Week 12 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments. Saturday's slate didn't produce another week of upsets, but there were several key matchups that will have a role in determining conference champions or the playoff picture. Colorado defeated Washington State in a critical game for positioning in the Pac-12, Oklahoma kept its playoff hopes alive with a victory over West Virginia, Florida upset LSU in Baton Rouge and Houston defeated Louisville on Thursday night.
With the third 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 12:
College Football Week 12 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Sefo Liufau, QB, Colorado
Colorado moved one step closer to clinching the Pac-12 South with a 38-24 victory over Washington State on Saturday. Liufau led the way for coach Mike MacIntyre, guiding the offense to four second-half scoring drives and 603 total yards. The senior completed 27 of 41 throws for 345 yards and rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
Defensive Player of the Week: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Oliver dominated the trenches during Houston’s 36-10 upset over Louisville. The true freshman was a key cog in the efforts to contain quarterback Lamar Jackson, and the Cougars limited the dynamic sophomore to just 244 total yards and one touchdown. Oliver finished with six tackles (three for a loss), three sacks, one pass breakup and one forced fumble.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
Snow and cold temperatures weren’t enough to slow down Oklahoma in Morgantown on Saturday night. The Sooners kept their playoff hopes alive with a 56-28 win over the Mountaineers, with the offense generating 485 yards and accumulating 27 first downs in a strong overall performance. Riley’s group gashed West Virginia for 316 yards on the ground, dominated the time of possession (39:54 to 20:06) and scored touchdowns on five out of their first seven possessions.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Todd Orlando, Houston
Orlando and Houston’s defense found a way to slow down Louisville’s high-powered offense and Heisman Trophy candidate Lamar Jackson on Thursday night, helping the Cougars earn a dominant 36-10 victory. Orlando’s defense limited Louisville to just 312 yards (lowest mark of the season), recorded 11 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and forced three turnovers. Houston’s defense set the tone early, as this unit did not allow a drive longer than 37 yards in the first half and forced two turnovers on Louisville’s first four possessions.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert’s development throughout the 2016 season is a reason for Oregon fans to be optimistic about the future. The true freshman helped the Ducks upset Utah on Saturday, completing 30 of 43 throws for 324 yards and three touchdowns. Herbert also added 44 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): David Reese, LB, Florida
Reese earns this award for the second week in a row. The freshman linebacker was terrific in Florida’s 16-10 road win at LSU, leading the team with 12 tackles and helping to limit Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice to just 123 yards on 31 carries.
Team of the Week: Kansas
Second-year coach David Beaty inherited a massive rebuilding project, and while the wins have been tough to come by, the Jayhawks have showed signs of progress over the last two seasons. However, Beaty and his team can now point to a key turning point in the team’s rebuilding effort. Kansas stunned Texas 24-21 in overtime to earn the program’s first Big 12 victory since Nov. 8, 2014 and earn the first win over the Longhorns since 1938. The Jayhawks capitalized on six Texas turnovers, generated eight tackles for a loss and got a steady effort from freshman quarterback Carter Stanley (21 of 42 for 220 yards) to seal one of the year’s biggest upsets.
Unsung Hero of the Week: De’Veon Smith, RB, Michigan
With starting quarterback Wilton Speight sidelined due to injury, and the Wolverines facing an early 10-6 deficit against Indiana, coach Jim Harbaugh leaned on Smith to get the offense on track in the second half. The senior delivered with 158 yards and two scores on 23 attempts and helped Michigan dominate the time of possession (34:21 to 25:39) in a game with less-than-ideal weather conditions.