Athlon hands out the awards from the Week 3 action in the ACC.
Week 3 of the 2017 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments from the ACC. Clemson earned another impressive win on Saturday night, as the Tigers defeated Louisville 47-21. The offense recorded 613 total yards, and the defense contained Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson to just seven points through the first three quarters. Outside of Clemson's win against Louisville, Duke moved to 3-0 with a victory over Baylor, and Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina and NC State each picked up non-conference wins.
With the third weekend of 2017 in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances from the ACC. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, freshman and unsung hero from Week 3:
ACC Week 3 College Football Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Kelly Bryant, QB, Clemson
Any remaining concerns about Clemson’s quarterback situation in the post-Deshaun Watson era were answered on Saturday night. Bryant led the way for the Tigers in a road win at Louisville, completing 22 of 32 throws for 316 yards and one touchdown. He also added two touchdowns on the ground and guided the offense to an average of 7.6 yards per play.
Defensive Player of the Week: Dorian O’Daniel, LB, Clemson
A couple of Clemson defenders deserve consideration here, but O’Daniel gets the nod after finishing second on the team with six tackles (three solo and one for a loss). In addition to his six tackles, O’Daniel intercepted a pass in the third quarter and returned it for a 44-yard touchdown. The pick six by O’Daniel extended Clemson’s lead to 26-7 and effectively ended any hopes Louisville had of a comeback.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Tony Elliott/Jeff Scott, Clemson
Clemson co-coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott earn this award for the performance of the offense in a 47-21 victory over Louisville in a tough road environment. The Tigers recorded 613 total yards, averaged 7.6 yards per play and scored on four out of their first seven drives. Both Elliott and Scott were also instrumental in the development of new quarterback Kelly Bryant in this offense, as well as the transition to the next wave of stars at the skill positions.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Brent Venables, Clemson
The final score and totals on the stat sheet weren’t indicative of how well Clemson’s defense played on Saturday night. Louisville tacked on two late touchdowns and had three drives of 75 yards or more once the game was out of reach. But with the starters in, the Tigers contained Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and allowed only one of the Cardinals’ first 10 drives to go beyond 14 yards. Venables’ group was once again dominant around the line of scrimmage, recording four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Josh Jackson, QB, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech didn’t have much trouble moving the ball against East Carolina on Saturday, as coach Justin Fuente’s offense averaged 7.1 yards per play and punted only twice on 14 drives. Jackson was the driving force behind the success on offense, with the freshman torching the Pirates for 372 yards and five touchdowns through the air on 24 completions.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Brenton Nelson, S, Virginia
Nelson has started all three games as a redshirt freshman for Bronco Mendenhall’s defense and posted his best performance of the year in Saturday’s victory against UConn. Nelson recorded eight stops, two pass breakups and one interception in the win over the Huskies.
Team of the Week: Clemson
The path to the ACC Championship runs through Death Valley once again. Clemson’s defense has dominated through the first three weeks of the season and held Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson in check in Saturday night’s 47-21 victory. Replacing Deshaun Watson at quarterback wasn’t going to be easy for coach Dabo Swinney, but he’s found his next star signal-caller in Kelly Bryant. The junior delivered a standout performance against the Cardinals, completing 22 of 32 passes for 316 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 26 yards and two scores. With a home game up next against Boston College, Clemson should be 4-0 headed into a road showdown against Virginia Tech on Sept. 30.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Kurt Benkert, QB, Virginia
Virginia’s offense recorded 38 points and 626 total yards in Saturday’s 38-18 win over UConn. Benkert quietly delivered one of the ACC’s top quarterback performances from the weekend, as he torched the Huskies for 455 passing yards and three touchdowns on 30 completions.