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.
Oklahoma – Dede Westbrook (wide receiver)
There hasn’t been much to celebrate for Sooner fans so far in 2016. But a Red River Rivalry win over Texas surely makes up for a slow start.
Oklahoma reclaimed the Golden Hat in a high-scoring, turnover-laden 45-40 win Saturday in Dallas. At the center of attention was Baker Mayfield’s favorite target in redshirt senior receiver Dede Westbrook.
The speedy Westbrook finished the day with a program-record 232 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Each score went for at least 40 yards and all three had a major impact in the game.
Westbrook’s first touchdown catch came in the second quarter with the Sooners down 10-7 and really struggling to find their way on offense against a tough Longhorns defense. But on a second down play, Oklahoma’s line gave Mayfield plenty of time in the pocket and he delivered a strike down the middle of the field to the streaking Westbrook, who was a good five yards ahead of the defensive back.
That grab gave the Sooners their second lead of the game in what would be back-and-forth action for the rest of the game.
Westbrook then added a 42-yard score early in the third to tie the game at 20-20 and a 47-yard score later in the quarter to give the Sooners an eight-point lead heading into the final frame. That was all the insurance Oklahoma needed, as Texas would not regain the lead.
Many Sooners and Longhorns have made their names in the Red River Showdown over the rivalry’s century of play. Westbrook is the latest to leave his mark.
North Carolina State – Dexter Wright (safety)
North Carolina wasn’t an ideal place to be as a football spectator this weekend, as the effects of Hurricane Matthew made for a downpour of rain and sloppy conditions for a number of Saturday’s matchups.
And at Wayne Day Family Field in Raleigh for a noon kickoff between NC State and Notre Dame, these conditions were wildly apparent all day.
Neither team was able to gain its footing on offense in a 10-3 Wolfpack victory as both teams were limited to less than 200 yards on the day. So – as expected in the windy, rainy spectacle – the game came down to special teams.
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NC State safety Dexter Wright scored the lone touchdown of the game off of a blocked punt that he picked up and returned 16 yards the other way to give the Wolfpack the 10-3 edge with 12:43 left in regulation.
The Wolfpack then relied on the legs of Matthew Dayes (23 carries, 126 yards) to run the clock out while DeShone Kizer (9-of-26 for 54 yards) and the Notre Dame offense had no answer in the passing game.
It was a sloppy game all around, but Wright’s impact play was the difference in elevating the Wolfpack to 4-1 to start the year.
Washington – Jake Browning (quarterback)
If there was any thought of a Washington letdown following its destruction of Stanford in a 44-6 rout last weekend, the Huskies quickly put that thought to rest in Week 6.
No. 5 Washington outscored Oregon 21-0 in Saturday’s first quarter en route to another 70-21 runaway win. The star of the night was quarterback Jake Browning, who became the third player this year to rack up eight touchdowns in a single game – of course, Lamar Jackson accomplished the feat in only one half in Week 1, but outstanding nonetheless.
Browning’s final line was a 22-of-28 performance for 304 yards, six passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. The sophomore now has a nation-best 23 passing scores to go along with just two interceptions.
Browning accounted for four of Washington’s five first half touchdowns and the Huskies opened up a 35-7 lead at the half. Washington finished the game with 682 yards on 73 plays against a mediocre Ducks defense.
Now halfway through the season, the Huskies have proved that they are undoubtedly at the top of the class of an underperforming Pac-12. Washington has now defeated the past two conference champions and, barring an upset loss in the tailend of their schedule, the Huskies should be in line for a Playoff spot.
In only his second year, Browning has been the leader of this upstart group.
2016 helmet sticker leaders: Louisville (2), Washington (2), Arizona State (1), Arkansas (1), Clemson (1), Florida State (1), Georgia (1), Houston (1), Michigan (1), North Carolina (1), North Carolina State (1), Ohio State (1), Oklahoma (1), Stanford (1), Tennessee (1), Texas A&M (1)
(Photos courtesy of Joe Camporeale, Jeremy Brevard and Mike Dinovo | USA Today Sports Images)