Week 8 of college football is in the books and with only a few games left to play, it is time to start handing out the individual awards.
Offensive Player of the Year: Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib
One of college football’s most underrated signal callers is the gun-slinging senior from West Chester, Pa. Nassib started off the season averaging 379.6 passing yards per game as his offense put up 42 points in two consecutive games. Nassib ranks 12th nationally and first in the Big East with 2,159 passing yards to go with a completion percentage of 65.2 and 13 touchdowns and held his own when he went toe-to-toe with Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley of USC.
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Others in the mix: Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux; Rutgers RB Jawan Jamison
Defensive Player of the Year: Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene
A Preseason Fourth Team All-American and First Team All-Big East selection, Greene has more than lived up to his billing. The centerpiece of a Rutgers defense that ranks third nationally in points allowed, Greene has done it all for the Scarlet Knights this season, amassing 67 total tackles, 5.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups and forced four fumbles. Last week he garnered both the Big East and Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week awards.
Others in the mix: Connecticut’s DE Trevardo Williams
Coach of the Year: Rutgers’ Kyle Flood
It is never easy coming in and replacing a successful head coach. Especially when that coach’s success sent him to the NFL. Especially when the man replacing him is stepping in to his first college head coaching job in his career. Well Flood has done all those things and more, coaching his team to seven consecutive victories, the top of the Big East pile and a No. 15 ranking in the country.
Others in the mix: Louisville’s Charlie Strong
Mr. Overachiever: Cincinnati’s QB Munchie Legaux
Legaux entered the year as a first year starter after seeing very limited playing time as a freshman so one would think coach Butch Jones would ease the young quarterback in. Not so as Leguax has since exploded for 15 total touchdowns and lead the Bearcats to a 5-1 mark.
Mr. Underachiever: USF’s QB B.J. Daniels
The fifth-year senior entered the season set to be the catalyst behind coach Skip Holtz’s explosive pass attack. While the numbers have been there (1,693 yards for 13 touchdowns) so have the turnovers. Daniels has thrown nine picks on the year many of them coming in the fourth quarter and he has not been making enough plays to cover his mistakes.
21 Cincinnati (5-1)
• The Bearcats are perfect no more after falling to the Rockets on the road. While Legaux accounted for two Cincinnati touchdowns, he also threw two costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. This is only Leguax’s second multi-interception game of the year.
• While the Bearcat defense was able to keep the Toledo offense out of the end zone, they did allow five offensive drives to end in field goals.
• A matchup against Louisville next week will crucial if the Bearcats hope to stay in the race for the Big East crown.
Next Game: vs. Louisville Oct. 26
• The Huskies offense continued with its struggles, mustering just 10 points and turning the ball over twice against a Syracuse team that is ranked only 46th in scoring defense.
• The UConn ground game continues to be an issue as running back Lyle McCombs rushed for just 16 yards on 12 carries and the team put up -6 yards rushing total.
Next Game: vs. South Florida Nov. 3
16 Louisville (7-0)
• Teddy Bridgewater hit Eli Rodgers for the score with only 1:35 in the game to help the Cardinals survive the Bulls and give Louisville its second consecutive conference win of the season.
• Bridgewater had one of his best games of the year, going for 21 of 25 for 256 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner. He also lead the Cardinals in rushing with 74 yards. Bridgewater now has four games this season with a completion percentage of 76 or higher.
Next Game: vs. Cincinnati Oct. 26
• The Panthers got the ugly win against one-win Buffalo thanks to a zero turnover effort by the offense and snapped Pitt’s second two-game losing streak this year.
• Quarterback Tino Sunseri’s 128 passing yards were his lowest of this season, but it was rushing touchdowns by running backs Ray Graham and Rushel Shell that gave the Panthers the win.
Next Game: vs. Temple Oct. 27
15 Rutgers (7-0)
• The Scarlet Knights found themselves in an unfamiliar position, down early to the Owls before storming back thanks to the strong right arm of quarterback Gary Nova who threw four touchdowns as part of Rutgers 35 unanswered points.
• The defense continues to impress week-in and week-out, forcing three turnovers and shutting out the Owls in the the second half.
Next Game: vs. Kent State Oct. 27
South Florida (2-5)
• The Bulls rallied from a 21-10 deficit in the third quarter to take a four-point lead with only minutes remaining before falling to Bridgewater’s late score.
• USF changed philosophies in this game, relying on a ground game that churned out 197 yards, 110 from running back Lindsey Lamar. Quarterback B. J. Daniels had an efficient day, throwing for 189 yards and tossing three touchdowns. He only threw one interception but that was on a desperation pass that ended the game.
• The Bulls will need a balanced offense next week as they will very likely get in a track meet with the Orange.
Next Game: vs. Syracuse Oct. 27
• The Orange notched their second conference win with one of their more complete performances of the year against the Huskies. The offense operated smoothly with Nassib throwing for 251 yards and two touchdowns, one to Alec Lemon who accounted for 166 yards while Jerome Smith totaled 133 yards rushing.
• After starting the year 1-3, Syracuse is now only one game away from being .500 and three games away from bowl eligibility. Their 40 points is the most the Orange has scored this season in a win.
Next Game: vs. South Florida Oct. 27
• The Owls jumped out to a 10-point lead against 15th-ranked Rutgers but could not sustain their momentum. After a Brandon McManus field goal in the second quarter, Temple was outscored 35-0.
• The loss was Owl’s first conference defeat and was held below 200 total yards for the first time all season.
Next Game: vs. Pittsburgh Oct. 27
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