Versatility powers Vanderbilt, Florida; defense lets down UNC, Georgia
Vanderbilt CB D.J. Moore hurt Kentucky on both sides of the ball, while North Carolina QB Cameron Sexton faltered against Maryland. Todd McShay has that and more in his Week 12 stock report.
The opportunity is there every week. Some players seize it; others let it slide away. Here's a look at the players who shone or slipped in Week 12:
1. Vanderbilt CB D.J. Moore
The Commodores entered the weekend having lost the past 17 games they had played with bowl eligibility on the line, but Moore apparently decided enough was enough, and the team's most talented player took matters into his own hands versus Kentucky. Moore put his playmaking ability to work on offense with his first two career receptions, both of which went for touchdowns in the first quarter. After giving Vanderbilt a 14-0 cushion on offense, Moore did the remainder of his damage with two key interceptions on defense. His first pick set up a score that gave Vandy a 21-7 lead, and his second interception was even more critical, as it stunted Kentucky's comeback with the Wildcats trailing by just seven (31-24) with 2:07 remaining. 2. Florida WR/RB/RS Percy Harvin
Freshmen speedsters Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps had been enjoying all the fun in Florida's backfield recently, but Harvin got in on the action in Florida's 56-6 throttling of South Carolina. The versatile junior made the most of his eight carries, slashing the Gamecocks' respectable run defense for 162 yards and two scores. South Carolina simply had no answer for Harvin's world-class speed when he broke through the line of scrimmage. It also should be noted that Florida ILB Brandon Spikes' 12-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter proved to be an early tone-setter for the Gators' defense, although it was nothing new for the standout linebacker. Spikes also picked off a first-quarter pass in Florida's win over LSU and sent a message with a bone-jarring hit on RB Knowshon Moreno early in the blowout win over Georgia.
Todd McShay takes a look at other big names rising and falling across college football after Week 12. Insider
• Boston College linebackers impressive
• Oregon State RB Rodgers shreds Cal
• Kansas offense stumbles in Texas
• Wake Forest QB Skinner inconsistent
1. North Carolina QB Cameron Sexton
Coach Butch Davis' squad has shown a great deal of resiliency in overcoming injuries to key players such as QB T.J. Yates and WR/RS Brandon Tate, but the Tar Heels could not overcome Sexton's erratic passing performance against Maryland. He completed just 10 of 24 passes and threw an interception in the 17-15 loss to the Terps. North Carolina's run defense didn't hold up its end of the bargain, either. After holding Virginia to minus-12 yards on the ground the week before, the Tar Heels allowed Maryland to churn out 195 rushing yards. The loss dropped North Carolina out of first place in the Coastal Division. 2. Georgia's defense
Ordinarily, allowing 13 points isn't such a bad effort, but Auburn's offense entered the weekend averaging just 13 points per game against SEC competition and the Tigers seemed to get well in a 17-13 loss to the Bulldogs. RB Mario Fannin accounted for a career-high 107 total yards, and QB Kodi Burns nearly pulled off the upset before a 66-yard, fourth-quarter drive stalled on the Georgia 14-yard line. The Bulldogs were shredded for 49 points in the embarrassing loss to Florida and nearly surrendered 38 points a week later in the narrow victory over Kentucky, which ranks 102nd nationally in total offense.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN Insider. Listen to Todd McShay break down the biggest games and give you all the scores on "College GameDay" on ESPN Radio every Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. ET. He also is a frequent contributor to ESPNU.