Quarterback: Josh Rosen, UCLA
While there were many great performances by quarterbacks in college football’s opening weekend, nobody’s performance can compare to the show UCLA’s Josh Rosen put on Sunday night. Rosen led the Bruins to one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory, as he orchestrated an epic second half performance.
The Bruins were down 44-10, but overcame a 34 point deficit that was capped off Rosen’s fourth touchdown pass of the game with less than a minute left to play. The Bruins emerged victorious and opened the season with an amazing comeback win behind Rosen’s 491 passing yards and four passing touchdowns.
Running Back: Royce Freeman, Oregon
This selection may be surprising to some, but Royce Freeman genuinely impressed in the Ducks’ big win over Southern Utah. Oregon scored a whopping 77 points in their victory, and Freeman’s strong performance had a key role in the Ducks’ victory. Freeman ran for 150 yards on the ground and made his way to the endzone four times. Keep an eye on Freeman this season, as he is certainly a player college football fans will want to see, and look for him to continue torching opposing defenses all season long.
Wide Receiver: Jaleel Scott, New Mexico State
New Mexico State’s Jaleel Scott put on his best Odell Beckham Jr. impression Thursday night with his highlight reel touchdown catch that made its way all over social media. The rest of Jaleel Scott’s performance was just as spectacular as that one touchdown catch, though. Scott finished the night with 149 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. While New Mexico State was unable to finish the game with a victory, Scott’s play helped keep them competitive and made them fun to watch.
Wide Receiver: Gary Jennings, West Virginia
Gary Jennings emerged Sunday night as the favorite target of new West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, and it is easy to see why. Jennings caught practically every pass thrown his way and helped keep the Mountaineers competitive in a very close match-up with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Jennings finished the game with 189 receiving yards and a touchdown. While the Mountaineers were unable to come away with a victory, they were able to keep the game close, thanks to Jennings’ stellar play.
Tight End: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Talented tight ends are hard to come by, and tight ends who are also deep threats are even harder to find. Luckily, the Wisconsin Badgers have a tight end who fits that description. Troy Fumagalli is a beast, and was a key member of the Badgers’ offense in their 59-10 win over Utah State. Fumagalli led the team in receiving with a standout 105 yards and one touchdown performance. On top of that, Fumagalli averaged over 20 yards per catch, quite the feat for any receiver, but especially for a tight end.
Offensive Line: Oregon Ducks
Oregon’s offensive line was the backbone of their monstrous 77-21 win over Southern Utah. Behind this stellar group, the Ducks’ offense was able to put up 355 passing yards, 348 rushing yards, one passing touchdown, and nine rushing touchdowns. It is safe to say that the Ducks’ explosive offense would not have been able to put on such a performance without the strong play of this talented group.
Defensive Tackle: Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, UCLA
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner put on a very strong performance for the UCLA Bruins on Sunday night. Tuioti-Mariner finished the game with five tackles and one and a half quarterback sacks. He played a big role on the Bruins’ defense and was key to limiting the Texas A&M Aggies to scoring just six points in the second half. Without Tuioti-Mariner’s clutch performance, UCLA’s comeback would not have been possible.
Defensive End: Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State
Tyquan Lewis was a big part of the Buckeyes’ defense in their 49-21 opening win over the Indiana Hoosiers. Lewis had a great day, finishing the game with three tackles and two quarterback sacks. He anchored a stellar defensive line that always manages to find a way to the opposing quarterback. Look for Lewis to take down opposing quarterbacks many times this season.
Linebacker: Josey Jewell, Iowa
Josey Jewell absolutely put on a show in the Hawkeyes’ 24-3 win over Wyoming. Wyoming’s star quarterback Josh Allen was simply no match for Jewell and the talented Iowa defense. Jewell had quite a performance as he had 14 tackles, two sacks, two and a half tackles for loss, and one pass defensed. Jewell is the anchor of Iowa’s defense and will be a nightmare for opposing offenses.
Cornerback: Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Denzel Ward picked up exactly where Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore left off for the Buckeyes. Ward was absolutely lights-out on Thursday night, as he had four tackles, five passes defensed, and one interception in the Buckeyes’ opening win over Indiana. College football fans should keep an eye on Ward this season as he shuts down all of the FBS’ top receivers.
Safety: Jalen Thompson, Washington State
Washington State’s defense played incredibly in their 31-0 shutout win over the Montana State Bobcats. Anchoring the Cougars’ defense was safety Jalen Thompson. Thompson put on quite the performance, finishing the game with seven tackles and an interception. Without Thompson’s strong outing, the Cougars’ shutout victory may not have been possible.
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