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How does the 2020 college football bowl season differ from previous years?
USA TODAY Sports’ Mackenzie Salmon spoke with Paul Myerberg about the 2020 college football bowl season.
This week’s top performances feature multiple career-best games, including a running back going for more than 300 yards and wideouts racking up 200 yards apiece.
Indiana players shined in what was a losing effort and three defensive players across college football gave quarterbacks fits in some ball-hawking outings. Still, three signal callers didn’t do too bad after they threw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns to make an appearance on this week’s list.
Ranking the top 10 performances from Week 12:
1. Jaret Patterson, Buffalo, RB: In the 42-17 win over Bowling Green, Patterson racked up 301 yards on the ground and found the end zone four times. He carried the ball 31 times in the career performance.
2. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati, QB: Known a dual-threat quarterback, the junior used both his abilities as the Bearcats stayed unbeaten in a come-from-behind win at Central Florida. Ridder threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns and added 57 yards and two scores on the ground in the 36-33 victory.
3. Michael Penix Jr., Indiana, QB: Penix spear-headed what was almost an upset win over the Buckeyes with his 491 passing yards and five touchdowns. Still, it wasn’t enough in a close one.
HIGHS AND LOWS: College football winners and losers from Week 12
BUCKEYES HOLD ON: No. 3 Ohio State gets tested by No. 10 Indiana
LIONS LISTLESS: Penn State flops against Iowa to fall to 0-5 for first time
4. Brady McBride, Texas State, QB: After several tough losses, Texas State pulled off an upset of Arkansas State for its second win of the season thanks to its sophomore quarterback. McBride threw for 443 yards and five touchdown passes and led the game-winning drive in the final minute.
5. D’Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina, DB: It was a nightmarish day for Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas. He threw three interceptions against Coastal Carolina and Strong snagged two of them — one of which was return for a touchdown. He also tacked on two tackles in the 34-23 win.
6. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh, QB: It was a big day for the Panthers signal caller as he riddled the Virginia Tech secondary in a 47-14 victory. Pickett finished 35-for-52 for 404 yards and two touchdowns. He added a score on the ground as Pitt improved to 5-4.
7. Jamar Johnson, Indiana, DB: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields didn’t throw a single interception in his first three games of the season before his game against Indiana on Saturday — where he threw three. Fields grew to be very familiar with Johnson, who sacked him once and picked him off twice. The Sarasota, Florida, native also had four tackle’s in the losing effort.
8. Brad Roberts, Air Force, RB: Roberts scored three of Air Force’s four touchdowns in the 28-0 shutout over New Mexico. He had 177 yards on the ground to lead the Falcons.
9. D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan, WR: Eskridge had more yards than the entire Central Michigan receiving corps in the 52-44 win. The 5-foot-9 wideout had 212 yards off of just four catches — three of them for touchdowns.
10. Jamal Hines, Toledo, DE: Hines got it done on all three levels in the 45-28 win over Eastern Michigan. He had five tackles, 1½ sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown in what was a career game.