- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
The opportunity is there every Saturday. Some players seize it. Others let it slide away. Here's a look at the players who shined or slipped in Week 6:
Erik Ainge, QB, Tennessee
Ainge grew up in front of the nation's eyes on Saturday night, shaking off a rocky start to throw for 269 yards and two touchdowns in the Vols' comeback effort. It would have been easy for the junior signal caller to go in the tank after his team got down 17 points between the hedges. Instead, Ainge showed tremendous poise and leadership. This was unquestionably the signature performance of Ainge's career to date, but it seems his best football is still ahead of him.
Daniel Evans, QB, NC State
The Wolfpack lost two of their first three games this season, including an embarrassing defeat to Akron in front of a packed house at Carter-Finley Stadium. After scoring an average of 19 points against subpar competition in the first three contests, head coach Chuck Amato benched starting quarterback Marcus Stone in favor of Evans. Since then, Evans has guided NC State to consecutive exhilarating victories over conference foes Boston College and Florida State. The local product has shown good touch and timing on the deep ball, and his poise is impressive for such an inexperienced player. With Evans at the helm, Amato's club is a legitimate contender in the ACC.
Down 17, Erik Ainge could have quit. After losing two of three, NC State could have hung it up. They didn't, so their stock is up, writes Todd McShay.