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November 21, 2007

Missouri's Maclin making huge plays

Jeremy Maclin, Wide receiver, Missouri

Here's troubling news for Kansas on the eve of perhaps the biggest game in school history: Missouri's most dangerous threat keeps getting better.

So how do you take your poison, Jayhawks? Odds are, redshirt freshman Jeremy Maclin has the answer.

Last Saturday, he was at his best. Maclin set the NCAA freshman record for all-purpose yardage in a season and had 360 total yards in a 49-32 win over Kansas State. His season total now stands at 2,309 yards, breaking Terrell Willis' record of 2,026 for Rutgers in 1993.

Maclin's per-game average of 209.91 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving and return yards) shatters Marshall Faulk's record of 184.8 yards for San Diego State in 1991.

For his efforts against Kansas State and helping keep Missouri in the national championship hunt Maclin was named Rivals.com's National Freshman of the Week.

"Jeremy Maclin's pretty good," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "What do you say about the guy? He's unbelievable."

Against Kansas State, Maclin a 6-foot-1, 185-pound speedster from the St. Louis area caught nine passes for 143 yards, including touchdown receptions of 8 and 44 yards. He added two carries for 8 yards and two punt returns for 15.

But his biggest play of the day may have been a drought-ending kickoff return. Maclin already has two punt returns for touchdowns this season, and he repeatedly told teammates he would end Missouri's run of 976 kickoff returns without a touchdown. The 287-game span, dating to 1982, was the longest in the nation.

Maclin emphatically ended the drought by taking his first kickoff return of the game 99 yards for a touchdown.

"He always says 'I'm going to run this one back,' " quarterback Chase Daniel said. "He really meant it this time. He's been so close to breaking one. It's good to see him break one."

It should come as little surprise. In the past three games, Maclin has 20 catches for 397 yards and five touchdowns. That includes four scoring plays of at least 40 yards.

"There aren't many guys in college football that can change a game on one play," Daniel said. "Once he gets the ball in the open field, you never know what can happen."

OTHER NOMINEES FOR FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:

WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Crabtree helped the Red Raiders end Oklahoma's national title hopes by coming up with 12 receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. He finished the regular season with 125 catches, 1,861 yards and 16 touchdowns.


LB Rennie Curran, Georgia
Curran had 13 tackles and a tackle for a loss in a 24-13 win over Kentucky that kept the Bulldogs' SEC East title hopes alive.


WR Marcus Barnett, Cincinnati
In a 28-23 loss to West Virginia, Barnett repeatedly found himself wide open, finishing with 10 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns.


TB Zach Brown, Wisconsin
With P.J. Hill out, Brown saved Wisconsin from an upset at Minnesota with 250 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-34 victory.




Antoine Cason
Cornerback
Arizona


As if Dennis Dixon's season-ending injury wasn't enough of a nightmare for Oregon, the Ducks also had to contend with Antoine Cason.

Cason started the second quarter by returning an interception 42 yards for a touchdown. Later in the quarter, he returned a punt 56 yards for a second score in a 34-24 upset of Oregon.

OTHER NOMINEES:

TB Chris Wells, Ohio State
Wells made history by running for 222 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries in a 14-3 win over Michigan. Wells' rushing total is an Ohio State record against the Wolverines.


TB Louis Rankin, Washington
It turns out the Huskies have a rushing attack even without QB Jake Locker. Rankin rushed for 200 yards for the second time in three games, finishing with 224 yards and a touchdown in a 37-23 upset of reeling California.


QB Tim Hiller, Western Michigan
Hiller looks to have spoiled Iowa's bowl hopes by going 26 of 45 for 367 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-19 upset of the Hawkeyes. p>


QB Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
Harrell regrouped from an early interception as Tech knocked Oklahoma out of the national title hunt. Harrell completed 47 of a career-high 72 attempts for 420 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.



Jim Heacock
Defensive coordinator
Ohio State


The Buckeyes rebounded from their worst defensive effort of the season against Illinois with a dominating performance against Michigan.

The Wolverines' talented offense mustered only 91 yards and a field goal in a 14-3 loss to Ohio State.

DE Vernon Gholston led the effort with three sacks.

OTHER NOMINEES:

Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Boston College's stout rush defense led the Eagles to the ACC Championship Game. BC held Clemson's James Davis and C.J. Spiller to only 62 combined yards and sacked Cullen Harper five times in a 20-17 win.


Mark Banker, Oregon State
The Beavers forced eight turnovers in a 52-17 romp over Washington State. Normally steady Cougars senior QB Alex Brink threw a career-high six interceptions in his final home game.


Wally Burnham, USF
The Bulls continued to fly around as Louisville tied its season-low with 17 points. Brian Brohm struggled mightily against USF, throwing three interceptions in a 55-17 demolition.


Kim Dameron, Louisiana-Monroe
Sun Belt teams had scored an average of 25.8 points against Louisiana-Monroe, but Alabama mustered only two touchdowns in a shocking 21-14 home loss. The Tide committed four turnovers, including two interceptions by John Parker Wilson.



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