Posts Tagged With: NCAA

Pick Six: Players of the Week (Oct. 15, 2018)

Juan Thornhill

Six secondary standouts from football’s work that was:

Juan Thornill, SS, Virginia (NCAA) — It’s possible Virginia senior safety Juan Thornhill hits so hard that some people forget he’s a defensive back and not a linebacker.

Going into this season, Thornhill landed on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards — both given to the national defensive player of the year — but he didn’t make the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top DB.

When the Cavaliers upset 16th-ranked Miami (Fla.) on Saturday, Thornhill’s biggest hit may have been on the referee that he ran over during a 62-yard interception return that got the Cavaliers inside the 10-yard line. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week (Oct. 8, 2018)

Marcus Maye

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Marcus Maye, FS, Jets (NFL) — Two members of the New York Jets made history during the team’s 34-16 dissection of the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The headliner was running back Isaiah Crowell, who carried the ball 15 times for a franchise-record 219 yards, an average of 14.6 yards per touch. Crowell’s highlight reel included a 77-yard touchdown run.

Then there was Maye, who set an NFL record on the game’s final play. Maye intercepted a pass in the end zone by Denver quarterback Case Keenum and returned it 104 yards before he was caught at the 1-yard line. According to the Elias stat service, Maye’s 104-yard adventure was the longest non-touchdown interception return in league history. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week (Oct. 1, 2018)

Ugochukwu Amadi

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Ugochukwu Amadi, FS, Oregon (NCAA) — Last week, the Ducks defense bent too far and broke at the wrong time during a devastating loss to Pac-12 rival Stanford in which Oregon blew a 17-point lead in the second half and dropped a nail-biter in overtime.

This week, the Ducks defense held up when necessary in a 42-24 win over California. Leading the way was senior safety Amadi, who had seven tackles and two interceptions, including a 32-yard INT return for a touchdown that gave Oregon a comfortable cushion in the fourth quarter.

“The mindset was to redeem ourselves,” Amadi told reporters afterward. “We were eager to get back on the field. We wanted to give the world what they needed to see and that was playing Oregon football.” Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week (Sept. 24, 2018)

Earl Thomas

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Earl Thomas, FS, Seahawks (NFL) — Earl Thomas is single-handedly destroying the notion of “distractions” in professional sports.

In every season, in every one of America’s four major sports, there are stories full of speculation regarding teams underachieving and athletes suffering due to “distractions” off the field. Whether it’s legal problems (e.g. Addison Russell in MLB), disagreements over money (e.g. Le’Veon Bell), controversial issues (e.g. Colin Kaepernick), or a spat between teammates and/or coaches (e.g. Jimmy Butler in the NBA), the dreaded D-word is poison in pro locker rooms and just the threat of it is good enough for a team to hastily part ways with even its best players.

This past NFL offseason, Earl Thomas and the Seattle Seahawks engaged in a contract dispute that spilled into training camp, engulfed the preseason, and threatened to overshadow the team’s regular season. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week (Sept. 10, 2018)

Denzel Ward

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Denzel Ward, CB, Browns (NFL) — Despite being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Ward is not even the most talked-about rookie on his team. That’s because the Browns also had the No. 1 pick in the draft, and they used it on Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield.

But in Cleveland’s season opener, Ward stepped into the spotlight while Mayfield never stepped onto the field. Ward started at cornerback and intercepted two passes to go with six tackles and three pass breakups in the Browns’ 21-21 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward also spent some time covering Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, who happens to be probably the best receiver in the league.

A tie usually isn’t something worth celebrating, but considering the Browns went 0-16 last season, a tie almost felt like a win on Sunday. Continue reading

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MSU’s Tyson Smith Gets Pick-Six in Return From Stroke

The first couple of weeks of the college football season are typically full of blowout games resulting from lopsided matchups.

One of last Saturday’s most inspiring highlights happened in a game that wasn’t close between a big-name Big Ten team and one from the bottom half of the MAC.

Michigan State was beating Bowling Green 28-3 in the third quarter when Spartans junior cornerback Tyson Smith intercepted a pass by Falcons quarterback James Morgan and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown. It was the knockout blow in State’s 35-10 victory. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Jalen Collins

Jalen Collins

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Jalen Collins, CB, Falcons (NFL) — After the Falcons jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter of Sunday’s NFC Championship game, the Packers drove into the red zone and were threatening to score. That’s when Collins stripped Green Bay fullback Aaron Ripkowski and also recovered the fumble. The Falcons scored on the ensuing drive, taking a 17-0 lead and cruising from there to a 44-21 victory and a spot in Super Bowl LI.

2. Brian Poole, CB, Falcons (NFL) — Las Vegas should have a prop bet available on whether or not Poole is going to catch Tom Brady with a highlight-reel hit during the Super Bowl. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

A.J. Bouye

A.J. Bouye

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB, Texans (NFL) — Bouye’s impressive individual stat line was part of a collective team shutdown of the Raiders’ passing game in Saturday’s AFC wild-card playoff game.

Houston’s top-ranked defense compelled Oakland rookie QB Connor Cook to post a paltry QB Rating of 5.5, while Pro Bowl WR Amari Cooper had just two catches for 10 yards and No. 2 receiver Michael Crabtree’s stellar season ended with a 2-reception, 33-yard thud.

Bouye had one interception in the Texans’ 27-14 victory to go with three pass breakups and two tackles. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Chauncey Gardner

Chauncey Gardner

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Chauncey Gardner, S, Florida (NCAA) — It’s nothing new to hear a quarterback or running back thank his offensive line upon winning an individual award. It’s less common to hear someone from the defensive backfield thank his larger, less-heralded teammates in that situation.

After Gardner, a true freshman safety, was named MVP of the Outback Bowl on Monday, he said, “The MVP, it goes to our guys up front, the linebackers and the coaching staff because they put me in good position to make plays.” Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Jamar Taylor

Jamar Taylor

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Jamar Taylor, CB, Browns (NFL) — I have an unofficial rule that you have to win to get on the Pick Six list, and so all season long I hadn’t even been able to consider putting a defensive back from my Cleveland Browns in this space. But then on Saturday, the Browns beat the Chargers 20-17, “improving” to 1-14 and avoiding the possibility of making history for all the wrong reasons.

Taylor, in his first season as a regular starter after three years as a backup with the Dolphins, has shined enough through all the losing that Cleveland signed him to a three-year contract extension earlier this month.

In Saturday’s emotional victory, Taylor had five tackles, including one tackle for a loss, two pass breakups and an interception. Continue reading

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