Pac-10 Pros Three Stars of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, Justin Forsett

By Brian Consolazio, November 18, 2009 3:56 am

#1 Star: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Alma Mater: UCLA
Stats (11/15): 24 Rushes for 123 Yards, 1 TD, 2 Receptions for 22 Yards

The Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Jets turned out to be one of the best football games of the week, and Maurice Jones-Drew once again showed why he is one of the best running backs in the game leading his team to a 24 – 22 victory over the New York Jets in the Meadowlands.

Just three minutes into the game, Jones-Drew broke a 33 yard rush to the left side to give the Jaguars the early 7 – 0 lead. The game went back and forth throughout, and with the Jags trailing 22 – 21 with 5:04 left in the game, they started a drive that would prove to be the game winner.

Although Jones-Drew only had the one touchdown, his biggest play came right after the two minute warning when the Jags were at the Jets 10-yard line on 2nd and 6. Jones-Drew rushed up the middle for nine yards and took a knee at the Jets one to all but seal victory as the Jaguars were able to ice the game from there and kick a game winning field goal as time expired.

After the game, Jones-Drew apologized to his fantasy owners for not taking the easy touchdown that the Jets were giving him. He stated that the team always comes first, and that selfless play earned him the number one spot this week. If Jones-Drew continues to play this well, the Jags could potentially make a run at the Wild Card this year.

#2 Star: Steven Jackson, St Louis Rams
Alma Mater: Oregon State
Stats (11/15) 26 Rushes for 131 Yards, 1 TD, 9 Receptions for 45 Yards

With the St Louis Rams going up against the New Orleans Saints this weekend, it looked as though the Saints would breeze to another win and stay undefeated through their first nine games. Although they did end up winning the game, Steven Jackson and the Rams made sure that it wouldn’t be easy for them.

Steven Jackson finished the game with the third most rushing yards of the week, and he seemed to rush at will on the Saints all game long with his five yard average. His longest rush of the game came on the second play of the game (30 yards) and set the tone for the rest of the way. With 55 seconds left in the first half down 14 – 7, Steven Jackson rushed to the right for a two yard TD to tie the game up before half time.

It was another frustrating loss for the Rams, but they have to have some confidence going into their game next week against the Arizona Cardinals after proving this week that they can hang against anyone.

#3 Star: Justin Forsett, Seattle Seahawks
Alma Mater: Cal
Stats (11/15) 17 Rushes for 123 Yards, 1 TD, 5 Receptions for 26 Yards

Justin Forsett rounds out the top three this week and is also the third running back to make the list. With Julius Jones out with a chest injury, Forsett finally got his chance to start his first game of the year and was able to shine throughout.

Forsett’s 7.2 yards per carry was best in the league this week among running backs who rushed 15 times or more, and he showed his explosive speed and breakout ability every time he touched the ball. Justin Forsett’s 11-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds left in the first quarter topped off an impressive 99-yard drive for the Seahawks, and even though they lost the game, Forsett was able to get a career high in rushing yards with 123.

I’m not sure how long Julius Jones is supposed to be out, but I think Justin Forsett guaranteed himself a lot more carries the rest of the way even if he splits time with Jones. This was a promising start for the Seahawks and Forsett, and I look for them to be able to build on Forsett’s potential and be a fun team to watch for the remainder of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

Oregon State’s TJ Houshmandzadeh (9 Receptions for 165 Yards)
Stanford’s Oshiomogho Atogwe (5 Tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 Pass Deflection)
Oregon State’s Sabby Piscitelli (9 Tackles, 1 FF)
Arizona’s Gilbert Arenas (20.0 Pts, 5.5 Rebs, 9.0 Asts, 2.5 Stls, 7.0 TOs, 37% FG Pct)
UCLA’s Baron Davis (19.3 Pts, 5.0 Rebs, 7.3 Asts, 2.3 Stls, 2.7 TOs, 40% FG Pct)

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