Crooked passing numbers are the hallmark of Big 12 teams. In that way, West Virginia is starting to fit in again.
After a one-year bowl absence and a rotating cast of injured and ineffective quarterbacks, West Virginia is starting to look like a real Big 12 offense after a one-year absence.
Quarterback Clint Trickett completed 37-of-47 passes for 511 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in a 40-37 win on the road over Maryland, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week.
The win is critical not only for helping to establish West Virginia as a factor in the Big 12 but also for the shaky tenure of third-year coach Dana Holgorsen.
Trickett had the help of two receivers who topped the 10-catch mark in Kevin White (216 yards, one touchdown) and Mario Alford (131 yards, two TDs) and Josh Lambert’s 47-yard field goal as time expired.
“I barely even did anything,” Trickett said. “I’m throwing it two yards and then they take it 90 and make me look good.”
That may be true, but Trickett also told Athlon Sports earlier in the week that he’s finally a complete quarterback for West Virginia. Trickett rose to the starting job last season without firm grasp of the offense, and by the time he was comfortable in the scheme, he was battling a shoulder injury.
“The only healthy guy these guys saw last year was a guy who had no clue what he was doing in the offense,” Trickett said earlier in the week. “Now they see a guy who is healthy and has a good understanding of what’s going on.”
National Defensive Player of the Week: Shaq Thompson, Washington
Washington finally got the lopsided win expected of the Huskies this season after close calls with Hawaii and Eastern Washington. As Shaq Thompson continues to see reps at running back, the linebacker was the focal point on defense with a pair of touchdowns in the first half in a 44-19 win over Illinois. Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a score and a fumble 52 yards in the win.
National Freshman of the Week: Shaun Wilson, Duke
If there’s any concern Duke is more than a one-year wonder in the ACC, Blue Devils freshman Shan Wilson tried to ease it. Wilson entered the game as a freshman at No. 3 on the depth chart and left with a school rushing record. Wilson rushed for 245 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-3 win over Kansas, averaging an astounding 20.4 yards per carry.
National Coordinator of the Week: Lincoln Riley, East Carolina
Riley is already one of the top coaches under 40 and an assistant who will be in demand thanks to East Carolina’s prolific Air Raid in Conference USA last season. This, however, might end up as the breakout game for the 30-year-old.
East Carolina defeated a ranked team for the first time since 2009 and did so against a pass rush and secondary that just demolished Ohio State in Columbus last week. East Carolina passed for 427 yards against Virginia Tech, the third most yards the Hokies have allowed an opposing quarterback.
Conference Players of the Week
ACC: Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy rushed for 190 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in a 37-31 win over USC. Murphy completed 5-of-13 passes for 55 yards with an interception.
Big Ten: Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel and four tackles and three tackles for a loss in a 13-10 win over Rutgers.
Pac-12: UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel was 23-of-30 for 178 yards with two touchdowns in relief of an injured Brett Hundley in a 20-17 win over Texas.
SEC: Arkansas running back Alex Collins rushed for 223 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in a 49-28 win over Texas Tech.
American: East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden completed 23-of-47 passes for 427 yards with three touchdowns in a 28-21 win over Virginia Tech. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Conference USA: Middle Tennessee quarterback Austin Grammer completed 17-of-28 passes for 218 yards with a touchdown in a 50-47 win over Western Kentucky in triple overtime. He also rushed for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
MAC: Bowling Green quarterback James Knapke completed 46-of-73 passes for 385 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in a 45-42 win over Indiana. The former backup also rushed for 37 yards on eight carries.
Mountain West: Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo completed 29-of-39 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-28 loss to Arizona.
Sun Belt: Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle completed 26-of-42 passes for 414 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 48-38 loss to Air Force.
Independents: BYU quarterback Taysom Hill completed 21-of-34 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in a 33-25 win over Houston. He also rushed for 160 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.