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College Football Week 11 Awards

James Conner

James Conner

Week 11 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments. Five teams ranked in the College Football Playoff selection committee's top 10 poll from Tuesday night suffered defeats on Saturday. Clemson was stunned by Pitt on a late field goal, Michigan fell by one point to Iowa and USC defeated Washington in Seattle. The SEC had two teams - Texas A&M and Auburn - suffer upset losses on Saturday, but Alabama took care of Mississippi State in dominant fashion, clinching the SEC West title and a trip to Atlanta for coach Nick Saban's team.

With the second weekend of November 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 11:

College Football Week 11 Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama

Hurts ensured Alabama wouldn’t have a post-LSU letdown against Mississippi State. The true freshman completed 28 of 37 throws for 347 yards and four touchdowns and led the team with 100 rushing yards on 11 carries. Hurts is the first player in Alabama history with 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in a single contest. Additionally, his 447 total yards ranked third in school history for the most yards in a single game.

Defensive Player of the Week: Hunter Dimick, DE, Utah

Dimick and the Utah defensive line wreaked havoc all Thursday night against Arizona State. The Utes collected 11 sacks, with Dimick recording five and 6.5 tackles for a loss. The senior also registered nine tackles.

Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Matt Canada, Pitt

Pitt’s offense delivered one of its best performances of the 2016 season in the 43-42 upset over Clemson. The Panthers utilized a steady dose of running back James Conner to record 156 overall yards on the ground, while quarterback Nathan Peterman passed for 308 and five scores. Pitt averaged 6.5 yards per play, went four-for-four in red zone trips and scored on back-to-back drives late in the fourth quarter to leave Death Valley with the victory.

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Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Clancy Pendergast, USC

USC’s defense led the way in Saturday night’s 26-13 upset over Washington. Pendergast’s group held the Huskies to just 13 points (a season low), 276 total yards (4.3 yards per play), forced two turnovers and generated three sacks. The Trojans defense entered 2016 with significant question marks on the line of scrimmage, but this unit has developed into one of the Pac-12’s best with Pendergast at the controls.

Freshman of the Week (Offense): Shea Patterson, QB, Ole Miss

With Chad Kelly sidelined for the rest of the year, coach Hugh Freeze decided to pull the redshirt from Patterson and hand the keys to the offense to his talented freshman quarterback. The move paid dividends for the Rebels, as Ole Miss upset Texas A&M 29-28 in College Station on Saturday night. Patterson delivered a standout performance in his first game as the starter, completing 25 of 42 throws for 338 yards and two scores and rushing for 64 yards on 15 carries.

Freshman of the Week (Defense): Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke

Giles-Harris led the way for Duke’s defense in a 28-27 upset over North Carolina on Thursday night. The redshirt freshman recorded 16 stops (five solo) and recorded one tackle for a loss. The performance of Giles-Harris was a big reason why Duke held the Tar Heels out of the end zone in the second half, allowing the Blue Devils to hang on for the one-point victory.

Team of the Week: Pitt

Pat Narduzzi’s team provided the first upset victory in a Saturday filled with surprises in Week 11. The Panthers were nearly a three-touchdown underdog, yet found a way to stun Clemson 43-42 in Death Valley to end the Tigers’ hopes of an unbeaten season. The offense used the tough running of James Conner and a standout performance by quarterback Nathan Peterman to average 6.5 yards per play and score on two critical late fourth-quarter drives. As expected, containing Clemson’s high-powered offense wasn’t easy for Pitt’s defense. However, the Panthers forced three turnovers, generated eight tackles for a loss and stopped the Tigers on a critical fourth-and-one late in the fourth quarter.  

Unsung Hero of the Week: Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa

Yards and points were tough to come by in Saturday night’s showdown between Iowa and Michigan. However, the Hawkeyes did just enough on offense to notch the 14-13 upset over the Wolverines. Wadley delivered a standout performance against one of the nation’s top defenses, rushing for 115 yards on 23 attempts and recording 52 receiving yards and a score on five catches. Wadley accounted for 167 of Iowa’s 230 total yards.