|Oregon running back Byron Marshall came up big on Saturday, while Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard injured his knee.|
Each Monday during the college football season, NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah identifies five things that are chugging along smoothly and five things that are off the rails.
1. Oregon RB Byron Marshall: The Ducks' rushing attack was too much for the Bruins, as No. 2 Oregon (as ranked in the AP poll) cruised to a 42-14 win over No. 12 UCLA. Marshall, a sophomore, led the ground attack, racking up 133 yards on 19 carries. He averaged seven yards per carry and also tallied three touchdowns. He showed off his top speed with an explosive 40-yard touchdown run early in the game, and he would later display his power by lowering his shoulder and pounding out a tough 3-yard score. Marshall has run for over 100 yards in six of the Ducks' eight games.
2. South Carolina QB Connor Shaw: Shaw came off the bench in the second half and led No. 20 South Carolina to a double-overtime, 27-24 win over No. 5 Missouri. Shaw didn't start the game because of a sprained left knee, but he was called upon in the second half, with the Gamecocks trailing 17-0. He calmly threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns (including a 4th-and-15 TD pass to force a second overtime) as the Gamecocks kept their SEC title hopes alive. Shaw doesn't have ideal size or arm strength, but his toughness, decision-making and mobility continue to impress on a weekly basis.
3. Oklahoma WR Jalen Saunders: Saunders' big day helped No. 17 Oklahoma knock off No. 10 Texas Tech, 38-30. The diminutive senior wideout caught six balls for 153 yards and two scores. With his team trailing 7-0, Saunders caught a 15-yard pass to tie the game in the second quarter. On the first play of the Sooners' next possession, he corralled a deep post and raced to the endzone for a 76-yard score to put his team up 14-7. This was the first 100-yard game for Saunders this season and it couldn't have come at a better time.
4. Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller: Virginia Tech lost 13-10 to an unranked Duke squad despite a dominant performance by the Hokies' defense. It limited Duke's offense to 198 total yards and didn't allow a single third-down conversion (0-11). Fuller, a freshman, picked off three passes, bringing his season total to five. He is a tall (6-foot), rangy cornerback, and he is only going to get better as he continues to get stronger.
5. USC defense: Due to scholarship limitations and several key injuries, the Trojans entered their game against Utah with a razor-thin roster. Fortunately for USC, its defense stepped up and dominated the game, leading the Trojans to a 19-3 win over the Utes. The Trojans consistently dominated the line of scrimmage, collecting six sacks, nine tackles for loss and forcing four turnovers. Several key plays were made by true freshmen, including interceptions by safeties Su'a Cravens and Leon McQuay. Sophomore defensive tackle Leonard Williams showed once again why he is one of the top defenders in the country, collecting 8 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
1. San Diego State K Seamus McMorrow: I don't know how many college football fans stayed up to watch the San Diego State-Fresno State game, but those that did weren't disappointed. In a back-and-forth battle, the Aztecs had a golden opportunity to knock off the No. 15-ranked Bulldogs. McMorrow lined up for a 37-yard field goal with less than five seconds to play, with the game tied. Unfortunately, he kicked a low liner and it was blocked by Fresno State tight end Marcel Jensen. It was the second failed attempt of the night (he missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt earlier) for the sophomore kicker. The Bulldogs would pull out the win in overtime, 35-28, to keep their BCS Bowl hopes alive.
2. Missouri K Andrew Baggett: Sticking with the kicker theme, Missouri's Baggett also played an unfortunate role in a crushing defeat. The Tigers' sophomore kicker drilled the left upright on a 24-yard field-goal attempt in the second overtime against South Carolina. That missed chip shot ended the game and the Tigers' perfect season (7-1). Coming into this contest, Baggett had made eight straight field-goal attempts, including a 5-for-5 showing against Florida in the previous game.
3. Boise State defense: Over the last decade, Boise State has played very disciplined defense and produced several NFL draft picks on that side of the ball. Things haven't gone quite as smoothly for the defense during the 2013 campaign. The Broncos gave up 38 and 41 points in earlier losses against Washington and Fresno State and they had another rough outing against BYU on Saturday night. BYU put up 37 points and 568 total yards. Quarterback Taysom Hill threw for 339 yards and three scores. Last season, Boise State's defense didn't allow a single opponent to score 30 points.
4. TCU QB Casey Pachall: It has been a frustrating season for Pachall and the TCU program. Texas handed the Horned Frogs their fifth loss (30-7) of the season and this game wasn't very close. Pachall had a rough night in his return to game action (he hadn't seen any game action since breaking his left arm in the second game of the season). He didn't start this game, but he took over the reins late in the first quarter and he played the rest of the way. He completed just 13 of his 34 passes for 139 yards and threw one interception. He has yet to throw a touchdown this season.
5. Oklahoma FB Trey Millard (injury): Oklahoma had plenty to celebrate following its win over Texas Tech, but it wasn't all good news for the Sooners. Senior fullback Trey Millard was lost for the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Millard doesn't have eye-popping stats (97 rushing yards, two total touchdowns), but he's a very good blocker and is a reliable outlet receiver (11 catches for 78 yards). The senior captain's leadership will also be missed, as the Sooners pursue a conference championship.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.