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October 8, 2006

Top performers: Big wins on big days

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Arguments can be made for several teams to be No. 2 in the polls behind top-ranked Ohio State.

The same is true here. Several players made cases to be the runner-up behind the top performer of the weekend Arkansas' Darren McFadden.

A standout running back for the Razorbacks, McFadden helped the Hogs upset No. 2 Auburn. Defensive stars like Aaron Ross and Gaines Adams took a shot at the No. 2 performer of the week, along with running backs P.J. Hill and Steve Slaton.

See who made the cut in the top performers and top goats for Week 6:

Rivals.com Week 5 Top Performers
1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas running back
The numbers
: 28 carries, 146 yards, TD
The result: Arkansas 27, Auburn 10
Despite the arrival of talented true freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain and new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Arkansas hasn't forgotten its bread and butter. The strength of the team is McFadden and the running game. The Razorbacks ran the ball 45 times, and none was bigger than McFadden's 63-yard TD scamper in the second quarter that made the score 17-7. Arkansas' other standout back, Felix Jones, also carried the ball 13 times for 104 yards and a touchdown.
2. Aaron Ross, Texas cornerback
The numbers
: Fumble returned for a touchdown, two interceptions
The result
: Texas 28, Oklahoma 10
Ross helped Texas keep bragging rights on the south side of the Red River by forcing three of Oklahoma's five turnovers on the day. All three takeaways, including a 3-yard fumble return for a TD after he picked up a lateral, came in the fourth quarter. He single-handedly kept the Sooners from staging any sort of comeback.
3. Gaines Adams, Clemson defensive end
The numbers
: Two sacks, 66-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown
The result
: Clemson 27, Wake Forest 17
Clemson nearly handed Wake Forest a 6-0 start in front of the Groves Stadium crowd, but Adams provided the game-turning play that started the Tigers' comeback. On a field-goal attempt that would have given Wake Forest a 20-3 lead, Adams took advantage of kicker Sam Swank's hesitation to force a fumble. His recovery and TD run kept Clemson in the ACC race.
4. P.J. Hill, Wisconsin running back
The numbers
: 35 carries, 249 yards, TD
The result
: Wisconsin 41, Northwestern 9
Hill has all but locked up the Big Ten freshman of the year award and should get some mention as an all-conference running back. He has run for at least 100 yards in all but one game this year. He hit that mark in the first quarter Saturday, aided by a 60-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game.
5. Steve Slaton, West Virginia running back
The numbers
: 26 carries, 185 yards, TD
The result
: West Virginia 42, Mississippi State 14
The Mountaineers continue to roll along thanks to their run game. This is more of a recognition for the whole group with Pat White and Owen Schmitt each rushing for two more touchdowns. Mississippi State struggles in a lot of areas, but run defense wasn't one of those areas until the faced the Mountaineers.
6. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Pittsburgh running back
The numbers
: 27 carries, 222 yards, TD
The result: Pittsburgh 21, Syracuse 11
7. Tony Hunt, Penn State running back
The numbers
: 31 carries, 144 yards, two TDs; one reception, 15 yards, TD
The result: Penn State 28, Minnesota 27 (OT)
8. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech running back
The numbers
: 26 carries, 138 yards, two TDs
The result: Georgia Tech 28, Maryland 23
9. Erik Ainge, Tennessee quarterback
The numbers
: 25 of 38 passing, 268 yards, two TDs
The result
: Tennessee 51, Georgia 33
10. DeSean Jackson, Cal wide receiver
The numbers
: Two receptions, 77 yards, TD; 47-yard punt return for TD
The result: Cal 45, Oregon 24
Week 5 Goats
1. Minnesota-Penn State officials
In overtime, officials called a pass interference penalty on Minnesota's Trumaine Banks on fourth down. Banks appeared to break up the pass to Deon Butler cleanly. The call helped set up Penn State's game-winning TD.
2. Tommy Tuberville
The Auburn coach re-visited his complaints of the Bowl Championship Series system earlier this week. He might not have to worry about the BCS after the Tigers were upset 27-10 at home to Arkansas.
3. Washington's time management
Say what you want about the 3 seconds the Huskies lost at the end of the game against USC, Washington wasn't prepared to run a potentially game-tying play in the final 2 seconds.
4. Virginia
As if a loss to Western Michigan wasn't enough After two quarters, the Cavaliers never got within 10 points of East Carolina in a 31-21 loss.
5. Illinois
This is not the way to carry over momentum from a big upset. The Illini lost a 25-7 lead in a 34-32 loss at home to Indiana a week after the win at Michigan State.

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