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.
Washington – Psalm Wooching (linebacker), rest of defensive front seven
Washington came into 2016 with the most hype surrounding the program in the last couple of decades. And on the same night the Huskies honored its 1991 co-national champion team, they justified these raised expectations in a big way.
Then-No. 10 Washington dismantled then-No. 7 Stanford 44-6 on Friday night to make a statement in the Pac-12 North and rise all the way to No. 5 in the new AP Top 25.
Jake Browning once again proved he’s the undisputed leader under center for the Huskies, throwing three touchdowns on 15-of-21 passing, and Myles Gaskin added a 100-yard game on the ground. But the grandest performance came on the other side of the ball in the trenches.
Washington’s defense racked up eight sacks, two forced fumbles and held Stanford to a 2-of-12 conversion rate on third down. Senior Psalm Wooching led the charge with three of those sacks and one forced fumble at outside linebacker.
Stanford quarterbacks Ryan Burns and Kellen Chryst were under pressure all night and Washington quickly buried Stanford in a deep 23-0 hole by the halftime whistle.
The Huskies’ greatest feat may have been their performance against Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey. The triple threat running back/receiver/returner was limited to just 79 offensive yards and was held out of the end zone for the second straight week.
Washington proved its legitimacy as a title contender in Friday’s blowout, and there are very few teams out there that boast better balance on both sides.
North Carolina – Ryan Switzer (wide receiver)
This honor really goes out to Switzer for his tremendous workload over the past two weeks as a key contributor to a pair of big-time Tar Heel wins.
The dynamic receiver has tallied 30 receptions — yes, 30 — in his past two outings, including 14 for 159 yards this past Saturday to help lift UNC to a 37-35 upset over No. 12 Florida State. Six of those catches came on third-down situations to move the chains.
That performance came one week after the senior hauled in a tie for the school-record 16 catches and a touchdown against Pittsburgh, where teammate Bug Howard caught the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Switzer has been a key cog in North Carolina’s imposing offense that boasts the 12th best passing game in the nation. Switzer has nearly 30 more catches than any other Tar Heel this season (47) and is also always a threat to score on special teams.
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With North Carolina’s victory over the Seminoles, it moved back into the top 25 at No. 17.
Truth be told, there were multiple Tar Heels worthy of one of this week’s stickers like quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who continued his impressive 2016 campaign with 405 yards and three touchdowns, or kicker Nick Weiler, who drilled the game-winning 54-yard field goal.
But Switzer gets the nod this week.
Tennessee – Joshua Dobbs (quarterback)
The Vols can’t keep pulling off double-digit deficit come-from-behind wins every week, can they?
Well, at least for another week, they did.
Tennessee fell behind 17-0 early on to Georgia before storming back for its fourth comeback win through five games. Once again, it was quarterback Joshua Dobbs leading the surge and capping off the 34-31 win with the undisputed play of the week.
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Minutes after Tennessee took its first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, Georgia responded with a 47-yard strike to retake the lead with 10 seconds left to play.
The Vols then lined up at midfield, a couple of Bulldogs penalties later, for one final play and Dobbs heaved up a 43-yard prayer that somehow fell in Juaun Jennings’ hands for the time-expiring, game-winning Hail Mary touchdown.
It was an exciting endnote to a fantastic game by Dobbs, who finished 16-of-26 for 230 passing yards and four total touchdowns.
2016 helmet sticker leaders: Louisville (2), Arizona State (1), Arkansas (1), Clemson (1), Florida State (1), Georgia (1), Houston (1), Michigan (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio State (1), Stanford (1), Tennessee (1), Texas A&M (1), Washington (1)
(Photo credits: Mike Dinovo, Jeremy Brevard and Randy Sartin | USA Today Sports)