Top Players From Week 10, Must-See Games For Week 11

November 7, 2019 by Rich Cirminiello,

Maxwell Award Candidate Highlights
(For week ending November 2)

RB AJ Dillon, Boston College - Last Tuesday, Dillon was named a Maxwell Award semifinalist. On Saturday, he showed why. Dillon trucked the Syracuse defense at the Carrier Dome, en route to a 58-27 demolition. The BC battering ram keyed the rout with 242 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries, as the Eagles moved a game above .500 and tallied a school-record 691 yards of total offense.

QB Mason Fine, North Texas - From the opening drive, it was clear UTEP had no answers for stopping Fine. The record-setting Mean Green senior started fast and never let up in Denton, throwing for 332 yards and seven touchdowns on 24-of-39 passing. And as an exclamation point, Fine gave a late nod to Halloween by wearing a T-Rex costume at the post-game press conference.

WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis - It was a memorable weekend in Memphis, capped by a memorable victory. Enjoying a rare national stage, the Tigers handed No. 15 SMU its first loss of the season in a thriller, 54-48. And no one shined brighter than Gibson, who accounted for a school-record 386 yards while becoming the first player in over a decade to score on a run, a reception and a return versus a ranked opponent.

QB Justin Herbert, Oregon - After back-to-back emotional wins over Washington and Washington State, the Ducks were in store for a letdown at the Coliseum, right? Uh-uh. Herbert wouldn't permit it. After a slow start, Oregon obliterated USC, 56-24. Herbert was on point all night, finishing 21-of-26 for 225 yards, a pick, a scoring run and three touchdown passes to Penn State transfer WR Juwan Johnson.

RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State - It's been an up-and-down season for the Bulldogs, as evidenced by their 4-5 mark. But Hill has pretty much been a sure thing, week-in and week-out. He almost single-handedly kept his team in the hunt for a postseason game Saturday in Fayetteville, exploding for a career-best 234 yards and three TDs on only 21 carries in a 54-24 victory.

RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State - Hubbard is running away with the 2019 FBS rushing title... just like he ran away from the TCU defense Saturday in Stillwater. With a second straight quality win, the Cowboys are bowl-eligible and looking to build a tailwind to take into December. Hubbard carried the ball 20 times for 223 yards-his fourth 200-yard game this season-and two touchdowns, highlighted by a 92-yard jaunt.

QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest - Welcome back, Jamie. After missing time with a shoulder injury, Newman returned to action to the dismay of the NC State defense. And the 6-4, 230-pound junior did not skip a beat. Newman accounted for five scores, two on the ground and three through the air, while throwing for 287 yards as the one-loss Demon Deacons hammered the Wolfpack, 44-10.

QB Bryce Perkins, Virginia - If this is the offense the Cavaliers are going to roll out the rest of the regular season, no one is catching them in the ACC Coastal. The Cavaliers seized control of the division Saturday night in Chapel Hill behind a rare offensive eruption. Perkins lit the fuse with five total TDs and a school-record 490 total yards, while connecting on 30-of-39 passes for 378 yards, three touchdowns and no picks.

Bednarik Award Candidate Highlights
(For week ending November 2)

LB Krys Barnes, UCLA - Now that the defense is chipping in, these surging Bruins are going to be a dangerous team for the rest of the Pac-12 South. UCLA has battled back from an 0-3 start to win three straight, thanks in large part to Chip Kelly's offense. But the D was also a key factor against Colorado Saturday, with Barnes excelling in coverage and making seven tackles, 1.5 stops for loss and an interception.

LB Dele Harding, Illinois - The Illini are just one win away from their first bowl game of the Lovie Smith era. Harding has had a key role in the team's unexpected success this fall. The top-rated linebacker of Week 10, according to Pro Football Focus, he collected a game-high 12 tackles, two stops for loss, a forced fumble and a 54-yard pick-six to cap the scoring versus Rutgers.

DE LaQuan Johnson, Central Michigan - The Chippewas have a building block in Johnson, a 6-3, 272-pound redshirt freshman from Flint, Mich. He's been one of the upstarts for first-year head coach Jim McElwain, who inherited a one-win team that became bowl-eligible in Week 10. In Saturday's 48-10 win over Northern Illinois, each of Johnson's three tackles were for minus yards, including two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.

DE Uriah Leiataua, BYU - All of a sudden, BYU is a very dangerous team, upsetting Boise State and Utah State in consecutive weeks. In Logan this past weekend, the Cougars mauled the Aggies, 42-14. And while it didn't quite show up in the box score, Leiataua hurried QB Jordan Love all night long. The junior earned Pro Football Focus' second highest Week 10 pass rush grade among all FBS edge rushers.

OLB Hamilcar Rashed, Oregon State - At 4-4, the Beavers are one of the sneaky-good Pac-12 stories of 2019. And while the offense has fueled three upsets in the last four games, the D is making plays too. Rashed, in particular. The Phoenix native, who attacks the backfield like a guided missile, now leads the country in tackles for loss after registering his second straight three-sack game in Saturday's win at Arizona.

DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami - We don't often celebrate a defender here in back-to-back weeks. But when you get to the quarterback seven times over a two-game span, you're gonna earn a ton of ink. Rousseau wanted to play for Florida State, but never got an offer coming out of high school. So, he showed the Noles what they missed on Saturday, making eight tackles, five stops for loss and four sacks of the battered FSU quarterbacks.

NT Darius Stills, West Virginia - With a little more from its offense, West Virginia would have handed Baylor its first loss of 2019 Thursday night in Waco. The 'neers D sure was good enough to deliver the shocker, holding the Bears to their lowest scoring output of the year. Stills was beastly from the interior, racking up 10 tackles and three of his team's eight sacks in a closer-than-expected 17-14 defeat.

CB Bryce Thompson, Tennessee - UAB arrived in Knoxville with the nationally ranked defense - and visions of a program-defining upset of an SEC opponent. But it was the Vols D that led the way. Thompson, to be specific. The talented sophomore, who earned Pro Football Focus' top grade for a Week 10 cornerback, tied a single-game school record by picking off three Tyler Johnston passes.

Must-See Week 11 Games

Penn State (8-0) at Minnesota (8-0) - Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC) - As undercards to the Week 11 showdown in Tuscaloosa go, this will be a riveting one in Minnesota. Penn State at Minnesota is one of two games this weekend between undefeated programs. The last time the Gophers were 8-0, the United States was still weeks away from entering World War II. But Minnesota has yet to face a ranked opponent, so there's a ton to prove in front of what will be an electric home crowd. Meanwhile, the Lions are tested, having just survived a three-game gauntlet of Michigan and road trips to Iowa City and East Lansing.

LSU (8-0) at Alabama (8-0) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) - It doesn't get any bigger than this in the regular season. How could it? No. 1 vs. No. 2, with a ton of storylines every time these rivals meet. Is this the year LSU snaps Alabama's eight-game winning streak in the series? Is Tua healthy? Can Joe Burrow beat a Bama D that's yielded an average of nine points over the last eight meetings? Is this where the 2019 Maxwell Award will be won? This game has... well, everything, including obvious SEC title and College Football Playoff implications.

Iowa (6-2) at Wisconsin (6-2) - Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (FOX) - The Hawkeyes and the Badgers meet for the 95th time, with the Heartland Trophy at stake... and more. The winner remains within range of frontrunning Minnesota, while the loser is all but eliminated from Big Ten West contention. Wisconsin has won three straight in the series, but will need to rebound from back-to-back losses to Illinois and Ohio State. Iowa, on the other hand, has won two straight following its own consecutive losses. Both defenses ranked among the top 10 nationally so points will come at a premium.

Iowa State (5-3) at Oklahoma (7-1) - Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET (FOX) - So, after being shocked by Kansas State in Week 10, how will Oklahoma answer? The Sooners were on a wicked roll before getting to Manhattan, but their 48-41 loss changed the tenor of the season. While Oklahoma remains the Big 12 favorite, they'll need to run the table and possibly get help to make another playoff appearance. Iowa State and Matt Campbell always seem to give the Sooners trouble, pulling a shocker in Norman two years ago. With two conference losses already, the Cyclones will need another upset here to stay in the Big 12 title chase.

Note:'s Dave Congrove is a member of the Maxwell Football Cub and a voter for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards.