There are lot of unique features to like about college football uniforms. There’s the classic get-ups from schools like Notre Dame and Alabama, and the stylish, ever-changing equipment put out by programs like Oregon.
But one minute detail that often gets overlooked nowadays are the helmet decals featured by teams like Ohio State and Florida State. It uses a reward system to honor players who have special performances or made impact plays with a sticker to put on one’s helmet. The more plays you make, the more stickers you accumulate.
This season, NCAA.com will install the same system. Every Sunday we will choose three standout players from the weekend to earn “stickers” for their team. Let’s see who has the most decorated helmet at the end of the season.
Florida State – Dalvin Cook (running back)
Dalvin Cook, like many preseason Heisman favorites, entered Saturday’s game still looking for a signature moment in 2016. Sure, he’s put up standout numbers as expected in both the running and receiving game, but the first three weeks were void of any dynamic home run plays by Cook.
Seminoles fans no longer have to wait for that burst as Cook’s breakout performance led Florida State to a 55-35 rebound victory over South Florida.
Coming off a debilitating loss to Louisville last week, where Cook was held to 62 total yards on offense, many had the Seminoles on upset alert again against a high-scoring Bulls team. When USF jumped out to a 7-0 lead less than 30 seconds into play, the pressure was on.
Cook quickly dispelled any notion of a second straight loss, however, racing for a 75-yard touchdown on the very next play from scrimmage. It was one of four FSU touchdowns in the opening 15 minutes as the Seminoles built a 38-14 lead by the end of the half.
Cook accounted for 267 yards and two touchdown runs on 28 carries. The versatile back chipped in a team-leading four catches and 62 receiving yards out of the backfield to add to his impressive performance.
Saturday’s win was Cook’s second-straight 200-yard outing against the Bulls (he had 266 in last year’s matchup) and it marked the first time he even reached the century mark on the ground this season.
Florida State needed a spark after last week’s letdown against the Cardinals. Cook’s career day fit that mold.
Stanford – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (wide receiver)
Stanford was in certain danger of becoming the latest top 10 team to go down this year when it took possession of the ball Saturday night with 2:05 left on the clock and no timeouts while trailing Pac-12 rival UCLA 13-9.
But a sophomore receiver who came into the game with zero career catches changed the Cardinal’s fortunes with a game-winning touchdown grab to keep Stanford’s early-season Playoff hopes well-alive.
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After quarterback Ryan Burns engineered the two-minute drill drive all the way down to UCLA’s eight-yard line, the untested receiver was on the other end of Burns’ perfectly-placed fade pass in the end zone with 24 seconds left.
Arcega-Whiteside jostled for position with Bruins defensive back Nate Meadors before winning the jump ball and landing with one foot inbounds. The touchdown was the deciding score as Stanford rallied to win 22-13 (a Stanford fumble recovery for a touchdown on UCLA’s last-ditch next drive put the finishing touches on the comeback).
Arcega-Whiteside hauled in his first three catches for 29 yards and the crucial touchdown Saturday. Two of those receptions came on the final game-winning drive.
Texas A&M – Trevor Knight (quarterback)
Remember when Trevor Knight was under center for the Oklahoma Sooners? That was before Baker Mayfield stepped in as a Heisman candidate and led Oklahoma to last year’s College Football Playoff.
Well, now the disappointing Sooners sit unranked at 1-2 while Knight is the toast of College Station after leading the Aggies to a 4-0 start and the No. 9 position in the latest AP Top 25.
Well, that was unexpected.
The Aggies took care of Arkansas in an in-conference ranked matchup under the lights at AT&T Stadium 45-24 after outscoring the Razorbacks 28-7 in the second half.
Texas A&M relied on big plays from its offense to get by Arkansas, and Knight was right in the heart of it with both his arm and his feet.
The mobile Knight had two rushing touchdowns of 42 and 48 yards respectively in the second quarter and added a 92-yard strike through the air to Josh Reynolds in the third to cap off his tremendous day.
Knight finished 12-of-22 passing for 225 yards with 157 rushing yards and four total touchdowns.
The Aggies keep rolling and their new man under center has a large part to do with it.
2016 helmet sticker leaders: Louisville (2), Arizona State (1), Arkansas (1), Clemson (1), Florida State (1), Georgia (1), Houston (1), Michigan (1), Ohio State (1), Stanford (1), Texas A&M (1)
(Photo credits: Kirby Lee and Thomas Shea | USA Today Sports)