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NCAA Football

15 Best Moments of the College Football Season So Far

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The Top 15 Plays in College Football So Far

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Greg Bartram- US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 college football season so far has been chock full of exciting moments. From kickoff returns for touchdowns, to single game passing records, to shoeless touchdown runs, to Playstation-style plays we've seen it all. Picking out the top 15 plays so far this season was quite an undertaking which took a staggering amount of research (see YouTube) but was a fun one to put together nonetheless.

Some of the guys you will see in the videos to follow are familiar faces and familiar names, while others may have just had that one moment in the sun, or may be guys that you should know, but may not. The players in the slides to follow come from all over the country and at all levels of college football. We made a point to not stick to just Division I plays and players.

There are outstanding performances and eye-popping plays that happen at all levels of football on Saturday afternoons across the country-- to isolate our focus just on Division I, or just on the power conferences would have been far too discriminatory.

We hope you enjoy what we see as the top 15 plays of the college football season so far as much as we did researching and compiling it for you!!

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Trey Millard's Playstation-Style Touchdown Against Texas

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Tim Heitman- US PRESSWIRE

Very rarely do you see a combination leap-frog / stiff-knee that leaves a defender wondering what the hell just happened to him. That's just what happened here as Oklahoma Sooners fullback Trey Millard leaves Texas Longhorns defensive back Adrian Phillips in the dust in a play that can only be described as Playstation-esque. He must have hit the triangle button.

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Taylor Martinez Rips Off 96-Yard TD Run Against UCLA

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Kirby Lee- US PRESSWIRE

When you think of speedy quarterbacks, Nebraska Cornhuskers signal caller Taylor Martinez immediately comes to mind. It's not a rare sight to see Martinez rip off long runs well into the second-level. This 96-yard burner against the UCLA Bruins earlier this season, however, is the new gold standard for Mr. Martinez. Wow.

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Terrance Williams Posts 314 Receiving Yards in Loss To West Virginia

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Jerome Miron- US PRESSWIRE

Baylor Bears senior wideout Terrance Williams has established himself as the one of, if not the best, pass-catcher in college football. A sure-fire first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Williams has torched defenses all year long, but hasn't put on the hurt like he did in a 314 yard performance in a 70-63 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers early this season. Here are some of Williams' highlights from that barn-burner where he looked like a man among boys:

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Notre Dame's Controversial Goal-Line Stand Against Stanford

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Matt Cashore- US PRESSWIRE

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish certainly appear to be a team of destiny in 2012-- and I certainly don't throw that term around loosely. There have just been too many close calls which have fallen in the Irish's favor to think, er, greater "forces" aren't at work. One of the most controversial of these game-ending finishes came in overtime against the Stanford Cardinal in which Stepfan Taylor was stopped at the goal-line to end the game. Or was he? You decide:

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Eureka's Sam Durley Throws for 736 Yards in a Game

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Image Courtesy- Sports Grind

Eureka College's quarterback Sam Durley set the all-time single game passing yardage record with an unbelievable 736 yards passing in a 62-55 win over Knox College. Just three weeks later, the a Division I FBS quarterback in our next slide would come very close to re-breaking the record. For two such massive performances to happen within just weeks of one another is flat out amazing:

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Old Dominion's Taylor Heinicke Throws for 730 Yards in a Game

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Image Courtesy- LATime

In a 64-61 win over New Hampshire on September 22nd, Old Dominion Monarchs quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for a staggering 730 yards and five touchdowns, almost catching Eureka's Sam Durley, who threw for an all-time NCAA record of 736 yards just three weeks earlier. Just wow:

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Kenjon Barner Destroys the USC Trojans Defense

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Kirby Lee- US PRESSWIRE

Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner has skyrocketed up the list of possible Heisman Trophy candidates in recent weeks after several electrifying performances for arguably the most exciting offense in college football. None have been better, however, than Barner's 321 yard, five touchdown evisceration of the USC Trojans on November 3rd. In short, Barner was magic:

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Louisiana Monroe Knocks Off Arkansas Razorbacks

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Nelson Chenault- US PRESSWIRE

As the 2012 college football season kicked off, the Arkansas Razorbacks were thought to be one of the country's most promising teams, perhaps having enough talent to compete for a National Championship. Well, no, not really. It only took a massive performance from the little Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, led by QB Kolton Browning to show us just how over-rated the Razorbacks were and just how much dread was ahead:

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Dri Archer's 99 Yard Touchdown Return Against Ball State

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Mark Zerof- US PRESSWIRE

When I think of Kent State kick-return specialist extraordinaire Dri Archer-- I think one thing: pure speed. This pure, blazing speed was on display during this 99-yard kickoff return against Ball State on September 29th. Peace out Cardinals defenders.. you never had a chance. Few do when Dri hits the afterburners, as NFL special teams units will be finding out soon:

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Auburn's Daren Bates Recovers Fumble and Stiff Arms NMSU Player Into Next Week

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John Reed- US PRESSWIRE

Although the Auburn Tigers have had a season to forget, linebacker Daren Bates gave them at least one memory to cherish against the New Mexico State Aggies last Saturday. After recovering a fumble, Bates returned it toward the NMSU end zone and completely flattened a poor defender silly enough to try and stop him in the open field. Marshawn Lynch and Earl Campbell would be jealous of this one:

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Kent State's Andre Parker Returns Fumble the Wrong Way

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Image Courtesy- DoubleCoverage

A few things happened here. Kent State's Andre Parker made a great play to recover a muffed punt. Parker then turned around and returned this muffed punt the wrong way toward his own end zone in spite of the protest from his own teammates. In my time watching college football, I have to admit, I've seen few plays quite this strange:

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Cincinnati's Trick Play Jump Pass for a Touchdown Against Syracuse

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Frank Victores- US PRESSWIRE

When you think of jump passes, you think of two things: Tim Tebow or leather helmet-clad Ivy Leaguers from the 1940s. The Cincinnati Bearcats proved that the jump pass isn't completely out of style as they pulled it off beautifully for this touchdown against the Syracuse Orange in one of the flashiest touchdowns of the 2012 college football season so far:

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Johnny "Football" Manziel Becomes an Unlikely Phenomenon

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Spruce Derden- US PRESSWIRE

Texas A&M Aggies true freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has been one of the best stories of the 2012 college football season to date, compiling more yards himself than many FBS offenses have in total. Manziel's first high-profile performance came in a single-handed destruction of a team that has turned out to be one of the country's best mid-majors, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Here are some highlights:

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Denard Robinson's Shoeless Touchdown Run Against Air Force

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Rick Osentoski- US PRESSWIRE

Although Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson may have failed to live up to the Heisman Trophy promise that preceded him in 2012, that doesn't mean he hasn't been good for some big time highlights. Against the Air Force Falcons early in the season, Shoelace, or should be call him "Shoeless", lost a shoe and still managed to rip off a long touchdown run. Don't try this at home boys and girls:

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UNC's Giovani Bernard Returns Last-Second Punt for TD to Beat NC State

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Bob Donnan- US PRESSWIRE

Fellow Rant Sports writer Shannon Smallwood turned me on to what I think is the best play of the 2012 college football season so far. North Carolina's Giovani Bernard returned this punt for a touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the game to beat in-state rival North Carolina State. There is so much about this video that is great I don't even know where to begin:



Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.