With the first weekend of the 2021 season in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances. Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the top performers in college football with its weekly awards section. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, and freshman from Week 1:
College Football Week 1 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
Walker III ran for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries to lift Michigan State to a 38-21 win over Northwestern.
Defensive Player of the Week: Riley Moss, DB, Iowa
Moss picked off two passes and returned both for touchdowns in Iowa’s 34-6 win over Indiana.
Team of the Week: UCLA
Through the first two games of 2021, it’s obvious the Bruins have turned a corner under coach Chip Kelly. UCLA crushed Hawaii in the team’s Week 0 opener and added an exclamation point to the program’s strong start by scoring a huge win on Saturday night by beating LSU 38-27. The Bruins dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, rushing for 215 yards and limiting the Tigers to just 48. Also, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson connected on a few big plays over his nine completions, including a 75-yard catch and run by tight end Greg Dulcich. UCLA’s defense limited the Tigers to just 378 yards and allowed just five conversions over 15 third-down attempts.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Jeff Lebby, Ole Miss
With coach Lane Kiffin missing the game due to COVID-19, Lebby was in full control of Ole Miss’ offense against Louisville. The Rebels recorded 569 yards (7.8 per play) and scored 43 points in an easy win over the Cardinals. Quarterback Matt Corral threw for 381 yards, while the rushing attack posted 188 over 41 attempts. Additionally, Ole Miss scored on eight of its 11 drives on Monday night.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Dan Lanning, Georgia
Lanning and coach Kirby Smart guided Georgia’s defense to a dominant performance on Saturday night. The Bulldogs limited Clemson to three points and 180 yards (3.0 per play), allowed just five third-down conversions on 16 attempts and sacked quarterback DJ Uiagalelei seven times. The longest play of the night for the Tigers went just 22 yards in Georgia's dominant 10-3 win.