Week 14 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments. The final regular season weekend produced some entertaining conference championship games, as Penn State rallied from a 28-7 deficit to beat Wisconsin, Clemson held off a tough Virginia Tech team, and San Diego State knocked off Wyoming 27-24 in the Mountain West title game. Additionally, Alabama handled Florida to remain unbeaten, and Western Michigan secured the Group of 5 bowl spot in a New Year's Six bowl with a 29-23 win over Ohio.
With the last week of regular season action 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 14:
College Football Week 14 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
It’s a close call between Watson and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley for player of the week honors on offense. Watson gets the slight nod over McSorley, as the junior guided Clemson to its second ACC title in a row with a 42-35 win over Virginia Tech. Watson completed 23 of 34 passes for 288 yards and three scores and rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Defensive Player of the Week: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster was all over the field in Alabama’s dominant 54-16 victory over Florida. The senior recorded 11 tackles (2.5 for a loss) and two sacks and helped to hold the Gators to zero rushing yards.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Joe Moorhead, Penn State
James Franklin’s decision to hire Moorhead as offensive coordinator is a big reason why Penn State claimed the Big Ten title. Wisconsin entered Saturday with the Big Ten’s No. 2 ranked scoring defense, but the Nittany Lions posted 38 points, 435 yards, averaged 7.2 yards per play and connected on a handful big passing plays. After scoring on just one of its first five drives against the Badgers, Penn State finished the game by scoring on five consecutive drives.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Phil Snow, Temple
Containing Navy’s offense is no easy task, but Temple’s defense held the Midshipmen to just 306 total yards, forced three turnovers and recorded seven tackles for a loss. The Owls executed Snow’s defensive gameplan to perfection, as Navy’s 168 rushing yards were the second-lowest total posted by this offense in 2016.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Joshua Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Jacobs made an impact on offense and on special teams during Alabama’s dominant 54-16 victory over Florida. The freshman rushed for 35 yards and one touchdown on six attempts and returned a blocked punt in the first quarter for a 27-yard touchdown.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Taylor Rapp, DB, Washington
Washington’s defense dominated Colorado's offense in Friday night’s 41-10 Pac-12 Championship. Rapp led a stingy effort by the Huskies’ secondary, as the freshman recorded three tackles and two interceptions. Rapp returned his first interception for a score, giving Washington a 21-7 lead in the third quarter.
Team of the Week: Penn State
The Nittany Lions claimed their first Big Ten title since 2008, rallying from a 28-7 deficit to beat Wisconsin 38-31 on Saturday night in Indianapolis. Quarterback Trace McSorley tossed four touchdowns against one of the nation’s top defenses, including an 18-yard score to running back Saquon Barkley to put the team ahead for good early in the fourth quarter. The defense also stepped up, as this unit held Wisconsin to just three points on its final seven drives and stuffed running back Corey Clement on a fourth-and-one with just a minute remaining to secure the victory. After a 2-2 start, Penn State finished the season on a nine-game winning streak.
Unsung Hero of the Week (Offense): Anthony Wales, RB, WKU
Wales pounded Louisiana Tech’s defense for 209 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries, as WKU repeated as Conference USA champs with a 58-44 victory on Saturday.
Unsung Hero of the Week (Defense): Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
Kazee helped San Diego State secure its second consecutive Mountain West title with a couple of big plays in the 27-24 win over Wyoming. Kazee recorded six tackles, two pass breakups and two interceptions against the Cowboys.