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The dude who tried to fight an entire team for a -4 yard kick return is the college football star of the week

September 20, 2021

Any time a kicker pooches it into the hands of a big fella on a kick return, all bets are off. Any sensible coach has likely taught the big fella to just go down. Fall on it. Don't do anything stupid. But this is the big fella's one chance at glory, and more often than not, the big fella at least attempts to seize the opportunity.

Once in a lifetime, something magical happens. The big fella finds a crease, and hits it, and by hits it I mean he begins rumblin', bumblin' and stumblin' toward the end zone. The great Dan Connolly of the New England Patriots was the only big fella who ever got truly close on a kick return, and it remains one of the greatest highlights in NFL history to this day.

Missouri State's Siale Suliafu, like Connolly, is a very big fella, standing at six feet and weighing 295 pounds. With his team trailing 34-30 to Central Arkansas with just 2:14 left on the clock, Suliafu had a chance at his Connolly moment when he received a pooch kick at the 34-yard line. It was time for the big fella to rumble.

Suliafu certainly rumbled, he definitely bumbled, and by the very end he had stumbled to a negative-four yard gain (?). It was not exactly a Connolly-esque return but one that still made Suliafu our college football star of the week just for the sheer hilarity of it all. This man tried to fight the entire Central Arkansas kickoff team:

Technically, the big fella was never brought down, and had the refs not blown the play dead I'm not sure he ever would have went down. In an alternate universe, Suliafu is still flicking off Central Arkansas tacklers like gnats on his forearm, eventually finding pay dirt and spiking the ball into another dimension. We can dream. 

The good news? Missouri State scored 13 unanswered to win this game 43-34, a clear indicator that this play lit a fire under their ass. Suliafu should get the ball more often, in our opinion. 

(Note: The Missouri State-Central Arkansas game was actually played last weekend, but the video hadn't hit social media until this past Saturday. Nobody really noticed it anyway.) 

Helmet Stickers

(In this section, we'll dole out helmet stickers to those who just missed the cut on "star of the week.")

D.J. Graham (and Gus Johnson)

One of the more stunning results of Saturday's slate was Oklahoma's squeak-it-out victory over former hated-rival Nebraska. What was supposed to be a high-scoring Sooners romp turned into a slugfest that the OU defense shined in, specifically cornerback D.J. Graham, who made the greatest interception in the history of football, and that might be underselling it. You could argue it's the greatest catch of any kind ever, too:

These two teams once played in the Game of the Century. This is the Pick of the Century. And who better to call it than Gus Johnson? Electric doesn't even begin to properly describe it. It's even more impressive of a catch considering it came on a wounded duck from Adrian Martinez, who is in his 13th season at Nebraska (ball park figure) and still is not good at playing the position of quarterback. Credit to the Cornhuskers for making this a game, but I can only imagine what would have happened if they had a decent QB. 

Another angle, please and thank you:

UnREAL. Five helmet stickers for Graham, five more for Gus, and five for whichever behind-the-scenes FOX person played "How You Like Me Now?" as the broadcast went to commercial here. Elite timing and sense of the moment.  

JAXSON DART

On name alone, Jaxson Dart earned four helmet stickers this week. But there are so many great names in college football and so often the player isn't even that big of a deal, which is a shame. That does not appear to be the case with Dart, who is not only a quarterback, but a quarterback at freakin' USC. And my god, does he fit that bill: 

As you can see, not only does he have the look, he has the game, too. Dart was so good on Saturday that the Trojans now officially have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Junior quarterback Kedon Slovis, who ironically took over the job after former Trojans quarterback JT Daniels (now the starter at Georgia) got hurt in a game in 2019, was injured on Saturday against Washington State, making way for Dart to come in and lead the Trojans to a blowout win. As the LA Times reported, X-rays and an MRI on Slovis' neck came back negative on Saturday evening, meaning he'll be available for this week's tilt with Oregon State. After a brutal loss at home to Stanford a week prior, plus Dart looking great against the Cougars, though, Slovis' job is very much in jeopardy.   

UGA X

With Alabama looking not-so-Alabama-y on Saturday against Florida, Georgia Bulldogs fans are starting to smell blood in the water. The No. 2-ranked Dawgs are now 3-0, outscoring their opponents 106-23. This Saturday they should steamroll Vanderbilt to get to 4-0, and then they'll have a suddenly-mega matchup against Arkansas, followed by a road game at Auburn. Should they get through that stretch unscathed, all that's left is Florida and a bunch of very winnable games that they'll just not need to lay an egg in to go undefeated. 

Should all that happen, UGA X, the 10th live bulldog mascot in school history, would easily become the greatest UGA ever. In fact, he may already be. Since taking over in 2015, UGA X is 55-14, a .797 win percentage that as of now is the best of all the UGAs (only UGA VI, who went 87-27 between 1999 and 2008, has been as good). Tell me this guy isn't the Alpha of all Alphas:

Look at that power stance. STUD. As long as this dude is in his cage, the Dawgs have a shot. By the way, that cage has its own AC unit:

Football royalty. Three helmet stickers for this Damn Good Dawg. 

Tyler Allgeier

There were countless "plays of the weekend" this past weekend, which is typical of a week that included ridiculous games like Auburn-Penn State, Alabama-Florida, UCF-Louisville (sneaky game of the year so far) and Memphis-Mississippi State. Singling any one out as THE play of the weekend is foolish (don't forget there was a buzzer-beating Hail Mary from SMU), but we have no problem labeling this play by BYU running back Tyler Allgeier the No. 1 game-altering play of the weekend. With his Cougars leading 21-17, quarterback Jaren Hall threw a brutal interception late in the third quarter that appeared as though it would turn into a pick six for Arizona State, or at the very least a game-swinging turnover that would put the Sun Devils in the red zone. But Allgeier went into linebacker mode and chased down Arizona State's Merlin Robinson, judo-chopping the ball out of his arms and knocking it loose for BYU to recover:

Wacky things happen late on Saturday night in Provo, and this was among the wackiest. From backbreaking INT for BYU to BACKBREAKING fumble by Arizona State. Incredible, DK Metcalf-like hustle from Allgeier, who ran for 69 yards and a tuddy but made no bigger play than this one in the game, and possibly all season. BYU kept ASU out of the end zone the rest of the night, winning 27-17, moving to 3-0 and jumping eight spots in the AP Poll from 23rd to 15th. Two helmet stickers. 

Mel Tucker

The Michigan State head coach has Sparty 3-0 and ranked 20th in the AP Poll after a dominant win over Miami. But that's not why we're praising him here. We're praising him for making the executive decision of wearing shorts in the sweltering Florida heat, something you never see from a head coach in the name of "professionalism" or some other nonsense:

When you're hot, you're hot. We fully endorse this move. Normalize head coaches wearing shorts when it's hot out. One helmet sticker. 

The refs

Piling on the refs each week is a fool's errand, because it's the one profession you can be utterly terrible at and not have to answer for your actions (besides weatherman). So, essentially, we're just shouting into the void, kind of like what people do on social media. But it still needs to be said that this past weekend was some of the most embarrassing officiating ever seen in college football, which, sadly, is par for the course. How about that targeting call in Auburn-Penn State:

Next time, the defender needs to just let the guy score, I guess? Bananaland. Over in Memphis, you had the punt return debacle, which did seem like a legal play right up until the official SEC Officiating Twitter account came out and said it wasn't, then ADDED that Memphis had two guys on the field with the same jersey number, which should have been a penalty which would have negated the entire play anyway. Congratulations, you guys failed at your job TWICE on the same play. 

Later in the evening on the blue turf, Oklahoma State, leading 21-20 at the time, was attempting to run the clock out when running back Jaylen Warren CLEARLY fumbled the ball, which Boise State scooped and scored. Well, at least it looked like they did. As the Broncos defender was making his way toward the end zone, the officials inexplicably blew the whistle. Listen closely:

Wild! After review, the refs did give the ball to Boise State (how kind of them!), but since they blew the play dead the Broncos offense had to take over. Oklahoma State, to its credit, stood tall, holding them to a field goal attempt, which was blocked. The Cowboys won 21-20, an absolute theft of a game no OSU fan is complaining about, nor should they. Boise State fans, on the other hand, have a legitimate gripe. Negative one million helmet stickers for the refs this weekend.