Week 9 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments. Four undefeated teams - West Virginia, Boise State, Nebraska and Baylor - suffered their first defeat of the season, while Clemson rallied late in the fourth quarter to defeat Florida State, and Washington stayed unbeaten after a tough road win at Utah. Ohio State avoided back-to-back losses with a close win over Northwestern, Wisconsin beat Nebraska in overtime, and Notre Dame knocked off Miami in South Bend.
With the ninth 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 9:
College Football Week 9 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
Foreman is having an outstanding season, yet isn’t getting enough credit on the national stage. Perhaps that will change this week after a strong performance against Baylor. Foreman gashed the Bears for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, averaging a healthy 7.8 yards per carry.
Defensive Player of the Week: Azeem Victor, LB, Washington
Utah’s standout offensive line and running back Joe Williams challenged Washington’s run defense, and the Huskies more than held their own, thanks to a strong performance from Victor. The linebacker recorded a career-high 16 stops (one for a loss) and helped to limit Utah’s offense to 4.7 yards per play.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Jonathan Smith, Washington
The home environment in Salt Lake City and Utah’s defense presented a tough assignment for Washington on Saturday afternoon. However, Smith had a solid gameplan to counter the Utes, showcasing a balanced attack (199 rushing to 186 passing), as the Huskies averaged 6.9 yards per play. Washington was also three-for-three in red zone trips and three out of the final four drives (excluding the kneel downs) resulted in scores in the second half.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Justin Wilcox, Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s defense delivered another standout performance in Saturday’s win over Nebraska. The Badgers limited the Cornhuskers to just 305 total yards, forced two turnovers and recorded two sacks. Additionally, Wisconsin limited Nebraska to 3.5 yards per carry, allowed only three points after two interceptions in the fourth quarter and stopped the Cornhuskers on downs in overtime to secure the victory.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert posted a record-setting performance in Oregon’s 54-35 victory over Arizona State. The true freshman completed 31 of 42 throws for 489 yards and four touchdowns and added 23 rushing yards on 11 carries. The 489 passing yards tied the single-game record in program history.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Marcelino Ball, DB, Indiana
Ball was all over the field in Indiana’s 42-36 win over Maryland on Saturday. The freshman recorded eight stops (one for a loss), intercepted a pass, broke up two passes and recovered a fumble.
Team of the Week: Clemson
Clemson crossed off its biggest remaining hurdle in the regular season with a 37-34 victory over Florida State. The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead but had to rally from a 28-20 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter and a 34-29 hole late in the fourth quarter. However, coach Dabo Swinney’s team continued to make plays in the clutch, with quarterback Deshaun Watson throwing for 378 yards and the defense won the battle at the line of scrimmage with 10 tackles for a loss and six sacks.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Chase Appleby, DL, Wyoming
Appleby’s strip sack of Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien resulted in a safety with less than two minutes remaining, giving the Cowboys a 30-28 victory and the biggest win of coach Craig Bohl’s tenure in Laramie. Appleby finished with three tackles (two for a loss), one sack and two forced fumbles.