Week 13 of the 2017 college football season was filled with several intriguing matchups and storylines. The ACC had a productive rivalry weekend, as Florida State defeated Florida, Louisville beat Kentucky and Clemson handled South Carolina. However, the weekend's biggest surprise took place on Friday. Pitt upset Miami 24-14 to end the Hurricanes' hopes of an unbeaten season. While the loss was a setback, coach Mark Richt's team can still make the CFB Playoff with a win over Clemson next Saturday. Elsewhere around the ACC, Boston College knocked off Syracuse, Virginia Tech pitched a shutout in a win against Virginia, Duke got bowl eligible with a victory against Wake Forest and NC State defeated North Carolina 33-21.
With the 13th weekend of the 2017 season in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, freshman and unsung hero from Week 13:
ACC Week 13 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Jackson got revenge for last year’s loss to Kentucky by guiding the Cardinals to a 44-17 victory on Saturday. The junior completed 15 of 21 throws for 216 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 156 yards on 18 carries.
Defensive Player of the Week: Avonte Maddox, DB, Pitt
Maddox led the way for Pitt’s defense in the upset win over Miami. The senior recorded four tackles (two for a loss), two sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Shawn Watson, Pitt
A balanced attack and some timely calls by Watson helped Pitt knock off Miami on Friday afternoon. The Panthers recorded 345 yards and 24 points and converted 8 of 17 third-down attempts against one of the ACC’s top defenses. Watson’s group also went two-for-two on drives in the red zone and averaged 4.7 yards per play.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Brent Venables, Clemson
The ACC has a couple of strong candidates for this award this week, but let’s give it to Venables after Clemson’s dominant effort on defense against South Carolina. The Tigers limited the Gamecocks to just 207 total yards, forced two turnovers and registered five tackles for a loss. Additionally, Clemson’s defense forced four three-and-outs, with 80 of the 207 yards coming on the final drive.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
Pickett wasn’t intimated by Miami’s standout defense or the turnover chain in his first career start. The true freshman completed 18 of 29 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown and added 60 rushing yards and two scores on 13 carries to guide Pitt to the 24-14 upset.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Stanford Samuels III, DB, Florida State
Samuels recorded three tackles (one for a loss), one sack and a pass breakup in Florida State’s win over Florida.
Team of the Week: Pitt
For the second consecutive year, Pitt knocked off one of college football’s top-five teams in November. After knocking off Clemson last fall, the Panthers ended Miami’s perfect season with a 24-14 upset in Heinz Field on Friday afternoon. True freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett was steady in his first career start (18 of 29 for 193 yards and one touchdown and 60 rushing yards and two scores), while the defense limited the Hurricanes to just 232 yards on 59 plays (3.9 per play). Coach Pat Narduzzi’s team will miss out on a bowl with a 5-7 mark, but the finish to 2017 should provide this staff with something to build on for next fall.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Duke earned its sixth victory and clinched bowl eligibility in Saturday’s upset at Wake Forest. Jones led the way for the Blue Devils’ offense, completing 25 of 44 throws for 346 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 37 yards and a score on 14 carries.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Levonta Taylor, DB, Florida State
Taylor picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown in Florida State’s win over Florida.