DALLAS (FWAA) Each week during the 2021 season, we will highlight the notable performances of first-year players and head coaches leading up to the selection of our annual Freshman All-America Team and the Steve Spurrier First-Year Coach of the Year Award presented by Chris Doering Mortgage. Here are the top performances from Week 8, the weekend of Oct. 23:
FIRST-YEAR PLAYERS: THE FRESH FOUR
Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin (6-2, 240, Fond du Lac, Wis.): 12 rushes, 140 yards, 2 TD; 1 reception, 9 yards
Allen's third straight week with over 100 yards rushing helped the Badgers capsize No. 25-ranked Purdue, 30-13. The true freshman highlighted his performance with a 70-yard sprint in the third quarter that set up Wisconsin's go-ahead score. Allen will face a tougher front next week when No. 9-ranked Iowa comes to Madison.
Chandler Rogers, QB, ULM (6-0, 188, Mansfield, Texas): 25/35, 369 yards, 4 TD; 15 rushes, 40 yards
Rogers' 369 yards passing, 4 touchdowns, and 71.4 completion percentage were all season-highs as he led the Warhawk attack in a 41-31 win over South Alabama. The redshirt freshman's 81-yard touchdown connection with Will Derrick put ULM ahead for good late in the third quarter. The young gun will look to replicate his performance next week against a strong conference foe in Appalachian State.
Trayvon Rudolph, WR, NIU (5-10, 182, Crete, Ill.): 6 receptions, 160 yards, 2 TD
Rudolph burst onto the scene Saturday with two touchdowns to help NIU edge Central Michigan 39-38. The redshirt freshman's biggest play of the day came in the third quarter when quarterback Rocky Lombardi found him in the heart of the Chippewa secondary and watched the speedster scamper for the score. Rudolph and the Huskies, currently riding a five-game win streak, will take this coming Saturday off before taking on Kent State on Nov. 3.
Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami (6-4, 224, Glastonbury, Conn.): 25/33, 325 yards, 4 TD; 9 rushes, 8 yards
Van Dyke was efficient and excellent in his first ACC win as Miami's starting quarterback as the Hurricanes upset No. 18 N.C. State, 31-30. The redshirt freshman connected with transfer receiver Charleston Rambo for a couple of scores, including a go-ahead dart in the fourth quarter. Van Dyke and the Hurricanes, fresh off their first win over a ranked foe since September 2020, will get a chance for another Saturday against a vaunted Pitt offense on the road.
STEVE SPURRIER FIRST-YEAR COACHES
Bret Bielema, Illinois: Bielema's Fighting Illini stole the show Saturday with a nine-overtime, 20-18 win at No. 7 Penn State. Still knotted up after double overtime, both Illinois and Penn State failed to convert two-point conversions in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh overtimes and both converted in the eighth before Casey Washington finally called game for the Illini. Illinois held the Nittany Lion attack to just 227 total yards. Running back Chase Brown finished with 223 yards rushing and one touchdown on 33 attempts.
Terry Bowden, ULM: Bowden's Warhawks battled their way to a 41-31 conference win over South Alabama. The ULM offense was potent, gaining 555 total yards and eclipsing 40 points for the first time in 2021. South Alabama had three turnovers and was limited to just 2.8 yards per rush on the ground.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or email@example.com.
2021 Freshman Focus
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Weekend of Sept. 11
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Weekend of Oct. 2
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Weekend of Oct. 23
Weekend of Oct. 30
Weekend of Nov. 6
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Weekend of Nov. 20
Weekend of Nov. 27