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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Best Single Game WR Performances of 2012

Having already posted the top QB performances of 2012, I suppose it's a little predictable that some of the QBs from that list will have helped some of the WRs on this list.  Either way, here's the list.

#10: Alex Neutz (Buffalo) vs. Morgan State (+17.5 EPA)

Buffalo had just played somewhat well against Georgia but a lack of talent led to a multiple score loss.  The following week they took out their frustrations on lowly FCS Morgan State.  Neutz had 8 catches for 154 and 4 TD.  The Junior finished the year with 65 catches for 1015 and 11 TD.

#9: Kenny Stills (Oklahoma) vs. West Virginia (+17.6 EPA)

One of the best games of the year, and if you love individual performances that produce video game stats, this game was for you.  In this game, Oklahoma's Landry Jones posted our #2 performance of the season, and he spread the ball around pretty well.  Three OU receivers - Jalen Saunders, Justin Brown, and Sterling Shepard - all had more yards than Stills.  Stills, on the other hand, had the TDs - 4 of them, on 10 catches for 91 yards.

#8: Tobais Palmer (NC State) vs. Clemson (+18.1 EPA)

While Tajh Boyd was having a historic game for Clemson, NC State's Mike Glennon managed to keep the Wolfpack in the game by hooking up with Palmer for big play after big play.  Palmer had 7 catches for 219 yards and 3 TD:
The scary part:  The EPA listed above doesn't include special teams contributions.  Palmer had 8 returns for another 277 yards that day.

#7: Allen Robinson (Penn St) vs. Indiana (+18.2 EPA)

It's nice to just talk about Penn State football.  The sophomore Robinson exploded onto the scene in 2012, leading the Big Ten in catches (77), receiving yards (1046), and TD catches (11).  This was Robinson's best game - 10 catches for 197 and 3 TD.  The following short highlight from the game shows only two of his catches, but they both let you know why he's a force to be reckoned with.  On a screen pass, he makes multiple defenders miss and takes it to the house.  Then, against decent man coverage, he adjusts to the ball and makes an impressive catch in the endzone.  Enjoy him while you can, Happy Valley - the NFL could very well be calling in a year.

#6: Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas) vs. Rutgers (+19.1 EPA)

In the loss to Rutgers, Tyler Wilson completed 20 passes for 419 yards and 3 TD.  To receivers not named Cobi Hamilton, he completed 10 passes for 116 yards and 0 TD.  If you're not good at math, I'll tell you that leaves the following line for Hamilton: 10 catches for 303 and 3 TD.  Very impressive, seeing how Rutgers had a bit of a pulse this year on defense and all.  His 303 receiving yards set a school record, and more importantly, an SEC record.

Hamilton finished the season with 90 catches for 1335 yards, but only 5 TD, 3 of which came against the Scarlet Knights.

#5: Cody Hoffman (BYU) vs. New Mexico State (+22.4 EPA)

12 catches, 182 yards, and 5 TDs. 

Watch this video, and you may realize that you're probably one of the first 20,000 humans to have seen his performance.  Hoffman finished the year with 100 catches, 1248 yards, and 11 TD.

#4: Terrance Williams (Baylor) vs. West Virginia (+23.1 EPA)

What can I say about this game that hasn't already been said?  You can watch the game in the QB performances post.  Williams had a ridiculous 17 catches for 314 and 2 TD.  The consensus All-American led the country in receiving yards this year with 1832.

#3: Marqise Lee (USC) vs. Arizona (+23.4 EPA)

USC had a year to forget, but if they need some solace, they can take it in the highlights of Lee, one of the best receivers in Trojan history.  Behold his best game:
16 catches for 345 and 2 TD was enough to crack our top 3, but it wasn't enough to beat Arizona.  In this game, Lee set the Pac-12's single game receiving record.  The All-American would go on to lead the country in catches with 118, and had over 2600 all-purpose yards on the year.

#2: Tavon Austin (West Virginia) vs. Oklahoma (+25.6 EPA)

I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure whether to include Austin in the RB countdown or leave him here.  I decided to leave him here as he is, primarily, a WR.  These aren't exclusively the top receiving performances, nor was the RB list limited to rushing contributions alone.  And with 114 catches on the year, Austin was pretty clearly a receiver.  On this day, however, he gashed Oklahoma on the ground, rushing the ball 21 times for 344 yards and 2 TD.  He also had 4 catches for 82 yards.  And 8 kick returns for 146, and those aren't even factored into the EPA.  His 568 all-purpose yards set a Big XII record, and Austin's 344 rushing yards set a school record.  Not bad for a WR.

Maybe the most amazing fact about our #2 WR performance of the season?  It wasn't even the best WR performance on his team, which leads us to...

#1: Stedman Bailey (West Virginia) vs. Baylor (+26.0 EPA)

(Baylor game starts at 2:18)

Geno Smith had, by far, the best QB performance of the year.  Somebody had to catch those passes.  Tavon Austin had more catches, but nobody touched Bailey in terms of big plays.  13 catches, 303 yards, and 5 TD - only one-fifth of his amazing season total.

Brent Blackwell compiles the EPA rankings for  Follow Brent on Twitter by mashing the pretty button below.

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