Freshman Focus: Week 13

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 13, the weekend of Nov. 26:


Jaylen Anderson, RB, West Virginia (5-11, 214, Perry, Ohio): 15 rushes, 155 yards, 2 TD

Anderson exploded onto the scene for West Virginia, more than doubling his career high in rushing yards and scoring the first two touchdowns of his career. The redshirt freshman flashed breakaway speed on both of his touchdowns, scoring from 54 and 57 yards to lift the Mountaineers (5-7) over Oklahoma State by a 24-19 count. Cowboy tacklers bounced off the runner all day, who displayed excellent power, patience and vision. Anderson led West Virginia to its first win over Oklahoma State in since 2014, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Cowboys. 

Braylon Braxton, QB, Tulsa (6-3, 222, Frisco, Texas): 25/43, 316 yards, 3 TD; 11 rushes, 51 yards, 1 TD

Braxton’s four total touchdowns led Tulsa to a 37-30 upset of Houston. The redshirt freshman led the Golden Hurricane (5-7) back from a 17-6 deficit in electric fashion. He showed off his dual-threat talents, coupling a 37-yard touchdown run in the first half’s final minute with a 52-yard touchdown pass to claim the lead in the third quarter. Braxton set career highs in completions, yards passing, touchdowns, and yards rushing in the win.

Abdul Carter, LB, Penn State (6-3, 233, Philadelphia, Pa.): 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL

Carter maintained his dominant form as Penn State (10-2) handled Michigan State by a 35-16 count, ending the regular season on a four-game win streak. Abdul and the Nittany Lion defense made the Spartans one dimensional, allowing just 25 yards rushing on 25 attempts. The true freshman, who shared the team lead in tackles also displayed his pass-rushing ability with his first multi-sack game. Carter and the Penn State defense posted an incredible November, allowing just 11 points per game in their last four contests.

Taylen Green, QB, Boise State (6-6, 220, Lewisville, Texas): 14/23, 220 yards, 4 TD; 6 rushes, 91 yards, 1 TD

Green has been electric all season, but he certainly had his best game yet when Boise State thumped Utah State, 42-23. The redshirt freshman wasted no time getting an early lead for the Broncos (9-3), completing three touchdown passes before the Aggies scored a point. Green, who delivered the first five-touchdown performance of his career, also ripped off a 91-yard touchdown dash to seal the win. The quarterback will look for another explosive game on Saturday against a vaunted Fresno State passing attack in the Mountain West title game.


Kalen DeBoer, Washington: DeBoer became the first first-year head coach to win 10 games in program history when Washington toppled Washington State, 51-33. The Huskies (10-2) scored 17 unanswered fourth quarter points to finish the season on a six-game win streak and tied for second place in the Pac-12. Michael Penix Jr. completed 25 of 43 passes for 485 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, while adding two more scores on the ground. DeBoer’s offense produced 703 yards of total offense in the win. 

Sonny Dykes, TCU: Dykes and the Horned Frogs buried any ‘trap game’ concerns when they whacked Iowa State by a 62-14 count. Dykes also became the only 12-win first-year coach in program history. Max Duggan had another eye-popping week, throwing for 212 yards and three touchdowns. TCU (12-0) is far from finished, though, with a Big 12 Championship matchup against Kansas State set for Saturday and College Football Playoff aspirations on the horizon. 

Clay Helton, Georgia Southern: Helton’s offense exploded just enough to upset Appalachian State in double overtime, 51-48. The win claimed Georgia Southern’s fourth consecutive bowl eligibility. Kyle Vantrease led the Eagles (6-6) offense, completing 34 passes for 351 yards passing with four total touchdowns and an interception. Georgia Southern was outgained 629-487, but two turnovers helped it keep pace with the Mountaineers in the win. 

Lincoln Riley, USC: Riley’s Trojans put the finishing touches on a near perfect regular season with a dominant 38-27 win over Notre Dame. Caleb Williams furthered his case for Heisman contention, posting four total touchdowns with 232 yards passing. USC’s (11-1) defensive front stood tall, limiting the Fighting Irish to 90 yards rushing on 26 attempts. The Trojans will compete for the school’s first potential College Football Playoff berth with a Pac-12 Championship win over Utah on Saturday.

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