Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Brice McCain, CB, Steelers (NFL) — After dropping a game at home to Tampa Bay last week, Pittsburgh was in danger of losing two in a row to lowly Florida teams before McCain stepped up against Jacksonville on Sunday. His 22-yard interception return for a touchdown off rookie QB Blake Bortles turned a one-point Steelers lead in the fourth quarter into a more comfortable 17-9 tally that turned out to be the final score.
Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss (NCAA) — The senior cornerback made the biggest play in the biggest college football game of the weekend, ending Alabama’s final drive and sealing Ole Miss’ 23-17 upset victory on Saturday. The 5-foot-9 Golson had position on 6-foot-6 Crimson Tide receiver O.J. Howard, securing his interception with one hand while managing to get one foot inbounds. The play was so close that officials originally said Golson was out of bounds, but reversed the call after a replay review.
Antoine Cason, CB, Panthers (NFL) — During Carolina’s 31-24 come-from-behind win over Chicago on Sunday, the defense forced turnovers on the Bears’ final three possessions. The takeaway that led to the game-winning score happened in the fourth quarter, when Cason stripped star RB Matt Forte and Panthers D-lineman Kawaan Short recovered the loose ball. Cason finished with six tackles and a forced fumble.
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (NCAA) — The Spartans’ D-line and linebackers deserve most of the credit for holding Nebraska’s Heisman-contending RB Ameer Abdullah to just 45 yards in Saturday’s 27-22 win. Waynes and the secondary did their part by taking away the Cornhuskers’ passing game as a second option. The junior cornerback had seven tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups. One of those picks came with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter as Nebraska was trying to drive for a go-ahead score.
Jamar Wall, HB, Calgary (CFL) — Wall, a defensive halfback, collected the third of Calgary’s three first-half interceptions against Saskatchewan QB Seth Doege on Friday, and his pick set up the Stampeders’ first touchdown in an eventual 31-24 victory. Wall also had eight tackles. Calgary remains in first place in the CFL’s West Division with a 12-2 record while boasting the best defense in the league.
Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern (NCAA) — In his first collegiate start, the redshirt freshman safety had eight tackles and three interceptions as the unranked Wildcats upset 17th-ranked Wisconsin, 20-14, on Saturday. Igwebuike’s second INT came late in the fourth quarter when he picked off a pass in the end zone that could’ve put Northwestern behind. His third takeaway ended the Badgers’ last possession in the final minute. “I mean, nobody saw it coming,” Igwebuike said of his big day. “I didn’t even see it coming.”