The Oregon Ducks lost their star tailback late in a blowout win over Cal on Thursday night, and LaMichael James has lost his shot at the Heisman Trophy. The consensus top BCS back heading into 2011 College Fantasy Football drafts has performed exactly as expected -- explosive with oft-overlooked workhorse tendencies. Though, following a brutal injury that thankfully might not be as bad as it looked, Oregon will face the next few weeks without its stud junior from Texas.
James has 95 rushes for 852 yards, netting a remarkable 9.0 yards per carry. After a slow start, he had posted 731 yards over his last three outings and was looking every bit the top tailback in the country. And then, in a game where the outcome was all but decided, James was suddenly staring at an interrupted campaign.
In Fantasyland there is no garbage time. Numbers compiled late in a blowout are just as valuable as those collected in a game's early stages. However, even the fiercest owners must've been wondering why the Oregon tailback was still running, pushing towards 35 carries in a game where the Cal Bears had decided to go into hibernation for the second half.
Hopefully, those that invested a first-round Fantasy pick in James were shrewd enough to lock up Kenjon Barner as a handcuff option. If not, it's likely that James' gruesome injury not only turned your stomach, but turned your season upside down.
Quick Strike Holgorsen
Both coach Dana Holgorsen's new team -- West Virginia-- and his old one -- Oklahoma State -- have shown a frightening ability to score a lot of points in very little time.
I was following the WVU/UConn game on my phone and wondering how the Huskies had held the Mountaineers to 10 first-half points, while cursing my decision to start Stedman Bailey. Then, in the time it took for me to make my 2-year old some chicken nuggets, Bailey had two scores and West Virginia was pushing for 50 points.
A few hours later we saw Hogorsen's protégé, Brandon Weeden, and his teammates hang 70 on a bunch of poor Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas scored first on a nice little touchdown pass to Tim Biere and then Oklahoma State went on a 56-point run ... before halftime.
When it rains it pours, and Dana Holgorsen is a monsoon.
Other Week 6 Superlatives
• Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa ran the ball 164 times for 519 yards and nine scores in 2010. In two games this year, he's run it 18 times for minus-3 yards. He's not running to move the chains. He's running to avoid the wolves. And for all of his grit, guts and talent, Persa without the real threat of tucking it and running isn't close to the same quarterback.
• Utah State should establish its own television network just so we can watch Chuckie Keeton ply his trade.
• A cursory glance at the list of top 10 Fantasy running backs through six weeks shows some familiar names. However, Tar Heel Giovani Bernard has cracked the top ten. And this redshirt freshman joins the great Marcus Lattimore as the only underclassmen among that group.
• Illinois A.J. Jenkins is the nation's hottest wide receiver, posting 44 and 30 Fantasy points in the last two weeks. He's already surpassed his numbers from a solid 2010 campaign, and the continued maturation of quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase means that Jenkins will continue to thrive.
• Though it's never wise to assume anything when it comes to Steve Spurrier and quarterbacks, it's likely that Connor Shaw's impressive performance (311 passing yards, four TDs) in the blowout over Kentucky brings the Stephen Garcia era to a merciful conclusion.
• Is it just me or does Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills look this close to putting it all together?
• Just when it looked like Nebraska fans would spend their late Saturday evening reminiscing about the Big 12 glory days over a bunch of somber lagers and ales, Rex Burkhead suddenly became a runner possessed. The Husker offense still has a long ways to go, but their veteran back has scored in every contest and will do his best to will his squad to victories.
• Tyler Eifert is emerging as the nation's best Fantasy tight end.
• Arizona's Dan Buckner appears poised for a huge stretch run.