Week 7 of the 2017 college football season was filled with several intriguing matchups and storylines. Upsets filled the Week 7 slate, including two on Friday night, as Washington State lost to California, and Syracuse knocked off Clemson. On Saturday, Auburn blew a 20-0 lead and lost to LSU 27-23 in Baton Rouge. The loss at LSU ended any hopes Auburn had of making a run to the CFB Playoff as a one-loss team. Washington was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten late on Saturday night, as Arizona State upset the Huskies 13-7. The top spot among Group of 5 programs is up for grabs once again after San Diego State's loss to Boise State on Saturday night. While upsets highlighted the Week 7 action, Alabama, Ohio State, TCU and Georgia were impressive in victories. Additionally, Miami defeated Georgia Tech on the final play, and USC rallied from an early deficit to beat Utah.
With the seventh weekend of the 2017 season 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 7:
College Football Week 7 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
Barrett has been on fire since Ohio State’s loss to Oklahoma, and the senior kept the offense performing at a high level in Saturday night’s 56-14 victory over Nebraska. Barrett completed 27 of 33 throws for 325 yards and five touchdowns and added 48 yards and two scores on 10 carries.
Defensive Player of the Week: Devin White, LB, LSU
White was all over the field in Saturday’s win over Auburn. The sophomore collected 15 tackles (six solo and two for a loss), one sack and one quarterback hurry. White’s presence was instrumental in containing Auburn’s rushing attack after a fast start and delivering two defensive stands late in the fourth quarter.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Graham Harrell, North Texas
Thanks to a seven-play, 98-yard drive with just over a minute remaining, North Texas remained unbeaten in conference play with a 29-26 victory over UTSA on Saturday night. With the Mean Green trailing 26-22 on their final possession, Harrell helped direct the final drive, which included a 49-yard strike from quarterback Mason Fine and a 22-yard touchdown toss from Fine to receiver Rico Bussey to knock off the Roadrunners. Harrell’s offense accumulated 441 total yards (6.6 per play) against a UTSA defense that was limiting opponents to just 4.8 yards per play prior to Week 7.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Tim DeRuyter, California
Under the direction of DeRuyter and head coach Justin Wilcox, California’s defense has made significant strides this year. And this unit was instrumental in the upset win over Washington State on Saturday night, as the Golden Bears limited Mike Leach’s offense to just three points and 4.6 yards per play. Additionally, California collected nine sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and forced seven turnovers in the 37-3 victory.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Dillon pounded Louisville’s defense for 272 yards and four touchdowns on 39 attempts, as Boston College scored a road upset victory 45-42 over the Cardinals. Dillon’s 272 yards were the third-most for a single game and was the highest mark by a freshman in program history.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Kylan Wilborn, DE/LB, Arizona
Arizona stayed hot with its second Pac-12 win in a row, defeating UCLA 47-30 on Saturday night. Wilborn wreaked havoc all night around the line of scrimmage, as the freshman recorded four sacks, five tackles (four for a loss) and one forced fumble against the Bruins.
Team of the Week: Syracuse
For the second year in a row, Dino Babers’ team pulled off a huge upset at home. After defeating Virginia Tech in mid-October last fall, Syracuse knocked off Clemson – the No. 2 ranked team prior to Week 7 – on Friday night. The Orange utilized tempo to keep the Tigers’ talented defensive front off balance and attacked the secondary for all four quarters. As a result, quarterback Eric Dungey had a huge night (278 passing yards), with Steve Ishmael (six catches) and Ervin Phillips (four grabs) working as the preferred targets. Syracuse’s defense is making strides under coordinator Brian Ward and limited Clemson’s high-powered offense to just 317 yards (5.6 per play). This unit allowed only two touchdowns and limited the Tigers’ passing attack to just 204 yards. At 4-3 through seven games, Syracuse has a good chance to go to a bowl game in Babers’ second year at the helm.
Unsung Hero of the Week (Offense): Karan Higdon, RB, Michigan
Higdon carried Michigan’s offense in Saturday’s overtime win at Indiana. On 25 attempts, he rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Higdon accounted for 200 of the Wolverines’ 329 total yards and scored all three touchdowns by the offense.
Unsung Hero of the Week (Defense): Avery Williams, CB, Boise State
Williams returned a punt for a touchdown, recorded six tackles and one pass breakup in Boise State’s upset win over San Diego State.