BY DAVID CHOUGH
Grant Kraemer, QB, Drake
While the game between Iowa State and Drake wasn’t a game played for a conference championship or bowl eligibility, it had something perhaps even greater at stake: pride. Iowa State wanted to play 12 games this season, and with the previous two commitments falling through, the Cyclones and Drake were able to reach an agreement to play this game just a few weeks prior. The Bulldogs were already eliminated from playoff contention, but they still had intentions of pulling of the upset — and that all started with their quarterback, Grant Kraemer.
Although Drake’s first drive started on its own 7-yard line, Kraemer wasted no time in capitalizing as he rifled a touchdown pass that put the underdogs up, 7-0. Even after the Cyclones managed to wrest away momentum with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, Kraemer looked unphased. No matter what the defense or the inclement weather, threw at the quarterback, he calmly continued to lead the offense. A methodical, 10-play, 83-yard drive eventually finished with a touchdown pass from Kramer with defenders in his face.
After halftime, Drake’s defense forced a fumble, leading to a field goal that cut Iowa State’s lead to 3. Another forced turnover put Drake in position to take the lead and Kraemer seized the opportunity. He found a wide receiver for 23 yards on third down to keep the drive alive, and in the red zone, Kraemer sat in the pocket and let the play develop. Maybe it was trust in his receiver, maybe it was sheer confidence that allowed him to sling a pass into the heart of the secondary for a touchdown. Suddenly, the Bulldogs were up 24-20 in what would be the most unlikely of upsets in recent memory.
Though the offense would not be able to score after that and the Cyclones ultimately pulled away, Grant Kraemer’s performance, completing 20 of his 29 attempts for 221 yards and three touchdowns in awful field conditions, was a worthy one to end his collegiate career. Drake might have entered into the Iowa State stadium as the home team’s third-choice, but Kraemer and the Bulldogs left as valiant opponents.
Reggie Gallaspy II, RB, North Carolina State
One week after carrying the ball a season-high 27 times for 129 yards against in-state rival UNC, Reggie Gallaspy II once again made the most of his many opportunities. This time, he carried it 24 times against East Carolina for a season-high 220 yards and two touchdowns, bringing his total to over 1,000 yards on the season, the first time he has ever hit that mark in his career.
Bobby Okereke, ILB, Stanford
In his final rivalry matchup against California, Bobby Okereke put his stamp on things with 13 total stops, including 7 solo tackles, 0.5 sack and a forced fumble. As a result, the Golden Bears were never able to get into a rhythm, and Stanford cruised to a 23-13 victory.
Wesley Bush, DB, Middle Tennessee
Familiarity breeds contempt, and after two straight weeks of playing against Middle Tennessee, it wouldn’t be a surprise if UAB was sick of seeing Wesley Bush. The senior defensive back has terrorized the Dragons for two weeks straight, the latest effort yielding 10 tackles and a pick for the second game in a row. Though UAB came out victorious, Bush proved he has the range and hitting ability to compete at the next level.