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October 1, 2006

Top Performers: A good week for receivers

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It was a good week to be a wide receiver. And as usual, it was a good week to be Garrett Wolfe or Ray Rice.

The record books of two storied programs were changed thanks to wideouts. Deon Butler set a Penn State single-game record with 216 yards, and Purdue's Selwyn Lymon had the best receiving day for a Notre Dame opponent with 238 yards.

But neither of their contributions was as big as Steve Smith's. The senior stepped up in the absence of star wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett and saved USC from a scare at Washington State.

But if it's record-breaking you like, keep your eye on DeKalb, Ill. With 353 yards Saturday, Wolfe is on pace to break Barry Sanders' single-season rushing record by about 200 yards. Meanwhile, Rutgers' Rice is on a streak the Scarlet Knights have not seen in more than 30 years.

Still, receivers ruled the day with five making the list of Top Performers of Week 5:

Rivals.com Week 5 Top Performers
1. Steve Smith, USC wide receiver
The numbers
: 11 receptions, 186 yards, two TDs
The result
: USC 28, Washington State 22
Between Dwayne Jarrett and USC's stable of young receivers like Patrick Turner, it could be easy to lose Smith in the shuffle. Not this week. With Jarrett out, Smith took over in a big way. Washington State threatened to end USC's 24-game win streak in the Pac-10, but Smith responded and scored both of his touchdowns in the second half.
2. Ray Rice, Rutgers running back
The numbers
: 35 carries, 202 yards, two TDs
The result
: Rutgers 22, South Florida 20
Rice made sure Rutgers' time in the top 25 wasn't short-lived. On Friday night, Rice tied a 33-year-old school record with his seventh consecutive game of more than 100 rushing yards, and he did it with his second 200-yard game of the season. At the start of the season, Rutgers touted fullback Brian Leonard as its Heisman candidate. Now, there's no doubt Rice is the star of the backfield.
3. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech wide receiver
The numbers
: Six receptions, 115 yards, two TDs
The result
: Georgia Tech 38, Virginia Tech 27
Johnson showed little sign of the thigh bruise that has hobbled him the last two weeks. The junior buried Virginia Tech early with touchdown catches of 3 and 53 yards in the first quarter. He and Jon Tenuta's defense are making the Yellow Jackets the team to beat in the ACC Coastal Division.
4. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech quarterback
The numbers
: 32 of 45 passing, 391 yards, four TDs
The result
: Texas Tech 31, Texas A&M 28
Texas Tech quarterbacks are something of a novelty act, but not this week. Harrell completed 71.1 percent of his passes and stunned the College Station crowd with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Robert Johnson with 26 seconds left. The win was only Texas Tech's third in 11 trips to Kyle Field.
5. Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois running back
The numbers
: 31 carries, 353 yards, three TDs
The result
: Northern Illinois 40, Ball State 28
Just when you thought Wolfe could do any better, he pulled out a game like this. He became the country's first 1,000-yard rusher with a career-high 353 yards against Ball State. He had touchdown runs of 48, 51 and 53 yards. Wolfe is on pace for 2,834 yards this season. Barry Sanders' single-season record is 2,628 yards.
6. Deon Butler, Penn State wide receiver
The numbers
: 11 receptions, 216 yards
The result
: Penn State 33, Northwestern 7
7. Brian Hampton, Navy quarterback
The numbers
: 5 of 11 passing, 142 yards, TD; 27 carries, 182 yards, three TDs
The result
: Navy 41, Connecticut 17
8. Jaison Williams, Oregon wide receiver
The numbers
: 10 receptions, 137 yards, two TDs
The result
: Oregon 48, Arizona State 13
9. Selwyn Lymon, Purdue wide receiver
The numbers
: Eight receptions, 238 yards, two TDs
The result
: Notre Dame 35, Purdue 21
10. JaMarcus Russell, LSU quarterback
The numbers
: 18 of 20 passing, 327 yards, three TDs
The result
: LSU 48, Mississippi State 17
Week 5 Goats
1. John L. Smith.
The Michigan State coach did little to ease any pressure, losing to Illinois 23-20. The Illini had lost 10 consecutive Big Ten games, and Ron Zook's team spoiled Homecoming weekend for the Spartans. Booed frequently, Michigan State trailed 20-10 going into the fourth quarter before a 10-point rally.
2. Illinois.
After beating Michigan State on a field goal with 6 seconds left, Illinois players tried to plant their flag at midfield, causing a tussle with the Spartans. Sure, it was Illinois' first conference win since 2004, but act like you've been here before. Ask the Spartans about what has happened since they last planted a flag on someone's home turf.
3. West Coast quarterbacks.
Both Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter and Utah's Brett Ratliff have found it nearly impossible to repeat the success they had at the end of last season. Against Oregon, Carpenter was 6 of 19 for 33 yards and an interception. He failed to throw a pass longer than 9 yards. Ratliff was worse, going 5 of 21 for 30 yards with three interceptions against Boise State.
4. Iowa State.
The largest crowd in school history watched as the Cyclones nearly became the second Big 12 team to lose to a Division I-AA opponent. Iowa State trailed Northern Iowa 21-7 at halftime and 27-21 in the fourth quarter before pulling out a 28-27 win. In these games, the first-stringers should be on the bench in the fourth quarter, not engineering last-minute comebacks.
5. Arizona's offense.
The Wildcats are an anomaly in the Pac-10 with their inability to find the end zone. After the loss to Washington, Arizona has only two TDs against Division I-A opponents. The Wildcats' bowl hopes will quickly dwindle if the can't find a way to score.

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