FBS September Superlatives: RG3, Mathieu, LSU Lead The Way

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Were this blog printed on newspaper, there might be runny ink stains down the pages. A month of the season is in the books. Already? Really? It’s almost enough to make a grown man cry, like a child saddened with the passing of Christmas.

But fear not my like-minded football junkies. Our holiday is at the Christmas Day equivalent of wrapping paper clean-up. We’re just diving into the meat of the season, as the first month only begins to shape what lies ahead.

There is still so much football remaining to be played that the standout teams and players of September could easily fade away — keep in mind that Denard Robinson was last year’s Heisman runaway and Auburn was barely registering a blip on the radar at this juncture 365 days ago.

Team of the Month: LSU Tigers

Recent years have provided much snickering about Les Miles’ end of game management and the underachievement of his Tigers. Well apparently, Miles has devised a foolproof method to avoid late game gaffes such as the 2009 game vs. Ole Miss: squash any hope of the opponent playing LSU close.

The Tigers’ 4-0 start has featured three defeats of teams ranked in the Top 25 the week they faced. LSU’s defense remains among the nation’s best, but a suddenly balanced offense with the unexpectedly matured Jarrett Lee has complemented that D in a way LSU has been lacking.

    Honorable Mention
  • Alabama Crimson Tide
    ‘Bama looked like the championship contender everyone anticipated it would be in a Week 4 thrashing of Arkansas. The Tide have beaten two teams ranked in the Top 25 the week they met, using a stifling defense and balanced offensive approach.
  • Wisconsin Badgers
    Quarterback Russell Wilson is a Heisman contender, and the Badgers are routing everyone they face. The UW offense should remain among the nation’s best in PPG throughout the season boasting Wilson, the two-headed running monster of Montee Ball and James White, and big target Nick Toon. The defense has shown immediate maturation as well.
  • Boise State Broncos
    BSU put to rest chatter it couldn’t hang with the nation’s top conference by beating Georgia in its neck of the woods. Since, the Broncos have laid to waste two quality non-AQ opponents with ease.
  • Offensive Player of the Month: Robert Griffin III, Baylor

    Fourteen touchdowns, 13 incompletions. Ponder that one for a moment. BU’s dual threat (and dual sport) quarterback star Robert Griffin III is playing about as well as any quarterback can.

      ALL-SEPTEMBER OFFENSIVE TEAM

    QB: Robert Griffin III

    RB:

    • Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

      Fell from first to third in rushing yards in Week 4, but remains college football’s most dangerous back with 153 yards per game and eight touchdowns against largely stiffer competition than what LaMichael James has faced.

    Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State

    Despite suffering two fumbles against Michigan, has surpassed 100 yards in every game this season and has eight touchdowns to match Marcus Lattimore.

  • FB: Cody Johnson, Texas
    The senior fullback has played an integral role in Texas’s new offense, using his beefy 250-pound frame to score four touchdowns in four games.
  • WR:

    • Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
      The key to Oklahoma State’s prolific offense, has four touchdowns on 38 receptions and two double-digit reception games.
  • Sammy Watkins, Clemson
    Freshman phenom has scored six touchdowns, is averaging seven receptions for 108.8 yards per game.
  • Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

    One of the nation’s best receivers coming into the season and not disappointing with nearly 123 yards per game, four touchdowns in three games, and 34 receptions total.

  • TE: Paul Richardson, Colorado
    CU’s offense has exactly been awe-inspiring, but Paul Richardson has provided Tyler Hansen a reliable target. Richardson catches like a wide receiver, but with the run block ability necessary for a tight end.
  • OL:

    • Nick Cody, Oregon
      LaMichael James has more yards than any other tailback in college football, the Ducks rank top 10 in sacks allowed, and big Nick Cody is a vital presence on a young offensive line.
  • Barrett Jones, Alabama
    Jones has taken on four of the five positions across the Tide’s offensive line and done a great job across them all. Said running back Trent Richardson: “I love running behind a guy like that.”
  • Jonathan Martin, Stanford
    The Cardinal’s prolific, well-balanced offense begins with the play at the line and Jonathan Martin is the building block.
  • Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech
    The Yellow Jackets’ prolific run game launches off behind guard Omoregie Uzzi.
  • Nate Potter, Boise State
    Kellen Moore’s Heisman-like season is predicated on the Broncos’ typically strong line’s ability to protect him. He’s been sacked just three times. Left tackle Nate Potter is the key cog for that unit.
  • Defensive Player of the Month: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

    LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is generating serious Heisman Trophy talk and with good reason. He’s a Swiss Army knife: 31 tackles, three for loss, two recovered fumbles, an interception — basically anything a coach could want, he can get it from Mathieu.

      ALL-SEPTEMBER DEFENSIVE TEAM

    DL:

    • Nordly Capi, Colorado State
      Leads the nation with seven sacks and has forced four fumbles.
  • Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
    Freshman phenom is more than living up to the hype: four sacks and three forced fumbles.
  • J.R. Collins, Virginia Tech

  • Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech
    Bush has caused three fumbles in three games, has a tackle-for-loss in every Red Raider outing so far, a sack, and a batted pass.
  • LB:

    • Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
      Recorded three sacks in Week 4 win over North Carolina and has four total sacks on the season.

    Matt Brewer, Navy

    Matt Brewer’s a wild man, flying about the field and forcing a nation’s best four fumbles.

    Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State

    Look at the above photo and ask yourself, what could be more terrifying? Lining up opposite Vontaze Burfict must be like facing Leatherface, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kreuger in a locked closet. The maneating Sun Devil linebacker has four sacks through four games despite blocking schemes trying to key in on him. Hint to offensive coordinators: Burfict thrives on more blockers like Jason thrives on hormonal teenagers.

    CB:

    • Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
    • Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
      The Commodores’ surprisingly stout defense owes much of its turnaround to Casey Hayward, who has four interceptions including one for a touchdown.
  • FS: Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
    Bacarri Rambo is like the action character with whom he shares a name. He lurks around the secondary like he’s camouflaged, only to spring and snatch picks at a nation-leading pace.
  • SS: Duron Harmon, Rutgers
    Duron Harmon has three interceptions through three games, including one for a touchdown.
  • Game of the Month: Notre Dame at Michigan

    The comeback Denard Robinson led his Wolverines on will remain in Michigan lore for ages. UM could muster zero offense against the Irish, yet exploded for four touchdowns in the final stanza. Tommy Rees’s inexplicable fumble in the Wolverine red zone helped set the stage for the climax.

      Honorable Mention

    TCU vs. Baylor

    RG3’s Heisman candidacy got legs when he led the Bears in hanging 50 points on 2010’s best defense. But the Frogs battled back from a 23-point deficit, which forced Griffin and the BU offense to rise up late.

    Most Surprising Team: Clemson Tigers

    Clemson’s stellar 2011 signing class was destined to change the Tigers’ increasingly woeful fortunes. The question was, would it do so in time to save Dabo Swinney’s job? The answer thus far is a resounding yes. After sluggish starts against Troy and Wofford, the Tigers rallied for victories that carried over into defeats of Top 25 foes Auburn and Florida State.

    The emergence of Sammy Watkins as not only one of the top freshmen, but top receivers in college football period has sped along the progression of quarterback Tajh Boyd.

      Honorable Mention
  • Ball State Cardinals
    Off to a 3-1 start that includes a rout of seven-game winner Army.
  • Vanderbilt Commodores
    Went 3-0 for the first time since World War II. Despite loss at South Carolina, showed its defense is legitimate.
  • Iowa State Cyclones
    Rallied in its Weeks 1 and 2 victories to win the fictitious state championship for the first time ever. A third rally to defeat UConn on the road sends ISU into October and match-up with Texas 3-0.