September 18, 2011

Lattimore runs away with weekly honors

South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore's reputation as a Heisman candidate and as one of a handful of the nation's top backs preceded him against Navy.

CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
ACC
Duke QB Sean Renfree was 40-of-52 for 359 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-19 upset of Boston College.
BIG EAST
West Virginia QB Geno Smith was 36-of-49 passes for 388 yards and a touchdown in a 37-31 victory at Maryland.
BIG 12
Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills caught seven passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-13 victory at Florida State.
BIG TEN
Iowa QB James Vandenberg was 31-of-48 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns as the Hawkeyes rallied for a 31-27 victory over Pittsburgh.
CONFERENCE USA
Houston QB Case Keenum was 25-of-40 for 351 yards and three touchdowns as Houston rallied from a 34-7 deficit to nip host Louisiana Tech 35-34.
MID-AMERICAN
Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton was 20-of-29 for 285 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-7 rout of Marshall. Tettleton, whose dad, Mickey, is a former major-league catcher, also rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown.
MOUNTAIN WEST
San Diego State TB Ronnie Hillman rushed for 191 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-24 victory over Washington State.
PAC-12
Utah LB Trevor Reilly had five tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in a 54-10 romp over BYU.
SUN BELT
Florida International LB Winston Fraser had 10 tackles, two sacks and a pass breakup in a 17-10 upset of UCF.
WAC
Nevada RB Mike Ball rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns in a 17-14 win over San Jose State.
INDEPENDENTS
Army QB Trent Steelman rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns in a 21-14 upset of Northwestern.
Even then, Ken Niumatalolo was taken aback by Lattimore's performance against his team.

"He was better than advertised," Niumatalolo said.

Lattimore, a sophomore, enhanced his Heisman credentials with a career-high 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 37 carries in a 24-21 win over Navy to earn Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors.

"You try to stay back and have some lane integrity, and if you commit too early, he bounces outside," Niumatalolo said. "He is a very patient runner, but so explosive. He gets hit at the line of scrimmage and drags us for more yards. He is everything he was billed to be."

Lattimore was at his best late in the game. South Carolina beat Navy at its own game of grinding down the opponent with the running game. Lattimore rushed for 57 yards on 14 carries in the fourth quarter, including the 7-yard game-winning touchdown.

"We condition better than any team," Lattimore said. "When it comes to the fourth quarter, as I get more carries, I get stronger."

NATIONAL FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

New offensive coordinator Chad Morris arrived at Clemson with a healthy amount of fanfare. Having a multi-threat receiver such as Watkins can make any coach look like a genius.

Watkins was a five-star recruit and the No. 15 prospect in the class of 2011. He caught 10 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-24 win over Auburn. He added 44 rushing yards on seven carries.

In three games, Watkins has 371 yards from scrimmage and 493 all-purpose yards, good for fourth in the ACC.

NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK
Kraig Paulson, UNLV

After getting torched by Wisconsin and Washington State for a combined 1,109 yards and 110 points in the first two games of the season, UNLV returned home licking its wounds and with pass-happy Hawaii next on the schedule.

But under the direction of Paulson, UNLV's defense rebounded in a big way: It held Hawaii to fewer than 300 yards of offense.

The Warriors amassed 290 yards against UNLV, with all but 6 yards of it through the air. UNLV recovered four fumbles and sacked quarterback Bryant Moniz three times in the 40-20 upset.

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David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.




 

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