The Paul Hornung Award

WEEK 8: Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and Conference USA Players Headline Week Eight

Five Players Account for More Than 1,000 All-Purpose Yards, 11 Touchdowns

Louisville, Ky. – October 24, 2016 – Week eight of the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll brought two familiar faces and three first-time honorees. Jabrill Peppers of Michigan lined up in nine different positions during its rout of Illinois, and Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon racked up 377 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns in the NCAA-recording breaking game versus Texas Tech. Peppers and Mixon are repeat honorees this season. Rodney Smith of Minnesota accounted for 257 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota’s win over Rutgers; Tre Watson of Cal logged 36 touches in the double-overtime conference win against Cal; and Richie James of Middle Tennessee touched the ball four ways and scored two different ways in its big win over Missouri. Smith, Watson and James made the list for the first time.

The Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse, is annually awarded to the most versatile player in major college football. For the first time in its seven-year span, the Paul Hornung Award is an associate member of the prestigious National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The winner of this year’s award and his family will be honored on March 7, 2017, at a banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky.

Week Eight Honorees:

Michigan defensive specialist Jabrill Peppers returned the opening kickoff then lined up at quarterback, running back and wide receiver on the Wolverine’s first drive in the 41-8 rout of Illinois. On offense, Peppers carried the ball five times for nine yards and caught the ball once for five yards; on defense, he lined up at linebacker, safety, nickel back and corner back and logged two solo tackles. On special teams, he returned to kickoffs for 58 yards and fair caught three punts. Michigan is atop the Big 10 East with a 4-0 record and is 7-0 on the season.

Minnesota running back Rodney Smith was pivotal on offense and special teams in the comeback 34-32 victory over Rutgers. Smith’s 94-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter came after the Scarlet Knights’ pick-6 touchdown. In the Golden Gophers’ final, game-winning field goal drive, he carried the ball seven times and accounted for three first downs.  Smith rushed the ball 22 times for 112 yards and a touchdown, and caught one pass for 27 yards as Minnesota upped its overall record to 5-2.

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon accounted for five touchdowns during the NCAA-recording breaking, high-scoring battle versus Texas Tech. Mixon’s touchdowns were critical in the second half, as the Sooners and Raiders went score-for-score until the final minutes. He racked up 377 all-purpose yards, carried the ball 31 times for 263 yards and two touchdowns, and made four catches for 114 yards and three touchdowns. The Sooners are atop the Big 12 with a 4-0 conference record.

Cal running back Tre Watson logged 36 touches in the 52-49, double overtime conference win versus Oregon. His presence was felt on the offensive, where he carried the ball 28 times for 154 yards, and made five catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns, one of which put the Golden Bears up seven points with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. On special teams, Watson returned three kickoffs for 57 yards, finishing with 261 all-purpose yards. Cal is 4-3 on the season.

Middle Tennessee wide receiver Richie James scored touchdowns two different ways in the big-time, 51-45 road win over Missouri of the SEC.  On offense, James lined up at quarterback, running back and wide receiver, and on special teams he returned punts.  He accounted for 147 all-purpose yards: one-for-one passing for four yards, carried the ball twice for five yards and a touchdown, caught five passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, and returned one punt for nine yards. MTSU is now 5-2 on the season.

Past Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll Selections

Week One: Thomas Sperbeck (Boise State), Brandon Wilson (Houston), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), Isaiah McKenzie (Georgia)

Week Two: Quadree Henderson (Pitt), Kalen Ballage (Arizona State), KaVontae Turpin (TCU)

Week Three: Janarion Grant (Rutgers), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), Isaiah McKenzie (Georgia), Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

Week Four: Victor Bolden Jr. (Oregon State), Quadree Henderson (Pitt), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford), D’Eriq King (Houston), Darius Phillips (Western Michigan)

Week Five: Alvin Kamara (Tennessee), TJ Logan (UNC), Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), Cedrick Wilson (Boise State)

Week Six: Alvin Kamara (Tennessee), Adoree’ Jackson (USC), Tim White (Arizona State), Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)

Week Seven: Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), Jordan Whitehead (Pitt)