Week 4 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments. Tennessee rallied in the second half to end an 11-game losing streak to Florida, Wisconsin scored a huge road win over Michigan State, and Texas A&M knocked off Arkansas in Arlington, Texas. The weekend action also produced a few upsets, as Duke defeated Notre Dame in South Bend and Colorado won at Oregon.
With the fourth 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 4:
College Football Week 4 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Dalvin Cook is back. After rushing for less than 100 yards in each of the first three games this season, Cook looked a lot like the player most projected as one of the Heisman favorites in Saturday’s win over USF. Cook pounded the USF defense for 267 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 62 yards. The junior opened the scoring for Florida State with a 75-yard run on the first offensive snap of the game for the Seminoles and finished Saturday’s contest by averaging a whopping 9.5 yards per rush.
Defensive Player of the Week: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Tennessee’s defense put the clamps on Florida’s offense after halftime, limiting the Gators to just 102 total yards and seven points in the final two quarters. Coordinator Bob Shoop deserves credit for building the right gameplan, and Florida’s offensive line simply had no answer for Barnett. The junior recorded five tackles (three for a loss), one pass breakup and two sacks.
Coordinator of the Week: Justin Wilcox, Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin
The defense and play-calling of Justin Wilcox is a big reason why the Badgers are 4-0 and scored upset wins over LSU and Michigan State to start the year. In Saturday’s win over the Spartans, Wilcox’s defense limited Michigan State to just 4.6 yards per play, 75 yards on the ground and forced four turnovers. The Badgers also recorded four sacks and seven tackles for a loss, while keeping the Spartans out of the end zone for the first time in 2016.
Freshmen of the Week (Offense): Alex Hornibrook, QB, Wisconsin/Steven Montez, QB, Colorado
Making your first career start in East Lansing against a top-10 team in Michigan State is no easy assignment. However, Hornibrook showed no signs of nerves and never appeared rattled in Wisconsin’s 30-6 victory over the Spartans. The redshirt freshman completed 16 of 26 passes for 195 yards and one score. Most importantly, Hornibrook’s performance was more than enough for Wisconsin to beat Michigan State.
Montez was called into action after an ankle injury suffered in last week’s game against Michigan prevented Sefo Liufau from playing in Week 4. However, Montez wasn't phased by the tough road environment at Autzen Stadium, as he completed 23 of 32 passes for 333 yards and three scores. He also led the team with 135 rushing yards and connected with receiver Bryce Bobo for the game-winning 31-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Jessie Bates, DB, Wake Forest
Thanks to a 33-28 victory over Indiana on Saturday, the Demon Deacons are 4-0 for the first time since 2006. Bates was a key cog in the win over the Hoosiers, as the freshman led the defense with eight tackles and recorded two interceptions. The first interception came on the goal line with Indiana poised to score after a 63-yard drive, while the second pick was returned for a 55-yard score to give Wake Forest a 14-7 lead.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
Standout edge rushers Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall get most of the attention on Texas A&M’s outstanding defense, but Watts delivered several critical plays in Saturday’s win over Arkansas. Watts led the team with nine tackles (2.5 for a loss), forced and recovered a fumble on the goal line and recorded two key tackles on a goal-line stand in the third quarter.
Team of the Week: Colorado
Colorado scored the biggest win of Mike MacIntyre’s tenure on Saturday with an upset 41-38 victory over Oregon. The Buffaloes were also shorthanded for this game, as starting quarterback Sefo Liufau was sidelined due to injury. But redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Montez stepped up and guided the Colorado offense to 593 yards and 41 points. The defense held the Ducks scoreless in the fourth quarter and clinched the victory with Ahekllo Witherspoon’s interception in the end zone with less than a minute remaining. Colorado is one of the nation’s most improved teams through the first four weeks of 2016 and will be a factor in the Pac-12 South title picture.