Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Josh Norman, CB, Panthers (NFL): On paper, it was not on par with some of the “shutdown” performances he’s had against other elite NFL receivers. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. did manage to catch six balls for 76 yards and a touchdown against Norman on Sunday, but OBJ was shut out in the first half and was so aggravated by Norman that he engaged in some slap-fighting reminiscent of Deion Sanders and Andre Rison, and later hit Norman with a helmet-to-helmet cheap shot that will earn him a fine from the NFL. Norman finished with three tackles and Carolina remained undefeated with a 38-35 victory.
Tevin Carter, S, Utah (NCAA): The Utes built a 35-0 lead in the first quarter of the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday thanks to five BYU turnovers, including two interceptions by Carter. The senior safety returned his first INT 28 yards for a touchdown, then brought his second pick back 33 yards to the 1-yard line, which set up another Utah score. BYU rallied after that disastrous first quarter, but Carter and the Utes held on for a 35-28 victory.
New York Jets (NFL): The entire secondary shined when the Jets beat the Cowboys 19-16 on Saturday. Dallas QBs Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore were intercepted a total of four times, while star pass-catchers Dez Bryant and Jason Witten were held to 50 and 49 receiving yards, respectively. NY free safety Marcus Gilchrist, strong safety Calvin Pryor, and cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Marcus Williams each had an interception for the winning team.
Will Hiteshue, S, Mount Union (NCAA): The Purple Raiders claimed the program’s NCAA-record 12th national championship on Friday with a 49-35 victory over St. Thomas of Minnesota for the Division III crown, a game in which senior safety Hiteshue racked up 10 tackles and a forced fumble. The fumble was actually recovered by St. Thomas QB John Gould, who returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.
Tyvon Branch & Marcus Peters, Chiefs (NFL): Branch, the veteran strong safety, and Peters, the rookie corner, made the two biggest plays in KC’s 34-14 victory over the Ravens on Sunday, the team’s eighth win in a row. Branch had a 73-yard fumble return for a TD in the first quarter to give the Chiefs a lead they would never lose, and Peters had a 90-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter that put an end to any hopes of a Baltimore comeback.
Latrell Gibbs, CB, Appalachian State (NCAA): The sophomore’s interception was a crucial play during the Mountaineers’ fourth-quarter comeback from a 24-7 deficit to Ohio in the Camellia Bowl, which App State turned into a 31-29 victory. Gibbs recorded seven tackles, one interception and three pass breakups during the game.