Alonzo Russell

Two glaring omissions headline Biletnikoff watch list

3 Comments

It’s not often that who’s not on what’s essentially a meaningless preseason watch list is the main storyline, but that’s the case when it comes to the Biletnikoff Award this year.

First, who is on the watch list for the award handed out annually to the nation’s top wide receivers: a total of 48 players at the position, which is actually a rather subdued number compared to other watch lists that come out this time of the year.

Headlining the four dozen receivers actually listed is Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, who was a finalist for last year’s award that went to Alabama’s Amari Cooper.  Joining Higgins are 2014 semifinalists Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma and Nelson Spruce of Colorado.

Now, the players who was inexplicably excluded from the initial watch list? Auburn’s D’haquille Williams, first and foremost. The senior wideout was already named to the Maxwell Award watch list earlier this month. He’s considered by many to be the best receiver in the SEC — Mel Kiper has Williams as his No. 1 player at that position — yet four receivers from that conference are included.  The only receiver on the Biletnikoff watch list to also make Maxwell’s is South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper.

Williams missed three of the last four games last season because of an injury, yet still totaled 45 receptions for 730 yards and five touchdowns. Kiper may have him a bit overrated on his Big Board, but Williams certainly deserves one of the 48 spots allotted — or the award should at least make room for a 49th.  Or a 49th and 50th.

That said, Williams can, and probably will, be added to an in-season update from the folks at the Biletnikoff.  The same could be said for Player. No. 2: Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell.

Despite missing the last four games of the year because of a gruesome leg injury, Williams still led the Rebels in receptions with 48 and was second in yardage with 632.  Like Williams, Treadwell made the cut for the Maxwell, which is awarded annually to the best player in college football regardless of position.

Anyway, below is the complete Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Devonte Boyd, UNLV
Daniel Braverman, Western Michigan
Ryan Burbrink, Bowling Green
KD Cannon, Baylor
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Rashon Ceaser, ULM
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
River Cracraft, Washington State
Jared Dangerfield, Western Kentucky
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Josh Doctson, TCU
Travin Dural, LSU
Alex Erickson, Wisconsin
William Fuller, Notre Dame
Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Donovan Harden, Georgia State
Carlos Harris, North Texas
Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
Ajalen Holley, ULM
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Corey Jones, Toledo
Isaiah Jones, East Carolina
Marcus Kemp, Hawaii
Roger Lewis, Bowling Green
Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Mitch Mathews, BYU
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Jalen Robinette, Air Force
Demarcus Robinson, Florida
Alonzo Russell, Toledo
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Hunter Sharp, Utah State
Tajae Sharpe, Massachusetts
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Shaq Washington, Cincinnati
Mike Williams, Clemson
Ron Willoughby, Buffalo

Northern Illinois, Jordan Lynch tied down by Toledo at half

2 Comments

Northern Illinois and Toledo scored a combined 123 point the last time they played in the Glass Bowl. Tonight’s key MAC West match-up has a long way to go to match that kind of output. Toledo is leading BCS buster hopeful Northern Illinois and Jordan Lynch 10-7 at the half despite three turnovers.

Toledo has done well in containing Lynch and holding down his production. Lynch has completed 11 of 14 passes for 121 yards and has rushed for 30 yards on 13 carries. He has not scored a touchdown.

Toledo had a chance to take the lead on the Huskies in the second quarter but once they crept up to the goal line Terrance Owens tried to force a pass over the middle of the crowded goal line. After jumping in mid-air to make the throw, Owens was picked off by Northern Illinois linebacker Boomer Mays, who returned the football ten yards out of the end zone. A personal foul penalty at the end of the play tacked on 15 extra yards to set Northern Illinois up at the 25-yard line for one final drive of the half. Before the turnover Toledo had worked a 16-play drive over 83 yards.

Northern Illinois could not take advantage though. The Huskies missed a field goal at the other end of the field, giving Toledo one more chance to take a lead in to the half. A 45-yard pass from Owens to Alonzo Russell went for a touchdown in the final minute of the half, giving the Rockets a hard-fought halftime lead.

The winner of this game will take control of the MAC West. A win by Northern Illinois would clinch a spot in the MAC Championship Game after defeating Ball State last week. Toledo needs a win tonight and a win in their regular season finale Akron to win the division.