Week 5 of the 2015 college football season is in the books. Saturday's slate produced plenty of must-see games, including the anticipated Clemson-Notre Dame showdown in rainy Death Valley, while Alabama easily handled Georgia in Athens. Ohio State survived a scare from Indiana, Michigan State needed a late stop to hold off Purdue, UCLA fell to Arizona State and Oklahoma opened Big 12 play with a 44-24 win over West Virginia.
With another weekend of action in the books, it’s time to hand out the hardware to honor the best of the best from Week 5. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, freshman and unsung hero from Week 5:
College Football Week 5 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Elliott delivered every time Ohio State needed a big play in Saturday’s win over Indiana. The junior rushed for 274 yards and three scores on 23 attempts and caught two passes for 12 yards. Elliott scored three second-half touchdown runs on runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards to propel the Buckeyes to a win over the upset-minded Hoosiers.
Defensive Player of the Week: Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma
Striker was instrumental in Oklahoma’s defense putting the clamps on a dynamic West Virginia offense on Saturday. The senior registered 13 tackles (three for a loss), two sacks and one forced fumble. After allowing 17 points in the third quarter, the Sooners held the Mountaineers scoreless in the fourth and limited the offense to just 4.3 yards per play.
Coordinator of the Week: Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator, Clemson
Venables had a busy offseason trying to fill voids from the departure of several key players, and the Tigers returned just two starters on defense this fall. So far, Clemson’s defense hasn’t missed a beat. Notre Dame averaged 6.4 yards per play on Saturday night, but the Tigers forced four turnovers, generated four sacks and nine tackles for a loss and made a critical stop on a two-point play with less than a minute left to seal the victory. The quick rebuilding effort by Venables on defense is a big reason why Clemson will be a factor to earn a playoff spot this December.
Freshman of the Week: Will Grier, QB, Florida
Despite battling the flu, Grier was sharp in Florida's upset over Ole Miss, completing 24 of 29 passes for 271 yards and four scores. Grier helped the Gators average 5.6 yards per play against the Rebels and convert 8 of 16 third-down attempts. Grier continues to get better each week, and his development should help Florida contend for the SEC East title this season.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Ejuan Price, DL, Pittsburgh
New coach Pat Narduzzi and coordinator Josh Conklin are already making an impact with Pittsburgh’s defense. The Panthers limited Virginia Tech to just 1.9 yards per play and just 4 of 13 on third-down conversions in Saturday’s 17-13 victory. Price was instrumental in Saturday’s defensive success, as he registered five tackles (3.5 for a loss) and two sacks.