West Virginia's Tavon Austin moves into top spot for Biletnikoff
The Heisman Trophy isn’t the only award worth watching on a weekly basis. The Lombardi, Outland, Davey O’Brien and Biletnikoff races are all worth watching and debating as the season goes along.
Throughout the season, we’ll keep an eye on all the prominent position trophies through college football in addition to the Heisman.
If you’re looking for our thoughts on that other trophy, check our weekly Heisman poll.
Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Geno Smith, West Virginia
Smith was 30-of-43 for 338 yards with three touchdowns against Maryland last week, reminding us that even his season lows in completed passes, completion rate, touchdown passes and yards per attempt are still pretty darn good. Other quarterbacks are gaining, though, after Collin Klein and EJ Manuel had signature games last week. USC’s Matt Barkley, who has four interceptions in his last two games, is fading a bit.
Others: ULM’s Kolton Browning, Kansas State’s Collin Klein, Florida State’s EJ Manuel, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, Georgia’s Aaron Murray
Doak Walker (Top running back)
Our leader: Chris Thompson, Florida State
The field for the nation’s top running back has been an interesting one -- UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin struggled against Oregon State, Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell has been streaky, Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas was solid yet unspectacular against Arizona. Let’s shine the spotlight on Florida State’s Chris Thompson, who has rushed for 300 yards and four touchdowns on only 24 carries in Florida State’s two ACC wins.
Others: Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell, UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, Fresno State’s Robbie Rouse, Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas
Biletnikoff Award (Top wide receiver)
Our leader: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
One of the byproducts of playing for Dana Holgorsen and with quarterback Geno Smith is the chance to stand out at receiver. Austin, however, made Smith look pretty good against Maryland with 13 catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Austin has nine touchdown catches and 46 catches in his last four games dating back to the Orange Bowl.
Others: West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, USC’s Marqise Lee, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton, USC’s Robert Woods
Mackey Award (Top tight end)
Our leader: Chris Coyle, Arizona State
Coyle leads the nation’s tight ends in receptions (22) and receiving yards (301) for surprising Arizona State. The junior who had six career receptions coming into the season now has twice as many catches as anyone on the Sun Devils’ roster.
Others: Oregon’s Colt Lyerla, Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Outland Trophy (Top interior lineman)
Our leader: Barrett Jones, Alabama
Another week with Jones looking like the player to beat for the lineman awards. Jones also was named a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, whcih is awarded to a player with notable on-field and academic accomplishments.
Others: Virginia’s Oday Aboushi, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Utah’s Star Lotulelei
Rimington Trophy (Top center)
Our leader: Alabama’s Jones
Others: Clemson’s Dalton Freeman
Bednarik Award/Nagurski Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
Our leader: Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
The play up front has been outstanding for Notre Dame, allowing Te’o to reap the benefits. Te’o had two interceptions against Michigan to go with eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Notre Dame has allowed three field goals and no touchdowns in the last two games.
Others: Mississippi State’s Johnathan Banks, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Florida State’s Bjoern Werner
Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)
Our leader: Te’o, Notre Dame
Others: Stanford’s Ben Gardner, UCLA’s Datone Jones, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore, Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, Maryland’s Joe Vellano, Florida State’s Bjeorn Werner
Butkus Award (Top linebacker)
Our leader: Te’o, Notre Dame
Others: USC’s Dion Bailey, Kansas State’s Arthur Brown, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Iowa State’s Jake Knott, Alabama’s C.J. Mosely, Connecticut’s Yawin Smallwood
Thorpe Award (Top defensive back)
Our leader: Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Mississippi State hasn’t faced the toughest schedule yet, meaning the Bulldogs could be bowl eligible before a difficult stretch against Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU in late October and early November. Banks has led the way for the Mississippi State defense the entire season. Against South Alabama last week, he picked up this highlight-reel interception. Banks has three picks on a team that leads the nation in turnover margin.
Others: NC State’s David Amerson, Texas’ Quandre Diggs, Oregon’s Iko Ekpre-Olomu, Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Stanford’s Jordan Richards, Texas’ Kenny Vacarro
SPECIAL TEAMS AWARDS
Groza Award (Top kicker)
Our leader: Jeff Budzien, Northwestern
Budzien is 8 of 8 on field goal attempts this season, including a 5 for 5 mark against Boston College in a 22-13 win two weeks ago.
Others: Iowa’s Mike Meyer, Florida’s Caleb Sturgis
Ray Guy Award (Top punter)
Our leader: Texas A&M’s Ryan Epperson
Epperson has been one of the nation’s most consistent punters, ranking third at 47.6 yards per kick and at least 44 yards per kick in each game this season. The Aggies are also second in the nation in net punting.
Others: Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen, Utah’s Sean Sellwood, LSU’s Brad Wing
OTHER NATIONAL AWARDS
Freshman of the Year
Our leader: Duke Johnson, Miami
Miami’s comeback against Georgia Tech last week was primarily on the shoulders of quarterback Stephen Morris, but Johnson still finished with 110 yards from scrimmage and 200 total yards. Though Johnson averaged a season-low 9.5 yards per play against Georgia Tech, he remains the national leader in all-purpose yards per game (209.5).
Others: Georgia’s Todd Gurley, UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon
Coach of the Year
Our leader: Mike Riley, Oregon State
Even in successful seasons at Oregon State, the Beavers often stumbled out of the gate in September. Riley has navigated an odd early schedule with a canceled season opener and an open date in Week 3 for an impressive pair of wins this season over Wisconsin and a hot UCLA team. Oregon State ranks second in the nation in rush defense.
Others: Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, Minnesota’s Jerry Kill, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, UCLA’s Jim L. Mora, Stanford’s David Shaw
by David Fox
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