DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Between championship games and the end of the Big 12 season, the final week before bowl season offered the lightest slate of games this year.
Yet nine different quarterbacks still threw for at least 300 yards.
TCU’s Trevone Boykin led the way, throwing for 460 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-3 win over Iowa State that, ultimately, wasn’t enough to propel the Horned Frogs into the playoffs.
Baylor’s Bryce Petty had 412 yards. But he and the Bears also missed out on the playoff despite a win over Kansas State.
Here are some of the other statistical performances that stood out during the first week in December:
EZEKIEL’S EFFORT: Unlike Boykin and Petty, Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott was able to help the Buckeyes sneak into the playoffs with a dominant performance. Elliott had 220 yards on just 20 carries in Ohio State’s 59-0 blowout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Elliott has surpassed 100 yards in four of his last five games and will no doubt be a focus for Nick Saban and top-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
MORE THAN YARDS: Three different quarterbacks had prodigious passing performances in losing efforts this week. East Carolina’s Shane Carden was 36 of 48 passing for 397 yards and three TDs, but he and the Pirates lost to Central Florida on a Hail Mary pass, 32-30. Houston’s Greg Ward, Jr. had 360 yards passing and two touchdowns in a 38-31 loss at Cincinnati, and Fresno State’s Brian Burrell had 332 yards — but three costly interceptions — in a 28-14 defeat to Boise State.
THANKS MATT: SMU quarterback Matt Davis helped the Mustangs avoid a winless season with perhaps his best game of the year. Davis rushed for a season-high 191 yards and threw for 145 in leading SMU past Connecticut 27-20 on the road.
HUNTED: Missouri’s Jimmie Hunt had the most yards of any receiver this week, but it didn’t matter much. Hunt had 169 yards on just six catches, but the Tigers were pasted by the Tide 42-13 in the SEC title game. Tyler Lockett was brilliant in his final Big 12 game, with 14 catches for 158 yards in a 38-27 loss to Baylor. Central Florida’s Breshad Perriman had 139 yards on just four catches — including the 51-yard grab that sealed the comeback over East Carolina.
ONE MORE TO GO: Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty enters bowl season first in the nation with 4,344 yards passing — just 35 more than East Carolina’s Shane Carden. Washington State’s Connor Halliday is fourth with 3,873 yards despite missing the final three games of the year, and Heisman Trophy front runner Marcus Mariota is fifth at 3,783 yards.
FLASH GORDON: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon has likely locked up the NCAA rushing title despite an underwhelming effort — at least by his standards — in the loss to the Buckeyes. Gordon enters a bowl game with 2,336 yards after picking up at least 120 in 11 of 13 games. Indiana’s Tevin Coleman is second at 2,036 yards, but the Hoosiers aren’t eligible for a bowl game.
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