Freshman Focus: Week 2

Gregory Fisher / Icon Sportswire
Gregory Fisher / Icon Sportswire
Georgia Southern Athletics
Georgia Southern Athletics

DALLAS (FWAA) – Each week during the 2022 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 2, the weekend of Sept. 10:


Marquis Crosby, RB, Louisiana Tech (5-10, 201, Hattiesburg, Miss.): 16 rushes, 196 yards, 2 TD
Crosby exploded in Louisiana Tech’s 52-17 beatdown of Stephen F. Austin after just 7 rushes for 23 yards last week against Missouri. The redshirt freshman tallied all of his 196 yards in the first half, helping new Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Cumbie earn his first win. Crosby shifted around and burned past the Lumberjack defense on several streaky runs to keep the Bulldog offense humming. The speedy second-year will face his toughest test of the season this week against the No. 5 Clemson defensive front.

Omarion Hampton, RB, North Carolina (6-0, 220, Clayton, N.C.): 16 rushes, 110 yards, 2 TD
Hampton willed North Carolina past Georgia State, 35-28, to avoid becoming the fourth Power 5 team upset by a Sun Belt squad on Saturday. The true freshman broke away for a 58-yard touchdown run to tie the score at 28 in the final minute of the third quarter. He then flipped over a Panther defender and the goal line for a go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing drive. Hampton and the Tar Heels – also led by freshman quarterback Drake Maye – will try to get their first 4-0 start since 1997 on Sept. 24 at Notre Dame.

Sage Ryan, S, LSU (5-11, 203, Lafayette, La.): 2 tackles, 2 FR
Ryan and the Tigers rebounded from a painful Week 1 loss for an explosive 65-17 win against Southern. The redshirt freshman’s two fumble recoveries were a couple of the five turnovers that the Tiger defense forced. Ryan and the rest of the LSU secondary will have to deal with a much taller order this week against Mississippi State, known for its prolific pass attack. 

Nicholas Singleton, RB, Penn State (6-0, 219, Shillington, Pa.): 10 carries, 179 yards, 2 TD
One of the top running backs in the 2022 recruiting class, Singleton erupted in Penn State’s 46-10 victory over Ohio. The true freshman displayed immense strength and speed, as the tacklers he did not run by slid right off him. His first career touchdown was a 70-yard sideline sprint, Penn State’s longest rushing play in three years. Singleton will look to draw some SEC blood this week as the Nittany Lions head south for a showdown at Auburn.


Mike Elko, Duke: Elko’s Blue Devils, who were 10.5-point underdogs, won their fourth straight matchup with Northwestern by a 31-23 count. Jordan Waters rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and 2-0 Duke outrushed the Wildcats 221-76. The Blue Devils also forced three turnovers, headlined by a game-sealing fumble recovery made at the one-yard line with 12 seconds left. Duke will shoot for its first 3-0 start since 2018 this Saturday when they host North Carolina A&T.

Clay Helton, Georgia Southern: Helton’s Eagles, who entered Saturday as 22.5-point underdogs, upset Nebraska 45-42. Georgia Southern amassed 642 yards of total offense, including a 75-yard touchdown drive to take the lead with 36 seconds left. It was Georgia Southern’s first win against a Power 5 opponent since 2013. The Eagles aim for a 3-0 start this Saturday against UAB.

Rhett Lashlee, SMU: Lashlee led his team to strong Week 2 victory after becoming the first SMU head coach to win his debut since 1982 last week. The Mustangs horse-raced Lamar 45-16 behind 453 total offensive yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Tanner Mordecai. Lamar was held to just 104 yards on 43 attempts and was 2-for-17 on third down attempts. Lashlee and SMU will look to get a Power 5 win this week at Maryland.

Joey McGuire, Texas Tech: McGuire’s Red Raiders toppled No. 25 Houston in a 33-30 double overtime win. Trey Wolff nailed a 47-yard field goal attempt with three seconds left to send the game to overtime, where quarterback Donovan Smith rushed for the walk-off touchdown. Texas Tech had 468 yards of total offense, compared to Houston’s 354. The Red Raiders will try to earn a 3-0 start this weekend at No. 16 NC State.

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