Athlon hands out the awards from the Week 1 action.
College football’s Week 1 slate for 2016 was billed as the best opening weekend in the history of the sport. Needless to say, the games didn’t disappoint. Florida State-Ole Miss, Texas-Notre Dame, North Carolina-Georgia and Auburn-Clemson were just a few of the standout games from the opening weekend of action.
With the first weekend of games 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 1:
College Football Week 1 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Chubb showed no rust from the knee injury that ended his 2015 season. In Georgia’s 33-24 win over North Carolina on Saturday, Chubb gashed the Tar Heels’ defense for 222 yards and two scores. Additionally, Chubb’s 32 carries were the third-highest mark in his career.
Defensive Player of the Week: DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
Walker led the charge for Florida State’s defense in the second half in Monday night's win over Ole Miss and was a big reason why the Rebels were limited to six points over the final two quarters. The senior end recorded six tackles (4.5 for a loss), one forced fumble and 4.5 sacks.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State
With Ole Miss aiming to stop Dalvin Cook, all of the pressure on Florida State’s offense was placed on Francois’ shoulders. However, the redshirt freshman delivered in a big way on Monday night, torching the Rebels defense for 419 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 59 yards on nine carries. Most importantly, Francois never panicked under pressure and protected the ball (zero turnovers).
Co-Freshmen of the Week (Defense): Ed Oliver, Houston/Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
There were a couple of other standout performances by freshmen on defense this week, but Oliver and Lawrence earn a share of this award. Playing in the trenches as a true freshman isn’t easy, but Lawrence and Oliver certainly showed they were up to the task in Week 1. Oliver recorded seven tackles (two for a loss) and two sacks against Oklahoma, while Lawrence picked up 10 tackles (one for a loss), one sack and one pass breakup in the win over Auburn.
Coordinator of the Week: Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator, Alabama
For the third year in a row, Alabama entered an offseason with a question mark at quarterback. And once again, a new quarterback isn’t going to be an issue for the Crimson Tide offense. Lane Kiffin’s play-calling and scheme is a big reason why, and Alabama’s offense got off to a good start in Week 1 by gashing USC for 465 yards (7.4 per play) in a 52-6 blowout on Saturday night. Kiffin’s work with quarterbacks is already showing, as true freshman Jalen Hurts was sharp (6 of 11 for 118 yards and two scores) in his first action with the Crimson Tide.
Team of the Week: Houston
Quarterback Greg Ward’s clutch throws and a standout performance by Houston’s defense guided the Cougars to a 33-23 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday. Under coach Tom Herman’s watch, Houston is 4-0 against Power 5 opponents. The season is only one week old, but the win over the Sooners was huge for Houston’s playoff hopes in 2016.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Brandon Wilson, CB, Houston
Wilson is one of Houston’s most versatile players and is the leader for a rebuilt secondary this season. The senior was instrumental in the 33-23 win over Oklahoma on Saturday, as he recorded 10 stops (one for a loss), one pass breakup and a crucial play on special teams in the second half. With the Cougars leading by two in the third quarter, the Sooners lined up for a 53-yard field goal to take the lead. However, Austin Seibert’s kick was short, allowing Wilson to weave his way through the Oklahoma field goal unit and return the missed kick for a touchdown. Wilson’s play was a huge turning point in Saturday’s game and easily one of the highlights from a crowded Week 1 slate.