Maxwell Football Club Weekly College Football Update

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Who's Hot

RB Cam Akers, Florida State

Yup, there's still some life left in the Seminoles. It's been a rocky season in Tallahassee, to be sure. But Florida State shook off a tough loss to Wake Forest a week earlier to flatten Syracuse and even its record at 4-4. Akers, who has run well all season long, was the offensive centerpiece for Willie Taggart, rushing 20 times for 144 yards and a career-best four touchdowns.

RB LeVante Bellamy, Western Michigan

Have yet to see Bellamy in action? Too bad. He's one of the most dynamic and underrated running backs in the country. The senior from Indianapolis put on a show-again-this past at the expense of an overmatched Bowling Green defense. Bellamy, with the Broncos focused on stopping him, needed only 17 carries to rush for 178 yards and four touchdowns.

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU

Yup, the Tiger offense is more than just QB Joe Burrow and his array of talented receivers. LSU can move the ball with balance, yet another worry for opposing defenses. The Tigers struggled versus Auburn, but Edwards-Helaire kept the chains moving with 26 carries for 136 yards and a score. Plus, he chipped in with a career-best seven receptions for 51 yards to give Burrow a safety valve in the passing game.

QB Josh Love, San Jose State

Jordan Love was all the rage in the offseason.

Josh Love, with far less pub, has been better this season. The Spartans evened their record, and moved a step closer to bowl eligibility, with Saturday's defeat of Army on the Hudson. Love threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns, while earning

Pro Football Focus' second highest grade for a Week 10 quarterback.

RB Joshua Kelley, UCLA

When Kelley is at full strength, this is a completely different Bruin... and it has showed in recent decisive wins over Stanford and Arizona State. UCLA coasted to an easier-than-the-score-indicated win over the Sun Devils Saturday to remain in Pac-12 South division contention. Kelley, who was not healthy at the beginning of the year, rushed 34 times for 164 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.

QB Kedon Slovis, USC

"Fight On" is the Trojan athletics motto. Friday night in Boulder, the program lived by it. Down 10 at the start of the fourth quarter, USC rallied to defeat Colorado and remain atop the Pac-12 South division. Slovis, the precocious true freshman, completed 30-of-44 for 406 yards and four touchdowns, including two to star WR Michael Pittman in the final frame to seal the comeback win.

QB Skylar Thompson, Kansas State

Jalen Hurts posted better numbers. Thompson got the improbable W. Edge, Wildcats. Kansas State sent shockwaves through the Big 12 and the college football world by handing Oklahoma its first loss, 48-41. While Thompson wasn't prolific through the air, hitting on 18-of-28 for 213 yards, he did rush for four touchdowns to help give Chris Klieman a second signature win in his Manhattan debut.

RB CJ Verdell, Oregon

The Ducks are getting pretty good at pulling out thrillers. A week after rallying to beat Washington in Seattle, Oregon used a Camden Lewis field goal as time expired to defeat Washington State, 37-35. Verdell, not star QB Justin Herbert, was the offensive hero. The sophomore exploded for 313 yards from scrimmage, including 257 and three scores on the ground.

The Maxwell Football Club also honors the nation's best defensive player with the Chuck Bednarik Award. Here's a look at last week's standout defenders

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Who's Hot

LB Daniel Bituli, Tennessee

There's work to be done, but don't count the Volunteers out of the bowl picture just yet. Tennessee earned its third, routing South Carolina, 41-21, in Knoxville. The team got big plays from the offense and a terrific effort from the D, namely Bituli and DE Darrell Taylor. Bituli had a game-high 15 tackles to go along with a stop for loss, a pass breakup, a blocked kick and a hurry of QB Ryan Hilinski.

CB Brandin Echols, Kentucky

As a double-digit home underdog, the Wildcats suffocated Mizzou to return to the .500 mark. The Tigers managed just a single touchdown in the 29-7 loss for their lowest offense output since 2017. Echols was instrumental in shutting down QB Kelly Bryant and his talented receivers, grading out as the FBS' second best cornerback of Week 9, according to Pro Football Focus.

S Kolby Harvell-Peel, Oklahoma State

The Cowboys stunned No. 23 Iowa State in Ames on Saturday... and the defense provided the spark for a charge. Maligned throughout this fall, the Oklahoma State D slowed and stunted a Cyclone attack that had been humming entering Week 9. The unit intercepted three passes, had a game-winning pick-six and broke up 11 passes, including six from Harvell-Peel who also had eight tackles.

OLB Terrell Lewis, Alabama

No Tua. No worries. With the reigning Maxwell Award winner watching from the sidelines, Bama easily disposed of Arkansas behind a total team effort. Lewis put on a show for NFL scouts in attendance. The 6-5, 252-pound Washington D.C. native had just three tackles, but forced a whopping six quarterback hurries to grade among the top edge rushers for Week 9.

LB Patrick Nelson, SMU

While there were tense moments Thursday night in Houston, the Mustangs remained undefeated and in the hunt for a New Year's Six bowl game. Nelson was once again one of the stars of the big-play defense. The Chicago native and Illinois transfer's seven stops included 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a key forced fumble that led to a score.

DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami

Now that Rousseau is beginning to show hints of his enormous potential, the Canes can't wait to see him fully bloom. The former blue-chip recruit, who missed most of 2018 to an ankle injury, delivered a career day in Pittsburgh. Rousseau had three of Miami's four sacks in a suffocating team effort that limited a hot Panther team to just four field goals.

DT Jason Stowbridge, North Carolina

Pro Football Focus pegged Stowbridge as the seventh most efficient interior lineman of the past weekend. Why? The Duke blockers could not contain him. In the Tar Heels win over Duke to reclaim the Victory Bell, Stowbridge compiled 10 tackles from the inside, including 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

DE Chase Young, Ohio State

In what may have been the most dominant individual performance of the season so far, Young toyed with one of the premier O-lines in the country. The Maxwell and Bednarik Award semifinalist whipped the Wisconsin tackles from start to finish, collecting six stops, five tackles for loss, four sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Young also became just the second Buckeye in school history with two double-digit sack seasons.

Must-See Week 10 Games

Virginia Tech (5-2) at Notre Dame (5-2)

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

Brian Kelly challenged his Irish team after losing to Georgia Sept. 21. The coach will be doing so again now that Michigan hammered ND in rainy Ann Arbor. Notre Dame still has a shot to play for a New Year's Six bowl game, but there's no longer any margin for error. Va Tech will arrive in South Bend rested... and confident. The Hokies, behind new QB Hendon Hooker, have shaken off a rough start to win three in a row, averaging 40 points in those victories.

Georgia (6-1) vs. Florida (7-1)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

Who's the best team in the SEC East and the likely foe of Alabama or LSU on Dec. 7 in Atlanta? We'll get a much better idea when the Bulldogs and Gators meet for their annual showdown in Jacksonville. Both rivals have a single loss and aspirations of finishing the regular season in Atlanta. Georgia has won back-to-back games over Florida, but the Dawgs are struggling to score. And it won't get any easier versus a Gator D that has 29 sacks and more picks than TD passes allowed.

Utah (7-1) at Washington (5-3)

Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (FOX)

Utah is peaking, winners of four straight dominating games. But the Utes have also lost four in a row to Washington, including last year's Pac-12 Championship Game, and must travel this weekend to Seattle. Utah has yielded just 10 points over the last three games, and only USC has scored more than 17 points on its defense. This weekend's challenge will be stopping QB Jacob Eason, who was dynamite in the Oregon loss two weeks ago.

Oregon (7-1) at USC (5-3)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)

The Pac-12 is staging two riveting interdivisional games this weekend. The Ducks at the Coliseum is one of them. Oregon is fresh off back-to-back thrillers over Washington and Washington State to all but wrap up the North and remain in the playoff hunt. All of which means this could be the first of two meetings between the schools, because USC leads the South. The Trojans are also unbeaten at home, and QB Kedon Slovis to WR Michael Pittman will test a very good Duck secondary.

The Maxwell and Bednarik Awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.

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