Top 10 Freshmen Performances from Week 7 of College Football
Week 7 of the college football season was full of marquee matchups that piqued the interest of fans everywhere. And while the usual key players stepped up and made an impact, there were a plethora of freshmen who rose to the occasion and gave their team a chance to win.
It was another week with the same result for some of college football's youngest players.
Several players fresh out of high school performed well, including an SEC quarterback stepping in after an injury and a Penn State signal-caller who's climbing up the college football ranks.
10. Zack Ryan, LB, Ball State
Ball State needed everything it could get to improve to 6-1 with a win over Kent State. The game came down to the wire, and it was truly a team win by the Cardinals.
One of the players who really took his game to another level was linebacker Zack Ryan. He made plays all over the field and finished the with seven tackles, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. He also stripped running back Dri Archer on the opening possession, which gave Ball State a chance to score first.
Although only a redshirt freshman, Ryan is second on the team with 56 tackles.
9. Maty Mauk, QB, Missouri
James Franklin left the Georgia game with an injured shoulder and may miss the remainder of the season, according to head coach Gary Pinkel. He left the game in the fourth quarter, forcing redshirt freshman Maty Mauk to come in off the bench and help secure one of the biggest wins in Missouri history.
He finished the game 3-of-3 in passing for 23 yards and had three runs for 12 yards. It wasn't anything that was going to blow you away, but Mauk did a great job of not making the key mistake that allowed the Bulldogs to make a comeback.
Mauk managed the game well and even completed a 20-yard pass to Dorial Green-Beckham that helped set up the game-winning touchdown drive.
8. P.J. Walker, QB, Temple
Temple's offense has been one of the worst in the country, which has played a role in why the Owls are down in the dumps with a 0-6 record. But true freshman P.J. Walker did show promise in a losing effort to Cincinnati.
In his first career start, the dual-threat quarterback completed 54.5 percent of his passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 47 yards. Walker still has things to work on, as he displayed happy feet at times and often looked to run when he still had time in the pocket.
However, Temple actually looked like a decent offense with him under center. It's going to be fun to see if Walker can build on this performance.
7. J.J. Green, RB, Georgia
Blame whomever you'd like for Georgia losing to Missouri, but true freshman running back J.J. Green can't be one of your cop-outs.
Green had a solid performance for the second straight week, this time starting the game in place of the injured Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. He ran the ball 12 times for 87 yards, which equals to an average of a little more than seven yards per carry. He also caught five passes for 42 yards.
Green would have been even more effective if Georgia wasn't forced to abandon the run due to a frightening deficit in the second half. It's quite clear that Georgia never runs out of quality running backs.
6. Dakota Cox, LB, Nex Mexico
Dakota Cox is a name college football fans should get to know. He's a true freshman linebacker who plays like his hair is on fire and is usually always in on the tackle.
It was business as usual for the emerging New Mexico defender, as he led the team with nine tackles. At one point, Cox had three tackles within six plays. New Mexico did lose the game 38-31 to Wyoming, but Cox is quickly becoming one of the better players on the roster, as he's currently fourth on the team with 29 tackles.
It was just his third career start for the Lobos, but it certainly won't be his last.
5. DeAngelo Yancey, WR, Purdue
Who said Purdue doesn't have playmakers?
Although the Boilermakers lost to Nebraska 44-7, freshman DeAngelo Yancey led the way with five receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. His receiving total set a new school record for a true freshman.
It looks like the Big Ten has a problem on its hands.
Yancey is a big receiver at 6'2", 200-plus pounds and has solid speed. This was his second consecutive game with more than 100 receiving yards, and he's on the right track to having a fabulous career for Purdue.
4. Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn
Auburn could have beaten Western Carolina with one hand tied behind its back. So, a 62-3 win isn't that impressive, regardless of who was playing quarterback.
However, when was the last time an Auburn signal-caller threw for 201 yards and four touchdowns?
Jeremy Johnson looked wonderful on the field and didn't appear to be a true freshman. He was confident, wasn't afraid to throw the ball downfield and did a nice job of using his legs to buy extra time in the pocket.
Head coach Gus Malzahn has said that Johnson is the future of the program. Well, the future may be now if he can continue to play at this level.
3. Davis Webb, QB, Texas Tech
It seems like any quarterback who takes the field is going to be OK as long as Kliff Kingsbury is calling the shots. True freshman Davis Webb made his first career start in place of an injured Baker Mayfield, and he played well enough to lead the Red Raiders to a 42-35 win over Iowa State.
Webb completed 62.5 percent of his passes, throwing for 415 yards and three touchdowns. His performance was good enough to make his coach happy, per the AP, via Fox Sports:
"He played well," coach Kliff Kingsbury said of the freshman. "We have some throws out there that he'd like to have back and some things he could have hit, but I like the way he handled himself and stayed composed."
It looks like Texas Tech is set at quarterback for a while.
2. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Ole Miss did everything it could to upset Texas A&M, and true freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was key in that inspiring performance. The speedster caught eight passes for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While he was already off to a great start this season, this was easily the best game of his young career.
Treadwell did a nice job of making plays after the catch and was a consistent target for quarterback Bo Wallace. There wasn't any other Ole Miss player who had more than three receptions in this game.
Although the Rebels came up short in a 41-28 late-second loss, Ole Miss proved that the future is quite bright with all of this young talent on the roster.
1. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Although only a true freshman, Christian Hackenberg is quickly making sure Penn State fans remember him as one of the greats. The Nittany Lions were pretty much dead late in the fourth quarter against Michigan. They were trailing by a touchdown and had no timeouts to go the length of the field.
Hackenberg didn't panic and began an 80-yard drive that took only five plays and 23 seconds. Penn State won the game in four overtimes, and the young quarterback finished the game with 305 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.
This key Big Ten matchup was one of the few times Penn State will be on national television since the sanctions were handed down by the NCAA. These type of victories help keep the program afloat and makes these difficult times that much easier.