The opportunity is there every Saturday. Some players seize it. Others let it slide away. Here's a look at the players who shined or slipped in Week 9:
Kellen Lewis, QB, Indiana
Hoosiers basketball dominates the sports landscape in Bloomington, Ind., but Terry Hoeppner's gridiron gang deserves notice for its progress in 2006. Lewis is a budding playmaker as dual-threat quarterback. He threw five touchdown passes in the victory against Michigan State, improving Indiana's record to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play. The Hoosiers need one win in their final three games (at Minnesota, vs. Michigan, at Purdue) to become bowl eligible. The playmaking freshman gives Indiana fans much to be excited about now and for the future. Wide receiver James Hardy got the stock up nod two weeks ago for his role in the Iowa upset. So in the interest of fairness, Lewis gets recognized this time around. It should be noted, however, that Hardy set a school record with four touchdown receptions in Saturday's win.
Matt Moore, QB, Oregon State
It's difficult to single out one player in such an epic win for the Oregon State program, but Moore's production and leadership proved to be the difference in Saturday's 33-31 triumph over the Trojans. Moore set the tone early by completing all seven of his throws in the Beavers' first offensive drive, which he capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run to take the initial lead. The senior signal-caller is notorious for his inconsistent play, but he avoided critical errors and finished the game completing 21 of his 32 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown. Moore's primary weapon, Sammie Stroughter, also came up big with 127 receiving yards and a 70-yard punt return for a score. The win helps in taking pressure off head coach Mike Riley, who had been under fire for disappointing teams the past two seasons. A side note: I can't bring myself to reward a USC player in an upset loss, but Steve Smith deserves mentioning for his career afternoon with 258 yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions.