were the kinds of numbers a Quarterback would put up in an entire season back in the old days and Halliday has 3,052 yards passing after 6 games. It was an amazing accomplishment, but it still wasn’t enough to lead his team to victory as the California Golden Bears beat the Washington State Cougars 60-59.
Maybe Mike Leach should consider changing some things up on his defense but he has always been this way since his days at Texas Tech.
Vince Mayle – Washington State. Mayle is one of Halliday’s favorite Receivers in Pullman, Washington. Mayle is a 6-3, 220 senior from Sacramento, California that should be on an NFL roster next season because he has everything that a pro Wide Receiver should have with plenty of size, toughness and speed. On Saturday’s loss to Cal, Mayle had 11 catches for an eye popping 263 yards including a 90 yard touchdown pass.
Mayle is up to 51 catches for 703 yards and 6 Touchdowns so far on the season. He has 93 career receptions for 1,242 yards and 13 Touchdowns at Washington State.
The Cougars are only 2-4, but have been in every game they have played thanks to guys like Mayle and Connor Halliday.
Mike Bercovici- Arizona State. Bercovici is not even the starting Quarterback for the Arizona State Sun Devils. He normally backs up Taylor Kelly, but Kelly injured his foot a couple of weeks ago against Colorado and is out indefinitely. Taylor Kelly was thought of as one of the better Quarterbacks out there, but apparently his back up is pretty decent as well. Bercovici threw for 510 passing yards against the mighty USC Trojans and engineered an amazing comeback which included an amazing 46 yard Hail Mary pass to Jaelen Strong with no time left on the clock. Bercovici and Strong left a Coliseum full of stunned Trojans as they lost 38-34 to the Sun Devils.
The Trojans were seconds away from a win but just couldn’t put the Sun Devils away as they beat USC for the second straight year.
Hopefully, Taylor Kelly gets his job back when he heals, but Bercovici has earned playing time and should take over next season.
Nate Orchard- Utah. Senior Utah 6-4, 255 Defensive End Nate Orchard is quietly having a superb senior season for the Utes. Utah had a lead over Washington State a couple of weeks ago and the Cougars came from behind to beat the Utes in the final seconds. But, other than that game, the Utah Utes are 4-1 on the season and definitely in the running for the Pac 12 championship.
Nate Orchard is second on his team in tackles so far with 34 total tackles but Orchard leads the entire nation in sacks with 8.5 on the year. Orchard was a big difference maker for the Utes on Saturday in the Rose Bowl with 4 sacks against UCLA.
Orchard also has 9 tackles for losses. Orchard has excellent quickness coming off the edge and could keep up the pace and have an All American type season, or at least all Conference.
Melvin Gordon – Wisconsin. Strangely, the Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Northwestern Wildcats despite of the fact that star Running Back Melvin Gordon had 259 yards rushing. Melvin Gordon managed those yards off of 27 carries and he scored 1 Touchdown bringing his total to 9 on the season already. Gordon is up to 871 yards rushing on the year at over 8.2 yards per carry. Melvin Gordon is giving the other Heisman contenders a run for their money, but Wisconsin is having a somewhat disappointing season with 2 losses already.
Wisconsin was a favorite to win the Big 10 West title and compete for a playoff spot coming in, but they are getting close to being eliminated.