Welcome back to The Next Level. It was another exciting week of college football, featuring some notable performances from former Baltimore-area standouts.
It didn't take Tavon Austin long to make a big impact in the college game. The former Dunbar star, a true freshman, started at wide receiver for West Virginia against East Carolina on Saturday and made two catches for 59 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jarrett Brown that extended the host Mountaineers' lead to 28-20 in the third quarter. The touchdown was West Virginia's longest scoring play of the game. The Mountaineers went on to add another touchdown, and ended up winning, 35-20.
Navy reserve quarterback Greg Zingler (Severna Park) also put points on the board Saturday. After Midshipmen starting quarterback Ricky Dobbs rushed for a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Louisiana Tech, Zingler took the field for the point-after attempt, ostensibly as the holder. When the snap came however, the senior picked up the ball and ran it for a 2-point conversion, pushing Navy ahead 18-10 in the second quarter. The host Mids rolled on to 32-14 victory. Navy senior linebacker Jerry Hauburger (Eastern Tech) played in the game but did not record any statistics.
Maryland starting nose tackle A.J. Francis had a big game as the host Terps edged Football Championship Subdivision opponent James Madison, 38-35, in overtime. Though the Dukes rushed for 268 yards against Maryland, the redshirt freshman, a Severn native who attended Georgetown Prep in Washington, made five tackles (two solo, three assists). That included two stops for no gain and his being credited for a half-tackle that resulted in a loss of 2 yards for JMU. Terps junior wide receiver LaQuan Williams (Poly) recorded one catch for 7 yards in the game, and senior linebacker Hakeem Sule (McDonogh) played but did not record any statistics. Senior safety Jamari McCollough (Randallstown) missed the game because a foot injury. The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Barker reported that coach Ralph Friedgen said he does not expect McCollough, a second-team All-Metro selection as a high school junior, to be ready to play when Maryland hosts Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.
Starting free safety Mike Newton (Calvert Hall) continues to be a factor on the back line of Buffalo's defense. A week after making six tackles against Texas-El Paso, the senior led the Bulls with 11 tackles (six solo, five assists) in their 54-27 home loss to Pittsburgh. Newton, who was in on six consecutive tackles on the Panthers' first drive, also broke up a pass.
A pair of defenders made their presence felt in visiting North Carolina's wild win over Connecticut (the Tar Heels came back to prevail, 12-10, after Huskies offensive tackle Dan Ryan was called for holding in the end zone with 1:32 remaining, resulting in a safety). UNC sophomore linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) made five tackles (three solo, two assists), and UConn safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley), a redshirt freshman, recorded seven stops (three solo, four assists).
Wide receiver Shaky Smith (Douglass) made one catch for 9 yards on a first-and-10 play in the third quarter of Utah's 24-14 win at San Jose State. The junior also returned a pair of kickoffs for 26 and 25 yards.
Syracuse didn't have many highlights in falling, 28-7, to Penn State in Happy Valley. Freshman wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel), however, did make two catches for 10 yards, including one for a gain of 11. Orange senior tight end Andrew Robinson (Calvert Hall) and Nittany Lions junior cornerback Shelton McCullough (Randallstown) both played, but neither recorded any statistics.
Wake Forest freshman linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) assisted on the tackle on the opening kickoff in the Demon Deacons' 24-17 win over visiting Stanford.
Duke junior wide receiver Sheldon Bell (City) and Army junior linebacker Jacob Bohn (Mount St. Joseph) got onto the field in the Blue Devils' 35-19 victory over the host Black Knights, but neither recorded any statistics.
Raynard Horne (Overlea) played in Virginia's 30-14 home loss to Texas Christian, but the junior running back recorded no statistics.
Senior wide receiver Andrew DePaola (Hereford) saw action in Rutgers' 45-7 romp over visiting Howard, recording no statistics.