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November 26, 2006

Top performers: No luck needed

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The end of the regular season is inching closer, meaning team's seasons are on the line.

For this week's top performers, a few of the usual suspects - USC and Oklahoma - are here. But Thanksgiving weekend brought its share of unexpected stars.

Wake Forest continued its run to the ACC Championship Game with a win over Maryland. The most impressive performance from a Florida football team may have come from a team from Tampa.

At the same time, Boise State relied on its star running back to clinch a BCS bowl berth and Rice completed its turnaround thanks to contributions from a Biletnikoff finalist.

Find out who made the list of top performers - as well as the five goats - from Week 13:

Rivals.com Week 13 Top Performers
1. Dwayne Jarrett, USC wide receiver
The numbers: Seven receptions, 132 yards, three TDs
The result: USC 44, Notre Dame 24
The Notre Dame secondary was suspect to begin with, but Jarrett made the Irish pass defense look even worse in USC's big win. Jarrett has been a nightmare for Notre Dame the last two years. His performance Saturday followed up the 61-yard catch on fourth down that set up USC's game-winning touchdown a year ago. With Jarrett recovered from a concussion and shoulder injury sustained this season, the Trojans go into the UCLA game with a possible berth in the national championship game on the line. On Saturday, he opened up USC's early lead with touchdown catches of 9 and 6 yards in the first quarter and sealed the win with a 43-yard score in the fourth quarter.
2. Kenneth Moore, Wake Forest running back
The numbers: 27 carries, 165 yards, TD; three receptions 33 yards
The result: Wake Forest 38, Maryland 24
This should be a team award for the Demon Deacons, who have reached 10 wins and the ACC Championship Game with a true group effort. In the Atlantic Division-clinching win, quarterback Riley Skinner was efficient - going 10 of 13 through the air. Kevin Harris added two touchdown runs and the defense intercepted Sam Hollenbach three times. But Moore, a converted wide receiver, carried the Deacons' ground game to move Wake Forest within one game of a BCS bowl.
3. South Florida's defense
The numbers: 310 yards allowed, 132 rushing, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions
The result: South Florida 24, West Virginia 19
Attention to the Big East: Call up this game tape when looking for answers against West Virginia. The Bulls held Steve Slaton to a mere 43 rushing yards, 115 yards below his season average. USF limited the Mountaineers to 310 total yards - WVU averaged 480.7 per game going into Saturday. George Selvie (3.5 tackles for a loss, fumble recovery for a touchdown) and Josh Julmiste (two sacks) led the dominant effort up front.
4. Brandon Jackson, Nebraska running back
The numbers: 34 carries, 142 yards, TD; six receptions, 42 yards, TD
The result: Nebraska 37, Colorado 14 on Friday
Remember when the Cornhuskers' running game was a three-headed monster? Not so anymore. Against the Buffaloes, Jackson ran a career-high 34 times, also a high for any Nebraska running back this year. He broke open a 14-14 game with his 2-yard touchdown run and 18-yard touchdown catch in the second half.
5. Allen Patrick, Oklahoma running back
The numbers: 23 carries, 163 yards, TD
The result: Oklahoma 27, Oklahoma State 21
After missing two games with an ankle injury, Patrick came back triumphantly in the Bedlam game. The Sooners were given an opportunity to play in the Big 12 Championship Game after Texas' loss to Texas A&M on Friday. The Sooners and Patrick seized the moment. The converted safety, who carried the ball only 18 times before Adrian Peterson's injury, gave Oklahoma a 20-7 lead to start the second half with a 65-yard touchdown run.
6. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, Arkansas running backs
McFadden's numbers: 21 carries, 182 yards, two TDs; 2-for-2 passing, 33 yards; one catch, 7 yards
Jones' numbers: 16 carries, 137 yards, TD; three kickoff returns, 82 yards
The result: LSU 31, Arkansas 26 on Friday
7. Ian Johnson, Boise State running back
The numbers: 31 carries, 147 yards, three TDs
The result: Boise State 38, Nevada 7
8. John Beck, BYU quarterback
The numbers: 28 of 43 passing, 375 yards, four TDs
The result: BYU 33, Utah 31
9. Jarrett Dillard, Rice wide receiver
The numbers: Six receptions, 145 yards, three TDs
The result: Rice 31, SMU 27
10. Brian Brohm, Louisville quarterback
The numbers: 21 of 29 passing, 337 yards, four TDs
The result: Louisville 48, Pittsburgh 24
Week 13 Goats
1. Florida's Chris Hetland
Two misses from the Gators' kicker made Florida's 21-14 win over Florida State much closer than it needed to be. Hetland missed field goals of 35 and 38 yards to end the regular season converting only three of 12 attempts. He has made two field goals of 22 yards and a third of 29 this year.
2. South Carolina's Nathan Pepper
He had a Leon Lett moment when the defensive tackle intercepted Clemson's Will Proctor in the third quarter of a 28-28 game. Pepper slowed down on his way to the end zone and James Davis stripped the ball from him only yards from a touchdown. Pepper fumbled out of the end zone to give Clemson the ball on a touchback.
3. N.C. State
Just when the Wolfpack's season seemed like it couldn't get any worse, N.C. State turned it one last stinker. N.C. State lost 21-16 at home to East Carolina to end the season on a seven-game losing streak, the last two to North Carolina and the Pirates. With a loss earlier this year to Southern Miss, Chuck Amato's team was 0-2 vs. Conference USA this year.
4. Virginia
The Cavaliers' offense goes into the offseason with some major work to do. Virginia was shut out for third time this season and turned it its least impressive effort. The Hokies held the Cavs to 112 yards of offense and only five first downs.
5. Pittsburgh
The Panthers broke out gold jerseys against Louisville but looked like the same Pittsburgh that dropped four in a row going into the matchup with the Cardinals. Pitt lost 48-28. After starting the year 6-1, Pitt finished 2-5 in the Big East and 6-6 overall, a one-game improvement from last year with help from the 12th game.

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