Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
D’Cota Dixon, SS, Wisconsin (NCAA): The junior sealed the unranked Badgers’ 16-14 upset over 5th-ranked LSU on Saturday with an interception in the final minute. And when LSU lineman Josh Boutte destroyed Dixon after the whistle to earn himself an ejection and nearly start a brawl, Dixon took the blindside hit from the 345-pounder like a boss.
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama (NCAA): You wouldn’t know it if you only saw the 52-6 final score, but No. 1 Alabama was getting all they could handle from USC for most of the first half of Saturday’s game. The Crimson Tide didn’t really break things open until Humphrey’s 18-year pick-six late in the second quarter made it 17-3, and the route was on.
Justin Evans, SS, Texas A&M (NCAA): The senior had eight tackles and two interceptions against UCLA, and he knocked down a pass at the goal line on fourth down in overtime to preserve the Aggies’ 31-24 victory. But to some people, neither of those was his most impressive play of the day. In the final minute of the fourth quarter, Evans went down with a leg injury and appeared to pop the leg back into place. Evans said later he was just working out a cramp. But the first version of the story sounds cooler, so that’ll be the version that goes down in history.
Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee (NCAA): The Volunteers were trailing 13-3 in the second half to Appalachian State and the heart and soul of their defense, senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, had already been ejected for targeting. The Mountaineers were driving for another score that probably would’ve put the nail in 9th-ranked Tennessee, but Sutton’s diving interception stopped the App State drive and set up a Tennessee field goal. The Vols later went on to tie it, and won 20-13 in overtime. Sutton also had four tackles, including one for loss.
Davontae Ginwright, FS, Western Michigan (NCAA): The Broncos were making a goal-line stand against Northwestern in the fourth quarter when Wildcats QB Clayton Thorson fumbled on the one-yard line. Ginwright, a redshirt freshman, scooped up the fumble in the end zone as he was stepping out of bounds … but then he turned and tossed the ball back into play, where Northwestern fell on it in the end zone. It would have been a go-ahead touchdown for Northwestern, but upon review, it was determined that Ginwright had stepped out of bounds before the toss. Western Michigan retained possession and held on for a 22-21 victory. And so despite his best efforts to be the goat, Ginwright — who also had four tackles and three pass breakups — gets hero credit for the game-saving fumble recovery.
Tracy Belton, DB, Philadelphia (AFL): Believe it or not, Arena Bowl XXIX was decided by defense. The Philadelphia Soul created early turnovers that they converted into points, jumping out to a quick lead against the Arizona Rattlers and hanging on for a 56-42 victory back on August 26. Belton, who led the Arena League with nine interceptions during the season and was named AFL Defensive Back of the Year, was voted Defensive Player of the Game for the Arena Bowl. He made nine tackles and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.